Showing posts from 2013

Vegetarian Sandwich with Hummus

My sister sent me a ton of hummus - a 500g Ragu bottle worth to be precise and I accepted with trepidation.  I have made hummus in the past and found it simply boring until I hit upon the idea of adding fresh home made panneer to it.  My sis batch was even more bland than mine if possible.

This time I am trying another trick:  Pickling vegetables a la Debbie of Smitten Kitchen.  I had to change the recipe of course.  I am getting the stuff ready close to midnight.  No to matchstick cutting, certainly yes to mandolin grating.  Gau had used the last of my distilled white vinegar to try and make a bouncy ball out of Raw Egg and I had completely forgotten to replenish my pantry.  Make do with Apple Cider.

I  mandolined carrots, beetroots and chopped onion and capsicum.  I put carrot in the bottom, then onions, beetroot and finally capsicum.  I heated 1 cup apple cider vinegar with an equal volume of water and about 1 teaspoon of sugar and salt, until they dissolved.  I cooled and pour…

Lemon Yogurt Cake with a secret ingredient

Urad Daal, Vigno Mungo has superhuman (should I say superplant?) properties attributed to it - Good for bones, Good for diabetes, Anti inflammatory, Improves digestion, strength and vigour etc...  It is one of the two daals allowed during Shraddam.  Unsurprising, since it originated here in the Indian subcontinent.  (I am so proud that mango is Magnifera Indica, sounds like magnificent Indian ;)

Idli, Dosa, Adai and every tadka here in the south uses Urad daal, but in the dehusked and sometimes split form.  Medhu Vadai is the epitome of urad daal cooking, deep fried, donut shaped savoury snack.  I suck at making it.

The batter itself is an art, urad daal soaked for optimal time and ground to an airy paste with salt added just at the right time so that it doesn't release too much water before we start frying. The shape is even more complicated, I never get the donut shape and I simply abandon it in favour of the north Indian dahi-vada shape - an ellipsoid.  I also have a tough ti…

Mango Chocolate Marbled Cake

It rained cows and horses Sunday night, Monday morning 6 am felt like 2 am. DH who pretends to go to bed at 9.30 just to put my younger one to sleep, always ends up asleep by 10 and awake early.  I think it is just old age.   He listened to local news and found schools were left off for the day.  Yay!
I woke my older son around 8.30 yelling I overslept and he is late for school and he will have to miss his Physics midterm.  He woke up in shock and said no problem he will brush and get dressed, I can drop him at school.  Exams start only at 9.   I let him rush to the bathroom and got busy making the marbled cake to dam the  flood of righteous anger that would follow my little trick ;)
This is one of the few Nigella Lawson recipes that work perfectly for me.  I had to tweak a little of course, it is in my DNA.  It is still a little over the top, but what the heck, you live only once.  I have tried both the mango version and the orange version, mocha taste always dominates. 200g butter, …

Back to school specials - Stuffed theplas

My cousin says she packs breakfast and lunch for her hubby in 30 - 45 min flat.  30 min seems impossible, 45 doable.  I decided this school year I will track my time and manage to pack my son's lunch in 1 hour; This means I will have to postpone coffee though  I will have my hot water + honey + lemon.  I will also spare 15 - 20 minutes to do Pranayama.  So, wake up at 5:30, go go go go, lunch and a breakfast ready by 6.50.  Then sit down to a  steaming cup of coffee. 
One of the first lunches I packed was a roll with sprouts and panner stuffing. The rotis are a variation of the Methi Thepla, I didnt have methi or pottukadalai in sufficient quantity. Thandu Keerai is Amaranth, a very good source of iron and has none of the bitterness of methi.  It's stem is very sturdy and can be made into a sambhar, definitely not something you would add to roti dough.
1 small bunch of Thandu Keerai Leaves only cleaned and shopped. (previous night)1/3 cup pottukadalai, ground to a fine powder…

Methi Paratha / Thepla

Nothing reflects the rising cost of fresh fruits and vegetables better than greens in Chennai, especially the slightly more North Indian ones like Methi and Palak.  Methi which had never exceeded 15 Rs now sells for a shocking 30 Rs on the streets of Besantnagar, on the rare occasions you actually find it!.
I normally buy vegetables and fruits from the road side hawkers - even if the cost is a 10 - 20% higher, it is a question of survival of small businesses and hopefully the produce is a little more fresh and a lot more local.  I visit big stores for exotic produce mostly, this time I found Methi in Pazhamuthir Cholai at a lovely 10Rs a bunch!  I bought 2 and we have had methi everything this week - Methi Sambhar, Methi leaves in Paniyaram and finally yesterday Methi Thepla a.k.a Methi Paratha in my house.
Gau has exams this week, he spends 2 hours in school writing the paper, then comes home and mopes around the house hardly studying and grabbing every second he can on the iPad and…

Pseudo savoury donuts and chocolate donuts

This summer I always have dough or batter in the fridge.  Dough from Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day, usually Olive oil dough, rarely Brioche dough.

We were surfeit  with pizzas and foccaccias and I still had some olive oil dough in the fridge.

