February 24, 2010

Shahjeera-Ajwain Square Parathas with Punjabi Egg Masala, Eggplant Galore: Rasavangi, Sampangi Pithlai and Kothsu with Okra-Yogurt Pachadi/salad

Hello friends, did you see the "Bollywood Ice Dancing" and in Winter Olympics on Monday by a US team, Meryl Davis and Charlie White who won silver? It was soooo cool and colorful! Jai Ho!! :)

Email scam alert to all of you:

I received an email last week saying that (with a fellow blogger's full name and her husband's name as well) they were robbed at gunpoint in UK while on vacation and they need money urgently to get back home. They asked me to help them sending about $1200 ASAP and they promised to return the money, I should trust them etc. Of course, I deleted it promptly. Then I contacted one of my blogger friends who advised me to change my password immediately and she told me that there is a big scam going on like this in India too! They hack an email address and sending the message to everybody this person knows using her name and her husband's name which is more shocking and confusing when you recognize this blogger's name. Some even collected the money to send it to help their friends in need only to realize that they have been scammed. I just wanted you to know this and be aware. Don't start sending money because somebody takes my name and send an email to you. Knowledge is power as they say! :)

Okay, back to business now:

Punjabi Egg Masala with buttered Shajeera, Ajwain and turmeric flavored square Parathas are at your service.
A Punjabi fare today! :)
What more can I say? This is the easiest and yummiest Egg masala I have ever made to serve with Shahjeera and Ajwain flavored Parathas. What makes it special? I used "Punjabi Garam Masala" I made at home last month in this Egg masala. It really makes a difference, has lot flavor than just any regular old store bought Garam masala, you can make your own Punjabi Garam masala from here. I made the sauce in the Microwave (faster and less messy), but you can use stove top to make the masala too as I type in here. Vegetarians can use any mixed vegs or Veg Koftas to add to this masala instead of Eggs.

Hardboil 6 eggs, about 2 eggs per person for 15mins in lots of water on high heat. Drain all the water, fill the pot up again with cold water. This helps the shell to separate inside and makes it easy to peel the shell. If you put the boiled eggs with shell in the fridge overnight, peeling is even easier. Slice the Eggs halfway and keep them aside.

Punjabi Egg Masala:

1. Heat 1 tbsp Butter and 2 tsp oil, add 1 medium onion, finely chopped or ground, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, stir until onion paste is slightly reddish and soft.
2. Add 1 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste, 1/4 tsp Turmeric, 1 tsp Paprika or Kashmiri (for color and heat) chilli pd, stir for 1 minute.

3. Now add 1 cup Tomato sauce, 1tbsp Coriander seeds powder and 2 tsp Cumin seeds powder, let it simmer for 15-20mins until sauce is thicker or oil shows up on top.
4. Add few tbsps of water to cool it down and add 1 cup 2% milk or lower fat half and half, adjust the salt, sugar (to balance the tangy Tomatoes) and chilli pd to your taste. Mix well and simmer.
5. When the sauce is smooth and thickish, remove from the heat and add 2 tsp crushed Kasoori Methi and 1 1/2 to 2 tsp of Punjabi Garam Masala, 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, mix well.
6. Add eggs to the sauce and let it sit for few hours or overnight in the fridge for best flavor.

All done! Slurp!! :)

My Shahjeera-Ajwain square Parathas with Punjabi Egg Masala goes to Srilekha's "EFM-Parathas and Gravies" event and also to Pari's "The combo event".

Shahjeera, Ajwain and Turmeric square Parathas: (Click to enlarge the pics)
As you know I keep on learning to make different kinds of folds to make Parathas, I just love the looks of them when they are done! Here, I added Shahjeera, Ajwain and turmeric to the dough and made the Parathas square. It's so much fun to eat them too! :)

To make square Parathas:
Mix 2 cups of Atta, 1 tsp Shajeera (Black Cumin seeds), 1 tsp Ajwain seeds and 1/2 tsp Turmeric, 2 tbsp of oil, mix well. Add about 1 cup of hot water slowly and knead the dough to a smooth and soft but not sticky dough. Divide into 8 or more portions, make balls, cover and let it rest for 1 hour or so.

1. Roll out a dough ball to a circle, brush with oil, sprinkle some flour. Fold as shown in the pics brushing oil and sprinkling flour to a square shaped folded dough ball.
2. Roll out gently again keeping the square shape, don't have to get a perfect square.
3. Cook on griddle both sides, take out on a plate, brush with little ghee or butter on top. Stack up the other Parathas on top. Serve ASAP with any gravy.
Eggplant Galore II?!

Brinjal Rasavangi, Sampangi Pithlai and Kathirikkai Kothsu:

Yes! One of those "Galore" posts (Soup Galore, Idli Galore, Pumpkin pics, Brunch, Winter Munchies, XMAS treats, another, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Party snacks, Soupy week, JackFruit, Eggplants, Gourds, Plantains again. PHEW! :D), with loads of dishes but with delicious different tastes I have posted before! I have cooked all three of these dishes from a very authentic south Indian cookbook called "Dakshin Bhog" by Santhi Balaraman I have. It has really simple but traditional recipes. I had bought plenty of Eggplants last week, so I tried these 3 dishes from the book, LOVED the taste.

Here is another spicier Rasavangi I have posted before. Here is the simple but tasty version.
1. Cook 1/2 cup Tura dal with 1 1/2 cup water, keep aside. Soak small ball of Tamarind in 1 cup water and squeeze all the water, discard the solids. Cut slices of 3-4 Brinjals, wash in water.
2. Cook Tamarind water, Brinjals, 1/4 tsp Turmeric pd, salt, and cook until Brinjals are tender. Add cooked and mashed Tuar dal, chopped Cilantro, mix and simmer for 2 mins.
3. Heat 1tbsp oil+ghee, add 1 tsp Mustard seeds, 2 sliced Green chillies, 2 dry red chillies, few curry leaves, and add this to Rasavangi.

