Thursday, 20 September 2012

These are freshly pressed noodle clusters/ bunches/ patties, delicately steamed to perfection.This is one dish which will workout very well even if you make mistakes at any point of time and there is no compromise in taste too. Iddiappam is quick & healthy as it is steamed. It’s a culinary specialty in Tamilnadu, Kerala, coastal areas of Karnataka & is also popular in certain areas of Srilanka.

  • Mix 1 cup of rice flour with 1 cup warm water,1 tsp ghee & salt.
  • Knead into smooth dough. Apply little oil over the dough and insert into the press. Idiyappam maker is same as the chakli maker.
  • Put a small quantity of dough into the press and press it on the idly moulds greased with oil.
  • Steam the idly cooker for 8-10 minutes.
Iddiappams are served with a variety of veg & non-veg curries as well as dressings, sauces, chutneys, etc.

My variations-
1.        Modak puran - mix of grated coconut, jaggery & ghee.
2.      Orange-honey-ginger dressing – reduce orange juice, honey & ginger till saucy consistency.
3.      Green mirchi thecha

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The taste of success

My first ever show of cookery outside my circle of relatives & friends......
There was this cooking competition last month held at Dadar & I was totally on for it. Super excited I was but there was a catch! My tickets were already booked for trip from Thursday till Sunday morning & the competition was on Sunday at 11am! 
The theme was 'Soya' & we had to prepare a sweet & a spicy dish. I planned my dishes such that varied forms of soya are incorporated. My spicy starter was squid packets using soya granules & dessert was a soya cheesecake using soya milk & soya biscuits. I din't wanna miss this chance at any cost but I knew the cake would take time to set. I decided to make the cake on Thursday itself....juggling packing for the trip after work & making the dessert was fun & everything seemed to have turned out well.
I returned back on sunday at 9am & I still had a spicy dish to prepare along with the plating of both before 11am! My race against time bagan...thankfully granules & squids both cook fast! I was ready with my platter by 11. The judges liked my fare & my hardwork payed off, I won!!!

Soya Strawberry Cheesecake

For the base:
soya cookies - 4
butter - 2 tbsp
Method : Crumble the cookies & mix in frozen butter. Layer the granulated mixture on the cake plate after placing the cake cake ring. Set in fridge for 10min.

For the cake mix:
soya milk - 200ml
cream cheese - 150gm
sugar - 5 tsp
strawberries - 5 large
cream - 2tbsp
gelatin - 1 tbsp
Method : Soak gelatin in 2 tbsp water for 5 mins. Heat it till gelatin melts, do not boil.
Blend all the ingredients together except gelatin. Add the gelatin & pour the mix over the base. Set in fridge for 2hrs.

For the glaze:
strawberries juice - 1/2 cup
gelatin - 1/2 tsp
Method : Soak gelatin in 2 tbsp water for 5 mins. Heat it till gelatin melts, do not boil. mix with the juice. Add on top of the cake. Set in fridge for 10mins.

Decorate with pieces of strawberries.

Schezwan Squid Packets

squids - 3
onion - 2 tbsp
tomato - 2tbsp
capsicum - 2 tbsp
soya granules - 1 cup soaked
italian herbs - 1 tsp
oil - 2 tbsp
salt to taste
schezwan sauce - 2 tbsp

Method : Fry veggies in oil add the granules, herbs, salt & sauce. Cook for 15mins till soya is cooked. Add little water if needed. Fill the squids with the filling & steam for 10mins.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Chick peas on a rollercoaster

All twisted mother always told me ‘everything should be done in an orderly manner, each has a right sequence’ rightly said as it applies to life aswell....but here is one spicy-sweet indulgence which even though is all twisted & mixed up tastes just delectable!

When besan rides on a rollercoaster of crisp colocasia with seats of imli to cushion from itchy oxalate shocks along with friends spices & sugar, its a burst of exciting flavours from the tangy-spicy-sweet reunion in every loop n twirl....with the thrilling combination of spices screaming out of every bite mellowed down by the humble sugar. 

Marathi traditional fare is incomplete without this farsan, served as a snack or in meals. The Gujaratis call it Patra which is the sweeter version but the one made at my home is fiery hot!! Eaten in both ways as raw boiled slices & after frying the wadis.

So take this joyride to experience the velocity of flavours that explode in your mouth & make you reach new heights in the seventh heaven!

Roll of a different kind - Alu chi wadi:

Alu (Colocasia leaves) – 8-10
Besan - 2 cups
Tamarind paste – 1 cup
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red Chilly powder - 2 tbsp
Jeera powder – 1 tbsps
Dhania powder – 1 tbsps
Asafetida – a pinch
Salt to taste
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Oil to fry
For Garnishing
Mustard seeds - 1 tbsp
Freshly grated coconut – 2 tbsp
Finely chopped coriander leaves

·  Method:
  • Wash & wipe the leaves, remove stems & devein.
  • Mix besan, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, asafoetida (hing), salt & sugar and make a thick paste of it by adding proper proportion of water.
  • Spread on a cutting board the largest leaf with the glossy side down and stalk end towards you. Spread the tamrind pulp on the leaf, then the besan mix evenly. Both should cover the entire leaf surface. Now place another leaf over it in lengthwise reverse direction and repeat above procedure. After 4-5 leaves are placed fold in the edges for about 2" on both sides, smear the folds with tamarind & besan and then roll gently but firmly to get a cylinder.
  • Cook the rolls in a pressure cooker on steam for about 25-30 minutes.
  • Once cooked, the rolls will be nicely set. Slice the rolls into thin wadis. Can be eaten like this or deep fry the wadis till crispy.

