For this months Indian Cooking Challenge, Srivalli chose Chegodilu or more commonly called Ring Muruku or Kodubele by us. I had tried these before and had failed, they never get crisp for me, I knew I don't have the temperature right. I never tried them again till now. I wont say they came out perfect I still have to get the right temperature for getting them crisp, if I let them brown they do get crispier but then we don't like that dark color. I think I will try them again at my moms place on a gas stove, I have an electric one. If anyone has any idea at what level to keep on an electric stove please do let me know. I finally tried them all on a constant medium heat and they came out better. I tried the second recipe since I realised on the 15th when everyone's posts were popping up that I haven't done the challenge as yet and the second one seemed to be quicker to try. So here I am after frying them and still have my second last batch in the frying pan. I shall try again with my mom and get them crisp hopefully. Thanks Valli.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Rice flour
1/4 cup All purpose flour/ Maida
2 tbsp Ghee
1/4 tsp Ajwain
1/4 tsp Red chili powder
pinch Turmeric
Salt as per taste
Oil for deep fry
1 cup water approximately

Method

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
  2. Mix the flours, ajwain, red chili powder, turmeric and salt in another bowl.
  3. Add the water to the flour mix slowly, keep mixing till you get a stiff dough. Mix Well till everything is blended.
  4. Pour Ghee on top, cover the bowl and keep aside.
  5. Once cool to handle, knead to form a smooth dough.
  6. Grease your fingers with oil and pinch out a small lemon size ball and roll between your palms to form a thick rope. Bring the two ends to together and press to form a rope. Ensure the ends are firmed pressed as not to give out during frying.
  7. Continue with the rest of the dough until you are done with the entire batch. You can either cover it with a plate or a cloth to prevent the dough from getting dried.
  8. Check if the oil is in the correct temperature, by dropping a tiny bit into the oil. Then gently slide the rings or the chakodis in batches of 4 -5. The flame has to be on high until the chakodis come up to the surface, then lower the flame to medium and cook till you get a golden colour on the chakodis.
  9. When the chakodis are golden all over, using a slotted ladle, remove to a kitchen towel and cool. Store in an air tight container for longer shelf life.


Notes:
  • Remember to turn the heat to medium to high and high to medium for getting the chakodis to golden colour and also to be cooked evenly. Only this way you get crispy chakodis. These should not be cooked on low flame as they will absorb more oil and can turn soggy also at times.



This is a simple and flavorful pulao. Can be served with any dal or taste great with just yogurt too.

Ingredients

1 cup basmati rice (250 gms)
1 cup frozen peas (You can use fresh too)
1 tsp jeera - cumin seeds
1 tsp ghee
1 inch ginger, grated
2 green chilies, chopped
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped (optional)
few curry leaves, chopped (optional)
2 cups water
salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash the rice in water. Keep soaked in water till the pea mix is made.
  2. Heat ghee in a pan.
  3. Add the cumin seeds.
  4. Once they splutter,coriander leaves, curry leaves, mint leaves, green chilies and ginger. Cook for a minute.
  5. Add the peas. Cook for 2 minutes. (If using fresh peas cook till the peas are half done).
  6. Drain the rice. (Soaked for about 10 minutes now)
  7. Add 2 cups off water, the drained rice and salt.
  8. Bring the water to a boil on medium high.
  9. Once it reaches a rolling boil stage, reduce the heat to low.
  10. Cover the pan and cook till the rice is done. (About 10 to 15 minutes)


Note
  1. You can cook this in a pressure cooker too, only difference is in step 7, just add the water and salt. Bring the water to a boil. Add the rice, close the cooker and give 2 whistles. (Depends on each cooker, check yours to see how many whistles for basmati rice)
  2. You can also cook this in the rice Cooker, after step 6 place the pea mix, water, rice and salt in the rice cooker and cook as per instructions.



This is the quickest and easiest breakfast. Its all done in about 20 minutes.

Ingredients
Serves 2

1.5 cups Thick Poha
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup potato, chopped into very small pieces(Same as the onions)
1/4 cup carrots, chopped into very small pieces(Same as the onions) (optional, can use peas too)
2 green chilies, chopped
1.5 tbsp peanuts
1 tsp mustard seeds
few curry leaves
2 tsp sugar or to taste
1 tsp salt or to taste
3 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Method

  1. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan.
  2. Add the peanuts.
  3. Once the peanuts are fried well, add the mustard seeds.
  4. When the mustard seeds splutter add curry leaves and onions.
  5. Reduce heat, add the potatoes, carrots and 1/2 tsp salt.
  6. Reduce the fame to medium low, cover the pan. To cook the potatoes and carrots. Keep stirring in between.
  7. Meanwhile, place the poha in a sieve and rinse them under running water for 2 minutes.
  8. Leave the poha in the sieve, to let all the water drain out. About 5 minutes. If water is not drained well they will get mashed while cooking.
  9. Place the rinsed poha in a mixing bowl. Loosen the pohas if any lumps are formed.
  10. Add sugar, salt and lime juice to the poha and mix well. Keep aside.
  11. Once the potatoes and carrots are cooked, add turmeric powder to it and mix well. Cook for a minute.
  12. Add the pohas. Mix well.
  13. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook for another 5 minutes.
  14. If the Poha is really thick and does not seem to cook, you can sprinkle some water and cover and keep again for more time.
  15. Do not over cook, if not they will get mashed to a paste..
  16. Check seasoning. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  17. Serve with chutney.



This month Srivalli chose Gulab Jamun's, it could not have come at a better time, every Diwali we make gulab jamuns. But the challenge was to make the khoya/mawa at home and not to use store bought.

We had three recipes to choose from Gulab(less) Jamun from The Yum Blog, Gulab Jamun from Indo and Gulab Jamun from Alka

I followed the recipe from Indo since it had the procedure to make the khoya/mawa. They were perfect intially I thought they were hard but once we ate them they were perfect and held their shape, I usually just helped the elders make gulab jamuns on diwali and never made them alone, I feel great now that I made them on my own.

I had missed last months challenge, so I made the muruku too for diwali, they were so crunchy and nice, I was out of time so I just popped them into the hot oil and did not shape them. The photos did not come out well, since i will be making them again I will post abt it then, till then u can have a look at the blurred picture.



Thanks girls this was a wonderful challenge.



Pav Bhaji is loved by all at home, but the one problem I face is whenever I plan to make pav bhaji and get the pav, it gets over before the bhaji is made, does not matter how much I buy but DH cant resist them. So now I have learnt to hide them till the bhaji is ready, there were so many occasions we had to have the bhaji with bread or roti. With Pav bhaji the more the butter the tastier it is, so add as much or less butter as you prefer.

