Nutella Squares

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Its my daughter’s birthday and I wanted to make some eggless desserts for her to distribute in school. Had already decided on an eggless chocolate cupcake and then wanted to make one more. Nutella is everyones favourite and knew for sure that i wanted to use that as one of the ingredients.

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I had bought Pooja Dhingra’s The Big book of Treats a while back but had never attempted to bake anything from it. Recently I got to taste her renowned sea salt macaroons and cupcakes, they sure lived up to their reputation. So picked up her book and drooled over each post, finally zeroed in on the Nutella squares.

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It turned out quite well, and was quite excited to see Pooja retweet my Nutella post.

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Ingredients

75 gms dark chocolate

125 gms butter

50 gms brown sugar

100 gms all purpose flour

75 gms oats

400 gms Nutella

100 gms chopped roasted hazelnuts

1) Melt chopped chocolate and butter in a double boiler.

2) Add the brown sugar and whisk till completely combined properly.

3) Fold in the flour with a spatula and then add oats and mix.

4) Preheat the oven to 180C and line a tin with parchment paper.

5) Bake for 15-20 mins

6) Once cool, spread the Nutella evenly on top and garnish with the chopped roasted hazelnuts.

 

Fluffy Idlis with Sambhar and coconut chutney

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Busting some myths

– The South Indian is not always a Madraasi.
We have 5 states. Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu

– The South Indian women are only clad in heavy Kanjivaram sarees with gajra on her oily hair.
Check my profile pick as the myth buster here

– The South Indian doesn’t always speak English and Hindi in a highly distinctive accent.
I can speak Marathi too without an accent

– The South Indian is always a vegetarian.
What rubbish. Have u forgotten the drunken chicken and bacon wrapped prawns

– The South Indian only eats dosa, idli, vada, sambhar and, as a holiday treat, rasam and rice.
Well that’s not true.

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But what is true is that we sure know how to make our idlis the fluffiest cotton balls around. And accompanying the idlis is the tangiest sambhar and coconut chutney perfect for the idlis to float away to Paradise. Moms no fail recipe. Worth boasting about for sure.

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iDLI RECIPE

2 cups parimal/kolam rice

2 cups boiled or ukda rice,

3/4 cup urad dal,

1 tbsp salt,

1 tsp sugar. 

1. Soak both the rice together and soak the dal separately for about six hours

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2. Grind the rice and dal separately about 30 mins each. Add the salt and sugar when grinding rice

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3. After grinding. Mix well. take 2 big vessels and keep pouring the batter from one vessel to the other from a little 
height. This will mix it well.

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4. Then fluff the batter, you can use a whip. I use my hands and beat it well like a fork would whip eggs. Spread ur fingers and fluff the batter for 10 mins. It will put air in the batter.

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4. Leave it overnight in a hot area like next to the fridge.

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5. The next day the batter would have fermented.

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6. Heat water in an idli steamer, till it starts leaving steam

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7) Grease the bowls with little oil and pour the batter to fill 1/2 the bowl. Place in the steamer and shut the lid. Steam on high for 12 minutes. The 12 minutes are calculated after the steam leaves the sides of the vessel.

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8) remove the bowls and overturn them on the table. Cover with a wet cloth to cool it down.

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9) after 5 minutes gently remove the idlis from the bowls and keep them in a hot box

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SAMBHAR RECIPE

1 cup tur dal

1 marble size ball of tamarind

3-4 small brinjals – quartered

1 tomato – quartered

4 sticks drumstick – cut into 2-3″ sticks

1-2 tbsp sambhar powder

1 tsp red chilli powder

salt, haldi

Temper – 1 tsp mustard seeds, oil, karipata, pinch hing and 2-3 dried red chilli.

1) Boil tur dal in pressure Cooker for 1 whistle and then 5 mins slow gas after that.
2) Soak the tamarind in hot water. 
3) In a Separate vessel, boil drumstick, brinjal and tomato (put turn by turn as per cooking time) with some salt, haldi and red chilli powder.

