23-Sep-2012

Tomato Egg Drop Soup

One fine day, I look upon and find nothing but tomatoes, what do i do, where does my mind go, to have that lip smacking delicious dish which my stomach juices linger on, to have more. There i go, I found it. The all so normal Tomato Egg Drop Soup. Its raining outside, and the thunders are calling out hard to prepare something that would tantalize my taste buds. Soups would be the best option.

Loads of tomato and the wonderful vegetable stock does the trick.



Ingredients

4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup diced ripe tomatoes
2 or 3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2  tbsps Cornflour 
1 tbsp Tomato Sauce
1/2 tsp Oregano (Optional)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
tbsp  vinegar
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Salt to taste
Directions 
Peel garlic cloves and chop them into tiny bits. Finely chop the onion and tomatoes. Take egg and separate the egg white and yolk. Beat the egg white and keep it aside. Mix cornflour in 1/2 cup of water.
Take a deep bottomed pan. Add oil to the pan and saute garlic for 30 seconds. Add onions and saute them till translucent.  Add the diced tomatoes and let it simmer for 3 minutes. Now add tomato sauce, oregano, salt to taste and white pepper. Cook it for 30 seconds and then add the vegetable stock. Let it boil for 5 to 7 minutes. 
Add the cornflour+water mixture slowly and mix it till it reaches the required consistency.
Now, very slowly, add the beaten egg and stir it continuously in clockwise direction to create thin streams or thready mixture. Add vinegar and coriander leaves and let it simmer for 1 minute. 
Serve it piping hot with bread toast or croutons. 
Linking this to the event "Lets Cook Soups" hosted by Nayna  and Monsoon of India hosted by Sayantani and Jagruti
                              


14-Sep-2012

Sambhar (Lentil Soup)

Sambhar is a popular south indian preparation which is accompanied with Idli, Wada, Rice, Utthapam made up of tuvar dal (Split red gram).




Ingredients

2 cups tuvar dal
4 cups of water
2 1/2 tsp of tamarind pulp
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp sambhar powder (MTR preferred)
2 tbsp dessicated coconut
1 cup chopped mixed vegetables (optional)
3 medium tomatoes
5-6 shallots ( small onions)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Tempering
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
a pinch of asafoetida
2 whole red chillies
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 twig of curry leaves

Directions

Note : I prepared a simple sambhar without the vegetables. you can add as many vegetables as you want. 

Chop all the vegetables of choice (brinjal, okra, drumsticks, etc). Wash and drain the lentils till the water runs clear. Take a heavy bottomed pan or pressure cooker and add lentils, turmeric powder, 1 tsp of oil and 2 green chillies. Boil the lentils till they turn mushy. In pressure cooker, allow 4 to 5 whistles to get it done. You can also mash the lentils with a heavy ladle to make it mushy. Add the tomatoes and shallots and your choice of vegetables to the lentils and then add salt, red chilli powder, Sambhar powder (For best results, grind 2 tbsp of sambhar powder with  2 tbsp dessicated coconut) and tamarind. Wait for 2 more whistles. Temper the dal mixture and add fresh cilantro as garnish.


Idli and wada with Sambhar and Chutney

Just the thought of it gives such a subtle feeling. Idli and Vada with Sambhar and chutney are comfort food for the South Indian natives. They are basically the small dumplings made from the Black gram batter which has to be fermented overnight. Idlis are kind of steamed in the moulds specific for them and are considered very healthy. Whereas the vadas are spicy doughtnuts deep fried in oil. These both are served with sambhar (Lentil soup) and chutney (Coconut chutney, Peanut Chutney, Coriander chutney, Tomato Chutney, Garlic Chutney).


Idli Preparation

Ingredients

1 cup Urad dal (Black gram)
3 cup Idli rawa (Rice powdered coarsely)
1 tbsp Salt
A pinch of Baking Soda
Oil for greasing

Directions 

Note: To make idli for breakfast, you should plan ahead of time. Suppose you want to have it on Saturday, you would need to soak Urad dal on Friday morning and let it remain for next 8 hours.

Wash and soak the dal in clear water for about 8 hours. Take Idli rawa or soak it for 1/2 an hour before mixing it into the urad dal mixture. After 8 hours of time, wash the urad dal again and grind it smooth in a blender/grinder. Mix the soaked idli rawa and ground urad dal, add salt and baking soda to the mixture and set it aside in warm place for 8 to 9 hours to ferment or overnight. This duration would differ depending on the weather. In wintry days, it would need more time to ferment and in summer it would take much lesser time comparatively. 
When the batter ferments, (it would raise nicely by itself and have bubbles )it is ready to make idlis.  Grease the idli moulds with oil and fill them 3/4 with batter.
Put the heavy bottomed idli pot on stove with minimal level of water. Let the water boil  and then let the idli moulds sit in for 10 -12 minutes. Insert a fork in one of the idlis to check  whether they are done or not. After it is done, let it rest for a while for 2 -3 minutes. The reason for this is, when you try to scoop out the idlis when they are piping hot. it may spoil the texture from outside. Serve it hot with Sambhar and Chutney. 