Ingredients
1.5 cup boiled and mashed potatoes
3/4 cup chopped vegetables (carrot, beans and peas), cut into very small cubes
1/4 cup chopped capsicum
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup tomato, chopped
1 green chili
1 tsp garlic
1.5 table spoon pav bhaji masala (or to taste)
3 tbsp butter
juice of 1 lime (or to taste)
salt to taste
1 packet Pav
lime wedges

Method

  1. Steam the vegetables till tender.
  2. Mash the vegetables a little and mix along with the mashed potatoes. Keep aside.
  3. Grind the onions, garlic and green chilies to a paste.
  4. Grind the tomatoes to a paste and keep aside.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp butter.
  6. Add the onion paste and cook on medium till the raw smell goes.
  7. Add the capsicum and mix well.
  8. Add the Pav Bhaji Masala and cook till oil separates.
  9. Add the tomatoes and cook till the oil separates.
  10. Add 1 cup water, salt and the potato mix.
  11. Mix well and bring to a boil.
  12. Reduce heat cover and cook on sim for 15 minutes, mixing often. Add more water if needed.
  13. Toast the pav with butter.
  14. Garnish the bhaji with more butter.
  15. Serve the bhaji with toasted pav, onions and lime wedges.



I got this simple and delicious recipe from Bhawana. This is easy to make and goes well with any dal, sambhar or rasam. Or just have it plain with phulka/chapati/roti and curds.

Ingredients

4 carrots, sliced into rounds
1 large onion, chopped
4 spring onions, chopped
1 green chili, chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp kitchen king masala (adjust to taste) [Bhawana uses garam masala]
pinch turmeric powder
salt to taste

Method

  1. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan.
  2. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  3. Add the onions and green chilies once the seeds splutter. Cook on medium till transluscent.
  4. Add the turmeric powder and Kitchen king masala. Cook till oil seperates.
  5. Add carrots and salt. Mix.
  6. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on low, or till the carrots are nearly cooked.
  7. Add 3/4 off the spring onions. Mix well.
  8. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  9. Garnish with rest of the spring onions.
  10. Serve.



Seyal Bread - Bread Upma, is the best way to use up old bread, this is also a quick and easy breakfast, its better eaten as soon as it is off the gas, sincethe bread soaks up the gravy and turns soggy really fast, if you are like me then you like it that way, but if you are like my hubby then you like a dry version where the bread holds its shape. He then eats it with tons of ketchup, he cannot eat anything much without ketchup, its like what pickle would be to many of us, he has even eaten rice with ketchup.

Ingredients

8 slices of bread, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup onion, sliced
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 green chili (or to taste)
1/4 inch ginger
2 garlic pods
1/4 cup corriander leaves
2-3 mint leaves (pudina) - Optional
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
few curry leaves
1/4 tsp red chili powder
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp ketchup or maggie chili garlic sauce - Optional
salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Method

  1. Grind the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chilies, corriander leaves and mint together.
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds.
  3. Once they splutter add the curry leaves.
  4. Add the onion, and cook till they turn transluscent.
  5. Add the red chili powder, cook for a minute.
  6. Add the ground tomatoe, cook till oil seperates.
  7. Add ketchup.
  8. Add the water, salt and bring to a boil. Simmer till a thick gravy is formed
  9. Add the bread pieces.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Once the bread is heated through, garnish with coriander leaves and serve.



My husband has this habit off telling me 1 hour before that he is getting a friend for lunch. So this dish was made with the few ingredients I had in the fridge, I did not have enough paneer, nor mushrooms so the combo. the gravy is the usual sindhi style onion tomato gravy, I just added some cashews this time.

1/2 cup paneer, cut in cubes
1 cup muchrooms, quartered
1 capsicum, cut in cubes
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 green chilies
1 inch ginger
3-4 garlic pods
1 tbsp chopped cashews, soaked in milk for 1 hour
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp kissan tandoori masala (optional)
pinch turmeric powder
1-2 cups Milk
salt to taste
fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Method

  1. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan.
  2. Add the onions and fry them till they turn light brown.
  3. Then add the tomatoes, ginger, garlic and green chilies and cook till the oil separates.
  4. Remove from heat and cool.
  5. Grind the onion tomato mixture, with the cashews to a smooth paste.
  6. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan.
  7. Add the mushrooms, cook till the water evaporates. Cook on a high flame.
  8. Reduce the flame to medium high, add the capsicum and fry for another 5 minutes.
  9. Add the coriander powder, red chili powder and turmeric powder. Cook for a minute.
  10. Add the ground masala and cook till the oil separates.
  11. Add milk, tandoori masala and salt.
  12. Add the paneer pieces.
  13. Bring to a boil.
  14. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  15. Serve immediately with rotis/parathas.



September's Daring Cook was hosted by Debyi of The Healthy Vegan Kitchen! She decided on Indian Dosas from the refresh cookbook by Ruth Tal. It had to be completely vegan, I followed the recipe, made all the parts. But I like my dosas plain with chutney and no fillings. So I just kept them on the side and made some coconut chutney along with it. I loved the Spelt Dosa's, did not expect it to taste this good. I also sprinkled some onions on one, like we do for Onion Uttapam.

Dosa Pancakes
Ingredients
1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)
½ tsp (2½ gm) salt
½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder
½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder
½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)
¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water
cooking spray, if needed
Method

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.
  3. Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 pancakes.


Curried Garbanzo Filling
This filling works great as a rice bowl topping or as a wrap too, so don't be afraid to make a full batch.
Ingredients
5 cloves garlic
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)
2 medium hot banana chilies, minced
2 TBSP (16gm) cumin, ground
1 TBSP (8gm) oregano
1 TBSP (8gm) sea salt (coarse)
1 TBSP (8gm) turmeric
4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)
½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste
Method
  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.
  2. Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.


Coconut Curry Sauce
This makes a great sauce to just pour over rice as well. This does freeze well, but the texture will be a little different. The flavor is still the same though. My picture of this sauce is one that I had made, had to freeze, then thaw to use. It tastes great, but the texture is a little runnier, not quite as thick as it was before freezing.
Ingredients
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground
¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)
3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder
3 TBSP (30gm) spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)
3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced
Method
  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.
  3. Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Let it simmer for half an hour.



I really admire the people who can write what they feel. I have so many things I would like to share but just cant. I was never good at writing down my thoughts, I would dread the essay writing in school, I would have like 5 to 6 sentences and then keep repeating them again and again and a big F in the side. I would always make up in the literature part, I loved Shakespeare and would do well in that so overall I would be ok.

Here I am sitting ok what can I write about Egg Masala, I know there are many things to share but just don't know how to put it to words. I actually do not speak much too, I take really long to get used to a person and by then every one things I am a big snob. I usually keep my thoughts and opinions to myself unless the opposite person is someone close or family. I treasure the few friends I have more than any other materialistic things I have. Sometime I wonder why is it so difficult for people to understand me, or people like me and except people for who they are, God made all off us different if we all were the same wouldn't this world be a boring place to be in. I respect everyone until I know a certain person is really evil and rude and then I just keep my distance, that person may have his/her reasons. Once we stop reacting to that person maybe they will stop.

This the most I have written in the past few months in my blog. I will get to the recipe now which both DH and me love.

