Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Soya Chunks Bhurji / Kheema

 Soy chunks are a great source of protein. According to Wikipedia, 'Soy protein products can be good substitutes for animal products because, unlike some other beans, soy offers a 'complete' protein profile. ... Soy protein products can replace animal-based foods—which also have complete proteins but tend to contain more fat, especially saturated fat—without requiring major adjustments elsewhere in the diet.'

Soy products are largely used as a meat alternative by a lot of people in their cooking. There are several restaurants that offer imitation meat dishes which use soy products for their texture. Several 'meatless' products can be found in the market, the most fascinating one being Trader Joe's Chickenless Nuggets which are very close to the real nuggets in taste and texture.

I  use tofu and soy chunks in my cooking a couple of times a month, not just as a substitute for meat or paneer dishes, but because we do like their taste. I have tried my hand at tofu burji a few times. This time I thought of making the burji with soy chunks.

I guess it is easier and faster to make this dish with soy granules or pre-cooked soy crumbles. But I just went ahead with the soy chunks since I already had them in the pantry.

Ingredients :
2 cups soya chunks
1/2 tsp jeera
2 large onions
2 tomatoes
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 to 3 green chillies
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ghee (optional)
1/2 tsp juice of lemon
Coriander leaves

Method :
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, with 1/2 tsp salt. Add soya chunks and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the water by transferring the chunks into a colander. Set aside to cool for a few minutes. You can add cold water to quicken the cooling, but make sure all the water drains out.

Heat oil. Add jeera. When it splutters, add finely chopped onion and sauté until onion turns brownish. Add finely chopped green chillies and ginger garlic paste and roast  for some more time. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala and coriander powder and roast for a couple of minutes. To this add finely chopped tomatoes and roast until completely cooked.

Back to the chunks. Roll up your sleeves and squeeze the water off the chunks. At this point, I also minced them with my hand. I then transferred them onto a cutting board and cut them into smaller bits with a  knife. Alternatively, you can pulse them in short bursts in your mixer or just use a mincer.

Transfer the minced soy into the masala, add salt and cook uncovered , mixing thoroughly so that all the minced chunks are coated with the masala.  Add ghee for a richer flavor. Sprinkle lemon juice on top and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Achari Mushroom

This spicy, tangy and delicious pickle-flavored dish was what we had for dinner today and I couldn't wait to blog about it. I followed  Deeba's Achari Chicken recipe with a few changes, the main change being, of course, using mushroom. For the original recipe, go here.

I used baby bella mushrooms for this dish. You can use any regular mushroom. Mushrooms are a good substitute for meat as they pull in the spicy flavors and give a rich and appetizing look to the dish.

This was the first time I used Nigella seeds in my cooking. With Priya's and Ayeesha's ongoing event - Cooking with Seeds : Nigella, I was all the more enthusiastic to go ahead with this dish.

Ingredients :
450 gm (16 oz) mushrooms
1 1/2 tbsp juice of lemon
2 green chillies, slit
2 bay leaves
3/4 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
3/4 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp methi (fenugreek) seeds
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 large onions
2 medium tomatoes
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp  bhuna jeera powder*  
3 tbsp thick yogurt (curd)
Coriander leaves

Method :
Soak the green chillies in lemon juice and set aside.

Heat oil. Add bay leaves, kalonji, saunf, jeera and methi and roast on low flame. To this add ginger garlic paste and finely chopped onion, increase the heat and saute for a few minutes. Add haldi, red chilli powder and bhuna jeera powder [ dry roast cumin seeds and powder them. I just used regular jeera powder]. Saute for sometime.  Add  finely chopped tomatoes and roast till they are completely cooked. Pour the yogurt and mix well . [ I usually beat yogurt with a fork or whisk before adding it to any hot dish]. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Add chopped mushrooms. Add salt, mix well and cook covered for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring every two minutes. You don't need to add water as the mushrooms along with salt will release a good amount of water. Throw in the green chillies and lemon juice and cook on low heat for two minutes. [ I added only the juice and discarded the chillies].

Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Sending this to Bookmarked Recipes.