Linking this to the South Indian kitchen series #1 event hosted by Anu
                                      






11-Sep-2012

Egg fried rice with Chicken manchurian

Fried rice and Manchurian combo is so zesty that we can have it anytime, be it lunch or just simple food to fill our hunger. We can find this combo being served in Chinese stalls in every nook of Indian streets, having their own Indo-China version of it. 

Street food when served at home with passion and creative push always seems palatable and healthy (specially when we have our family's health in mind). This recipe also reminds me of our Indian culture that so thoroughly mixes up with any culture in the world. We have had our own combo versions of Pizzas, Burgers, Manchurians, Fried Rice. Here is my attempt at making the Indo Chinese fried rice with Chicken Manchurian

Chinese Egg Fried Rice

Ingredients

2 cups of Cooked (Cold)Rice
1 Egg
2 spring onions finely chopped
1 tsp of ginger garlic paste
1 tsp of Soya sauce
1 Green chilly
1/2 cup shredded Green bell pepper
1/4 cup of Carrots
1/4 cup of Cabbage
1/4 cup of beans
1/2 tbsp Vinegar
1/2 tsp of black pepper powder
Any vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Directions

Boil the Rice and keep it ready (the less warm, the better). Whip up an egg and keep it aside. Chop all the vegetables to same size ( i have chopped them thinly and lengthwise about 1 inch).

Heat up a wok and add vegetable oil to it. Add Onions to it and saute it till it is translucent. Add ginger garlic paste to it and cook it till the raw smell leaves. Now add green chillies and the vegetables one by one and saute each one for 30 seconds. Now bring all the vegetables to one side of the wok and add the whipped egg on the other side. Let it cook for 15 seconds and then stir it and scramble it and mix it with the vegetables. After 1 minute, add salt and pepper and vinegar to the wok and combine it. 

Then add rice to the vegetable mix and add soya sauce to it. Mix it well and let it simmer for about 2 min on medium flame. Your Egg fried rice is ready.

Chicken Manchurian

Ingredients


For Marination:

2 Chicken breast pieces
1Egg white
1/4 tsp pepper powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Ginger garlic paste
1/4 tsp Soya sauce
1 tbsp Corn flour
2 tbsp Water

Preparation of the recipe


 Marinated Chicken breast pieces
1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp of ginger garlic paste
1 tsp dark soya sauce
1 tsp chilli sauce
1 tsps Vinegar
1 tbsp Cornflour
1 cup of water
1/4 tsp of sugar
1 tbsp of tomato sauce
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Directions

Cut the chicken breast pieces into cubes of similar size and marinate it in the above mentioned mixture for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

Heat up oil in a heavy bottomed vessel and deep fry the marinated chicken . Cook it on medium flame for thorough cooking process and subside  nd increase the flame as and when needed to acquire the golden shade of the chicken. Drain it and keep it on the absorbent paper to remove the excess oil.

Heat up another heavy bottomed pan. Add oil to it. Add chopped garlic and ginger garlic paste. Saute it for a few seconds. Add Soya sauce, Sugar, Tomato Sauce, Chilli sauce, Vinegar. Mix it well and add 1/4 cup water to it. Let it cook for a minute and then add the fried chicken cubes to it. Add salt to the pan. Please keep it in mind that the marinated chicken also has salt. So adjust it as required. 

Now add 1 tbsp of cornflour to 1/4 cup of water. Dissolve it and add it to the pan. You would see that the gravy starts thickening up.
Add chopped green spring onions and Coriander leaves for garnish ( I could not lay my hands on Green spring onions, thus avoided it.) Serve it hot.

I am linking this recipe to Event - Bon Vivant # 8 - Rice Recipes of Sumee's Culinary Bites
                                           


10-Sep-2012

French Beans Curry


Being myself more into meaty recipes, always tends to stir in me to do the best with the vegetarian dishes. One such dish is the French Beans curry - an awesome side dish with Rotis and Paranthas.  Simple, healthy and flavorful dish to eat. The hot green chillies gives this dish an extra burst of heat. It can be reduced or increased as you wish to. Recipe of this dish can be used with vegetable of your choice - I use this one with Cluster beans and Cabbage too. 

French Beans


Ingredients

1/4 kg Cobra French beans
1 Onion
1 Tomato
3 Green chillies
1/2 cup grated Coconut powder
1/4 Cumin seeds
5 Garlic pods
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Coriander powder
Salt to taste

Directions

Cut the French beans into small pieces. Boil the French beans. Drain the water through a colander and keep it aside. Meanwhile, grind onion tomato and green chillies separately. 