Ingredients
4 hard boiled eggs, cut in half
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 green chilies
1 inch ginger
3-4 garlic pods
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp kissan tandoori masala (optional)
pinch turmeric powder
1-2 cups Milk
salt to taste
fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Method

  1. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan.
  2. Add the onions and fry them till they turn light brown.
  3. Then add the tomatoes, ginger, garlic and green chilies and cook till the oil separates.
  4. Remove from heat and cool.
  5. Grind the onion tomato mixture to a smooth paste.
  6. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan.
  7. Fry the coriander powder, red chili powder and turmeric powder.
  8. Add the ground masala and cook till the oil separates.
  9. Add milk, tandoori masala and salt.
  10. Bring to a boil.
  11. Add the boiled eggs.
  12. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  13. Serve immediately with rotis/parathas.



This month was a festival special, we had many recipes to chose from and had to make 2 off them, something that you have not cooked before. I chose churma ladoo and Modak from Mints. I made these for Ganesh Chaturti.

Churma Ladoo by Tarla Dalal (Shared by Lata)
These were super easy to make and we loved them b ut the next time I would just decrease the amount of seasame seed, I am not a big fan of them. Other than that this is a ladoo which I will make more often now.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups (200 grams) whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta), coarsely ground
1/4 cup grated dry coconut (copra)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (til)
3/4 cup (150 grams) jaggery , grated
2 tablespoons ghee

Other ingredients
ghee for deep frying
poppy seeds (khus khus) for coating the laddus

Method

  1. Make a stiff dough of the whole wheat flour using 1/2 cup of water. Knead very well.
  2. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions.
  3. Shape the portions into the shape of your fist and press with your fingers in the centre of each portion to make an indentation.
  4. Heat ghee in a large kadhai and deep fry the dough portions on a very slow flame for approximately 25 to 30 minutes until they are golden brown in colour.
  5. Drain on absorbent paper and allow them to cool.
  6. Pound in a mortar and pestle to coarse pieces. Grind the pieces further in a food processor to get a fine powder (churma).
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a pan, add the grated coconut and sesame seeds and saute for about 2 minutes. Remove and keep aside.
  8. Heat the jaggery with the remaining tablespoon of ghee and 1 tablespoon of water on a medium flame till the jaggery dissolves. Cool slightly.
  9. Mix the ground churma, coconut and sesame seeds with the melted jaggery.
  10. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
  11. Divide into 10 portions and shape into rounds. Roll each laddu in poppy seeds.
  12. Store the laddus in an air-tight container.


Modak by Mints



We usually make the fried version of Modak, so I tried this one. Anything fried is always tastier, though this one was healtier we enjoy the fried one. I had to finish these myself, DH would not eat them he just took one as prasad. I think I did not do it right too, the outer layer was thick. I just would heat it in the microwave for 30 minutes with some ghee and then it would taste better.

Ingredients
Stuffing
2 cups freshly grated coconut (can use frozen unsweetened coconut)
1 cup jaggery (grated)
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp cardamom powder
one pinch nutmeg (optional)
2 tbsp water (mom uses milk)

Cover
1 cup rice flour
1.25 cup water
pinch of salt
1 tbsp oil

Method
Stuffing
  1. Roast poppy seeds in a small skillet and let it cool down. Grind it coarsely and keep it aside.
  2. In a heavy bottom kadhai mix all the ingredients for stuffing except poppy seed powder and let it sit for 15 min. Now start heating the mixture over medium heat. In about 10-12 minutes, the mixture starts boiling and stuffing will turn yellowish brown and will be sticky. Take the kadhai off the heat, add poppy seeds powder and mix well. Set it aside to cool down.


The Cover
  1. Take vessel that has tight fitting cover. Start boiling water in that vessel, add salt and oil.
  2. When water starts boiling, lower the heat and slowely add rice flour. Please do now dump everything at once.
  3. Start mixing vigourously with a heavy spoon.
  4. Now close the lid and take the pot off the heat. Let the covered pot cool down for 15 minutes or so.
  5. Then with wet hands, mix the dough properly. It will warm so be careful and use cold water to keep your hands from burning but do not use too much water.
  6. If you think the dough is little sticky, I will suggest add 1-2 tbsp maida to it and make the dough.


Making Modak (Final Product)
  1. Start boiling water in a large vessel that can fit a steamer. I use a stainless steel steamer that fits on a pressure cooker and water doesnt touch the steamer and use stainless steel plate to cover it.
  2. Oil the steamer and set it aside.
  3. Make about 20 balls of the dough and 20 parts of the stuffing.
  4. Start making small puri with the dough ball on a oiled paper/aluminum foil.
  5. Keep one part of stuffing in the middle of the puri and gather the puri gently to make shape like modak. You can see the picture here.
  6. You will have to handle the dough very gently. Follow the step to make remaining modaks.
  7. Now dip each modak in cold water and put it in the steamer.
  8. Put the steamer on boiling water and cover it. Let the modaks steam for 20 minutes on medium to high heat.
  9. Take the steamer off the vessel and let it sit for 5 minutes before removing moodakd from steamer.
  10. Traditionally, modaks are served with ghee but it can be served with coconut milk.



We usually make this in the morning for breakfast with idli or Dosa, at home we prefer the dalless version in the morning since it is light and you dont keep burping the whole day long. And also since it is so easy to make. Dont worry if you do not have few ingredients, if you have sambhar powder then the rest is all upto you. Sometimes I add some vegetables, like carrots, beans, eggplant and at time I just add baby onions. If you dont have baby onions regular onions work perfectly fine too. The amount of tomatoes you use is upto you, how tangy do you like your sambhar, my husband loves it really tangy, spicy and a little sweet (khatta meetha).

Ingredients
1/2 cup small onions / regular onions sliced
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp chana dal
1/4 tsp urad dal
few curry leaves
1.5 tbsp sambhar powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp tamarind paste(adjust to taste)
salt to taste
fresh coriander leaves

For the Ground Masala
1/2 cup onions, sliced (regular)
1/2 cup vegetables of your choice(optional)
1.5 cup tomatoes, cut into quarters (you can adjust this to your taste)
4-5 pepper corns
1/4 inch cinamom stick
2 - cardamoms
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp garlic
2 green chilies
1 tbsp grated coconut (optional, can add more if you want)

Method
The Ground Masala

  1. Heat 1 tsp oil.
  2. Add the peppercorns, cinamom stick and cardamom.
  3. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the ginger, garlic and green chilies.
  5. Cook till the onions and transparent.
  6. Add the tomatoes.
  7. Cook till oil seperates and the tomatoes are cooked well.
  8. Add the coconut.
  9. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  10. Grind to a smooth paste.

The Sambhar
  1. Heat 1 tsp oil.
  2. Add the mustard seeds, channa dal and urad dal.
  3. Once they splutter add the curry leaves.
  4. Add the onions.
  5. Add the sambhar powder. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuosly.
  6. Add the ground masala. Cook will oil seperates.
  7. Add salt and 2 cups water. If using vegetables add them at this point.
  8. Bring to a boil.
  9. Lower the heat and simmer till the onion and vegetables (is using) are cooked.
  10. Add sugar. Add more water to get the right consistency.
  11. Mix the tamarind paste in 1/4 cup of water.
  12. Add the tamarind water. (taste before adding)
  13. Adjust seasonings.
  14. Bring to a boil.
  15. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.