Sampangi Pithlai:
This dish supposed to be from Karnataka, probably a Iyengar or Iyer dish as Sampangi sounds Kannada and Pithlai is a Tamil word. This dal has little more spices than the other dals, taste great with rice.
1. Pressure cook 1/2 cup Tuar dal, 2 Drumsticks, 1 cup Green beans or Broad beans, 1/4tsp Turmeric with 2 cups of water.
2. Boil 1 cup Tamarind water, add 1 cubed Potato, 2 Eggplants and 1 Chow Chow,chopped, cook until soft. Add powdered masala, cook for 2 mins.
3. Add in dal mixture, salt, Chopped Cilantro, simmer and season with 1 tbsp oil+ghee, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, few curry leaves, pinch of Hing, 1 red chilly.
Spice Powder: Roast these lightly and powder without oil.
2 tbsp coconut, 3 red chillies, 2 tsp Urad dal, 1 tsp rice grains, 6 Peppercorns, 1 tbsp Coriander seeds, 2 tsp Chana dal.

Kathrikkai Kothsu:
Another tasty south Indian dal with Eggplants and Moong dal! Add water as needed to thin the dal or add less to thicker dal, up to your liking.
1. Cook 1/2 cup Moong dal with 1/4tsp turmeric and 1 cup water. Keep aside.
2. Heat 1tbsp oil+Ghee, add 1/2tsp Mustard seeds, 2 sliced green chillies, few curry leaves, pinch of Hing. Add 2 small onions, sliced lengthwise, saute until golden color.
3. Add 3 small round Brinjals, cut into slices, 1 cup Tamarind juice/water, salt and cook until soft.
4. Add powdered masala, cooked Moong dal, adjust the salt and heat, a small piece of Jaggary, chopped Cilantro, simmer for few minutes and serve.
Toast these lightly and powder without oil:
2 tbsp Coriander seeds, 1 tsp Fenugreek seeds, 1 tbsp Chana dal, 3 or more dry red chillies.
Serve with these plain rice, papad and a Okra-Yogurt salad.

My Eggplant Galore with Rasavangi, Pithlai and Kothsu goes to Anita's "Vegetable Marathon-Eggplants" event.

Spiced up Okra-Yogurt Salad/Raita/Pachadi:
I love this salad or Bendekai Pachadi as we call it. You can eat this by itself at lunchtime, Summer days are the best to have this cooling salad or serve this as a side dish with nutritious dal. Great with Parathas too since it's spicy, has a vegetable and tangy Yogurt. It has all the goodness of Okra, Ginger, Garlic and Yogurt. Enjoy.

Whenever you use Okras, make sure you fry or saute them in oil first before you make a any Okra dish, nothing horrible like eating slimy Okras. Take 4 cups cut Okras for this dish. Whole Okras are washed first, dried and cut into 1" pieces. Add about 3 tbsp of oil in a non-stick wok, add Okra and saute until Okra pieces loses it's sliminess and looks reddish and separate from each other. If you have many, saute them in batches. Cool and set aside.

To make salad:
1. Heat 1 tsp oil, add 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds, 2 tsp Urad dal, few curry leaves, 2 green chillies sliced, 1 red chilly, broken. Saute until Urad dal is reddish.
2. Add 2-3 tbsp chopped Cilantro, take it off of the heat. Add to a serving bowl, cool. Add 1/2 to 1 cup thick Yogurt, 1 tsp roasted Cumin seeds powder and sauteed Okra to the bowl with enough salt and mix.
3. Take 2 tbsp water, add 2 cloves of Garlic and 1/2" Ginger in a pestle-Mortar and pound until they are mashed and squeeze the juice out into the Salad, discard the Ginger-Garlic solids.
4. Mix the salad well and serve at room temperature.

My very south Indian traditional Okra and Yogurt spiced up Salad/Pachadi goes to Divya's "Show me your salad" event.

Movies I watched:


Well....I watched Paa last weekend (alone this time). I have mixed feelings about this movie. It reminded me of "The curious case of Benjamin Button" although story line is totally different. I thought AB Junior looked very handsome and mature in the movie. Vidya Balan looks beautiful and great actress as usual. I thought movie is bit of a drag, same thing stretched to a 2 hours unnecessarily. I still don't know where the name "Auro" comes from or what it means! I hated the "Potty" jokes, "bastard" "round round round" dialogues and calling his grandma "Bum" because she has a big behind and all this is from a 13yrs old! I can understand a 4-5yr old making potty jokes and also I hope kids in India don't start calling their ajjis and Paatis "bum" after watching this movie! :D
But I did enjoy the movie, did feel the sadness when the boy dies in the end. It's hard for me imagine that scenario as a mother of a (almost 15yr old) son myself. Movie is well made and I can say I liked it except few scenes, worth the time.