4) When they are 95% cooked, add the cooked dal, sambhar powder, tamarind water. Give it a good boil. Adjust seasonings.
5) Temper separately with little oil, mustard seeds, hing, karipatta and dry red chilli and add it to the sambhar.

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COCONUT CHUTNEY RECIPE

1/2 freshly grated coconut

1 green chilli

1″ ginger

2 garlic flakes

1 small marble size tamarind ball

salt.

temper – 1 tsp mustard seeds, oil, karipata, 1/2 tsp urad dal and 2 dried red chilli.

1) Coarsely grind everything with little water.

2) Temper separately with ingredients listed under temper and add to chutney.

Banana Walnut cake

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One of my favourite things to eat is Banana bread. Have been wanting to bake a banana bread since ages. Since my cousins were visiting India, I made a cake to welcome them. As usual Nidhi (http://soulandspicebox.com/boozy-rum-cup-cakes/) came to my rescue with a recipe. Threw in a surprise element of peanut butter chips.

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Nidhis recipe is mentioned below minus the addition of rum

Ingredients:

All purpose flour – 1 1/2 cups

Baking powder – 2 tsp

Cinnamon –1 tsp

Oil – ¾ cup

Bananas -2 ripe (mashed)

Walnuts -1/4 cup (chopped)

Brown Sugar – 1 cup

Eggs – 2

Peanut butter chips – 1/4 cup

Salt – 1 pinch

1) Pre heat the oven to 180 C and place a greased baking tray in the center rack of the oven.
2) Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
3) In a large bowl, whip the eggs and brown sugar till you get a smooth batter.
4) Gradually add the oil and keep beating the batter with your hand blender.
5) Add the mashed bananas to the batter. Whip the batter for 1 minute.
6) Gradually add the dry ingredients and fold it in. Don’t over beat the batter.
7) Add the chopped walnuts and peanut butter chips and mix it well to ensure they are well coated.
8) Pour the batter into cake mould and bake in a pre heated oven at 180 C for 25-30 minutes or till a toothpick comes out clean

Fish in pine nut sauce

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Quite an interesting and different sauce in which I cooked rawas fish. I served it alongside Penne in garlic cream sauce. The penne recipe is posted in a different post.

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Fish in pine nut sauce 

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts 

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon paprika 
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1/4 cup bread crumbs 
Pinch of saffron threads, warmed and crushed 
1 1/2 cups peeled, and chopped tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine 
Salt, pepper and red chilli flakes
8 pieces Rawas
1/4 cup chopped coriander
1) make a powder of the toasted pine nuts. 

2) In a frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the paprika, garlic, ground pine nuts, bread crumbs, and crushed saffron, and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. 

3) Add the tomatoes and wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.

4) In a large frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. 

5) Sprinkle the fish with salt and red chilli flakes, add to the pan, and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes on each side. 

6) Pour the sauce over the fish, and simmer until the fish is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes longer. 

7) Transfer to a serving dish or individual dishes, and garnish with coriander. Serve at once.

Recipe – Joyce Golstein

Penne in Garlic cream sauce

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Pastas are my favourite thing to cook. Am always looking out for some new kind of sauce to dunk my pastas in. Another simple and easy to make but super delicious pasta sauce is the garlic cream one,

I served this along with rawas cooked in pine nut sauce which was equally delicious. Posting the fish recipe separately.

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Penne in Garlic cream sauce

1/2 pkt of penne

1 chopped onion
Paste of 10 garlic flakes
Butter/oil 
1 cup stock/pasta liquid
5 chopped Fresh basil leaves 
1/2 tsp dried oregano 
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 pkt Amul cream
Salt
Parmesan shavings

1) cook pasta al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the water before draining (in case u r not using stock)
2) heat butter/oil in a pan, sautéed onions and garlic paste till the onions sweat
3) add the stock/liquid and cook it to half the quantity. 
4) add the herbs, chilli flakes and salt
5) add the cream and cook it out till you get a thick consistency. About 10 mins
6) add the pasta and mix well. Adjust seasoning and top with Parmesan shavings.