This month Daring Cooks Challenge was hosted by Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes . She has chosen a delicious Spanish recipe, Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, one of the most important Spanish Chefs at the moment.

Though this recipe asks for fish, it is so versatile. I used a medley of vegetables, artichokes and paneer (Cottage Cheese). Once you have the Sofregit ready its easy to cook this and a nice meal in itself. The rice I used was Sona Masoori and did not get to make the allioli, I will try to make it and post about it soon. Thanks Olga was this lovely recipe.

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Equipment:
1 Chopping Board
1 knife
1 medium saucepan
1 Paella pan (30 cm/11” is enough for 4 people. If not available, you may use a simple pan that size)
1 Saucepan

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or freezed if fresh are not available)
12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello)
1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
1 glass of white wine
2 Cuttlefish (you can use freezed cuttlefish or squid if you don’t find it fresh)
“Sofregit” (see recipe below)
300 gr (2 cups) Short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred, but you can choose any other short grain. This kind of rice absorbs flavor very well) – about 75 gr per person ( ½ cup per person) Please read this for more info on suitable rices.
Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)
Saffron threads (if you can’t find it or afford to buy it, you can substitute it for turmeric or yellow coloring powder)
Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) - optional

Directions:

  1. Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.
  2. Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
  3. If you use fresh artichokes, clean them as shown in the video in tip #7. Cut artichokes in eights.
  4. Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
  5. Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.
  6. Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes. (I added the vegetables after browning the artichokes and cooked for another few monutes.)
  7. Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
  8. Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.
  9. Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
  10. Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
  11. Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.
  12. Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
  13. Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.




Sofregit (a well cooked and fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, and may at times different vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)

Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1 Bay leaf
Salt
Touch of ground cumin
Touch of dried oregano

Directions:
  1. Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.
  2. Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it’s not!)


Allioli is the optional part of the recipe. You must choose one of the two recipes given, even though I highly recommend you to try traditional one. Allioli is served together with the rice and it gives a very nice taste

Allioli (Traditional recipe)
Cooking time: 20 min aprox.
Ingredients:
4 garlic cloves, peeled
Pinch of salt
Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)

Directions:
  1. Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.
  2. Using a pestle, smash the garlic cloves to a smooth paste. (The salt stops the garlic from slipping at the bottom of the mortar as you pound it down.)
  3. Add the lemon juice to the garlic.
  4. Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.
  5. Keep turning your pestle in a slow, continuous circular motion in the mortar.
  6. The drip needs to be slow and steady. Make sure the paste soaks up the olive oil as you go.
  7. Keep adding the oil, drop by drop, until you have the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. If your allioli gets too dense, add water to thin it out. This takes time—around 20 minutes of slow motion around the mortar—to create a dense, rich sauce.


Allioli a la moderna (Modern recipe)
Cooking time: 3-4 minutes
Ingredients:
1 small egg
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (as above, Spanish oil is highly recommended)
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 Tbs. Spanish Sherry vinegar or lemon juice (if Sherry vinegar is not available, use can use cider or white vinegar)
Salt to taste

Directions:
  1. Break the egg into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic cloves, along with the vinegar or lemon juice.
  3. Using a hand blender, start mixing at high speed until the garlic is fully pureed into a loose paste.
  4. Little by little, add what's left of the olive oil as you continue blending.
  5. If the mixture appears too thick as you begin pouring the oil, add 1 teaspoon of water to loosen the sauce.
  6. Continue adding the oil and blending until you have a rich, creamy allioli.
  7. The sauce will be a lovely yellow color.
  8. Add salt to taste.



This months Indian Cooking Challenge was the Khaman Dhokla. We were really hungry so could not wait to get a good picture, it was a bit crumbly but was very tasty. I actually made it 3 times to get it right, the first time I added Eno too early and it did not rise, I baked it in the oven to make it crisp and had them like biscuit, the second time I think I went over board and added more eno, I have the bottle and not sachets, it was really light and good but tooooo crumbly. Finally I went back and actualy read the notes below and saw that 1 sachet is about 5 gms. I finally had this though a bit crumbly it help well, will reduce the eno a bit more next time.

I used lime instead of citric acid and skipped the coconut. Made my own Pudina chutney to go along with it, though it tastes good even without the chutney.

Thank you Srivalli and a big thank you to your colleagues mom for the recipe.

Ingredients
Makes 20 medium sized pieces
For Batter:

250 gms Bengal Gram flour / Besan (1 cup in US, and 1 & 1/2 in India)
1/2 cup Curd
1/2 cup Water
1/2 tsp Cooking Soda

For seasoning to be mixed to the batter (to be added just before cooking)
1 tbsp Oil
a pinch
pinch Turmeric
2 green Chili paste (as per taste)
1 tsp Sugar
1/3 tsp Citric acid or 1/2 lime
Eno - 1 packet (green colour fruit lime) + sprinkle or dust few bits on the plate (5 gms)

For tempering
Sesame seeds
Mustard Seeds
Curry leaves
Grated coconut
Coriander leaves

Little water + Oil to be topped on dhoklas

Method

  1. Mix first 1/2 cup curds with 1/2 water. To this add the besan and mix well to get a lump less batter, the consistency should be of idli batter, more of dropping not pouring consistency. Slowly add more water if needed else, add the soda. Keep it aside to rise for 1 hour.
  2. If you are using a pressure cooker, fill the pan with water, place a plate over which you will have use a plate for steaming the dhoklas. Thali plate can be used for steaming
  3. To the batter mix in the citric acid, oil, salt, sugar, green chili paste and turmeric powder. Mix well. This has to be done just before pouring to the plate.
  4. Meanwhile have the pan on stove, and let the water start boiling. When the water reaches the rolling stage, you can mix the eno to the batter (Save little of eno for dusting on the plate), mix gently, you will see bubbles coming out.
  5. Dust or sprinkle the plate with eno. Then immediately pour the batter to the plate. Place the plate carefully inside the pressure pan and cover with lid. You need not use the whistle. After covering you will find steam coming out of the outlet, simmer and don't disturb for almost 5 -7 minutes.
  6. After 5 -7 minutes, remove the lid and proof it using toothpick or knife. If the knife comes out clean and does not have any batter sticking, then its done. Cover back and let it remain on flame for 1 min and switch off the gas and allow it for 5 minutes.
  7. In a bowl, mix 3 tsp of water along with a tsp of oil
  8. Remove the plate from the pan, pour the water and oil mix over the top.
  9. For seasoning, heat a pan with oil, add curry leaves, sesame seeds, mustard seeds and finely chopped green chilies. When mustard starts popping, remove and pour over the dhokla
  10. The batter should be filled to only 1/2 as it will rise up. After adding eno the batter should not rest. Amount of sugar can be increased on preference.
  11. If you want perfect shaped ones and not the crumbling, cut and handle gently
  12. Dhokla can also be steamed in kadai filled with water and a plated titled over it.


