30 December 2011

Celebrating First Blog Anniversary with Walnut Cake

One year ago on this day, I decided to venture into food blogging. Never did I expect it to give me so much joy. I still can't believe its been a year of blogging. It has surely made me find and try out many recipes which I'd have never attempted otherwise. Looking back,  it has been an amazing journey so far and I would like to thank all my readers and fellow blogger friends for the wonderful support and encouragement. Thank you all and wish you a new year filled with happiness, peace and togetherness.

Here is a healthy version of Walnut Cake. Walnuts are considered to be the king of nuts when it comes to health benefits especially related to heart and circulatory system. They reduce LDL (Bad Cholesterol) and increases HDL (good Cholesterol ). This is the first time I tried baking with olive oil and was surprised to note that there was no evident taste difference in the cake. (I was pretty apprehensive to use it) :) This reminds me of the famous quote by Mark Twain.

" The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.''

So let's hope to cook, eat , drink and be merry to have a healthy year ahead. :)



INGREDIENTS

Wheat Flour - 1 1/2 cup
Barley Flour - 1/2 cup
Baking Powder - 2 tsp
Cinnamon Powder - 1 tsp
Clove Powder - 3/4 tsp
Nutmeg Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
Eggs - 2 at room temperature
Walnut Chopped - 1 cup
Low fat Yogurt - 2/3 cup
Orange Zest - 2 tsp 
Orange Juice - 1/2 cup
Brown Sugar / Cane Sugar - 3/4 cup tightly packed

For Syrup
Orange Juice - 1/3 cup
Orange Zest - 1 small (1'' x 1'') strip
Brown Sugar/Cane Sugar - 1/4 cup tightly packed
Clove - 2

METHOD
Preheat oven to 180 degree C for 10 minutes.
Chop the walnuts into small pieces.
Prepare a 8 inch square baking dish with butter  and line it with parchment paper.
Spread the walnuts in it and toast it for 7 minutes. Remove and transfer it to a plate to cool.
In a bowl mix the dry ingredients - Wheat, Barley, Baking soda, Baking Powder, Salt, Cinnamon powder, Clove powder and Nutmeg Powder.
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and brown sugar until smooth.
In a small bowl mix the yoghurt, orange zest and orange juice until smooth.
Add this to the egg mixture stirring well along with olive oil.
Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture in 2 batches. Stir just to blend.
Fold in 3/4 cup walnuts.
Bake  for 35 minutes or until the skewer inserted comes out clean.
In the mean time prepare the syrup.
Combine the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to boil on medium heat. Stir in between.
Cook for 3-4 minutes until it becomes thick syrup consistency. Remove the zest and cloves and let cool.
When the cake is done transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Using a toothpick pierce on the cake at about 18 points.
Brush the syrup on the cake many times making sure that it seeps through the holes made.
Sprinkle the remaining walnuts.
Cut and serve.



Tips:
Chop walnuts into small pieces else the cake may crumble.
2/3 cups means 2 measures of 1/3 cup or as per British Standards 1/2 cup + 1 tsp
This is a medium sweet cake. So increase the cane sugar to 1 cup if you like it sweet.
Use freshly grated orange zest. Zest is the outer most skin of orange, lime or lemon. Just the colored part and not the white part. Use a zester / just use a sharp knife to peel the outer skin and chop fine.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!




Sending this to Julie's Event Christmas Delicacy



21 December 2011

Healthy Christmas Pilaf

The countdown has already begun for Christmas. I am sure everyone is busy with shopping and getting ready to welcome guests and friends. There is so much activity around. Love the cold breeze that's the only sign of winter in my part of the world. Just love this climate and the festive season. With 2 celebrations around the corner let's gear up to enjoy every bit of it.

I know it's been a while I have been away from blogging. It's just that my family needed me more and blogging just took a back seat naturally. I am glad to be back but still will not be regular. Kindly bear with me dear readers and blogger friends. I will make up for everything soon.