Everybody's Fine:
Heartwarming movie. An old and lonely widower, played by Robert De Niro, tries to get all his 4 adult children together at his home for Thanksgiving but none of them have the time or inclination to visit him. So he decides to surprise his kids by visiting them instead but each one make excuses that they are busy and can't spend much time with him, guides him on to the next child. They tell him that when they were kids he was too strict, pushy, expected too much out of them and that's why they preferred to talk to their mom than him. He says he didn't realize it but he just wanted the best for them.
When he gets robbed in the city on the way to his daughter's home and loses his heart medicine, he calls his empty home just to listen to his dead wife's voice on the answering machine which gives him some comfort and made me so sad. He has a heart attack on the way back to his own home, then his kids gather around him in the hospital, they talk but also tell him that one of his sons has died. He goes home and what happens after that is for you to watch! All IZ well in the end I should say, everybody's fine! :)

I am still reading or listening to David Sedaris's "Me talk pretty one day" , a collection of short stories which are autobiographical mostly,which are absolutely hilarious. I bought a collection of audio cd books of all David Sedaris's books and recordings of his live shows from Carnegie Hall. I am enjoying listening those cds now which is narrated by David Sedaris himself by his high pitched voice which makes you smile, some stories are "laugh out loud" funny and few uses lot of crude language too but supposedly a normal everyday southern vocabulary for his (NC born) youngest brother! :D
These are some samples of stories from "Me talk pretty one day".
Here are some funny but bit R rated quotes by him from all of his books.

Have a great weekend, hopefully we will see the Spring sooner than later! :)

February 17, 2010

Samosa Chole Chaat, ShivaRatri Thali, Bitter Gourd Gojju, Dosa with Okra Gojju, Tomato-Masoor Dal Rasam/Broth

I bet you all had a wonderful Valentine's day!
More than gifts and outings, hope you spent quality time with your loved ones, that's what we had this year. Snowy and cold weather in several states here is more conducive to quiet time at home than the usual weekend driving around the town is a blessing in disguise! :)

nothing much to write really, so let's have some Samosa Chole Chaat and other goodies, shall we? Hey, I watched an interesting movie this weekend btw!

Samosa Chole Chaat:

No, I didn't make and fry these Samosas. We went to a Indian store last weekend and I saw these frozen pack of mini Punjabi spicy Potato filled Samosas which I picked up. I baked them at home and made some spicy tangy Chole (Chickpeas gravy), topped with Tomatoes, green chutney, sweet chutney, onions and Cilantro, made a mini meal out of it. Of course, there was a hilarious movie to watch while having a bowl of this too. Curiouser and curiouser? :D

Store bought mini cocktail "baked" Samosa:
Bake these right out of the frozen state as instructed until crisp and let them cool a bit. Place 6 Samosas on a plate, add a cup hot Chole on top of Samosas. Top with chopped Videlia sweet onions, chopped Cilantro and chopped Tomatoes. Drizzle hot green chutney made of mint, green chillies and Cilantro or use from store bought jar and sweet and tangy chutney which is made of dates and Tamarind juice, salt. Sprinkle Chaat masala, chilli powder, Amchoor or whatever you have on hand and serve immediately. YUM!

Colorful Samosa Chole Chaat is going to Asankhana's "Let's play with colors-Holi" event. Thanks girl, enjoy mine too! :) Here are few other snacks and appetizers I have posted before in my blogs.

Chole/Chickpeas Gravy:
I used 2 canned Organic Chickpeas which are smaller in size, less gassy (:P) and tastier than regular canned Chickpeas. Drain all the water out of the can thoroughly, rinse the beans before using. Here is the quick version of Chole I made for Samosa Chaat.

To make Chole:
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan, add 2 tbsp grated or ground ginger (fresh ginger is better, not ready made from the jar), saute. Add 1 medium onion, finely chopped, 1/2 tsp sugar, pinch of salt, saute until slightly reddish.
2. Add 1 tbsp Coriander powder, 2 tsp Cumin powder, enough chilli powder and salt, 1 cup Tomato sauce, mix and simmer until Tomato sauce is thick and shiny.

3. Add 1 cup water, 2 cans of rinsed Chickpeas, 1 tsp Pomegranate powder or Amchoor to taste, mix.
4. Simmer until sauce is thickish, adjust the spices. Add 1 tsp of good quality Garam masala, chopped Cilantro, mix and serve hot.
Here is the link to other side dishes I have posted already.

SihvaRatri Thali:

I know! ShivaRatri is supposed to be celebrated in fasting and praying but we, as usual, EAT to celebrate and pray a little too!!:D
I made Whole Wheat flour Obbattu with Coconut-Jaggary-Cardamom filling, served with Chana dal/Kadalebele Payasa/Porridge, which is kids fave dessert to have, Carrot and Drumsticks Saaru, Dill Rice and Okra Gojju on the ShivaRatri day, a simple but traditional meal compared to this I made in 2007 and in 2009! Here are the rest of Festival/holiday posts. Here are some Indian desserts/sweets.
My Family's favorite thali is going Shama's "Family's Favorite Food" event, Enjoy! :)

Obbattu/Holige/Poli with Atta flour with Kayi Hoorana(sweet Coconut filling):
Method to make this Obbattu is same as here but I made them with 1 cup Whole Wheat flour instead of plain flour, 2 tbsp of sugar powder and 1 tbsp ghee this time, stuffed with the coconut filling. Kneaded the dough with lot less oil than usual, made them just like stuffed Parathas.

Mix 2 cups grated fresh coconut, enough fine brown sugar or powdered Jaggery, 1tsp Cardamom powder, 2 tbsp Mava/Khoa if you have it (optional), heat in the microwave until melted and thick, cool, make balls and stuff in the rolled dough like Parathas and cook. Serve with any Payasa.
Chana Dal Payasa/Porridge:

1. Take a glass bowl,
add 1/2 cup Chana dal, 1 cups water, cook until soft and almost mashed.
2. Add 1/4 cup Jaggary or more to taste, 1 tsp Cardamom powder, 1 cup or more of milk, pinch of Saffron for color, mix. If you want smooth textured Payasa, run it thru' in the mixie for few seconds. You can thin it with more milk.
3. Heat again until Payasa is thickish, pourable consistency. Serve with Obbattu.
Dill Rice:
This is a super easy rice to cook. When you are cooking 2 cups of rice with water, add 1 cup of chopped Dill leaves, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp ghee and cook as usual, mix well when done.
Carrot-Drumsticks Saaru:
I added Carrots and Drumsticks to this Sambhar I have posted before. Here is my grandmother's recipe for Mysore style freshly ground coconut masala saaru, she always used fresh grated coconut, dry coconut will do too.
Here are more Sambhar/dal recipes.