Green chutney
4-5 Green chili
4- 5 pieces coconut
1 bunch coriander
few mint leaves
1/2 Cumin seeds
1 big Lime
Salt to taste

Method
  1. Take all the ingredients except coriander in a food processor. Grind to a smooth paste.
  2. Then add the coriander and again grind. Remove to a bowl, add the remaining lime and serve with Dhoklas.



It has been so long that I have blogged anything, many things happening at the same time. We ad a water pipe burst for the 6th time in the apartment. Finally we decided to move out and by gods grace we found a lovely house and could also move in within 3 weeks. Its a great feeling to be in your own house and yet so much to do its never ending.

These busy days are when I love that we have some left overs. This is a recipe where you just follow your instincts, I don't have measurements for the masalas, its all upto everyones taste. Sometimes I just add Idli Pudi / chutney powder and other times I make it this way. If you like you can even deep fry the idlies, I sometimes bake them too.

Idli Upma

  1. Cut the cooked left over Idlies into quarters.
  2. Mix some coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, amchur (mango powder), sugar and salt. Make this mix to your taste.
  3. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds.
  4. Add curry leaves once they splutter.
  5. Add the masala mix made in step 2.
  6. Add the idlies.
  7. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes, till everything is heated well.
  8. I cooked it on medium high, mixing intermediately, to make the idlies little crisp.
  9. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with coconut chutney.


Srivalli of Spice Your Life has started this wonderful Indian Cooking Challenge, where every month one recipe will be given and everyone should follow it and post it on the same day. This month was trial and we all had to make Rava Laddoo's. What day better than today, being our anniversary and also we finalized on a house. I waited for today to make it. I had made them before but a bit differently. I followed her recipe and this is much easier than what I used to follow and tasted better too. Thanks Srivalli for this lovely challenge. This were so easy to make too. Here is Srivalli's recipe.

Ingredients

Makes - 10 Laddoos of normal size

Rava / Semolina - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Ghee - 25 gms
Milk - 25 ml
Cardamom powder - a pinch
Cashew nuts - 10 whole nuts
Raisins - 10 nos
Grated fresh coconut - 25 gms


Method

  1. Heat 2 tsp of ghee in a kadai. Roast cashew nuts and raisins. Once the raisins balloon up, remove and keep them aside.
  2. Roast the grated coconut. Remove and keep aside.
  3. Add the remaining ghee and roast the Rava till its well roasted and aroma starts coming out.
  4. In a bowl, take all the roasted Rava, Nuts, Coconut and add the Cardamom powder.
  5. Add the sugar. Mix well.
  6. Slowly add the warm milk into the bowl. Check if you are able to gather as balls. When you find that milk added is enough to get you laddoos, transfer it back to the kadai and cook on sim for 2 mins.
  7. Mix well and then cover it and let it rest for 2 mins.
  8. Then immediately make laddoos.



The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

This was a lovely challenge, I made 2 tarts one was a pear tart and the other I use Rasberry Jam. The pear tart was over in seconds where as the other one was forgotten in the oven and next day mom turned on the oven in the morning and the poor thing got burnt. We all were really sad since we wanted to have that for breakfast. Anyways I will surely be making this again. Thank you for the lovely recipe.



Bakewell Tart…er…pudding

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart

  1. Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
  3. Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.
  4. The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.
  5. When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.


Jasmine’s notes:
  • If you cannot have nuts, you can try substituting Victoria sponge for the frangipane. It's a pretty popular popular cake, so you shouldn't have any troubles finding one in one of your cookbooks or through a Google search. That said, our dear Natalie at Gluten a Go Go has sourced some recipes and linked to them in the related alt.db thread.
  • You can use whichever jam you wish, but if you choose something with a lot of seeds, such as raspberry or blackberry, you should sieve them out.
  • The jam quantity can be anywhere from 60ml (1/4 cup) to 250ml (1cup), depending upon how “damp” and strongly flavoured your preserves are. I made it with the lesser quantity of home made strawberry jam, while Annemarie made it with the greater quantity of cherry jam; we both had fabulous results. If in doubt, just split the difference and spread 150ml (2/3cup) on the crust.
    Annemarie’s notes:
  • The excess shortcrust can be rolled out and cut into cookie-shapes (heck, it’s pretty darned close to a shortbread dough).




Sweet shortcrust pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Method
  1. Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.
  2. Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.
  3. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes


Jasmine’s notes:
  • I make this using vanilla salt and vanilla sugar.
  • If you wish, you can substitute the seeds of one vanilla bean, one teaspoon of vanilla paste or one teaspoon of vanilla extract for the almond extract


Frangipane

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Method
Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

Annemarie’s notes:
  • Add another five minutes or more if you're grinding your own almonds or if you're mixing by hand (Heaven help you).



I have been away from my blog for a long time and even though I completed this challenge on time I could not get to post it. Its taking me a while to get back to the swing of things. I am so very late in posting this.

I made a veggie version, just sauted some onions, carrot, beans, cabbage, capsicum and green onions with some garlic salt and pepper. I liked the pan fried version more than the steamed ones, though my husband liked the steamed ones better.

Thank you for this lovely challenge.

Click here for the recipe




Hello friends, its been so long I have been able to post anything due to different circumstances. But am back now and will try to catch up for the lost time.

Here is the most loved and easy to make Mattar Aloo, this is a saviour when you don't have much in your fridge.

(Serves 2)
Ingredients

2 medium potatoes, cut in quarters
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 big tomatoes / 2 tbsp tomato paste(or as per taste)
1/2 inch ginger
1 green chili
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp red chili powder
pinch turmeric powder
salt to taste
fresh coriander leaves for garnish
1 tbsp oil

Method
  1. Puree the tomatoes, ginger and green chilies. Keep aside. If using tomato paste, then just grate the ginger and chop the green chilies and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil in a cooker.
  3. Add the onions and fry them on medium high till they are golden brown.
  4. Add the coriander powder, red chili powder and turmeric powder.
  5. Mix well and cook for a minute, till the oil separates.
  6. Add the pureed tomato and cook on medium high till the oil separates.
  7. Add the peas and potatoes. Saute for a few minutes.
  8. Add 1.5 cups of water.
  9. Close the cooker and after 2 whistles, turn it off.
  10. Let the steam out naturally.
  11. Boil the curry till required consistency, adding more water if needed.
  12. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve.



This recipe is my mothers, and everyone loves it, its simple to make. I found this recipe in one of her old books and quickly wrote it down.

Ingredients
1 cup kabuli channa (Soaked in 3 to 4 cups of water for 10 - 12 hours), canned chickpeas can be used
1 tea bag or put 1 tbsp tea in a cheese cloth and tie it tightly
1.5 tsp fennel seeds/saunf
1.5 cups onion sliced
1/2 tsp black salt
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 tsp kalongi/onion seeds powdered
1 inch ginger, sliced
1 tsp garlic paste(optional)
2 tbsp thick tamarind juice (adjust to taste)
1 tsp ghee/oil
fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Method

  1. Drain the soaked channa.
  2. Pressure cook it along with the tea bag, fennel seeds, black salt and 1/2 cup of sliced onions.
  3. After 4 to 5 whistles or till cooked well, drain the channas and reserve the water. Discard the tea bag.
  4. Heat the ghee, add the kalongi and cumin seeds.
  5. Once they splutter add the sliced onions, ginger and garlic. Cook till the onions are transparent.
  6. Add the drained channa and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the tamarind paste and 1/2 cup of the channa water.
  8. Mix well.
  9. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. The water would have dried up by now.
  10. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with Baturas.


