May 30, 2015

Poha - a lesser known breakfast delicacy

Poha is a simple and quick breakfast dish which you can whip up in under 15 minutes. That is why it is one of the most favored breakfast recipe in my kitchen.

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I always considered Poha to be a South Indian dish since a room mate of mine from Shimoga, a place in Karnataka often made it for breakfast. This notion changed on a short trip to Indore for a recruitment event. We were served Poha in the hotel for breakfast, as a snack in the college between the interviews and we even saw people relishing Poha at Chappan - a popular food bazaar  during the evening.  The Poha, I tasted at Indore was sweeter than the version I had down south which is why I try to bring in a little sweetness to the version from my kitchen.


It is a lesser known dish to the Keralites. My husband had never even heard of it, till I cooked it for him the first time. This dish is a miracle breakfast recipe as far as I am concerned and  a lot better than the normal bread - jam/peanut butter or upma routine on working day mornings. My husband loves this dish and it is his suggestion that I put this recipe down here for more of you to experiment.

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Ingredients

Beaten rice/ Flattened rice - 2 cups
Onion - 1 medium sized chopped
Potato - 1 medium sized chopped
Green Chilly - 2 to 3 slit
Peanuts - a handful ( you can increase or reduce as per your taste, I love peanuts hence love more of it in my food)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaf - 1 sprig
Lemon juice - 3 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Coriander leaf to garnish
Salt as per taste
Oil

Method

Heat oil in a skillet. Fry the peanuts and keep aside. Then fry the chopped potato (chop finely) for about 2 minutes ( just begins to change color) and drain off excess oil.

Toss in the chopped onions and saute it till translucent. Add the green chilly and curry leaf, saute it for a while. Add the desired amount of salt and 1 tsp sugar mix it well and toss in the  potato at this stage. Add turmeric powder and saute for another 2 minutes on low flame.

Pour water into the beaten rice just for it to get wet and drain off immediately.  Toss this into the skillet and fold it together till the beaten rice gets the color of the turmeric.

Keep this covered for 4 minutes on low flame. Add the lemon juice and the fried peanuts. Mix it well and serve with garnish of fresh finely chopped coriander leaves.

I do hope that you all try this simple recipe and trust me you will love it!

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You may also note -

  1. Once you pour water into the beaten rice, drain off immediately. Else your poha would turn out to be extremely soggy.
  2. Once cooked, serve it hot or keep it covered so that the steam keeps it warm. Leaving the poha open could cause it be dry and sometimes a little too chewy.
  3. In case, you have excess poha and you store it for later. Make sure that you heat it with a little water sprinkled on it when you take it out of the fridge.









May 23, 2015

Rava Uthappam

Quite a few friends have requested for some vegetarian recipes to be posted in my blog else they say they would  " unlike" the page on facebook :)


I have been trying to recollect the vegan recipe that I love the most and that is when Rava Uthappam clicked! A quick uthappam recipe that does not require the batter to stand over night.

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So here goes the history.

This recipe dates to those days when I had just moved out of college into corporate life. A few of us classmates moved in together after college beginning to bask in the glory of the newly found financial independence. After a hectic day at work, we would gather in the kitchen to cook ourselves a decent dinner. All we had was three or four utensils, an over packed small refrigerator shared by nine maybe ten of us, a double burner stove(one burner which hardly worked) and our inadequate cooking skills. We were always on the lookout for simple and quick recipes. None of us had the time or the energy for elaborate ones. That is when one of my friends decided to make sooji ka chilla (her mother's recipe) which I fondly call as rava uthappam. Sooji ka chilla was a delight to our tummies at the end of a long and tiring day.

I have tried this recipe on several friends and family. They have all loved it equally. Hope you like it too. This recipe is dedicated to my friend, her mother and also the wonderful roomies with whom I have enjoyed this.

Here it is -

Ingredients
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Roasted rava/semolina/sooji - 1 cup
Yogurt - 1 and 1/4 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1 medium sized finely chopped
Tomato - 1 medium sized finely chopped
Green chilly - 1-2 finally chopped
Coriander leaves - a handful chopped
Carrot - 1 grated
salt to taste
Ghee


Method

Beat the yogurt along with water and salt. Add rava to the yogurt, a spoonful at a time stirring well to avoid the formation of lumps. Once the entire rava has been added, let the batter soak for half an hour.

Meanwhile chop the vegetables.
Add the chopped onion, tomato and green chilly to batter and mix it well. Also add in half of the coriander leaves, the rest can be used as a garnish

Heat the dosa tawa and grease the tawa with ghee. Pour in two ladles of the batter and spread it slowly. The consistency of this batter would be different from the normal dosa you make and will not spread easily giving you a perfect round shape. Using the ladle, gently spread it across ensuring uniform thickness as far as possible. Spread across the coriander leaves and grated carrots on top.