Bendekai/Okra Gojju with Uddinabele/Urad dose:
I had leftover Okra Gojju next day, so I served the healthy Gojju with nutritious fermented Urad dal-brown rice Dosas. Loved it with dosas too, make it spicy if you are making this for dosas. Gojju is any veg. side dish with little spicy and tangy gravy in Karnataka similar to subzi/Bhaji in the North.
Here are more
Dosa and Idli dishes I have posted before.

Okra Gojju:
1. I used frozen Okra. I thaw them overnight and next day, I saute them in a wide mouthed non-stick Wok with 1 tbsp oil, 1 tsp salt until they shrink and reddish with all the gooey things gone. Cool.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil, add 1 tsp each Mustard seeds, cumin seeds, few curry leaves, pinch of hing. Add 1 onion, finely chopped, 2 garlic chopped, 1/4 tsp Turmeric, saute until reddish.
3. Add 1 cup water, 1/4 tsp Tamarind paste, salt and ground masala powder. Simmer and add sauteed Okra, cook and adjust the spices, add 1 tsp ghee and garnish with Cilantro.
Roast and powder these:
2 tbsp Coriander seeds, 1 tsp Urad dal, 1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds, 1 tbsp Chana dal, 2-3 dry red chillies, 2 tsp raw Rice grains, 1 tbsp Poppy seeds, 3 tbsp dry Coconut, 1" Cinnamon, 2 cloves.
Okra Gojju with Urad dal Dosas goes to Sudeshna and Radhika's "Food for 7 stages of life-Tiffin box (35-55yrs)" event, enjoy mine as well!

Haagalkayi/Bitter Gourd Gojju:

I bought 2 Bitter gourds last weekend. Usually, I do the same
stir fry every time I have these but this time I decided to experiment a little and added some Besan flour to it. It tasted delicious.

To make Haagalkai Gojju:
1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a non-stick, add peeled, seeds scooped, finely chopped Bitter gourd pieces (if it's too bitter, soak the chopped pieces in salted water for an hour and squeeze out the water, let it dry) with pinch of salt and fry until they are reddish. Keep aside.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil again, add 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds, few curry leaves, 3 tbsp chopped onion, 1 tbsp ginger-Garlic paste, stir for a while. Add 1 tbsp Besan/Chickpea flour, 1/4 tsp chilli powder, salt, stir.
3. Add 1/4 cup Tomato sauce, 2 tsp each of Dhania-Jeera powder, 1 tbsp or less Jaggary powder to balance the bitterness, simmer until thick and shiny, add fried Bitter Gourd pieces.
4. Mix well and cook on low heat until oil shows up on top, garnish with Cilantro.
Bitter Gourd Gojju is going to Yasmeen's "Bitter Better Health" event. Have fun with mine too, Yasmeen! :)

Tomato-Masoor Dal Rasam/Broth/Soup:
After reading the hilarious saga of Charu by sra's
this post, I couldn't resist making some tasty, healthy and low calorie Rasam or Masoor Dal and Tomato soup. Nothing like sipping a cup of thin, hot, spicy broth on a cold, cloudy and snowy day. I made this delicious soup in the Microwave too! Here are more Microwave dishes I have posted.

To make this:
1. Take a deep glass bowl, add 1/4 cup Masoor dal, 1/4 tsp Turmeric, 2 cups of water, 1 tsp ghee and microwave this for 15 to 25mins at 100% power or until dal is cooked and completely mashed. Keep checking every 10mins.
2. Add 1/2 cup Tomato sauce, 2-3 tsp Rasam powder, salt, 1 tbsp dry grated Coconut, 1 tbsp chopped Cilantro, mix it and heat again for 4-6mins or until raw smell of Tomato sauce is gone, soup smells good. Take the bowl out and adjust the spices. Heat again if needed.
3. In a separate bowl, add 1 tbsp oil, heat in the microwave for 2-3 mins or until very hot. Add 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds, few chopped curry leaves, 1 dry red chilly, heat again for 2 mins or until seasonings are crisp.
4. Take the bowl out, add a pinch of Hing (optional) to the cooked Rasam and mix.
Rasam powder: You can use ready made MTR Rasam pd which has the best taste without being too spicy or you can use any Homemade Rasam pd.

If Masoor dal is soaked for 2 hrs before cooking, they cook faster in the microwave.
You can use Chana dal, or Moong dal as well instead of Masoor dal. Tuar dal is harder to cook in MW but doable if you soak Tuar dal first, cook it for a long time with lots of water.
You can also add few chopped Spinach leaves to the soup while cooking to make it even healthier.
Tomato-Dal Rasam goes to Usha's "Healthy inspirations-Soups" event and since I made this in the Microwave, it's also going to Srivalli and Sara's "MEC-Soups" event as well. Thanks to all of you.