I am sending this to Think Spice: Kalonji hosted by Dee of Ammalu’s Kitchen, started by Sunita.



April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I so love cheese cakes and never would have made it at home if it was not for The Daring Bakers. I chose to make a Mango Cheesecake. I followed the recipe to the T and just added 1/4 cup of mango pulp. Will make this more often with different flavours. Thank you Jenny.


Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake

crust:
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

cheesecake:
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
  2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.
  3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
  4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
  5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

Some variations from the recipe creator:
  • Lavender-scented cheesecake w/ blueberries - heat the cup of heavy cream in the microwave or a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add 2 tbsp of lavender flowers and stir. Let lavender steep in the cream for about 10-15 minutes, then strain the flowers out. Add strained cream to cheesecake batter as normal. Top with fresh blueberries, or make a quick stovetop blueberry sauce (splash of orange juice, blueberries, a little bit of sugar, and a dash of cinnamon - cook until berries burst, then cool)
  • Cafe au lait cheesecake with caramel - take 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and heat it in the microwave for a short amount of time until very hot. Add 1-2 tbsp. instant espresso or instant coffee; stir to dissolve. Add this to the remainder of cream and use as normal. Top cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce (I usually find one on the food network website - just make sure it has heavy cream in it. You can use store-bought in a pinch, but the flavor is just not the same since its usually just sugar and corn syrup with no dairy).
  • Tropical – add about a half cup of chopped macadamias to the crust, then top the cake with a mango-raspberry-mandarin orange puree.
  • Mexican Turtle - add a bar of melted dark chocolate (between 3 and 5 oz., to taste) to the batter, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.). Top it with pecan halves and a homemade caramel sauce.
  • Honey-cinnamon with port-pomegranate poached pears – replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey, add about a teaspoon or more (to taste) of cinnamon. Take 2 pears (any variety you like or whatever is in season), peeled and cored, and poach them in a boiling poaching liquid of port wine, pomegranate juice/seeds, a couple of "coins" of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, and about a 1/4 cup of sugar. Poach them until tender, then let cool. Strain the poaching liquid and simmer until reduced to a syrupy-glaze consistency, then cool. Thinly slice the cooled pears and fan them out atop the cooled cheesecake. Pour the cooled poaching syrup over the pears, then sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds.


Some variations from Jenny (from JennyBakes):
  • Key lime - add zest from one lime to sugar before mixing with cream cheese. Substitute lemon juice, alcohol, and vanilla with key lime juice.
  • Cheesecakelets - put in muffin tins, ramekins, or custard cups. Try baking 20-35 minutes, or until still a little jiggly, and cool as before.


Click here to view what the other fellow Daring Bakers baked.



Its been so long posting something, feels good to be back. In March 2009 the daring bakers decided to make lasagnas from scratch and I happened to make double the quantity of dough. I had lots of left over dough and was planning to make ravioli, tortellini's and freeze them and that's how I realized I could make Stuffed Dal Dhokli, which I has been my favorite ever since I saw it in The Spice Cafe. I love her pictures and I think that's what inspired me to cook this, though I never loved it when I was small. But now every time I have some extra dough of any kind and its getting stale I make this, sometimes with a stuffing and sometimes not. There was this once that I had to make Muruku's and I used All purpose flour instead of Rice Flour, so yeah they too landed up as dhoklis. This is such a versatile recipe and do not forget to add the peanuts, they are the best part.

Ingredients

Dhoklis

I used about 1/2 cup of Spinach Pasta Dough

The Usual Dhokli recipe is as follow, you can skip the stuffing and just use the dough or use any other stuffing of your choice:

Dough
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 tsp oil
water for kneading

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients except water.
  2. Knead to a soft dough using the water.
  3. Cover and keep aside till you make the stuffing.


Stuffing

1/2 cup boiled and smashed potatoes
1 green chili, chopped finely
a pinch turmeric powder
1/4 amchur (mango powder)
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
salt to taste

Method
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and keep aside.


Assemble the Dhokli
  1. Take a lemon size ball of dough.
  2. Roll to make a 1/4 inch thick circle.
  3. Using a cookie cutter or a bottle cap, cut small circles about 2 inch in radius.
  4. Place little bit of the stuffing on each cut circle.
  5. Close the sides of the circle over the stuffing and form a ball.
  6. Flatten the ball to form a flat disc.
  7. Continue the same till all the flour is used.
  8. Cover and keep aside till the dal is made.


Dal Ingredients
1 cup boiled Toor Dal
1/4 inch ginger grated (optional)
1 tsp jeera
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 pinch hing / asefetida
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/3 cup raw peanuts
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
2 kukum flowers
2 tsp jaggery/gur
salt to taste
fresh coriander leaves for garnish
2 cups water
1 tsp ghee / oil
1 onion chopped and mixed with some salt and red chili powder

Method
  1. Heat ghee and add the hing, the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  2. Once they splutter add the tomatoes and ginger. Cook for a minute.
  3. Add the dal with the 2 cups off water.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add the peanuts,red chili powder, turmeric powder, kukum, jaggery and salt.
  6. Boil for 5 minutes.
  7. Keep it on simmer and add the dhokli's.
  8. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. The dal dhokli is done once the dhokli float to the top.
  10. Add the coriander leaves.
  11. Serve immediately garnished with the onion.



The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

I loved this months challenge, it was the first time I would be making pasta from scratch. I made my own sauce since we do not eat meat, added some mushrooms, carrots to it instead. It wasnt as bad as it felt it would be to make. I made everything and then hubby dear assembled it for me, I had made some extra sauce to use another time, but he thaught he had to use all of it, so he divided it to 3 parts and poured everything in there, so I had a very saucy lasagna, he says he loves it this way its better than one I normally make.



I landed up making double the quantity of dough, yes double, dont ask me how that happened. I was thinking of freezing them, making some raviolis, tortellinis, but we do not have pastas that often so it was not to exciting to roll and freeze them. Tortellini then gave me the idea of making Dal Dhokli - A Lentil soup with dumplings made with the dough and stuffed with a potato filling. (Will share the recipe soon).



Still had some dough left, so I made some stuffed paranthas and Satpura.



Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna (Lasagne Verdi al Forno)
(Serves 8 to 10 as a first course, 6 to 8 as a main dish)

Preparation Time: 15 minutes to assemble and 40 minutes cooking time


10 quarts (9 litres) salted water
1 recipe Spinach Pasta cut for lasagna (recipe follows)#1
1 recipe Bechamel Sauce (recipe follows)#2
1 recipe Country Style Ragu (recipe follows)#3
1 cup (4 ounces/125g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Method
Working Ahead:
The ragu and the béchamel sauce can be made up to three days ahead. The ragu can also be frozen for up to one month. The pasta can be rolled out, cut and dried up to 24 hours before cooking. The assembled lasagne can wait at room temperature (20 degrees Celsius/68 degrees Fahrenheit) about 1 hour before baking. Do not refrigerate it before baking, as the topping of béchamel and cheese will overcook by the time the center is hot.

