Friday, May 26, 2006

Kichdi - All in One dish


Weekend is almost here. Even better, this is Long weekend :). Actually I didn't realize this is long weekend until this Monday. Looking forward to enjoy as much as possible. I am going to my sister's place and she has a barbecue in her backyard. Planning to come up with something(besides usual Tandoori Chicken) to make on barbecue. May be corn on the cob, shrimp.. oh, I can go on forever about what I am planning to make. No, I am not going to write about barbecue stuff in this post, because I didn't make them yet :).

I usually love one pot dishes, easy to make, tasty and not many dishes to clean afterwards. Whenever I plan to make one pot dishes, first thing that comes to my mind is Kichdi. I love it and can eat it for every meal, I never get bored:). Anyways, this is how I made my kichdi:

Ingredients:
  • Uncooked rice - 3 cups
  • Carrots, cut into small pieces - 1/2 cup
  • Green Peas - 1/2 cup
  • Beans, cut - 1/2 cup
  • Cauliflower florets - 1/2 cup
  • Potato- cut into cubes - 1 small
  • Small black chickpeas(sanagalu) - 1/4 cup
  • Pearl Onions- 7 or 8 ( or you can use 1 medium onion cut into big pieces)
  • Coriander Leaves, finely chopped - 2-3 sprigs
  • Curry Leaves - 4-5 leaves
  • Garam Masala (cloves,cinnamon,cardomom mix made into fine powder,optional) - 1/4 tsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2-1 tsp (according to your taste)
  • Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
  • Oil - 3 tbsp

Method:
  • Heat a pot pan on the stove still it smokes. Add Oil to it.
  • When the oil heats up, add mustard seeds,cumin seeds, curry leaves and tumeric to it.
  • When the seeds start to splutter, add chickpeas(sanagalu). The sanagalu when they come in contact with this hot oil, will start to splutter too.
  • Then add onion and saute for a minute.
  • Then add carrot,peas,beans,potato, cauliflower pieces and mix well till the vegetables get coated with oil.
  • Add some salt and chilli powder at this stage so that the vegetables do not taste too bland. Cover and cook for 2-3 mins.
  • Then add rice and mix well.
  • Add water and adjust salt, chilli pepper, add garam masala(if using), coriander leaves and give it a stir.
  • Cover and cook on medium flame till the rice is cooked.

Enjoy the kichdi with your favourite picke. I like eating it with Mango Pickle.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Caraway Seed Cookies - The Spice is Right II


When I saw the theme for The Spice is Right II in Barbara's Tiger's and Strawberries, it started a whole new thought process in my mind. It always stuck me odd when I just came to US by seeing some of the foods used ingredients that I never thought of can also be cooked in the way that I ate. For example ginger, i always thought it is used in savory dishes. Same with cinnamon, it tasted odd to me when I first tasted a cinnomon flavoured cake. At our home back in India, my mom always used cinnomon in biryani's, pulavs, as an ingredient in garam masala and stuff like that. Anyway, when I saw the theme for The Spice is Right II is 'Sweet or Savory' I couldn't stop thinking about it. I did not have a blog then, and have been planning to start one. I thought I wish I could clear things up, start a blog and participate on this event. As soon as I started the blog, was eager to participate on this event, but was too busy at work to prepare the recipe. But guess what, luck is on my side again :). When I saw that Barbara has extended the deadline, I was very happy. I guess my wish is coming true :).

For this event, I wanted to prepare a sweet dish because many of the spices in India are primarily used in savory dishes. I wanted to make something with Ginger, but was not sure if it can be called a 'spice'. Then Cinnamon came to my mind, but was not too eager to go with it. I wanted to do something very strikingly odd. I went to my pantry and examined each of the spices. And after doing some research on Google, I decided to go with 'Caraway seeds'.

Caraway seeds are called 'Sajeera' in India. It is primarily used in savory dishes and I have never heard of any sweet recipe containing caraway seeds.

According to McCormick Spice Encyclopedia, caraway seed is the dried fruit of the herb Carum carvi. The small, tannish brown seeds have a flavor similar to a blend of Dill and Anise -- sweet but faintly sharp. Some more research also revealed the following facts:
  • The caraway seed is native to north and central Europe and West Asia
  • Caraway seeds contain appreciable amount of moisture, protein, fast, carbohydrates, ash, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. It also contains vitamins C and A. It's calorific value is 465 per 100 grams.
  • The caraway seeds, leaves and roots are considered useful in activating the glands, besides increasing the action of the kidneys. So, it is called as excellent 'house cleaner' for the body.
  • Caraway seeds were believed to prevent lovers from straying, it was once an essential ingredient of love potions :).

I decided to make some cookies using caraway seeds. I liked this recipe for Lemon Caraway cookies, but I didn't want to add lemon juice because I thought it would dominate the Caraway seeds flavor. Also, I tweaked the recipe a little to bit, to suit my tastes.

Caraway Seed Cookies

Ingredients:

  • Egg - 1
  • Granulated Sugar - 1 cup
  • Caraway seeds - 2 teaspoons
  • All Purpose Flour - 2 cups
  • Baking Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Butter - 2 tablespoons
  • Vanaspati/Ghee - 2 tablespoons.