Movies I watched:

"Coco Before Chanel" or "Coco Avant Chanel" :
A beautiful French movie with English subtitles. It's about the life of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel (Yes, that Coco Chanel, a name famous for fashion and perfume empire), who was abandoned as a child by her father in an orphanage, grew up in struggle as a mistress to a rich man but never married until she died and built up a huge fashion empire, with a sweet love story thrown in there too. I love Audrey Tautou, beautiful and very talented actress! Watch it if you can.
Here are some quotes by Coco Chanel.

"3 Idiots!".
I watched the latest Bollywood sensation
. It was more of a pleasant "Chamatkar" than a "Balatkar" to watch this movie! Hahaha!!
It's a hilarious movie with a good message but with little "making fun of a NRIs
(Non-Resident Indians) or making them look and act silly" bit thrown in there! I am taking about Kareena's fiance and his tantrums about $200 watch and the other guy showing off his good looking wife, million dollar house and his Lamborghini car after living few years in US! :P Why..oh..Why? Must they show us, ie NRIs, like we are all some kinda ridiculously retarded snobs but ultra rich people with wads of money in our pockets and with just air in our heads?! Most of us are not like that at all, we do work very hard to earn our dollars. May be very few are braggers like those caharacters in the movie but not all of us behave like that!

Anyway, I will take all that with a pinch of salt. Other than that, this movie really has some good teaching moments to young Indian kids/students/generation and their parents. It tells you to be proud of who you are, think for yourself and asks parents to let kids grow up and become what they want to do or like to do and not hang on to the old convictions like "you must do what I say" and "you go where I ask you to go" etc. A great movie to watch with good message for future and past generations in a fun way and with beautiful songs too! I wish they won't show "getting drunk silly" is a fun thing to do in the movies, sends a wrong message to young people. But ALL IZ WELL that ends well! ;D

Last Saturday, we decided to visit our daughter in college and had lunch with her in a newly opened "Royal Dhaba" restaurant nearby. After a lovely Makki da roti and sarson da saag lunch, we stopped by a Indian store to buy some Indian veggies and groceries. After I paid for it, she says "you can pick up 2 DVDs over there at the video store for free". I thought they probably give me some old movies, went there anyway. They had copies of "3 Idiots" and "Paa" (yet to watch) and I did a "Yippee!!" and got both of them! :D

V Day:
We had a few Chocolate Truffles, glass of Champagne on Sunday evening for V day with a bunch of beautiful Roses sitting pretty on the coffee table and watched "3 Idiots" together (yes, that's a miracle! :D), loved it. That's what I call "quality time" and cherish it!
That was my weekend, see you all next week.

February 10, 2010

Hearty Broccoli with Creamy Parmesan-Pepper sauce, Bhakri-Pithla, Chana Dalia Chaat, Superbowl platter.

Wish you a great Maha Shivaratri celebration on the Feb 12th & a very happy Valentine's Day on Feb 14th to all of you. Enjoy.

I had a very busy week and weekend last week, did not have enough time to read or watch movies like I usually do in a week. Superbowl was very exciting this year, we had a great time on Sunday, eating, rooting for the underdog team New Orleans Saints who proved themselves very well, loved watching them win and cry tears of joy. They deserve it all. So my dear folks, this week I won't be "talking" too much but I will give you quick recipes of what I cooked and more photos for you to enjoy. Have fun.

Hearty bowl of Broccoli topped with creamy Parmesan and Pepper Sauce:
Here is a simple, heart healthy with low fat cream but tasty Broccoli dish topped with creamy sauce to have on the side with a main side or it's yummy to eat as it is for a light lunch or brunch. Looks like a big box of Chocolate and Champagne is waiting for my Valentine...shhh...!!! :)

To make:
1. Put a 10oz bag of frozen Broccoli flowerettes in a bowl with little salt in the microwave, cover and cook for 4-5mins or you can steam the fresh ones too with few tbsps water and salt until soft, should be still whole but do not overcook. Let all the water drain if any left and cool the Broccoli. Add to a serving bowl.
For sauce:
1. Heat a pan, add 1 tbsp Butter, sprinkle 2 tbsp plain flour, stir for a minute until well mixed and raw smell of flour goes, don't let it brown.
2. Add 1 cup fat free cream or Half and half, 1/2 cup low fat milk or 1 1/2 cup of 2% milk will do too. Let it heat gently, add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, Pepper, 1/4 tsp grated Nutmeg, simmer until the sauce becomes little thick.
3. Pour this over Broccoli and serve hot.
Hearty Broccoli with Creamy Parmesan-Pepper sauce goes to Priya's "Hearts for St.Valentine's day" event. Thanks Priya.

A Rustic Maharashtrian Bajra/Bajri Bhakri and Pithla combo:

More heart heart healthy and hearty meal, a Indian farmer's favorite meal, specially around Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra and also some other states in India but now they are mine as well. Bajri/Pearl Millet/Sajje flour rotis make a great combo with another Maharashtrian Besan spicy side dish called Pithla (I love Junka with Bhakri too). Bajri has little gluten to bind properly, you can add 1/2 cup Atta/wheat flour if you like to make the rolling easier. Usually, Bhakri dough is mixed with salt and hot water, slapped with open hands on a flat surface to a circle and cooked.

To make Bhakri: (my way)
1. Take 2 cups of Bajri flour, mix some salt and add very hot water to the mix, gently mix with a wooden spoon. Do not add to much water, just enough to bind to a soft dough.
or you can add 1/4 to 1/2 cup whole wheat flour to 1 1/2 cups Bajri flour, mix and make dough as above. I made it without adding Atta, but did use oil spray to make it easy on me.
2. On a thick foil or plastic, I spray some no-stick oil and press the dough until I get a circle and cook on Tava. You can see the uneven edges which is quite okay.
Traditionally speaking, take the soft dough, slap it until you get a circle and cook. If you have added the atta flour, it will be easier to roll like Chapatis with a rolling pin.
3. Cook both sides until golden specks appear, no oil is added at all. Best served hot of the Tava.