Assembling the Ingredients:
Have all the sauces, rewarmed gently over a medium heat, and the pasta at hand. Have a large perforated skimmer and a large bowl of cold water next to the stove. Spread a double thickness of paper towels over a large counter space. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Oil or butter a 3 quart (approx 3 litre) shallow baking dish.

Cooking the Pasta:
Bring the salted water to a boil. Drop about four pieces of pasta in the water at a time. Cook about 2 minutes. If you are using dried pasta, cook about 4 minutes, taste, and cook longer if necessary. The pasta will continue cooking during baking, so make sure it is only barely tender. Lift the lasagne from the water with a skimmer, drain, and then slip into the bowl of cold water to stop cooking. When cool, lift out and dry on the paper towels. Repeat until all the pasta is cooked.

Assembling the Lasagne:
Spread a thin layer of béchamel over the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange a layer of about four overlapping sheets of pasta over the béchamel. Spread a thin layer of béchamel (about 3 or 4 spoonfuls) over the pasta, and then an equally thin layer of the ragu. Sprinkle with about 1&1/2 tablespoons of the béchamel and about 1/3 cup of the cheese. Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used, finishing with béchamel sauce and topping with a generous dusting of cheese.

Baking and Serving the Lasagne:
Cover the baking dish lightly with foil, taking care not to let it touch the top of the lasagne. Bake 40 minutes, or until almost heated through. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, or until hot in the center (test by inserting a knife – if it comes out very warm, the dish is ready). Take care not to brown the cheese topping. It should be melted, creamy looking and barely tinged with a little gold. Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and let the lasagne rest for about 10 minutes. Then serve. This is not a solid lasagne, but a moist one that slips a bit when it is cut and served.

#1 Spinach Egg Pasta (Pasta Verde)
Preparation: 45 minutes
Makes enough for 6 to 8 first course servings or 4 to 6 main course servings, equivalent to 1 pound (450g) dried boxed pasta.

2 jumbo eggs (2 ounces/60g or more)
10 ounces (300g) fresh spinach, rinsed dry, and finely chopped; or 6 ounces (170g) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3&1/2 cups (14 ounces/400g) all purpose unbleached (plain) flour (organic stone ground preferred)

Working by Hand:

Equipment

A roomy work surface, 24 to 30 inches deep by 30 to 36 inches (60cm to 77cm deep by 60cm to 92cm). Any smooth surface will do, but marble cools dough slightly, making it less flexible than desired.

A pastry scraper and a small wooden spoon for blending the dough.

A wooden dowel-style rolling pin. In Italy, pasta makers use one about 35 inches long and 2 inches thick (89cm long and 5cm thick). The shorter American-style pin with handles at either end can be used, but the longer it is, the easier it is to roll the pasta.
Note: although it is not traditional, Enza has successfully made pasta with a marble rolling pin, and this can be substituted for the wooden pin, if you have one.

Plastic wrap to wrap the resting dough and to cover rolled-out pasta waiting to be filled. It protects the pasta from drying out too quickly.

A sharp chef’s knife for cutting pasta sheets.

Cloth-covered chair backs, broom handles, or specially designed pasta racks found in cookware shops for draping the pasta.

Mixing the dough:
Mound the flour in the center of your work surface and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs and spinach. Use a wooden spoon to beat together the eggs and spinach. Then gradually start incorporating shallow scrapings of flour from the sides of the well into the liquid. As you work more and more flour into the liquid, the well’s sides may collapse. Use a pastry scraper to keep the liquids from running off and to incorporate the last bits of flour into the dough. Don’t worry if it looks like a hopelessly rough and messy lump.

Kneading:
With the aid of the scraper to scoop up unruly pieces, start kneading the dough. Once it becomes a cohesive mass, use the scraper to remove any bits of hard flour on the work surface – these will make the dough lumpy. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes. Its consistency should be elastic and a little sticky. If it is too sticky to move easily, knead in a few more tablespoons of flour. Continue kneading about 10 minutes, or until the dough has become satiny, smooth, and very elastic. It will feel alive under your hands. Do not shortcut this step. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and let it relax at room temperature 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Stretching and Thinning:
If using an extra-long rolling pin work with half the dough at a time. With a regular-length rolling pin, roll out a quarter of the dough at a time and keep the rest of the dough wrapped. Lightly sprinkle a large work surface with flour. The idea is to stretch the dough rather than press down and push it. Shape it into a ball and begin rolling out to form a circle, frequently turning the disc of dough a quarter turn. As it thins outs, start rolling the disc back on the pin a quarter of the way toward the center and stretching it gently sideways by running the palms of your hands over the rolled-up dough from the center of the pin outward. Unroll, turn the disc a quarter turn, and repeat. Do twice more.

Stretch and even out the center of the disc by rolling the dough a quarter of the way back on the pin. Then gently push the rolling pin away from you with one hand while holding the sheet in place on the work surface with the other hand. Repeat three more times, turning the dough a quarter turn each time.

Repeat the two processes as the disc becomes larger and thinner. The goal is a sheet of even thickness. For lasagne, the sheet should be so thin that you can clearly see your hand through it and see colours. Cut into rectangles about 4 by 8 inches (10 x 20 cm). Note: Enza says that transparency is a crucial element of lasagne pasta and the dough should be rolled as thinly as possible. She says this is why her housekeeper has such strong arms!

Dry the pasta at room temperature and store in a sealed container or bag.

#2 Bechamel
Preparation Time: 15 minutes

4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60g) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60g) all purpose unbleached (plain) flour, organic stone ground preferred
2&2/3 cups (approx 570ml) milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste

Using a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over low to medium heat. Sift over the flour, whisk until smooth, and then stir (without stopping) for about 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk a little at a time and keep the mixture smooth. Bring to a slow simmer, and stir 3 to 4 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper, and a hint of nutmeg.

#3 Country Style Ragu’ (Ragu alla Contadina)
Preparation Time: Ingredient Preparation Time 30 minutes and Cooking time 2 hours

Makes enough sauce for 1 recipe fresh pasta or 1 pound/450g dried pasta)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (45 mL)
2 ounces/60g pancetta, finely chopped
1 medium onion, minced
1 medium stalk celery with leaves, minced
1 small carrot, minced
4 ounces/125g boneless veal shoulder or round
4 ounces/125g pork loin, trimmed of fat, or 4 ounces/125g mild Italian sausage (made without fennel)
8 ounces/250g beef skirt steak, hanging tender, or boneless chuck blade or chuck center cut (in order of preference)
1 ounce/30g thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma
2/3 cup (5 ounces/160ml) dry red wine
1 &1/2 cups (12 ounces/375ml) chicken or beef stock (homemade if possible)
2 cups (16 ounces/500ml) milk
3 canned plum tomatoes, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Working Ahead:
The ragu can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. It also freezes well for up to 1 month. Skim the fat from the ragu’ before using it.