For the time being let's enjoy this healthy version of pilaf. For all the health conscious friends around the world this is for you. Enjoy!!





INGREDIENTS

Basmati Rice -2 cups
Vegetable stock - 3 cups
Onions - 4 finely sliced
Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
Pistachios/ Cashew nuts - 100 gm
Coriander leaves- 1 cup finely chopped ( loosely packed)
Lime - 1
Pomegranates - 2 medium

To prepare Vegetable Stock
Water - 3 1/4 cups
Bay Leaf - 1
Onion - 1
Garlic - 5 whole
Ginger - 2 cm piece ginger, peeled but whole
Whole Pepper - 6
Carrot - 1/4 cup  chopped roughly



METHOD
Soak rice in water for 30 minutes and drain.
Halve the pomegranates and set the seeds aside.
To prepare the vegetable stock mix all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Strain the vegetable stock.
Pour 3 cups of vegetable stock in a kadai/pan. Reserve excess and add if required only.
Bring the stock to a boil and add salt .
Add rice. Do not stir. Cover and cook. When it comes to a boil reduce the flame to low and cook. After 10 minutes or when you see crates formed on top of the rice slowly stir it without breaking the rice. Cover and cook till rice is cooked and fluffy.
Heat a pan and lightly toast the cashews/pistachios. Reserve.
In a pan heat the olive oil. Add the coriander powder and stir well.
Add the onions and lemon juice. Stir fry till onions change colour and looks sticky. 
Add the onions, cashews/pistachios, coriander leaves and pomegranates to the rice and serve hot with Thai style vegetable stew.





Tips:
If the rice is not soaked for 30 minutes, more stock or water will be required to cook it.
To open the pomegranates without making it messy. Make deep slits from top to bottom on the pomegranates on all sides. Then fill a wide bowl with water. Now holding the pomegranates under water pull it open. Remove the white membrane. Now you will see that the seeds settle at the bottom and the white membranes float. Use a sieve to remove the floating parts. Pour out the water and there you have the lovely red seeds and no mess.



Merry Christmas!

25 November 2011

Butter Cake

It's so much 'utterly butterly delicious'. That says it. The butter cake was so soft and moist. I have had store bought ones many times before I started baking. Home made ones are surely the winner. My kids were like 'give me more'. :) That says it all. Kids are one of the best (and most tough) judges for your cooking. The smell of butter cake was wafting all over my house. Aah..it was too good.

It just reminded me of the simple cake that mom used to make. I loved baking cakes from the age of 10. Yes, my first baking expedition was then. My best friend's mom bakes such yummy cakes and I thought why not give it a try. It was an utter failure then. LOL..I still remember melting loads of chocolate to make that yummy chocolate cake. Now you know why you see me baking often.

 Looks like the festive season is already here. Enjoy!



INGREDIENTS
Recipe adapted from here

All Purpose Flour - 200g
Double Action Baking Powder - 2 tsp
Granulated Sugar - 180g
Salt - 1/2 tsp*
Unsalted Butter - 250g
Eggs - 4
Milk - 4tbsp
Vanilla Essence - 1tsp



METHOD
Preheat oven at 180 degree for 15 minutes.
Prepare a 22cm square baking pan by greasing it and lining with butter paper/ parchment paper.
Mix the dry ingredients - All purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Sieve it 3 times.
In a separate bowl mix the butter and sugar. Mix it till it becomes pale yellow.
Add one egg at a time and keep mixing with a hand blender.
Beat well till the mixture becomes of creamy consistency.
Add the vanilla essence.
Add the flour in 3-4 batches taking care to mix well after each addition.
Finally add milk spoon by spoon and mix well.
Transfer the mixture to the baking pan. Tap it lightly on the work space to remove air bubbles and distribute batter evenly.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the skewer inserted comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool. 
Slice and serve warm.