Keep it covered on medium flame for around 5 minutes till the bottom changes color and is lightly crisp. Tip it over to cook the other side for around 2 minutes. Do not overcook this side as you may burn the carrots on top.
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Serve it hot with fresh coconut chutney.

Do not forget to try this latest dish from my kitchen and impress your family and friends!!

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You may also note -

  1. Try to stick to the measurements else you may not get your uthappam in one piece. It would crumble while trying to tip over.
  2. You could try adding capsicum or any other vegetable of your choice.
  3. Cook immediately after you add the veggies to prevent it being mushy.

May 16, 2015

Thukpa - Noodle Soup

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I had never heard of this dish until a year before, when I had it for the first time from a small Tibetan restaurant in Viveknagar, Bangalore and more recently heard of it on Roti, Rasta aur India's Ladakh leg of the show. My husband spoke highly of Thukpa. This is what he had to say - light yet a wholesome meal, wonderful for cold and fever. 
I can't agree better. 

It is definitely light but quite filling and what more -it is the best and delicious way to consume the healthy vegetables which you might normally loathe. For all the mothers, it may be a really good way to get your kids to eat some vegetables. My husband swears on the health benefits of the soup. Apparently, he used to have thukpa when he was down with cold and it gave him a lot of relief as the soup found its way down the throat through the food pipe clearing the throat.

I have always brought packets of Knor or Maggie soup but never attempted to make one. That is when I thought about beginning my soup adventure with my version of Thukpa. The recipe below is for chicken thukpa however the same can be made without chicken as well for the vegetarians adding veggies of your choice.

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Ingredients

Chicken - 150 gm
Onion -1 sliced lengthwise
Ginger - 2 inch julienne
Garlic - 5 pods finely chopped
Green Chilly - 2-3 finely chopped
Carrot - 1 sliced lengthwise
Cabbage - a handful chopped
Spring Onions - a bunch
Coriander leaf - a handful chopped
Olive Oil - 2 tsp
Soya Sauce - 1 tsp
Tomato Sauce - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 5 tbsp
Pepper powder - 2 tsp
Water - 5 cups
Bread crumbs - a handful cut into squares
Noodles


Method

Pour the olive oil into a deep bottomed pan and toss in the onions when the oil is hot. Saute for 2 minutes on medium flame and toss in the ginger, garlic and green Chilly. Saute this for another 2 minutes and add in the chopped carrots, cabbage and other vegetables you wish to add. Also add the chicken pieces.

Once this heats up add the spring onions and the coriander leaves and mix it well.  Sprinkle in some salt and pepper powder. Pour in 5 cups of water and bring this to a boil. 

Add tomato sauce and soya sauce and simmer the soup for around 30 minutes on low flame. Remove the chicken pieces from the soup and shred them and throw it back in.

Squeeze in the lemon juice and adjust the salt as per your taste. Let it simmer for another 2 minutes.

Cook the noodles with a little salt and olive oil separately and strain them. Lightly fry the bread crumbs and keep it aside.

Serve the hot soup into a bowl and add the desired amount of noodles into the bowl. Throw in some bread crumbs and finally garnish with coriander leaf or spring onions.


A healthy and perfect dinner the Tibetan way!!
Also a good dish to settle down on a cold winter night.


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You may also note -
  1.  You can avoid the sauces and it still gives you a good flavor or you may add fresh tomatoes in place of tomato sauce.
  2.  You can add in capsicum, celery or any other vegetable that complements.
  3.  Always cook and add the noodles and bread crumbs at the time of serving else they might get over cooked and soggy.
  4. Add just enough oil to lightly cook your vegetables else your soup may have oil floating on the top.
  5. You may increase the pepper and ginger in case of cold or fever.








May 8, 2015

Strawberry Apple Jam






It was during our honeymoon that we first tasted strawberry apple jam. A lovely breakfast on the houseboat in Dal lake, Srinagar with Tea, Poha, Bread toast and Strawberry Apple Jam.  The jam just tasted heavenly with small chunks of apple and strawberry in it. On inquiry, we were told that it was locally procured but we were not fortunate enough to get a bottle of the jam from any of the shops we went.

Post that, I have tried making pineapple jam and mango jam but never strawberry apple jam. Recently, we celebrated one year of our trip to Kashmir reminiscing the trip and the enjoyable moments. That is when I recollected the refreshing jam we had in Srinagar giving a real feel of fresh strawberries and apples.

Bread and jam with coffee has been an easy breakfast option for us ever since we were married. What can be more fresh than home made jam with chunks of fruits to go with bread! When you make at home, you can be sure of exactly what goes into the jam with no fear of unknown and may be unhealthy ingredients. I have used no preservatives and no artificial colours. The colour of the jam was rendered by the strawberries.

Here it is - the recipe of the jam.