Lemon garlic pan seared rawas

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Lemon garlic pan seared rawas on a bed of sautéed vegetables with a side serving of creamed corn and mash potatoes

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I had so many plans for that fish – en papilotte or some interesting sauce but alas, it’s a school holiday and spent the good half of the day shopping with the kids. A visit to the mall never stops at shopping, it’s always lunch and either a movie or video games. Today was game time. My daughter is turning 9 in exactly a month and she somehow took longer than me to buy a pair of jeans, a top and some fancy accessories. Walking hand in hand with my son skipping along behind, she says “Mamma am really enjoying shopping now a days”. That’s it, have to cut up my credit cards soon.

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Anyway, was so exhausted by the time I reached home that didn’t have the energy to experiment. So kept it simple.

PAN SEARED RAWAS
 8 medium pcs rawas/surmai
1/4 cup olive oil 
10 minced garlic
1 tsp red chilli flakes
2-3 tbsp chopped coriander
Salt 
1/2 lime 

1) Mix the marinade and rub it all over the fish. Leave it to marinate for 1-2 hrs. 
2) heat olive oil in a pan and when it sizzles add the fish. Sear it for 30 seconds and lower flame. It should take about 4-5 mins on each side. Do not cover. Cooking time depends on the size of the piece. 
3) spoon all the remaining marinade into the pan and let it cook. Shut the gas. 
4) squeeze lime before serving
SAUTÉED VEGETABLES
1 pkt mushrooms
1 head of broccoli
mashed garlic
butter/olive oil
salt
dried herbs
chilli flakes
Saute the vegetables on high with oil/butter till they are cooked but still have a bite to it. Season with herbs, salt and chilli flakes.
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CREAMED CORN

Butter
1 cup of sweet corn
1 tbsp of maida
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp cream
Salt, pepper

1) heat little butter in a pan and sauté the corn for 3-4 minutes
2) add the maida and sauté for couple of minutes
3) add the milk and stir frequently. Let the corn finish cooking in this sauce. 
4) add the salt and cream and mix well. The texture should be creamy and thick. Sprinkle pepper while serving
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MASHED POTATOES

5 potatoes
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp cream
2 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove
Salt

1) boil the potatoes in the cooker. 1 whistle and slow for 5 mins. Cool and peel
2) mash the potatoes and run it through a sieve to remove the lumps
3) warm milk and add soft butter, salt and milk to the potatoes. Mix well. 
4) add the cream and mash it up
5) heat 1 tbsp butter and brown it slightly. Add 1 mashed garlic and let it sizzle. Discard the garlic and Pour the burnt butter on the mash

Mangalorean Bhindi Curry & Beans Upkari

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Before marriage, most of our home cooked meals were always saars, resaas and upkaris. That in translation means coconut based curries or dry veggies. Post marriage, being married to a Pahadi, I cook south indian simple food only occasionally.

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Today’s lunch was a tangy Bhindi curry in a spiced coconut gravy with some steamed rice. A side of french beans upkari to accompany the rice and curry. The upkari is a standard preparation with veggies doing a rotation. Sometimes beans, other times cabbage or ridge gourd (turai) or tendli. Simple but wonderful.

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BHINDI CURRY

15 PC bhindi cut into 1″ pc
1 chopped tomato
1 big cup freshly grated coconut
1 marble size ball of tamarind
6-7 flakes garlic
1/2 tsp haldi
Karipatta
Salt, oil

Dry roast – 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp jeera seeds, 1 tsp rye, 5 dried Kashmiri red chillies (choose chilli type as per ur spice preference)

1) dry roast the ingredients and grind to a powder.
2) to this masala powder, add coconut, garlic, tamarind and some water. Grind to a fine paste.
3) in a vessel, add the masala, bhindi, tomato, salt and haldi. Mix and add water as per desired consistency.
4) when the bhindi is cooked, temper with little oil, rye, 2 garlic and some karipatta. Mix in the curry.

BEANS UPKARI

1/4 Kg cut french beans

1 big onion chopped

1 green chilli slit

1 tsp mustard seeds

5-6 karipatta

salt, haldi, oil

2-3 tbsp freshly grated coconut

1) heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds, when they splutter add the karipata.