Tips:
Use eggs and butter at room temperature.
* If you are using salted butter then omit the salt. But I suggest using unsalted one as the salt added brings out the taste and flavor of the cake.
Add eggs only one at a time and beat on low speed as it may curdle if added too quickly. In that case add 1 or 2 tbsp of flour.

21 November 2011

Chocolate Brownies

Let's begin this new week with some rich chocolate brownies. Pack some in your bag and munch it during your break. Good idea? Who can resist brownies. Brownies are baked square bars with rich and dense chocolate. They are very famous in the U.S and a popular lunch box item. A high energy treat.Wow! Chocolate-y goodness in the lunch box. I love chocolate in any form and in a brownie its even better. It is so crunchy and chewy. I got to taste brownies for the first time when Ria baked it for us. It was just awesome!! 

So here it is ...Enjoy!



INGREDIENTS
Recipe Source : Ria

All Purpose Flour - 1 1/4 cup
Cocoa Powder - 2 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Chocolate - 310 gm
Unsalted Butter - 1 cup
Granulated Sugar - 1 1/2 cup
Brown Sugar - 1/2 cup
Eggs - 5
Vanilla Essence - 2 tsp



METHOD
Preheat oven to 175 degree C.
Whisk flour, cocoa powder and salt.
Chop the chocolate and butter into pieces.
In a double boiler , melt the butter and chocolate together.
When it is melted,  remove from fire and add in sugar till it dissolves.
Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Once cooled add 3 eggs and stir.
Then add 2 eggs and vanilla essence. Stir slowly. Do not over beat.
Fold in the flour in small batches just until its mixed.
When the batter is well blended transfer it to a square baking pan lined with parchment paper or foil liner.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer or toothpick comes out crumbly and slightly moist.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Once cool, lift the ends of the parchment paper or foil and transfer it to a plate.
Place the brownies in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so that it cools. Cut it into squares.



Tips:
Be careful not to over beat the mixture.
While lining the tin with parchment paper leave enough paper on the sides to be able to lift the brownies once cooled.
If you are using salted butter then omit the salt.
Don't be tempted to over bake it as brownies continue to cook in the trapped heat even after it is removed from the oven.
Brownies need to be refrigerated so that it is easier to cut it into clear lines/pieces.


19 November 2011

Shahi Paneer / Cottage Cheese in an Exotic Gravy

Shahi Paneer - the name itself suggests its a Royal curry with cottage cheese. It is one of the famous North Indian gravy which is usually had with naan or roti. 'Shahi' seems to be the Indo - Persian name for Royal which denotes that this curry is of Mughal origin in India.

Paneer is cooked in a spicy creamy sauce.The spices that go into the gravy makes it tongue tickling. It is a main course vegetarian gravy dish.



INGREDIENTS
Paneer - 500 gms
Clove - 6
Bay Leaves - 2
Cinnamon - 3   1'' sticks
Green Cardamoms - 6
Onion Paste - 1 cup
Ginger Paste - 2 tbsp
Garlic Paste - 2 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric- 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder- 1 tsp
Cashew Paste - 2 tbsp
Yoghurt - 1 1/4 cup
Warm water - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 2 tsp
Cream - 1/2 cup
Garam Masala - 1tsp
Green Cardomom Powder - 1/2 tsp
Saffron - a few strands dissolved in 1 tbsp milk
Coriander Leaves- 1 tbsp
Red Colour - 2 drops
Oil - 5 tbsp
Salt - to taste





METHOD

  • Heat oil in a pan; add cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and green cardamoms.
  • Saute on medium heat. When they begin to crackle add onion paste. Saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add the ginger, garlic paste, red chlly powder, turmeric, cashew paste, red colour and salt.
  • Add yoghurt, warm water and sugar. Bring it to a slow boil and simmer till the oil separates.
  • Remove the whole spices.Cool and blend in a mixer.
  •  Reheat, stir in the cream, garam masala, cardamom powder and saffron mixture.
  • Add paneer and cook on low for 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with Naan/ Roti/ any Indian Bread.