Garnish: optional
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add, mustard seeds, when they begin to crackle add grated coconut & finely chopped fresh coriander leaves. Mix in the wadis.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Dig into a Konkani household...........

Konkanis from Maharashtra, Goa & Karnataka have their own genie in the bottle........a rare spice, indigenous to the coastal regions of these states which provides their curries a unique aroma & a fabulous flavour.

A good appetiser, digestive with wormicidal medicinal properties, it used to be a precious spice back in the 16th century when the Portuguese came to colonise Goa. Besides it is also hung as a traditional decoration during Ganesh Chathurti festival in Goa & its paste can be applied over the forehead during times of headache!

The tree bears fruits in Monsoon. In the local market, you will see vendors’ selling bunches of these dark greenish berries tied together and sold for a tiny sum. During this time, the fresh fruits are used as much as possible. Then the sun-dried version is made ready to stock up for the rest of the year. With gradual exposure to sun for around a week or two, the green berry dries & opens up to separate the black outer hard shell very fragrant when fully dried is retained for culinary use & the inner black seed is discarded. So a Konkani household will mostly forever have stock of this spice!

Still haven’t guessed......well the genie is.....
Triphal – In Goan Konkani
Teppal – In Manglorean Konkani
Kamte kai -  In Kannada
Sichuan Pepper – In Chinese
& In Portuguese, its called “limao pimentose” (pungent lemon).

Goans use it whole heartedly as well as natives of Belgaum, Karwar, Vengurla, Kudal, North/South Canara & possibly, Konkanis who migrated to Kerala from Mangalore/Udupi. It is also widely used in the cuisine of Sichuan(China), as well as Thai, Tibetan, Bhutanese, Nepalese, Japanese and Toba Batak cuisines, among others.
Sometimes I wonder if Konkanis migrated from China or Thailand.......... there is so much in common to Thai & Chinese cuisines…triphal, bamboo shoots, jack fruits, coconut curries and coconut desserts!

Used in very small quantity, Tirphal goes well with only certain fish such as Bangda(Mackeral) and Tarle(Sardin) which has a strong distinct smell/taste & brown meat and with a few vegetarian dishes. Traditionally it is not use with fish like Surmayi(Iswan or Viswan or king fish) or Pomfret which have more white meat.

It has a fresh flavour somewhat in between of mint and lime that is not pungent but very subtle lemony overtones. This fantastic spice slightly crushed & added at last moment, cause a mild flavour is enough which along with kokum changes the entire taste of a fish curry. The gravy is so deliciously delicate with a subtle sweet-sour flavour from the coconut-kokum. So, if a recipe calls for triphal, beg, borrow or steal it, because there is no close substitute!

It leaves a notorious tingling numbness almost anaesthetic feeling on your tongue once you eat it. So it will take some time before you gradually grow to like it's lemon scented aroma, then be adventurous enough to use it in kadhi’s to curries , and finally acquire a taste for it.

It is dominated by the citrus-scented compounds limonene and citronellal & chemically contains hydroxyl-alpha sanshools which appear to act on several different kinds of nerve endings at once to induce sensitivity to touch and cold in nerves that are ordinarily nonsensitive.

Note: If bitten into by mistake, you will be really sorry, coz it leaves a very strong burning kind of sensation and flares up the tongue & it will remain numb for hours I guess!! So, though you will love the unique aroma and flavour that this spice imparts to the dish, be sure to remember to pick it out from your dish while eating and not bite into it. Also it is added at the last minute in the curry & never in the masala paste!

Sichuan Sardines (Tarle Curry)

Sardines 8
Coconut grated 1
Red chillies 6-7
Garlic pods 3-4

Coriander seeds 10
Triphal 5-6
Turmeric 1tsp
Kokum pieces 2-3 or thick tamarind juice 1 tsp

Onion chopped 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Clean the sardines. Grind coconut with red chillies, coriander seeds, garlic and turmeric to a very smooth paste. Heat oil in a saucepan, fry onions slightly, add the ground masala with sufficient water to form a gravy. Add sardines & boil till they are cooked (6-7mins). Add triphal, kokum pieces(or tamarind juice), salt and bring to a boil. Serve hot with rice.
Serves : 4

Friday, 9 September 2011

chunky apple preserve

Here is one such recipe I have never even tried to make, but made it perfect for the first time & outcome so delectable!

Rich amber colored, sweet and indulgent with a hint of lemon makes yummy accompaniment to fresh bread for breakfast but if your imagination rolls it can be a topping for pies, cakes, icecream, biscuits & much more.