Spicy Pithla:

Make sure you use fresh Besan/Gramflour/Chickpea flour to make this and make it spicy since Bhakris are pretty bland. Here is my version. Heat up the besan in the microwave for few seconds if it's little old sitting in the pantry for a while but if Besan is fresh, no need to heat it and fresh Besan tastes the best.

To make Pithla:
1. Take 2 cups of water and add 2-3tbsp fresh Besan flour, 1/2 tsp of salt, whisk it to avoid the lumps until smooth and keep aside.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil (adding bit of ghee gives it a nice taste), add 1 tsp Mustard seeds, 1 tsp Cumin seeds, 1/4 cup finely onion, 2 finely chopped Garlic, 1/2" finely chopped or grated Ginger, 3-4 finely chopped green chilies, 2tbsp finely chopped Cilantro and saute until they are soft.
3. Add 1/4 tsp Turmeric, mix well. Add Besan and water mixture slowly on a low heat, keep stirring and simmering until it starts to thicken. Adjust the salt.
4. When it's thick with still pourable consistency but not very very thick and lumpy and the raw smell of Besan goes away, take off the heat and serve. You can squeeze some Lemon juice on top to taste as well.
Bhakri and Pithla combo goes to Pari's delicious sounding "The combo event", can't wait to see the round up Pari, thanks.

Chana Dalia Chaat to munch:
Well...I am controlling myself from deep frying this Winter...God only knows how hard it is for me people! :D...so adding tangy Amchoor, white or red pepper pd, and Chaat masala to some puffy and crispy dal is the only salvation for me to munch on cold evenings, my dreaded time of 3-4pm. Amchoor/Amchur is dried and powdered green Mangoes available in the stores. It is tangy to taste, good for replacing any dry Tamarind powder or Citric acid in snacks. Here goes my Dalia Chaat (tangy spicy crispy dal snack), Indian streetcart "Chana Jor Garam" style.

To make:
1. Take 1 cup of whole Chana dalia/Chutney dal/ Putani/ Hurigadale, (not split kind), add 1 tbsp oil to coat, put them on a plate and heat it in the Microwave for 2-3 mins or until they are crispy. 2. Put the dalia in a wide mouthed bowl, add 1/4 tsp Turmeric, enough salt and coarse red chilli pd or white pepper pd, 1 tsp cumin seeds powder, 1/2 tsp Coriander seeds powder, 1/2 tsp or more Amchoor pd, 1/2 tsp Garlic powder, 1/2 tsp Chaat masala, pinch of Garam masala, mix well.
3. add more or reduce spices as you need to your taste and let it cool. Store in air tight jar to munch on later. You can reheat in the MW if you find it little soft to make it crispy again.
Chana Dalia Chaat goes to Sunita and Bhagyashri's "Think Spice...Think-Amchoor" event, thanks to both of you.

WHO DAT?! Saints, of course!! YAY!!
Can you tell how happy I am to see New Orleans Saints win the Superbowl 44?!
As usual for every year's Superbowl, we lit up fireplace and baked store bought Taquitos, Tornados, (Baked Mexican snacks with meat and cheese wrapped in crisp flour Tortillas), Buffalo Chicken Wings, made some hot dipping sauce for them (2 tbsp Mayonnaise, 2 tbsp Ranch dressing and 1 tsp SriRacha hot sauce and pinch of salt), Chili cheese-Salsa-Cilantro-Jalapeno topped Doritos, sweet Corn and my special Avocado, sweet peppers and Corn Guacamole to scoop with Tortilla chips, served with soft drinks and cold Beers! It was a great game to watch too by the way! :D

Avocado, sweet peppers and Corn Guacamole:
Scoop 2 Avocados, place the pulp in a bowl. Mash with a fork until you get soft chunks, not too pasty. Add 1 tbsp or more lemon juice, salt, finely chopped 2-3 Jalapenos, 2 Garlic, grated, 1/2 onion, 4 tbsp Cilantro, 3-4 tbsp red and yellow sweet Peppers, 1 small can drained corn, 1/8tsp Mexican Cumin powder and mix everything well. Adjust the spices to yout taste and serve with Tortilla chips. You can sprinkle some hot sauce to mix too. If you are not serving the Guacamole immediately, don't add salt to this before but add salt just before serving.
Avacado, sweet Peppers and Corn Guacamole goes to Siri's "Healing Foods-Avacado" event and also to PJ's "no Cook" event as well, thanks Siri and PJ.

Mysore veg and Flower market:
(Click all the pics to enlarge them)
Sandeepa of "Bong mom's cookbook" shared her beautiful childhood memories of going to the local market with her dad in this post with photos and asked us to share our's too.
When I was in India last year, I went to see the Mysore vegetable market as it holds many memories of childhood strolls there with my parents and that little bakery where I used to savory snacks and that little bookstore I used to run to buy story books. It all came back to me when I was there , took these pics and here they are in collage. Flower Garlands, Mysore Mallige Hoovu (Jasmine), colorful glass Bangles, Fruit market, vegetable market, colorful Rangoli powders, Kunkuma(Sindhoor) powder, Coconut water (Elaneeru), Sugarcane juice (Kabbinahalu) and beautiful half-ripe Guavas, Star fruits etc. This relatively clean and great smelling veg and Fruit market in Mysore still as beautiful as ever as I remember visiting it after a gap of 18yrs!