Tips:
I have halved the paneer because I wanted more gravy. If you like it thick then use 1 kg paneer.

15 November 2011

Pazham Pori / Ripe Banana Fritters

Pazham Pori/ Ripe Banana Fritters is one of the most common snack in any Kerala household. One of the easiest and yummy snack with a cup of tea or coffee. This snack is made from ripe Nendra variety bananas. The trick to making the best pazham pori is the ripeness of the banana. It should not be too ripe.

You will be surprised to see the variety of dishes prepared with banana in Kerala. The banana plants are put to the maximum use. We use the banana flower, banana stem, the raw banana, the ripe banana and of course the banana leaves (for sadhya and making ada). 

I still have fond memories of my summer vacation in Kerala. We used to get so excited when our flight is about to land in Kerala. The view is amazing. The only thing you can see is lush green landscape. It is so cooling to the eyes and soul. Like coconut trees one thing you will find in common in Kerala are the banana plants. Bananas are something we cannot do without any day. The variety available is amazing.




INGREDIENTS

3 Ripe  Banana (Nendra variety) also called Ethapazham
1 Cup All purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
A small pinch Baking Soda
A small pinch of Salt
1 cup water*
Oli for deep frying



METHOD
Peel the bananas and thinly slice them length wise.
In a bowl mix the dry ingredients together.
Add water and make it into thick batter.
Heat oil in a kadai.
Transfer the sliced bananas into the batter.
Coat the bananas well with the batter.
When the oil is hot (not smoking hot) add in the banana pieces. About 3 at a time.
Fry both sides till golden in colour and using a slotted spoon transfer to a plate layered with kitchen tissue.
Serve hot with tea /coffee.



Tips:
You can cut the banana into 2 and then cut them lengthwise to make smaller fritters. Check the above picture.
For the authentic taste use coconut oil.
* Keep adding water till it is of thick pouring consistency.
Turmeric powder is added just for colour.
While frying, if the bananas stick to each other just separate them with the slotted spoon in the kadai itself.

10 November 2011

Malabar Chicken Biriyani

Biriyani or Beriani (Persian) is one of the famous Indian rice dish. It seems to have originated from Iran and brought to India by Arab traders. It has been indianised to suit the palette of each region and we have so many varieties of biriyani. If you know a million people then there is a chance that you will get to taste a million variety of biriyanis. :) 
Malabar Chicken Biriyani is the biriyani famous in Northern Kerala. I would like to share with you my Amma's recipe which is one of the best I have tasted. 



 INGREDIENTS 
Recipe Source: My Amma

Short grain Rice/Neychottari
1 kg
Chicken
1 kg
Onion
6+3 thinly sliced
Chilly
2
Tomato
5
Ginger paste
3 teaspoon
Garlic paste
3 teaspoon
Cinnamon
2 (1’ piece)
Clove
12
Cardomom
12
Raisins
1 cup
Nutmeg
1
Star Anise
3
Cashew
1 cup
Yoghurt
1 cup
Chilli Powder
1 tbsp
Coriander Powder
3 tbsp
Turmeric Powder
½ teaspoon
Aniseed Powder(perinjeerakam)
1 teaspoon
Poppy seeds(Khus-Khus)
2 teaspoon
Coconut
½ cup
Lime juice
2 teaspoon
Garam masala
1 teaspoon
Bay leaf
2
Water
7 glass
Coriander leaves
½ cup
Pudina Leaves
½ cup
Ghee
½ cup
Sunflower oil
2 tbsp
Rose water
50 ml