 Jams of this kind maybe widely available in the market, but it takes less than an hour to make it and it tastes just so much better than anything you can buy & its minus the added preservatives, artificial flavours & colors. 

Pineapple can also be used in the same recipe but cinnamon should be avoided then.

  • 2 Apples finely chopped (Medium sized)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
Cook apples & sugar till the apples become soggy & a thick paste is formed. Add lemon juice & cinnamon powder, mix well.

A pinch of salt can be added is you wish.
½ tsp butter can also be added along with apples for a richer taste.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

vatli dal

This spicy Maharashtrian dish is easy to prepare, delicious to eat and a rich source of protein. Vatli Dal literally translates into “ground dal”, can be eaten as a side dish or even as a snack. Traditionally, this dish is made using chana dal (Bengal gram) but you could also try with moong dal. 

It is also prepared for Anant Chaturdashi i.e. the last day of Ganesh festival. After immersion of the idol, it is given as a prasad in some families. So I thought of sharing this recipe today with you all.

It is a sweet & sour coarse Bengal gram paste (chanyachi bharad) delicately spiced with a tadka of mustard, hing & chilli. The tang comes best from raw mango(kachi kairi) though lemon juice can also do the job.

I like it plain but can also be a fine accompaniment with chapattis in dabba & some even like it with rice & buttermilk!

This recipe is what my Atya (my dad's sis) makes & I find it the best!

Ingredients –
Chana Dal (chick pea) – 2 cups
Green chilies (chopped) – 4 medium sized
Curry leaves – 6/7
Mustard seeds –
½ teaspoon
Turmeric powder –
½ teaspoon
Asafoetida (hing) – ½ teaspoon
Oil – 3 tablespoons
Sugar – 2 teaspoon
Salt – to taste
Ginger (grated) –  1
½ teaspoon
Raw mango (grated) – 3 tbsp or
Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
Coriander springs (finely chopped) – to garnish
Freshly desiccated coconut – to garnish

Procedure –
Soak the chana dal in water for 2 hours. After 2 hours grind this dal very finely in the grinder along with green chillies. Add little water to grind it well. 

In a thick bottomed pan or a kadhai heat oil. Add the mustard seeds. Let it crackle. Now add the turmeric powder, asafoetida, ginger and curry leaves.

Now add the grounded dal. Add the salt and sugar and sauté on medium flame till the dal completely dries up and there are no lumps left.

Now add the grated raw mango paste/lemon juice and mix well and sauté for another minute.

Sprinkle chopped coriander and freshly desiccated coconut and serve hot.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

beyond modaks for bappa

Ukadiche Modak (steamed) is the most popular Maharashtrian delicacy prepared on Ganesh Chaturthi. It is known as the favourite sweet of Lord Ganesha, made on the very first day of Ganesh Chaturthi. Modak has a soft, white steamed outer covering and the delicately spiced jaggery and coconut filling inside & has a peculiar shape.

Although most people associate only modaks with Lord Ganesh, there’s more savouries what the festival has to offer.

Gharge - It is a traditional Maharashtrian sweet that is slowly getting lost in time. Its not very sweet and even people with a limited sweet tooth will enjoy this. Gharge is basically a sweet puri that has pumpkin as one if its major ingredient which makes it a healthy and filling snack. The outside of the gharge is crisp and the inside is quite chewy.

1 cups grated/minced pumpkin
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 cup rava
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 cup grated jaggery
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp warmed ghee
Oil/ghee for frying

Combine grated pumpkin and jaggery in a saucepan and cook together on medium heat till pumpkin is cooked and the mixture is a thick sticky mass.To the warm mixture, add the warmed ghee, cardamom powder, salt and all three flours. Knead to make dough.
The dough should not be too tight nor too elastic.Make small balls & roll out puris on a greased plastic sheet.Deep fry the gharges till golden-brown in ghee /oil. 

Panchamrut- All religious Hindu Pooja  are incomplete without the Panchamrut which is a milk and curd based offering to the Gods and is considered auspicious and highly pleasing to the deities. On Ganesh Chaturthi the Ganesh idol is bathed with it before performing the pooja.

Cow’s milk – 500ml
Curd – 250gm
Honey – 2tsp
Melted Ghee(Saturated Fat) – 1tsp
Sugar – 50gm (As per the sweetness desired

Mix all together and Panchamrit is ready.

Ninav -  is a Maharashtrian sweet dish made for Anant Chaturthi. Its a blend of flours with coconut milk, sweetened with gul. This pudding is a rare sweet known by few communities among Maharashtrians as well.

1/2 kg besan
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup of jaggery
2 cups of coconut milk
salt to taste
1/2 tsp of cardamom
1/4th tsp of nutmeg
2 tbsp of ghee

Mix all the ingredients well. Put this mixture on low heat, keep stirring it to avoid lumps till you get a consistency of a porridge. Then take a baking pan, smear it with butter & pour this mixture into it. Preheat the oven to 150C & keep the above batter for 20 min till u see it getting a brownish tinge.