Ingredients

Strawberry - 500 gms
Apple - 500 gms
Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
Sugar - 1 1/4 cup 


Preparation

Hull the strawberries. Clean the strawberries and the apples well and pat them dry. Quarter the strawberries and cut the apples into small pieces once skinned. Grind the strawberries coarsely and set aside.
Heat a thick bottomed pan and pour in the ground strawberries and the chunks of apple. Add the sugar and bring the mixture to boil on high flame. Bring the flame to medium and keep stirring.

Keep stirring it to avoid the mixture from sticking to the bottom and burning. Stir for around 10-15 minutes, add the lime juice and keep stirring till you achieve the desired consistency.   In case, you find huge chunks of fruits, mash it using a fork.

You can add in more sugar if you want it more sweeter once you taste.  Try using a deep pan as the jam tends to splutter and you may have a tough time cleaning. Be careful it might even splutter on your face.

Meanwhile clean a glass jar and keep it closed and inserted in hot water.  Once the desired consistency is reached you can transfer the jam into the still warm jar and let it cool.  Using a fork or toothpick press the jam down in the jar to avoid formation of air bubbles.  You can store the jam in fridge for about a month.

Enjoy with your favorite bread, chapati or even biscuits (like we did in hostel).

While you start your preparations for the jam, let me relish the jam with home made bread. 
Aah!! how ravishing:)

May 4, 2015

Swiss Roll/Jam Roll

Swiss Roll/Jam roll

Jam roll always reminds me of the summer vacations while we were still at school -a long two month hiatus in Kerala along with my cousins. There was a routine established for the four of us and the most important of it all being the 5 pm wait on our balcony for my aunt to get back from work - for pouncing on the goodies in her bag. She never failed us. 

Jam Roll was my favorite, it always intrigued me. Sometimes I would just bite into it hungrily and sometimes I took the time to unroll it lick away the delicious mixed fruit jam and then dig on the cake. The 'little me' never would have imagined that she would actually be making jam roll one day.

The idea of trying out something like this popped up when we brought orange marmalade. I was tasting it for the very first time and it did not fascinate me much. I had a bottle full of it and did not absolutely want it to rot away. That is when my hubby told me why not try a Swiss roll? I was clueless how this was done. Yet, I decided to try out on a weekend as we were expecting a few guests. I baked the cake for the roll but it was adamant and refused to roll, cracking up when I tried to roll it.  I could not let it go waste. So I decided to sandwich the marmalade between two slices of cake cut into circles and dust it with powdered sugar. It tasted good but the cake had turned out a little harder making the rolling difficult. I decided to research on this a bit more and this time it turned out the way just I had wanted it to.
Swiss Roll/Jam Roll



Honestly, making a jam roll is not complicated as it looks. Just a little bit of patience and there you are.


Ingredients

For the sponge cake-

Self raising flour/Maida - 1 cup
Powdered sugar - 1 cup (3/4 goes into the cake and the rest for dusting)
Eggs - 4 separated
Vegetable oil or butter - 2 tbsp
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp

Marmalade/ Jam/ Cream - flavor of your choice


Preparation
  1. Sift the flour and baking sugar and keep aside.
  2. Separate the egg yolk and white. Whisk the egg white along with a little sugar using a hand blender or electric blender for 7-8 minutes so that it becomes thick.
  3. Add the vanilla essence into the egg yolk and mix it well. 
  4. Into this, add 3/4 cup of the powdered sugar and the egg white. Fold in gently using a spoon or spatula in order to avoid air bubbles.
  5.  Add the sifter flour, fold in the mixture well and finish off with the vegetable oil.
  6. The cake mix is now ready to go into your oven.
  7. Make sure that you pre - heat your oven at 180 degree for 15 minutes. Grease a square baking tray, in case you do not have that, you can use your roasting tray as well. Pour the mix into this and make sure it is evenly spread across.
  8. Place in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes. Keep checking to avoid overcooking or browning of the cake.  
  9. Sponge cake rolled in parchment paper
    Roll the sponge cake while hot along with the parchment paper
    Remove it from the oven once done and invert on top of a parchment paper which has been sprinkled with powdered sugar.( In case, the cake is too thick and you want your rolls to be thinner, you may just slice through the center)             Sprinkling of sugar is important else your cake may stick to the paper.
  10. While still hot, roll the cake along with the parchment paper till the fag end. Tie up the ends to retain the shape and leave it to cool.

11. Once it has cooled down, unroll it spread the jam or marmalade evenly over the entire length and a little thinner towards the sides as the excess may pop out as we roll. Dust the roll with powdered sugar.Roll it back and cut out the rolls into thickness of your choice

Jam Roll
Cut off the ends of the roll where the excess jam has spilled over
Your Jam Roll is ready to be served. Once a while instead of just making a sponge cake, you can layer it with jam and roll it - impressing everyone around you.
Jam Roll


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