2) add the onions and let it sweat.

3) when the onions turn pink, add the chilli and mix well.

4) Add the beans, salt and little haldi and mix well

5) Cover with a deep dish and pour little water on the cover. This will ensure that the beans and onion do not get burnt.

6) Mix at intervals but be careful that the water on the cover does not enter the dish.

7) When the beans are cooked but still have a bite/crunch to them, add the coconut. Mix well and let it cook for another 1-2 minutes. Shut the gas.

Pindi Chhole on mini Laccha Parathas

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I have been making Chhole since years and they always turn out wonderful. Spicy, tangy and I thought it can’t get better than this.

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Well it just did. I recently read an article how dried lentils like chickpeas, rajma , beans, etc don’t need to be soaked before cooking. So went ahead and straight away put it in the cooker. This time I added a tea bag which again I had never done before. The colour was superb thanks to the chai affects. And the flavour of the chhole was superb.

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Didn’t want to deep fry Bhaturas, so made Laccha parathas to go with it. I have used my friend Nidhi’s technique (http://soulandspicebox.com/lachedar-parantha/) on regular chapati dough. Some chutney and sliced onion to give it a wonderful kick.

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Ingredients

1 cup chhole

1-2 moti elaichi

1″ cinnamon

A Pinch cooking soda

1 tea bag or a pouch with dried tea leaves

1 tbsp dried anardana powder

2 chopped onions

1 chopped tomatoes

1″ minced ginger

2 chopped chillies

1 tbsp dhania powder

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/4 tsp garam masala

1-2 tsp chhole masala

Salt

Coriander for garnish

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1) Put the chhole in the cooker with elaichi, cinnamon, tea bag and cooking soda. Keep for 30-35 mins on low gas after 1st whistle

2) heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the onions and let it sweat out

3) add the anardana powder and cook till onions are brown

4) add the chopped tomatoes, ginger and green chilli. Mix well

5) add the dry masala powders and salt and cook the tomatoes till it leaves oil

6) add the chhole and water and cook it on low for 20-30 mins till the water dries out a little

7) garnish with coriander

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LACCHA PARATHA

1) Take one ball of dough and dust it in the dry flour. Flatten it slightly with your fingers and use a rolling pin to flatten it out into a disk like shape. If the dough gets sticky, you can dust it with more dry flour while rolling it out.

2) Apply a coating of ghee on the parantha and sprinkle some dry flour on top.

3) Pick up one edge of the parantha and start making small pleats. (Like sari pleats). Keep pleating till you reach the end.

4) dust it with some flour. Use a rolling pin to start rolling it again into a disk like shape.

5) Once it is rolled out, put it on a non stick tawa and let it cook for 2-3 minutes on one side.

6) Then turn the parantha and apply ghee on the cooked side.

7) After 2-3 minutes the other side would also be cooked . Turn the parantha again and apply ghee to the other side as well.

8) Flip a few times till the parantha is evenly browned.

Chicken and cheese quesadillas

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My world famous Mexican paste, (oh I meant my household famous mexican paste) is quite a handy sauce to have in your freezer. I made some a while back and used it to make Mexican rice then. Popped the leftovers in the freezer and brought it out for a perfect Sunday meal

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Had some store bought tortillas in the pantry, so decided its time for Quesadillas. Some chicken cooked in the Mexican red paste with some gooey Mozzarella cheese was the stuffing for the Quesadillas. With a dipping of sour cream sauce and spicy salsa, the Quesadillas were gobbled down with some chilled beer. Now I can barely keep my eyes open and all set for my afternoon snooze.

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Mexican Red Paste

1 big red capsicum

3-4 big tomatoes

10-12 garlic flakes

4-5 dried red chillies

1) Chop all the above ingredients and add it to the pan with a little oil

2) Cook on high heat till soft and slightly charred though be careful not to burn it

3) When cool blitz it in the mixer to a fine paste adding little water if necessary

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Tomato Salsa

5 roasted tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 finely chopped onion
2 chopped green chillies
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tsp vinegar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar

1)  Roast tomatoes till skin is little blackish over the gas and remove skin.
2)  Chop 2 tomatoes and puree the other 3 in a mixer
3)   Heat oil, add chopped onions and green chillies. Cook till onions turn soft.
4)  Add all other ingredients and cook for 2 mins. Do not cook further. Serve chilled.