METHOD
1. Make a fine paste of 1/2 cup raisins along with yogurt.
2. Marinate the chicken with this paste along with 1 teaspoon ginger paste, 1 teaspoon garlic paste and salt. Marinate for 2 hours.
3. Wash rice and keep aside to drain.
4. Boil water (1:2 rice water ratio) along with cloves(6), cardamom(6), Star Anise(2), Cinnamon(1), Bay leaf(1), Nutmeg and salt.
5. Heat ghee in a vessel. Add rice and saute for 5 minutes. Then use a strainer and pour the boiling water. Check salt and let cook in low flame. When cooked keep to cool for 5 minutes and stir it carefully with a fork to remove lumps.
6. Heat oil in a  cooker. Add the remaining cloves, cardamom, Star Anise, Cinnamon, Bay leaf. Saute for 1 minute. Add the thinly sliced onions(6) and saute till onions turn translucent.
7. Add ginger garlic paste, chilly and saute. Add chilly powder, Coriander powder, Turmeric, aniseed powder, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala and saute for a minute.
8. Add tomatoes and saute well. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add lime and salt. By this time boil 3 glass water separately.
9. Add the marinated chicken , coriander leaves, Pudina leaves and saute for 1 minute.
10. Add boiled water, Check salt and close the cooker. 2 whistles if marinated overnight else switch off just before the 3rd whistle.
11. Make a paste of coconut, 1/4 cup cashew and poppy seeds.
12. Add this paste to the chicken masala and let it boil.
13. Pour the remaining ghee in a small pan. Fry the raisins then the cashews. Lastly fry the remaining three thinly sliced onions . Lay it on a plate with kitchen tissue.
14. Take a big nonstick pan and make alternating layers of rice, chicken masala, roasted cashew, raisins, roasted onions,garam masala and sprinkle rose water (Remove the bay leaf).
15. Close it with an airtight lid and put a heavy weight on top. Cook in low flame for 10-15 minutes.
16. Serve hot with raita and chutney.




Tips: 
You can use Basmati Rice for the biriyani.
If you like to be very spicy add 2 green chillies.
Instead of keeping it on the stove after layering you can place it in a microwave and cook for 4-5 minutes. But close it with a lid and do so.
While layering you can add finely chopped coriander leaves.

07 November 2011

Chocolate Coffee Pudding

Are you craving for something chocolate-y? Then try this  moist delicious pudding which is soft and gooey. An absolute delight for chocolate and coffee lovers. It is also called Self Saucing Pudding because this pudding makes its own sauce while baking !

 I am a Chocoholic and this pudding is absolute bliss. One of my other favorite is the Molten Lava Cake.





INGREDIENTS
Recipe adapted from here
Makes 9 ramekins

Flour - 190 g
Granulated Sugar - 180 g
Baking Powder - 3 tsp
Cocoa Powder - 3 tbsp
Coffee Powder - 3 tbsp 
Melted Butter - 130 g
Eggs - 3
Vanilla Essence- 2 tsp
Milk - 375 ml

For the topping: ( I suggest you reduce the quantity to half as this is enough to top 18 ramekins)
Brown Sugar - 280g
Cocoa Powder - 3 tbsp
Boiling water - 300ml





METHOD
Preheat oven at 180 degree.
Mix the dry ingredients - flour, sugar, cocoa. coffee and baking powder.
Add the wet ingredients - butter, eggs, vanilla essence and milk.
Mix until well combined.
Grease ramekins and pour the batter till half.
Mix the brown sugar and cocoa. Sprinkle on top of each filled ramekins.
Pour boiling water until the powdered mass is fully covered in water. Do not mix.
Bake for 20 mins or until a good crust is formed.
Have it just like that or with vanilla ice cream.




Tips:
Do not over bake else it will not be gooey inside.
You can use 6 tbsp melted dark chocolate instead of 3 tbsp cocoa.
Dust on top with powdered sugar/ cocoa powder.