Now this is a very healthy dough - made completely of Whole Wheat flour (Chapathi flour), ground in small batches from Organic Wheat.  The scant 1/4 cup oil used is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  The junk craving devil lurking inside decided to tip the scales by deep frying this dough.  With Cheese/Chocolate inside to boot!.

I was looking for a samosa like skin, so I rolled the dough quite thin - 3 - 4 mm thickness.
I then stuffed it with either a mix of paneer+cheddar cheese + fresh ground pepper+ powder or a 1 cm square of dark baking chocolate.  I fried it in sunflower oil and viola! It disappeared faster than the cooling rate!

Donut holes

My mil gave me some old fashioned butter - actually churned from non-pasteurised milk.  I promptly made it into a pot of ghee when I got home to Chennai.  DH wanted Gulab Jamun made with this Ghee and I graciously obliged.  The Jamuns were gone in a blink, but I was left with a good litre of cardamom flavoured sugar syrup.  And a smaller quantity of heated ghee.  This was the starting point for this months eggless non-baking challenge suggested by Jayanthi of Sizzling Veggies. I had surrendered my cookie cutters to my son's play dough endeavours.  This would have to be donut holes rather than donuts.

I had already made pseudo donuts with the olive oil dough, I wanted to try something totally different for the challenge.  Instead of maida, I decided to go with Urad flour for making the Donut Dough  (say that 10 times, fast! ;)  I was hoping for a Jangiri like feel actually, sadly I fell short.  Next time I will add 1/3 cup sugar to the dough when I knead it.  This was not sweet e…

Focaccia with shallots

Summer is HERE with its hellish heat, kids off school lazing around all day, envious me off to the lab where the ancient window Air Conditioners takes off every third day.  The kids would love interesting meals and I am loath to spend more than an hour in the kitchen.  Hubby has wisely chosen to eat at work this month. Meanwhile, I scrounge around for interesting recipes requiring minimal effort - the Perpetual Motion Machine of the cooking world.   This is my weekly schedule this summer - Cereal and Muffins/Quick breads or Cereal and Idlis for breakfast, rice + variety of lentils/beans/chickpeas+ vegetables+curds for lunch,

One of my staples is the Olive Oil dough from Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day.  Nilgiris has stopped carrying Fresh Yeast in reasonable sized packages a.k.a. 100g.  I found Active Dry Yeast worked just as well!  Not just that, my Organic Atta produced no discernible change in flavour or texture, No More Maida in pizza! Yay!

I did knead the dough a fair bit, eve…

Mango tea cake

It is the 2nd week of April already, the Sun is beating down so hard I fear widespread spontaneous combustion. In May if not right away.  The worst is yet to come.

But the one thing that makes this weather acceptable has not deigned to make an appearance yet, at least, not in an acceptable, enjoyable fashion.

I am talking about mangoes of course.  I see Senthuram in the market place, occasional bounty of Alphonso more expensive than Gold at the moment and indifferent Banganapalli.  No Malgoa, no Organic varieties, nothing.  Our local mango mandi continues to sell handicrafts pretending it is still March.

The Senthuram quality lurches wildly.  The first two were awesome, the third sour, the fourth was spat out my mangophile son. I decided to minimize the risk with the fifth, sixth and seventh.

When life throws poor mangoes at you, make mango muffins!  Or if you have run out of cupcake linings and you are too lazy to butter the individual tins, make tea cake :)

First step is getting yo…

Yet another carrot muffin

Mich's low fat carrot cake has been calling to me for days (since the day she posted it to be exact). I finally wound up making it yesterday. In muffin form.
Now, the trouble with muffins is, unlike cakes, they look complete when you take them out of their tin. Especially when they come dressed in a paper liner. Lazy bones don't feel the need to exert more effort into making a frosting.
So, I left out the frosting, making it even more low fat,and everyone still loved it!
Ingredients for the Cake from Delia Smith's website 150 g dark brown soft sugar  (I found the previous cake I made too sweet, so used less than the recommended 175g)2 large eggs at room temperature 120 ml sunflower oil 200 g wholemeal self-raising flour (I used chapathi flour+ 1 teaspoon baking powder)1½ level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda 3 rounded teaspoons mixed spice (my hubby and my eldest son hate cinnamon and nutmeg, so I used 2 squares of grated  inji mittai, available in most stores here in Tamil…

Granola a zillion way

It is not just kids who get their heads turned by TV.
My hubby recorded and watched half a dozen Seinfeld episodes and then started longing for the zillion cereal boxes he saw stalked on the fridge.  Probably harking back to student days at UT Austin or pre-baby working days in Dallas.  I am on a minimum Carbon Footprint endeavour, I decided to make Granola at home and keep bottles of it stashed away for the pre-breakfast, post-dinner hunger pangs.
My younger son insists on a bowl everyday.  Older prefers Chocos which are a rare treat.
The recipe is very simple:
1 cup oats, NOT the quick cooking kind2 cups of Millet/Brown Rice Flakes(Aval)/Maize Flakes or combination 1 cup of popped Amaranth seeds (Optional)1/2 cup Oat/Wheat Bran or 1/3 popped bengal gram ground to a fine powder1/4 cup flax seeds ground to a powder1/3 cup almonds/walnuts/pistachio or combinations1/3 cup sunflower seeds/ melon seeds/ pumpkin seeds (Optional) 1/2 cup light honey1/4 cup sunflower oil 1/3 cup cocoa + 1/4 …

Aloo bhindi , potatoes with okra

I always want to make restaurant quality side dishes at home. The catch is I cannot bring myself to use the requisite amount of oil. But after making mediocre okra repeatedly, I decided to just surrender to the fat.