This also goes to Tried and Tasted - Passionate about baking, started by Zlamushka and Lakshmi.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Veggie-Cheese Kiddie Pasta

I love pasta and so do the two boys (viz. hubby and son). Everytime I go to the pasta aisle, I invariably spend a great deal of time trying to figure out which pasta to choose, from the large variety of shapes, sizes and nutritional content. On one such confused shopping venture, I happened to see a box of fun-shaped pasta. I had been looking for this at Trader Joe's - specially the ABC pastas, since my son has started recognizing some letters now. Unfortunately, Trader Joe's didn't have them. So I was happy to see this particular pasta box with butterflies in Safeway and picked it up. I couldn't wait to make the 'beefaay's and see the look on my son's face!

Only after coming home did i realize that along with butterflies the box also had some other bug shapes (uh-oh). Luckily my son recognizes just the butterflies and wouldn't think much of the others.

I put together a couple of veggies and some cheese to make the sauce. Well, I cannot actually call it a sauce, but I like it this way, since it would be great to pack it in his lunch-box when we go to the park or someplace where I can quickly feed him without worrying about the sauce dribbling all over.

This is a quick and simple recipe. You could  make your own variations and add more ingredients.

1 large carrot
1 zucchini
any other favorite vegetable
2 cups fun-shaped pasta (or any pasta)
1 tbsp butter
2 cheese slices (cheddar)
1 pinch black pepper
1 pinch garlic powder

Peel carrot and zucchini. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, as per package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, melt butter and add chopped carrots. While they are roasting, chop zucchini and add. Saute for a few minutes. Add 1 cup water (I used the water used to boil pasta). Cook for a few minutes till the veggies are completely cooked. Add cheese.

Drain the pasta.

Add the pasta to the sauce. Toss in salt, pepper and garlic powder according to the spice level your child can handle.
Mix well and heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

My son was thrilled to see the butterflies. The pasta lasted him for a couple of meals. And I couldn't resist a bowl myself!
Sending this simple kiddie dish to this week's Presto Pasta Night, originally started by Ruth. Also sending this to Kids Lunch Box Treats.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gobi / Cauliflower Manchurian

Gobi manchurian is one of my most favorite vegetarian dishes. A big plate of gobi manchurian never fails to cheer me up. Street vendors usually add a generous helping of red food color to this dish which  greatly adds to it's visual appeal. In India, gobi manchurian is a Chinese dish. But you will not find it it in any Chinese restaurants in the U.S. You will, however find it in many Indian restaurants.

Making gobi manchurian at home can be a long process. So I usually save it for special occasions. This time I made this dish for a friend's b'day party. Here's how I did it:

Ingredients :
1 large cauliflower
1 cup maida (APF)
1/2 cup corn starch (corn flour)
1 tbsp rice flour
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp chilli powder
2 medium onions
8 to 10 garlic cloves
1 " piece ginger
1/2 capsicum
2 to 3 green chillies
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
3 tbsp red chilli sauce *
2 tsp vineger
Corriander leaves
Spring onions
Ghee (optional)

*I used Ching's red chilli sauce. I find that the best.

Wash and chop cauliflower into bite-sized florets. In a large bowl, mix maida, corn starch, rice flour, ginger garlic paste and red chilli powder. (Adding rice flour to the batter makes the fried cauliflower a little crispy. The sauce will mellow it down. You can avoid the rice flour if you don't want the crispiness.)
Add salt and just enough water to form a paste (dosa batter consistency).The paste should be thick enough to coat the cauliflower floret. Also, it should be slightly salty and spicy, since it should accomodate the bland cauliflower.

Dip the florets in the batter and deep fry in small batches Transfer them onto a paper towel.

Chop finely, onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies and capsicum.

Heat oil in a separate pan. Add onion and saute till it turns translucent. Add garlic, ginger and green chillies and roast some more. Add capsicum and fry well till it is cooked.To this add the soy sauce, tomato ketchup, vinegar and red chilli sauce (Keep tasting as you add. Since you are adding red chilli powder to the cauliflower and also the green chillies, put only as much red chilli sauce as you'd like).

Add 2 tsp ghee (I skipped this). Mix well and let the sauces cook together for a couple of minutes.

Add the fried cauliflower into the sauce and mix gently, till the florets are coated with sauce, taking care not to break the florets. [ I find that adding sauce to cauliflower instead of other way round is a better option. To do this, arrange the fried cauliflower in a large pan and pour the sauce all over it. Mix gently and heat for sometime.]