04 November 2011

Nadan Meen Curry/ Traditional Kerala Fish Curry - Malabar Style

Nadan Meen Curry - the flavorful delicious fish curry of Kerala. There won't be any house in the coastal area that does not make it excepting vegetarians. It is made daily with fresh catch of the day be it Ayila(Mackerel), Ayakkora (King Fish) or Natholi (Anchovy). Again as you go from place to place or even house to house the recipe will be different, the flavour different to suit ones palate and taste. I would like to share the recipe we make at home. 

I remember that every time we go on a trip to outstations, I crave to come back home and have Amma's fish curry and rice. It is an amazing combination. 



INGREDIENTS

Fish - 1/2 kg ( Anchovy/ Natholi )
Finely Ground Coconut - 4 cups
Chilly Powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Green Chilly - 3 (slit)
Shallots(Cheriya ulli) - 4
Ginger (finely chopped) - 1 tbsp
Jeera Powder - 1/2 tsp
Fish Masala - 1 tbsp(optional) (I used Eastern Fish Masala)
Tomato -1
Tamarind - size of one medium lime
Water - 1/2 litre (approx)
Salt - as required
Coconut Oil - 1 1/2 tbsp
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs



METHOD

Heat coconut oil in a clay pot.
Add shallots and saute till soft.
Add chopped tomato, chilly and ginger. Stir.
In a small bowl soak tamarind using 1/4 cup water from the measured water.
Add the ground coconut and tamarind water.
Add jeera powder, chilly powder, turmeric powder and fish masala.
Let it come to a boil. It has to boil for about 5 minutes on medium flame.
Add salt and curry leaves.
Add fish slowly. When it boils well for 2 minutes remove from fire.
Serve hot with rice.



Tips:
If you are using any other fish i.e Mackerel/King Fish) marinate the fish using 1/2 tsp of turmeric, 1/2 tsp chilly powder and salt for 15 minutes.
Do not pour all the water. Check consistency and add as required. It is from this 1/2 litre that you can use to grind coconut and to soak tamarind. Remaining if need be, can be added if required when the fish masala is boiling before adding the fish.
Do not cook for more than 2 minutes as Natholi is a small fish it will get over cooked and break.








02 November 2011

Neer Dosa / Pan Pole

Just like we have the lacy Appam in Kerala, Neer Dosa is the lacy dosa of Karnataka. So simple and delicious.  I am sure you all know about my love for Mangalorean food. This is one among them. 

'Neer' in Kannada means water. Neer Dosa the name suggests watery dosa. The batter is watery. It is paper thin and non fermented. Tastes best with chicken ghee roast  or even a simple coconut chutney. It can be made in a non stick pan but the best ones are when made on  a caste iron skillet. The texture is so different.




INGREDIENTS

Raw rice - 1 1/2 cup
Grated Coconut - 2 tsp
Cooked Rice - 1 tbsp (added this to make dosa soft)
Water - enough to make batter watery
Salt to taste
Oil for greasing skillet



METHOD
Soak rice overnight or for 2 hours.
Grind it to a fine paste along with coconut and rice.
Heat the skillet with high edges.
Grease the skillet lightly.
Scoop the batter with a deep medium round ladle.
Pour it into the skillet. Lift the skillet and tilt so that the batter covers the skillet.
Pour little batter in places not covered.
Cover and cook for half a minute or until the dosa starts leaving the sides.
Remove and let cool for 5 -10 secs. Then fold into half and then into quarter forming a triangle shape.
Serve hot with chutney/chicken Curry or fish curry.





Tips:
To grease the tawa cut a medium sized onion and poke it with a fork. Dip in oil and grease.
Pour just one ladle of batter at a time else the neer dosa will become thick.


27 October 2011

Jalebi - Diwali Wishes

Happy Diwali to all my dear readers!!!

Here I am with a crunchy juicy sweet to celebrate Diwali in style. Jalebi is known as the 'Celebration Sweet of India'.  It is served in almost all festivals be it national or regional.This sweet can be served hot or cold but my verdict is try it hot. It tastes THE BEST! 