Take a pan and heat up oil in it. Add cumin seeds to it. Let it splutter and then add finely chopped garlic to it. Add onion paste to the pan and saute it for 2 minutes until it turns translucent. Then add green chilly paste and pureed tomato to the mixture. Let it simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt, turmeric and coriander powder to it. Later add the boiled beans to the mixture and let it cook for 2 minutes. then add the coconut powder to the beans and again let the coconut flavor infuse into the beans mixture. Cook it for 2 minutes and its ready to be served!!
Linking this recipe to coconutty event - Taste of the Tropics–Coconut @ Nivedhanam and Chef Mireille’s

                                                         


Punjabi Rajma Masala

Days just pass by and i still have my larder full with legumes that are waiting to be cooked.
Today is the Red kidney beans day for us at home. I have been having this ardent desire to cook the wholesome Punjabi Rajma masala from many days. The Red kidney beans as the name suggests, visually resemble the shape of kidney and are red in color. Rajma is an integral part of the cuisine in northern region of India. Both dried and canned kidney beans are available throughout the year. So here comes the recipe!!




Ingredients
1 cup Rajma/Red 

 KidneyBeans
2 medium onions
1 Bay Leaf
1 Black Cardamom
1 green Cardamom
1 green chilly
2 medium tomatoes
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Cumin Powder 
1 tsp Garam masala powder 
1 tsp Kasuri methi
1 tsp Red chilly powder 
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 cup Coriander leaves 
Salt to taste 


Directions

Wash rajma under cold running water until the water runs clear. Soak them in water for 6-8 hours or overnight. Discard the water and boil rajma  in a pressure cooker. Fill in water till it is completely immersed. Wait for the 4-5 whistles for it to cook. Ideally, the beans should squish easily between the tongue and the roof of the mouth with little effort. The best is when you see cracks in it. Drain the rajma in a colander and keep the rajma liqueur of it aside for later use.

Take a pan and heat oil in it on medium heat. Add bay leaf, black cardamom and green cardamom. Let it induce the flavors in the oil for a few seconds. Add the finely chopped onions. Saute it till its golden brown in color. Add ginger garlic paste to it, mix it well and let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes, till the hint of rawness disappears. Add the pureed tomatoes to the pan. Let it simmer on low flame.Cook till you see the oil separating at the edges. 

Now add all the dry masalas ( Salt, turmeric, red chilly powder, coriander powder, cumin powder) to the mixture. Let the masalas cook for some time. Later take a spoonful of rajma and mash it up a bit in the masala. And then put the rest of rajma in it and let it simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.  After this add green chilly, kasuri methi, coriander leaves and garam masala to the mixture and let it cook for 2 minutes. Your Punjabi Rajma masala is ready to serve.

TIP:
  • If the absence of a pressure cooker, the beans can be cooked in a normal pot. However this would take at least double the time.
Serve hot with: Jeera Rice. white rice or Roti.

Linking this to the Let's Cook: Legumes / Lentils  event hosted by Radhika
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06-Aug-2012

Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot dessert)

Gajar ka Halwa is liked by almost everyone from a kid to a granny. It reminds me of the wonderful moments back in my childhood when it was being cooked in the kitchen. There always used to be a "sense of impatience" which could only be resisted till the taste-check (which was recommended by me - WHITE LIE) before it could be off the stove.
Gajar ka Halwa is a dessert which is most popular in Northern India. It is made by simmered carrots, in sugar and milk in desi ghee (clarified butter). This sweet is more on calorie factor, so i have tweaked it a little bit and made a lighter version of it to suit our palette




Ingredients
Carrots 6 or 7 medium nos (750 gms)
2 tbsp of Ghee
250 ml Milk
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp of Cardamom powder

Garnish
Raisins
Cashew nuts
Almonds
Serving : 4 people


Method 


Peel and grate the carrots. Heat up a pan and add the ghee. Let it melt and then put the shredded carrots and stir it for the next five minutes. you would see a changing color of the carrots. Check  the carrots for mushiness. It should be nearly done. Add milk to the pan and give it a stir. Let the milk simmer with carrots for about 7 minutes. Add sugar to it and mix it. Let it simmer for a while. Add 1/2 tsp of Cardamom powder to it for the aroma.
For garnishing, Take another pan, add 1 tsp of ghee to it. Toast some almonds and cashewnuts in the ghee. Switch off the flame and add the raisins. Add this to the Gajar ka Halwa. This dessert is ready to be served.


P.S: I made it as a side dish with Puri (Fried Indian bread) for one of our Iftars (Breaking the fast-meal)
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