Movie I watched:
After watching Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon" and Jackie Chan's hilarious "Drunken Master" recently, I got interested in Martial Art movies. One of the unique and wonderful movies I watched last week was from Thailand, Tony Jaa's "Ong Bak, Ong Bak 2". I LOVED both of them, set in gorgeous Thailand, a very different Martial Art style called Muay Thai than we usually see in Chinese movies. Beautiful movies, watch them if you get the chance.
Here are few samples of the latest movie, Ong Bak 2.

is another biographical movie directed by Mira Nair, about the story of the first woman Aviation pioneer in US and author Amelia Earhart, whose plane mysteriously disappeared while on her flight over Pacific Ocean in 1937, later declared legally dead in 1939. Amelia is played by Hilary Swank (love her, great actress) and Richard Gere. Great movie to watch, she even stops at Dum Dum airport, Calcutta once flying on the way to Bankok and seen sipping a Chai from a earthen lota/cup in this movie! :)

That's it for this week, have a wonderful celebrations.

February 03, 2010

Hurulikalu (Horsegram) Kurma, Laccha Parathas, Pickle Masala Dal, Adai with Peanut chutney and ghee

After that unusual relentless snow fall for 12 hrs here last weekend, I wanted to make something spicy to eat like South Indian style Kurma, dal and Parathas! Blame the bitter cold weather these days, it's making me crazy to cook with more spices than usual but I have successfully avoided the deep fried snacks like Pakoras so far the past few months, don't know how long it will last. Very hard to resist fried snacks on cold and cloudy days, believe me, since I LOVE to munch on crunchy snacks! :D

Note to event hosts: If any dish I post here suits your event, let me know. I will gladly send it to you as I don't have the current info of all the events going on. Unfortunately, I can't post any of the event logos as I am reaching my limit of photos I can post at blogger, I will have to pay for more space once I go over that limit, probably very soon. As you can see I post too many photos of my own in every post already!

Hurulikalu/Horsegram Kurma:

Here is some information about Horsegram. This is my favorite legume, also called Kollu, Kulthi, Muthira, Kulith, Uluvalu and also Hurulikalu in Kannada, rich in iron and fiber. It's not available in any regular grocery store but usually packs are available in Indian stores. For this Kurma, you can use any kind of beans, canned or dry and soaked like Blackeyed beans, Crowder beans, whole Moong, dry green peas etc. with the same masala paste. You can increase the nutritious value by sprouting the beans as well.
For sprouting, you soak the dry beans overnight, drain the water, tie it up in a cheese cloth, put it in a pan and cover it overnight. Beans will sprout in 12 to 24hrs and then cook the beans with water.
Sending Horsegram Kurma to Susan and Rachel's "MLLA #20" event. Thank you to both of you for organizing and hosting.

For Kurma:
Take 1 cup dry Hurulikalu/Horsegram, soak in water overnight, drain the water and cook with 1 1/2 cups of water in a pressure cooker along with 1 tsp ghee, 1/2 tsp Turmeric and 1/4 tsp salt. Do not overcook the beans until it's a mush.

Saute all these separately until light color and grind to a smooth paste adding 1/2 tsp thick Tamarind paste:
3 tbsp dry or fresh Coconut,
1" ginger, chopped,
1 tbsp Poppy seeds,
1 tsp Fennel seeds,
1/2-1 tsp Methi seeds,
1 small onion, chopped,
1 1/2 tbsp Coriander seeds,
2 tsp cumin seeds,
2-3 dry red chillies,
2-3 cloves,
1" Cinnamon stick.

To make Kurma:
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil, add ground masala to the pan, stir for a minute. Add cooked Horsegram with it's water and simmer for 10-15mins.
2. Adjust the salt and spices, cook until sauce thickens a bit. Garnish with 2 tbsp chopped Cilantro and serve with a slice of Lemon.

Another look of Hurulikalu Kurma:

Here are more side dishes recipes I have posted before. I know it's hard to find dishes in both of my blogs because I post multiple recipes in one post, so I will make it a bit easier to find them for you in every post from now on! :)
If you have a big pack of dry Kulith, you can soak the Beans overnight, sprout if you want, cook with little salt, divide into desired portions just enough for your family and freeze the cooked beans in zip-lock bags to use next time. All you have to do is take out the frozen bag, keep it in the fridge overnight and use it with any masala next day. Easy!

Sending this Kurma to Indira's and Siri's "JFI-Fennel" event, my thanks to both you.
Also sending Kurma to Priya's and Denufood's event "Cooking with seeds-Fenugreek", thanks girls.

Laccha Parathas:

Laccha or layered Parathas are soft and layered because of how we fold and roll the Paratha dough, there are so many ways you can fold them as well. Once cooked, push the sides of the Paratha to release the layers and serve them right after cooking for the best taste. Or cool them before you store them in an airtight box until needed. You can reheat again on the griddle or in the microwave.

How to fold and make layers for Laccha Parathas:
Mix 2 cups Whole wheat flour, 1 tsp salt and tbsp oil with enough hot water, knead well to firm dough, brush oil on top, cover and rest it for 20mins. Divide into equal size portions, roll out to circle, brush some oil and sprinkle some flour on the surface. Following the photos below, make pleats, stretch and wind around itself and roll out again gently. Cook both sides until golden and brush with some butter if you like on one side.
Here is a list of different Rotis, Parathas, Bhaturas and Naan recipes list I have posted in my blogs so far.