Sour Cream

50 gm fresh cream
1 ½ cup curd – hung and dry
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt

1)  Whip hung curd till smooth
2)  Gradually add cream till get a soft dropping consistency. Don’t let it become too thin
3)   Add salt and lemon juice. You can also add chopped dill. Serve chilled

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Quesadillas

6 store bought tortillas

1/2 kg boneless chicken

4-5 tbsp mexican red paste

1 big chopped onion

grated Mozzarella cheese

olive oil

chopped coriander

1) Heat oil in the pan and sauté some onions.

2) Add the chicken and paste and some salt. Cook till chicken is tender and excess water is dried out.

lightly fry the tortillas with little oil on the pan. Garnish with chopped coriander

3) lightly toast the tortillas in a pan

4) Remove them on the plate. Take one tortilla and spread the chicken mix all over it. Grate lots of cheese. Remember to leave 1/2 inch empty around the borders as the mix will spread when cooked.

5) Top with another tortillas and put it on a greased pan.

6) when crisp, flip and cook the other side

7) Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Hyderabadi Dum Baingan and Tomato Saar

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An amalgamation of simple home cooked South Indian dishes. Hyderabadi baingan and Mangalorean tomato saar served with steamed rice.

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The Baingan is spicy and tangy with a pickle like flavour to it. The recipe is courtesy veg recipes of India and I am a big fan of Dassana’s cooking.

The tomato saar is my moms recipe and its a super simple curry to enjoy with some steaming hot rice. Have some pickle or papad on the side and you don’t really need anything else.

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HYDERABADI DUM BAINGAN

For the curry base:

10-12 small brinjals
½ tsp turmeric powder/haldi
salt to taste
4 tbsp oil

For the masala paste:
3-4 dry red chilies
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
½ or tsp black pepper – make it to 1 tsp for a much more spicier dish
2-3 green cardamom/hari elaichi
2 inch cinnamom stick/dal chini
3-4 cloves/laung
1 small bay leaf/tej patta
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 large onion, chopped
1 inch ginger/adrak, chopped
5-6 garlic/lahsun, chopped

for garnish:
¼ cup chopped coriander leaves/dhania patta

Instructions
1) slit the small brinjals without disjoining them.
2) heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the brinjals till they are half cooked. remove and keep aside.
3) heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add all the dry spices except for onions, ginger and garlic. fry the spices till they become aromatic.
cool
4) grind the spices with chopped onions, garlic and ginger with the vinegar. add some water if the mixture is difficult to grind. make a smooth paste.
5) heat 1 tbsp oil. add the ground masala paste.
6) add turmeric and fry the masala for 4-5 minutes on a low flame.
add ¼ cup hot water.
7) cook until the water evaporates and the oil separates from the masala.
8) add the fried brinjals in the gravy. add salt.
9) stir carefully. cover tightly and cook on a low heat for 4-5 minutes.
serve dum ke baingan hot garnished with coriander leaves.

(reproduced from www.vegrecipesofindia.com)

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TOMATO SAAR

Ingredients

4-5 tomatoes – blanch and peel skin

1 chopped onion

1 tsp mustard seeds

4-5 karipatta

4 dried Kashmiri red chillies

2-3 smashed garlic

2 tbsp rasam powder

chopped coriander

1) Purée 4-5 skinless tomatoes (I boil till the skin splits and peel it off)

2) In a vessel, heat oil, add mustard seeds, karipatta, dried red Kashmiri chillies, smashed whole garlic flakes, chopped onion. Fry it till golden.

3) Then add the purée, salt, 1 cup water and a heaped tbsp of rasam powder (u can add chilli powder also if u like it spicy).

4) Bring it to a boil and cook on sim for 5 mins. Adjust seasoning and consistency. Add more water if its thick.

5) Add chopped coriander leaves a minute before u shut the gas.