Garnish with corriander leaves and spring onions.

Dig a fork in it and enjoy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

No Bake Cake Event II - Roundup

Microwave cakes, steamed cakes and cakes set in the refrigerator are all included in this wonderful 'No Bake Cake' Roundup.  Now you have no reason to not bake a cake! 
(I also received a couple of entries which may not be strictly called cakes, but included them anyway.) If I have missed any of your entries please rush me an email. 

So here goes -

 from Santosh Bangar of Santosh's Kitchen.

from Priya of Priya's Easy and Tasty Recipes.
 from Bergamot of Cooking Escapades.

from Sangeetha of Sangi's Food World. 

Yummy Eggless Chocolate Cake from Hema of Chef Hema.
No Bake Choco Ribbon Cake from Sonia of Slice n Spice of Life.
Gooey Chocolaty Microwave Cup Cake! from Rachana of Veggi Fare.
Ranginak, Iranian Date and Walnut Sweets from Vanessa of Sweet Artichoke.

Microwave Choco Walnut Cake from Shabitha Karthikeyan of From My Home Kitchen.
Strawberry Cheesecake from Jagruti of Joy of Cooking.
No bake Tiramisu Cheese Cake from Aipi of USMasala.
Microwave Brownie from Akheela of Torviewtoronto.

Thanks to all the participants!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Valval / Mixed Vegetables in Coconut Sauce

Valval is a very popular Konkani dish. It is made of coconut milk and lots of vegetables which, along with jeera, work together to give a rich, wonderful flavor.

The vegetables that are usually used are listed below. You can use all of them or just a few of them and add your own as per your liking or availability. If you are using most of these vegetables, just a few pieces of each will suffice.

Ivy Gourd / gherkins (tendle / tindora)
Yard long beans (alsando)
Ash Gourd (kuvale)
Pumpkin (dudde)
Mangalore / Yellow Cucumber (magge)
Bottle Gourd (gardudde)
Snake Gourd (poddale)
Ridge Gourd (ghosale)
Sweet Potatoes (kanang)
Green beans
You can also add -
Zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash etc. Sometimes my mother-in-law also adds corn kernels.

The vegetables should be chopped into chunks. You don't have to peel them. I usually peel only carrots and sweet potatoes.

Ingredients :
5 cups chopped vegetables
1/4 cup cashewnuts
1 can (13.5 fl oz / 400 ml) coconut milk
2 to 3 green chillies
Salt to taste

1 tbsp ghee
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
3/4 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 to 3 red chillies
6 to 8 curry leaves.

Heat 2 cups water in a large vessel and allow to boil.  Add cashewnuts, all the vegetables , salt and green chillies and cook for a few minutes with coconut milk.

You could also chop while you add, to save time. As the water is boiling, add the cashewnuts and green chillies. Quickly chop potatoes and add. Chop carrots and add. Keep repeating till you are down to the last vegetable (go in the order of vegetables that need more time to cook). Add salt.
Now pour the coconut milk, adding more water if necessary and bring to a roaring boil. Do not over-cook the vegetables. A slight crunch adds to the taste.

If homemade coconut milk is used, usually a paste of maida (or rice flour) and water is added to thicken the dish.

Seasoning :
Heat ghee, add jeera and mustard. When they splutter, add red chillies and curry leaves. Pour over Valval.

Relish with rice, dal and some spicy pickle!

Sending this dish to Divya's Show Me Your Curry.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Whole Wheat Garlic-Rosemary Crescent Rolls

I had a great time baking my first bread a few months back. Infact I wanted to bake another one soon and had planned for it. As usual, I did not find the time and would wait for the weekend, each new week! Not just does baking bread take a lot of time, it also needs a lot of attention - what with the kneading, rolling and the time taken for the dough to rise.

When I saw the Tried and Tasted announcement this month (hosted by Srivalli, originally started by Lakshmi), I knew I had to participate. That's because the featured blogger is Aparna of 'My Diverse Kitchen'. Aparna has a wonderful blog with great bakes, specially bread and I always admire her photographic skills. Apart from that, Aparna has given me very good advice whenever I wanted some. We also share the same name, if you hadn't noticed :). Plenty of reasons for me to try and taste, eh?