This sweet was introduced in India by the Mughals. It was known as 'Zlebia' which was later replaced to Jalebi in India. In South India it is called 'jilebi'. 

I have always relished store bought jalebis but this time round was tempted to try my hand at making it. I was jumping with joy when it was a success. I really thought it was a task impossible as I have seen the mithaiwalas make jalebis and thought it could be done only with expertise. Really glad to have tried it.





INGREDIENTS
Recipe Source: Largely adapted from Tarla Dalal

For Jalebi batter:
1 cup Plain Flour
1 tsp Bengal Gram Flour
½ tsp yeast
1 tbsp lukewarm water (to dissolve yeast)
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp oil
2 drops Yellow food colour
2/3 cup water

For Sugar Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Few strands of saffron
1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Oil for deep frying




METHOD
Mix the plain flour and gram flour well.
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water.
Mix the flour with yeast, sugar, yeast, food colour and water well so that no lumps remain.
Keep it aside for 10 minutes for batter to ferment.
At the same time start preparing the sugar syrup.
Boil the water and sugar till it is sticky or form strand consistency.
Lower the flame.
Add lemon juice and saffron. Mix well.
Heat oil in a wide pan (which is about 1 ½ inch deep).
The oil has to be of medium heat.
Fill the batter in a piping bag/sauce bottle.
Squeeze the batter into the oil forming concentric circles(about 2 inches in diameter).
Fry till golden on both sides.
Transfer it to the simmering syrup.*
Toss in the syrup with tongs till well coated and remove.
Serve hot.



Tips:
The temperature of the oil is very important to make good jalebis. It should neither be less hot nor too hot.
The batter has to be of paste like consistency.
Make small jalebis if you are a beginner.
Make about 3 -4 jalebis at a time.
The lime juice is added to syrup to avoid crystallization.
*Switch off the flame of the syrup half way through the process of making jalebis else it will become too thick.


Enjoy!!!


25 October 2011

Sanna / Mangalore Steamed Rice Cake

If you are a Mangalorean or studied or lived in Mangalore then Sanna's will surely be your favorite. Who can resist these fluffy Sannas or Mangalore Idly's. I have fond memories of Mangalore. Spent almost 6 years there and everything about that place is dear to me.

All those 6 years I stayed with my dearest Queenie Aunt. She introduced me to all the possible Mangalore Cuisine and cooked such yummy food. I remember my friends literally pouncing on my tiffin every afternoon at college. Sad, I hardly would get a bite. Friends would happily share their tiffins with me and my friends who stayed in hostels would eagerly ask me 'What's for tiffin today?' without fail as soon as they spot me. Sweet memories indeed.

So here is one of my favorite Mangalore special - Sanna. This recipe is from my best friend Shireen's blog. To get over the hang over of visiting Mangalore, I had to cook a recipe from my favourite place.



INGREDIENTS
Recipe Source: Ruchik Randhap


1-1/2 cups Idly Rice
1/2 cup Raw rice 
1/4 cup  Urad dal (Split Black Gram Dal) 
1 tsp dried yeast (heaped)
1 tsp sugar ( for making yeast solution)
3-4 tbsp warm water ( to make yeast solution)
salt to taste
Sugar to taste (1-2 tsp)




METHOD
Soak the two types of rice and urad dal separately for 3 hours.
Grind the urad dal first and remove it.
Grind the two types of rice together into a thick batter.
Transfer the dal and rice batter to a large bowl big enough to accommodate double the quantity of batter.
Mix yeast to a bowl of warm water along with 1 tsp sugar. Allow it to stand for 10 minutes. When it turns frothy mix it well with batter.
Add salt and sugar.
Cover with a muslin cloth and place it in a warm place to ferment for about 1- 1 ½ hours.
The batter would have doubled. Place sufficient water in an Idly maker and let it come to a boil.
Grease steel ramekins with little oil. Pour a ladle of batter in each.
Place the ramekins in the idly maker and close it. Let it cook for 10- 15 minutes.
When done remove the ramekins and place them face down on a plate.
Allow to cool and remove.
Serve it with Chicken/ Mutton Curry/ Coconut Dry Chutney.