I decided to go all out and make a North Indian Style Okra Potato Curry for  mooli parathas.  Aloo is the bacon of India, add it to anything to improve the desirability quotient; Frankly though, Okra is perfect, doesn't need any further gilding.

20 Okras, trimmed, halved and cut into about 2" pieces4-5 smallish potatoes thinly sliced.2 medium sized onions chopped3 green chillies6 pods garlic3 tomatoes chopped1 teaspoon poppy seeds2 cloves1 inch piece of cinnamon1 teaspoon fennel1 teaspoon cumin2 teaspoon coriander seeds 3 tablespoons oil divided1 teaspoon turmeric1 teaspoon chili powdersalt to tastecoriander leaves for garnish
Heat 1 tbspoon oil, fry the okra and transfer to a plate
Add 1 tbspoon oil to the pan and fry the potato slices and transfer to a plate.

Lemon poppy seed cake

Why do we always make cakes only for celebrations?  They are needed more when you are not exactly in the pink.

Gau had his first Tamil finals yesterday.  Pretty bad as expected.  After I got over the irritation of the the brat never hitting his books or practicing his writing, I decided to bake a cake.  Inspired by Mich of Eat a piece of cake, I decided to explore Delia Smith's recipe.

She had a lemon poppy seed cake in her website and I had 4 organic lemons waiting to be used for a whole week now.  Match made in heaven but for a minor issue. The cream-of-wheatish (in Appearance) Indian poppy seeds (Gasa-Gasa) look nothing like their American Counterparts which are bluish-black colored spheres.  They taste much better though, I don't know if it is the preparation or the poppy seeds themselves but I will take Gasagase Payasa or Kurma over Poppy seed muffins or sour cream cake.  In this instance, I decided to use the seeds in the batter and leave it out of the topping.  I did n…

Ponnanganni mufalatti in Tomato Sauce

There is a distinct confusion about which keerai is ponnankanni - the fully green one or the red and green one. The blog world leans towards the mild green one while I lean towards the other; it's English name is dwarf copper leaf, need some red in the leaves to warrant such a name right?  Both my images are from Kamala's Corner


Mufalatti apparently means Badly Made in Italian.  Since this rather rustic dish lacks the elegance of Gnocchi, the quick thinking cook preempts nasty comments by lowering expectations.  Smart!  One bunch of the keerai here yield about 2 cups leaves, I felt the ponnanganni was low in quantity and added half a bunch of siru keerai. I always feel the keerai is low in quantity and then when I finally make the dish I am flooded with leftovers, but this time I was right on the mark.

Ponanganni Mufalatti
1 bunch ponanganni - leaves only
1/2 bunch Siru Keerai or Spinach - optional
1 tsp…

Veggie Sandwich/Burger with potato dill patty

I am torn between giving my PhD the single-minded seriousness it deserves and playing a dilettante at anything that catches my fancy - research, cooking, blogging etc... Today the dilettante won.  Not the scholar.  Not that the 2-3 months since my last post were spent immersed in research, just spent thinking about it, procrastinating on what could be done, chasing chimeras for better non-linear stiffness design etc...

So today, I thought I should document my experiments in the kitchen at least weekly.  Forcing me to just sit down and write might help me write my papers and thesis.

My son is a poor eater, but he gobbles up burgers and sandwiches a lot more willingly than rotis or rice.  With all the talk about gluten (arguably) being bad for your diet, concerns about quality of manufacturing, quality of ingredients, I am loathe to buy bread/bun more than once a week.  My compromise, even for the weekly once purchase, is to buy multigrain breads/buns.  Frankly, they make lousy sandwi…

Eggless "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" chocolate cake

I am a engineer. Working on my Phd to boot.

Still, I have not posted my last 3 creations to Gayathri's  eggless breaking group because I didn't know how to transfer photos from my brand new iPhone to my blog without posting to g+!

Sad isn't it?

I made this cake with 1 tin of Amul Milkmaid - part of my buy Indian ethos  and I am mad at Nestle for some long forgotten reason (GMO in baby food?) - and just 100 g of butter.  I always taste my batter and tasting eggless batter is totally risk free , I felt the cake was a tad dry so I ground up some coconut and almonds and added it to the batter.  I threw in a handful of chocolate chips for good measure and Voila!
 I use besan or ground popped bengal gram in all my baking of late, trying to up the protein factor.
And I have started using rectangular trays of late, the height of the final cake may be lower, but so is the individual portion size.

1 Tin Amul Condensed Milk
100 g butter softened
1/2 cup homemade yogurt
1/2 cup coc…