Browning the Ragu Base:
Heat the olive oil in a 12 inch (30cm) skillet (frying pan) over medium-high heat. Have a large saucepan handy to use once browning is complete. Add the pancetta and minced vegetables and sauté, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, 10 minutes, or until the onions barely begin to color. Coarsely grind all the meats together, including the prosciutto, in a food processor or meat grinder. Stir into the pan and slowly brown over medium heat. First the meats will give off a liquid and turn dull grey but, as the liquid evaporates, browning will begin. Stir often, scooping under the meats with the wooden spatula. Protect the brown glaze forming on the bottom of the pan by turning the heat down. Cook 15 minutes, or until the meats are a deep brown. Turn the contents of the skillet into a strainer and shake out the fat. Turn them into the saucepan and set over medium heat.

Reducing and Simmering:
Add the wine to the skillet, lowering the heat so the sauce bubbles quietly. Stir occasionally until the wine has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Scrape up the brown glaze as the wine bubbles. Then pour the reduced wine into the saucepan and set the skillet aside.

Stir ½ cup stock into the saucepan and let it bubble slowly, 10 minutes, or until totally evaporated. Repeat with another ½ cup stock. Stir in the last 1/2 cup stock along with the milk. Adjust heat so the liquid bubbles very slowly. Partially cover the pot, and cook 1 hour. Stir frequently to check for sticking.

Add the tomatoes, crushing them as they go into the pot. Cook uncovered, at a very slow bubble for another 45 minutes, or until the sauce resembles a thick, meaty stew. Season with salt and pepper.

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Tahiri is a traditional sindhi sweet rice made on special occasions, like curry chawara function during the weddings. Tahiri is normally served along with Bhee Aloo (Lotus Stem and Aloo Gravy) and boondi raita. We went to mamas place for holi and she made this for lunch. Thanks mom.

Ingredients
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
2 cardamoms
few strands of saffron
1/2 dry fruits (Almonds, Pista and Raisins)
shahi jeera for garnish
few drops of food color (Orange or yellow)
1.5 tbsp ghee

Method

  1. Boil the water.
  2. Add the rice, cook on medium high till water reduces to about 2/3.
  3. Reduce heat, add sugar, ghee, cardamom, saffron.
  4. Cover and cook till rice is cooked completely.
  5. Add food color, mix well.
  6. Fry the dry fruits in some ghee, add them to the rice.
  7. Garnish with shahi jeera
  8. Serve with Bhee Aloo (Lotus Stem and Aloo Gravy) and boondi raita.


Note:
  • You can also add some fresh coconut pieces along with the dry fruits.
  • Add 1/4 tsp of fennel seeds while cooking the rice, gives out a nice aroma and flavour.



There are 2 ways we normally cook Binda Basar, one deep frying the bindhis and then making the curry and I have already posted that one here, and the second the same thing in the cooker which is quicker and healtier. We normally have this with roti while the fried version with khichini.

Ingredients
250 gms Bhinda - Okra
2 onions, chopped
2 tomatoes
1 inch ginger
2 green chilies
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Method

  1. Puree the tomatoes, ginger and green chili together.
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a cooker.
  3. Add the onions and cook on medium low till they are translucent.
  4. Add the coriander powder, red chili powder and turmeric powder. Cook for minute till the oil separates.
  5. Add the pureed tomatoes. cook till the oil separates.
  6. Add the Bhinda's and salt. Mix well.
  7. Add 1/4 cup water.
  8. Close the cooker and give one whistle.
  9. garnish with coriander leaves and serve along with roti.


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Besan Toast is the vegetarian version for French Toast, whenever mama would make french toast for us, she would make besan toast for herself since she does not have eggs. Its easy and quick to make. I will just give the ingredients and the method, quantities vary as per taste.

Ingredients
bread slices
besan (gram flour)
water
onions, chopped
fresh coriander leaves
green chillies or red chili flakes
salt
grated carrot (optional)
cabbage, chopped (optional)
oil or butter

Method

  1. Cut the bread diagonally, you can even make 2 rectangles or 4 squares, or even use cookie cutter to get different shapes to please kids.
  2. Mix besan, onions, coriander leaves, green chilies, vegetables and the salt.
  3. Add water to the besan, to make a thick batter.
  4. Heat a tawa on medium heat.
  5. Dip the bread pieces in the besan mix and place on the hot tawa.
  6. Add some oil/butter, cook till the side facing down is golden brown and crisp.
  7. Flip and cook this side to golden brown and crisp, adding more oil if needed.
  8. Serve with ketchup or chutney.


The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

The cake was so lovely and easy to make, I used 1/2 bitter sweet and 1/2 semi sweet. I could not make the ice cream so served it with some strawberry sauce.

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

Method

  1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
  2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
  3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
  4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
  5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
  6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
  7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
  9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
    Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
  10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Dharm's Ice Cream Recipe
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Recipe comes from the Ice Cream Book by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis (tested modifications and notes in parentheses by Dharm)

Ingredients
1 Vanilla Pod (or substitute with vanilla extract)
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Semi Skimmed Milk – in the U.S. this is 2% fat (or use fresh full fat milk that is pasteurised and homogenised {as opposed to canned or powdered}). Dharm used whole milk.
4 large egg yolks
75g / 3oz / 6 tbsp caster sugar {superfine sugar can be achieved in a food processor or use regular granulated sugar}
5ml / 1 tsp corn flour {cornstarch}
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Double Cream (48% butter fat) {in the U.S. heavy cream is 37% fat)
{you can easily increase your cream's fat content by heating 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 3 Tbs of butter until melted - cool to room temperature and add to the heavy cream as soon as whisk marks appear in the cream, in a slow steady stream, with the mixer on low speed. Raise speed and continue whipping the cream) or use heavy cream the difference will be in the creaminess of the ice cream.

Method
  1. Using a small knife slit the vanilla pod lengthways. Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse
    Lift the vanilla pod up. Holding it over the pan, scrape the black seeds out of the pod with a small knife so that they fall back into the milk. SET the vanilla pod aside and bring the milk back to the boil.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn-flour in a bowl until the mixture is thick and foamy.
  3. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle hear, stirring all the time
  4. When the custard thickens and is smooth, pour it back into the bowl. Cool it then chill.
  5. By Hand: Whip the cream until it has thickened but still falls from a spoon. Fold it into the custard and pour into a plastic tub or similar freeze-proof container. Freeze for 6 hours or until firm enough to scoop, beating it twice (during the freezing process – to get smoother ice cream or else the ice cream will be icy and coarse)

By Using and Ice Cream Maker: Stir the cream into the custard and churn the mixture until thick (follow instructions on your ice cream maker)

Wendy's Ice Cream Recipe
Vanilla Philadelphia Style Recipe
Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients
2 cups (473 ml) of half and half (1 cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of whole, full fat milk)
1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
2/3 (128 grams) cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 (12 grams) tablespoon of vanilla

Method
  1. Mix all ingredients together (we do this in a plastic pitcher and mix with an emulsifier hand blender-whisking works too).
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer
  3. Mix in your ice cream maker as directed.


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