Tips:
Use as little water as possible to grind.
The batter is fine and thick.
Do not stir the batter after fermentation. Scoop to fill into ramekins.
To know if the batter is ready peel, wash an onion and put it in the batter. Once the fermentation is done the onion will sink to the bottom. (I have seen Queenie aunt do this. It works)
Insert a toothpick to check if sannas are cooked. If it comes out clean it is done.
If you wish to make sannas only the next day, after fermentation leave it in a fridge overnight.
If you are in a hurry to remove the sannas place the ramekins in  cold water bath (Pour cold water in a  large bowl and place ramekins in it). Once cold run a knife or spoon around it to remove sanna faster.
The time taken to cook depends on the size of the ramekins. It varies from 8 – 15 minutes.
Add more sugar if you like the sanna to be sweet.





19 October 2011

Rava Idly / Semolina Dumpling / Quick Idly

Rava Idly or Sooji Idli is a welcome variation from the usual rice idli's. It is a specialty breakfast item of Karnataka. The popular restaurant chain Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) of Bangalore seems to have invented this yummy idli. During World War II, when rice which is the staple item used in idli was in short supply, they experimented in making idli using semolina and created Rava Idli.

No fermenting overnight - that's what is best about this idly. The crunchiness of the nuts and flavour of the veggies make it an ideal breakfast item and a hit with all. A real healthy steamed cake!



INGREDIENTS
Rava - 2 cups
Curd - 2 cups
Water - 1/4 cup*
Mustard Seeds - 1 tbsp
Urad dal - 1 tbsp
Chana Dal- 1 tbsp
Grated ginger- 2 tbsp
Chopped Chilly - 2 tbsp
Grated Carrot - 1/4 cup
Roasted Cashews - 2 tbsp
Roasted Groundnut - 1 tbsp
Chopped Curry leaves  - 1 tbsp
Chopped Coriander Leaves- 2 tbsp
Baking Soda - 2 pinch**
Ghee - 1tbsp
Oil - 2 tbsp + for greasing idly mould



METHOD
Heat oil in a kadai. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
Add urad dal and chana dal. Roast till golden and nice aroma comes out.
Add grated ginger and chilly.
Add rava and keep stirring.
Add ghee and stir again.
Roast the rava for about 2-3 minutes. 
Remove from fire and let cool.
In a large bowl mix the rava with curd, carrot, curry leaves, coriander leaves,salt and soda bicarbonate.
Add water to make it into thick idly batter consistency.
Keep aside a few cashews and ground nut and add the rest to the batter.
Close with a lid and let it sit for 1/2 hour.
Place the idly maker with 4 glasses of water to boil.
Grease the idly mould with oil. 
Place a cashew and ground nut at the bottom of the mould.***
Pour heap full of 1 tbsp each batter in each mould.
When the water in the idly maker starts steaming place the mould in it. Close the lid.
Cook for 10 minutes on high flame.
Serve it with Shallots Red Chutney or Coconut Groundnut Chutney or Sambar.




SHALLOTS RED CHUTNEY
Recipe Source: My Mom

INGREDIENTS
Kashmiri Chilly - 6
Shallots/Chuvannulli/Cheriya Ulli - 2 cups
Tamarind - Size of small lime.
Coconut Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - as required



METHOD
Heat coconut oil in a kadai. 
Add the shallots, chilly and tamarind.
Saute  for 1 minute.
Cool and grind along with salt.





Tips:
*Add water as per requirement. The amount of water depends whether your curd is thick or thin. 
**I added baking soda to make it rise. You can substitute it with Eno Salt ( an antacid used as a substitute for baking powder).
***By keeping a cashew and groundnut before pouring in the batter, you will be able to see the nuts when you serve idly like you see in the picture below.