So it was decided. I would bake a bread with Aparna's recipe. I bookmarked a few of her posts on bread and finally decided on one, which I wanted to bake the following weekend. But something or the other would come up till I was down to the last weekend before the final date. So it had to happen that weekend!  That's when I saw this post on Crescent Rolls with garlic and whole wheat and fell straight for it!
My husband took care of our little inquisitive toddler while I confined myself into the kitchen with my foot down baking this beautiful bread which filled the house with a comforting aroma I always love!
Thanks Aparna for this wonderful recipe.

Ingredients :
2 1/2 cups (+ a few tbsp) whole wheat flour (atta)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic paste (I used garlic powder)
Chopped rosemary (I used 2 tsp)
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup  yogurt
1/2 cup warm milk
1 tbsp honey
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) dry active yeast

Combine milk and honey in a small vessel. Dissolve yeast and allow to froth, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Heat oil. Add rosemary and roast a bit. Add garlic powder and chilli flakes and roast a little more. Allow to cool.

Knead flour with the flavored oil, yogurt, salt and the yeast mixture until you get a smooth and soft dough. If it sticks to your hand, add some more flour and knead further. Grease a fairly big container with olive oil. Transfer the dough into this, covering and coating the dough with oil. Cover with a plastic wrap or a lid and leave aside for 2 hours.

The dough will rise and become almost double in size.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape each one into a ball. Transfer the ball of dough onto a flat surface - a large cutting board or a clean kitchen counter, and roll it out into a large flat circle, about 12" in diameter. (Ok, my circle doesn't look too great, I know!)

Divide the circle with a pizza cutter into 12 equal portions like so :

Take the wide end and roll it towards the narrow end like so:

Tuck the tip underneath.

Transfer each of the roll onto a greased baking dish (I used a greased aluminium foil on the dish),  making sure the tip is under the roll.
Cover loosely and let it rise again, about 45 minutes. Repeat with the other ball of dough.
Bake at 400ºF for 18 to 20 minutes. Lightly brush with butter just before serving.

I enjoyed the entire experience of baking the bread. Hoping to make another one 'soon' :)!

The warm buttered rolls also go to Hearth and SoulBake Off Yeastspotting and Cakes and Bakes.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

'My Favorite Recipe' - Roundup

We do tend to play favorites, specially when it comes to food. Here are the favorite recipes in the month of August, of the following bloggers:

SS of SS Blogs Here loves her simple Fried Fish because it unfailingly turns out exactly the way her Mom makes it!

Aipi of US Masala never thought she could make Paneer Tikka Pizza from scratch and she totally loves the dish and the fact that she actually made it!

Shabita Kartikeyan of From My Home Kitchen enjoys making Collard Greens Stirfry because it is healthy and reminds her of her most favorite Drumstick Leaves!

Les rêves d'une boulangère's Brittany loves the taste and presentation of French Custard and Fruit Tart and it's never failed to please!

Broad Beans ~ Chikkudukaya Tomato Curry With Lima Beans is the most favorite of Curry in Kadai's Kalva because it is delicious, fiber rich and loaded with protien!

The different and delicious taste of Paneer Chilli has always made it a big hit during parties for Rupali Jain of North KI Rasoi Se!

Priya of Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes always finds rasam her comforting food, this time she tried Sprouted Chickpeas & Tomato Rasam which tasted very delicious and is her current hot favorite!

Tasty Chapati Poha saves Nivedita of Nivedita's Kitchen from wasting chapatis and i'ts healthy too!

The Mango Kulfi which Suneetha of Suneetha's Kitchen prepared was loved by everybody and it is very easy to make!

Rai aur Tamatarwali Sandwhich is one of the favorites of Sonal of Palate Corner because it brings  all her chidhood memories back! She likes the flavor of tempered mustard seeds on it which is quite unique.

Eggless Blueberry Loaf gave Shobhana her first success with baking and she celebrated one year of Journal of a Budding Cook with warm buttered slices of this treat!

My favorite recipe in the month of August was the Microwave Apple Walnut Cake, because it was my first 'real' experiment with a cake, specially in the microwave.


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