Pickle/Achar Masala Dal:
After I made Parathas stuffed with Flax seed chutney powder, I was curious as to what other kind of powder I can add to make more dishes. I had planned to make the usual dal , didn't have the time to make masala powder. Then I saw SWAD brand Pickle masala in the fridge, looked bright red and smelled good. So I added 1-2tsp to the cooked dal. It tasted so good, I thought of taking a photo of dal to post here. If you don't have pickle masala, you can also add 1 tbsp of Lemon pickle or Mango pickle from the jar (I like Raji brand lemon pickle best) too. I have plans to make Parathas layered with Pickle masala too, would be wonderful. Typical Pickle masala powder is usually has chilli powder, Mustard seeds, Fenugreek seeds, turmeric, salt.
Here and here are more dals, Kadhis, Pickles etc from my previous posts.

To make Pickle masala dal:
1. Cook 1/2 cup Chana dal and 1/2 cup Tuar dal with 2 cups of water, 1/2 tsp Turmeric and 1 tsp oil or ghee in a pressure cooker until soft.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil, add 1 tsp Mustard seeds, 1 tsp Cumin seeds, few curry leaves, 1-2 dry red chilles, 1 tsp grated ginger, pinch of hing, saute for a minute. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, saute until soft.
3. Add cooked dal, enough salt, 1-2 tsp pickle masala pd (adding more makes it bitter because of the Fenugreek seeds) or 1 tbsp lemon pickle from the jar (chopped if lemon pieces are too big), simmer for 5 mins. Adjust the spices and garnish with Coriander leaves.
Note: If adding pickle masala powder, add a bit of tamarind paste to dal to simmer. Tamarind is not necessary if you are adding chopped lemon pickle with Lemon or mango pieces, these provide the necessary tanginess to the dal.
Sending this quick dish to
Rahin for her "Semi homemade" event. Thanks Rahin.

Multi dal Adai, Peanut Chutney with ghee, a wholesome breakfast:

One of the best dosas I have ever made and tasted is Adai which is full of protein with mixed dal and brown rice with little hint of spices. Even better thing I like most about these Adais is that there is no need to ferment it like traditional dosa batter and can make them quickly if you have about 2 hrs for soaking the dals and rice. My kids like them too which is great, they don't like dosas and idlis usually! Makes a very nutritious, filling breakfast with healthier Peanut chutney topped with little ghee for kids and gives them a great start for the day in school too. Best served right off the griddle/Tava crisp and hot. Enjoy. More variety of Dosas are here.

To make mixed Dal Adai:
1. Soak 1/4 cup each of Brown rice, Tuar dal, Channa dal, Urad dal and Moong dal for 2 hrs, drain and add to a mixer.
2. Add 1 cup buttermilk, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp paprika for color, 1/4 tsp Turmeric, enough salt, grind all these into a smooth paste. No need to ferment.
3. Add more water to thin it if needed to make into a pourable batter. Heat a non-stick griddle and make dosas until golden. Serve hot with Peanut chutney and ghee.
Peanut chutney recipe is here.
Homemade ghee
recipe is here.
I am sending this Adai, Peanut chutney and ghee to Srivalli's "Kids delight-Wholesome Breakfast" event. Thanks for hosting Sri! :)

"Enter the Dragon", a 1973 Bruce Lee last movie!! Yes, I watched that movie at last! I always heard this cult like following of martial art king Bruce Lee, never had the chance to watch it until last week. He supposed to have died 6 days before this movie released. It came on cable TV and I recorded it quickly to DVR. It's really good, HD quality makes it better to watch with clear picture and sound quality. It's a classic, loved it. WIKIPEDIA says "In 2004, Enter the Dragon was deemed "culturally significant" and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

New York, I love you:
A surprisingly good movie, funny, sad, romantic, sexy. I have never even heard of this movie before, apparently didn't run well in theaters and didn't make much money. I just rented it on a whim as nothing else good was available to watch on a cold and rainy day but I loved it. So happy to see Natalie Portman (who shaved her head completely to play a Jewish bride in this movie!) and Irfan Khan (plays a Gujarati shopkeeper) paired up together for few mins (story by Mira Nair), odd but so sweet. It's about 11 short stories of people who live in New York city and their daily lives, like reading a book with short stories. Definitely worth renting ($1+tax/night @ Redbox) to watch.

I bought a complete set of that hilarious British comedy series called "Fawlty Towers" with John Cleese and Prunella Scales. I used to watch every episode when we used to live in England. When we had cold snowy weekend here, we watched about 5 episodes with a cocktail in hand. These episodes are "laugh out loud" and enjoyed them. They never get old no matter how many times you watch the same old episodes.

I am still reading David Sedaris's "Naked", which I mentioned in my last post, didn't get much time to read last week. My son was home, so more work for me in the kitchen! ;D

Dante's "Divine Comedy":
When I was in Barnes and Noble book store on Sunday I found a big and beautiful edition of Dante's "Divine comedy; Hell..Purgatory...Paradise", translated by Henry W.Longfellow. My son read it last month in Kindle edition and loved this book, so I bought it for him for keepsake. Book is not in prose but in Canto. It's a bit intimidating to look at this book and even dare to start reading but I must try! When a 14year old can read and love the stories in Canto, I better shape up and read it myself!
On her show Oprah once said "I am scurrred! (scared!)" when she challenged her audience and herself to read a long book like Leo Tolstoy's "war and Peace" which she hadn't read before because of the volume of that book. I can say I am "scurred" too to read a book like Divine Comedy in Canto!! But what the heck....if sra can write her recipes poetically then I can read it poetically at least, right?! :D

Snow in NC! We had about 8" of snow fall overnight last weekend and freezing rain to top it all yesterday. It is absolutely beautiful to look outside, like Winter wonderland but can be very dangerous for drivers on the road. They have even canceled the schools since Friday afternoon!!

Have a peaceful, safe rest of the week and Superbowl weekend! GO SAINTS!!:)