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Sift flour,baking powder and salt together and set aside.
  • In a bowl, beat the egg. Add sugar gradually while you continue beating.
  • Add butter, ghee and caraway seeds and beat again.
  • Add flour,baking powder and salt mixture and mix thoroughly.
  • Shape this flour mixture into thin cookies and bake for about 10 minutes.

This is my first attempt at baking cookies from scratch and they came out pretty well. I enjoyed eating them and would make these cookies again.

These 'Caraway Seed Cookies' are my entry to 'The Spice is Right - Sweet or Savory' hosted by Barabara of Tigers and Strawberries.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Kajaalu


Happy Mothers Day Mom and all mothers out there!


I always like eating sweets since my childhood. I am born with sweet tooth. Whenever we used to come home from school, our mom used to have something for the other ready for us. She used to make huge batch of sweets like kajaalu,laddoos, burfis and store them in steel dabbas on the top shelf of the kitchen (so that we can't reach them :)). She used to give us one of these sweets and some khaara like atukulu, boondi. I hated her rationing us on the number of sweets that we ate when we were children, but now when I think about that I think it was good practice otherwise I would have eating all my share at once :). It taught us how to save and enjoy them the stuff for long time without getting bored.

Ingredients:

For the Kajaalu:

  • All Purpose Flour - 4 cups
  • Vanaspati/Ghee(melted) - 1/2 cup
  • Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp

For the Syrup:

  • Sugar - 2 cups
  • Water - 1 cup

Method:


  • Mix all purpose flour and baking powder and sift them together atleast two times. This will make sure that baking powder and flour and mixed will.
  • Heat vanaspati or ghee till it melts and add to the flour. Mix well till it forms like breadcrumbs.
  • Add water to this flour mixture and mix till it forms to chapati dough consistency. Let this dough rest for 30 mins.
  • Divide this dough into lemon sized parts.
  • Take a ball and roll into a very thin puri.
  • Fold this puri up one inch from one end and then fold it on the other side. Repeat this process till you reach the other end of puri.
  • Now you will have one inch strip of folded puri. Fold the either ends of this strip to the center and press to form a depression. This the raw kajaa :).
  • Repeat this process for all the other dough balls.
  • Heat oil in a wok and deep fry these kajaalu in this oil on low fire till they turn brown. You can fry the kajaalu in batches of two or three.
  • Add sugar and water in a bowl and heat it till it forms one string consistency syrup.
  • Now add kajaalu to this syrup and make sure they are well coated.
  • Take the coated kajaalu from the syrup and arrange them in a plate.

Enjoy tasty Kajaalu :).

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sarvappa - A Delicious Snack


Sarvappa is one of my most favourite snacks since childhood. It is a not too hard and not too soft chewy snack that everybody enjoyed in our household. More than anybody else my mom liked it a lot, so whenever she made it she'd put in her 100% into it. Ofcourse she cooks other stuff that we enjoy with equal effort but this was one of the precious things for her.

So, what does sarvappa mean? It can be divied up into two words Sarva + Appa. Sarva means a deep pot with narrow mouth and Appa means a cake sort of preparation. So word to word translation of sarvappa comes to pot cake (sounds funny uhh!):). When we were kids, our dad used to tell us a funny story. One ignorant and arrongant person ate this servappa at a friend's place and was very egoistic to get the complete recipe from the friend. She just got the list of ingredients from her friend and just came to know that sarvappa is made by pressing the ingredients mixture to the pot(sarva). After going home, she wanted to try the recipe-collected all the ingredients-mixed them-and dutifully applied it on the outer side of the pot and put it on the flame directly. The sarvappa got all burnt out :D.

Anyways, enough of ramblings let's get to the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Rice Flour - 2 cups
  • Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric - a pinch
  • Curry leaves - 4 or 5 leaves
  • Split Peanuts - 1/2 cup
  • Split Yellow Moong Dal - 2 tbsp
  • Jeera - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves finely chopped - 2-3 tbsp
  • Scallions green part finely chopped - 4
  • Small Onion - 1

Method:
  • Mix all the ingredients together.
  • Mix the flour mixture with enough warm water to make it to chapati flour consistency.
  • Divide the dough into 4 equal parts
  • Press one part into the dough into the inner sides of pan and make small holes into the cake with your finger. These holes make sure that appa is cooked evenly all over.
  • Pour a teaspoon of oil onto the appa, cover and cook in on medium heat for about 5 mins.
  • After 5 mins, take the lid off from the pan and cook for 2 more mins. By this time oil starts collecting into the holes made into the appa.
  • Turn off the fire and enjoy the servappa! It tastes equally good hot or cold.
  • Repeat the process for other three parts of the dough.

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

First Post!!

Hi everybody,

I have been planning to start a food blog for a long loooong time now. It's been around 3-4 months I have been drooling on yummy foods prepared and posted in the food blog world. I hope to be an active participant in that world and planning to start posting about my cooking some time soon.

So stay tuned! :)