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Updated: 2017-12-11T08:44:05.838+05:30

 



Moving Out...

2017-10-26T19:21:37.498+05:30

Hi

My blog has now moved to another location. Come visit us in our new home! See you soon. Click here to visit...

Out.(image)



Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad

2017-10-02T05:52:52.729+05:30

So we had a lovely salad dinner at home, and we had to use some Brussels sprouts that someone had given us. I started with Saveur, my favorite recipe go-to site. Anyways I came across this recipe. It sounded easy and turned out to be delicious! Thanks again, Saveur.



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Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Walnuts
(Original recipe from Saveur)

3 cups Brussels Sprouts
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
4 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup shelled Walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste


  • Trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts. Shred in a food processor or finely by hand.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the mustard, lemon juice and olive oil. Add the Brussels sprouts and toss to coat. Season to taste with Parmesan, salt and pepper. Top with the walnuts.


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Pan de Sal

2015-09-25T13:31:00.125+05:30

I found this great recipe on Saveur and I'm a huge Saveur fan. Or at least I used to be. Now that the editor has changed, the recipes aren't so friendly anymore. And the foods are so America-centric now, when they used to be quite international.


This Filipino Sweet bread, or Pan de Sal, is quite delicious and easy to make. They come out soft and delicious and quite pillowy. Do try it at home.



Pan de Sal (sweet Filipino bun)
(recipe from Saveur)

6 cups Flour (the recipe calls for bread flour, I used All-Purpose since we don't get bread flour here)
1 cup plus 1 tbsp Sugar
1.5 tsp Salt
2.5 cups Milk, warmed
1 tbsp Active Dry Yeast
4 tbsp, Butter, melted; plus more
1 Egg
1 cup Bread Crumbs

Combine the yeast, 1 tbsp sugar and 1 cup of the warmed milk in a bowl and set aside until frothy, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining milk, the melted butter and the egg.

In another bowl combine the dry ingredients: the flour, the 1 cup sugar and the salt.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the yeast mixture until the dough begins to come together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with muslin or plastic wrap until doubled in size, about 45 minutes, in a warm place.

Preheat oven to 180 deg. C

Place the bread crumbs on a plate. 
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a rectangle (approximately 4" by 9" and deep by 1/2"). Working from the long end, roll the rectangle into a tight cylinder. Cut the dough crosswise into five 1.5" rolls. Gently roll the cut sides in the bread crumbs. Place the rolls, bread crumbs up, onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat for remaining dough, placing them slightly apart. (Here's a video on how to shape the pan de sal. And here's a pictorial on how to shape it.)

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Eat while warm.

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Brown Butter Blondies

2015-09-19T16:22:00.204+05:30

So brownies are ... nice. I actually prefer cookies. How about you? I'm not a huge brownie/ blondies fan. Blondies are just brownies with chocolate. I prefer blondies to brownies though. This was just delicious. I read this in a Bon Appetit magazine.This is now my effort to make all the recipes that I've bookmarked over the years. Please bear with me! :)

My kids made these. They are super easy to make. 


Brown Butter Blondies
(recipe originally from Bon Appetit)

  
For the Brown Butter:
1/2 cup Butter
1 Egg
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Salt
1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour

 For the Blondie:

1 cup Butter, softened
2 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
 
Make the Brown Butter Mixture:
 
Melt the butter in a saucepan, over medium heat, stir often until the butter foams and the butter browns, about 5-8 minutes. Let cool slightly. 
 
Add the egg, vanilla, salt and brown sugar. Beat the mixture until smooth, about 3 minutes. Fold in the flour gently. 
 
Make the Blondies:
 
Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. 
 
Whisk together the dry ingredients: 2 1/4 cups flour, the salt and the baking powder.  In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, cream 1 cup butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined, and pale and fluffy. Mix in vanilla. 

Mix in dry ingredients until completely combined. 

Pour in half the blondie mixture into a buttered 13" by 9" baking dish. Smooth the top. Add the brown butter mixture as a layer on the top and smooth it out. Next add the remaining blondie mixture on top of the brown butter mixture. 

Bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool. 
 
 
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Green Gram and Fenugreek Dosa

2015-09-17T15:54:00.610+05:30

Dosas are a staple of south Indian cuisine. As much as paneer butter masala and chicken tikka are synonymous with Indian food for the western world, India has as many types of cuinines as we have states.India is a sort of Europe, if you will. We are made of several states, each with their own cuisine, language, culture and clothing. Just like Europe is made of several countries, each with their own language, and culture. India is an amalgamation of all these states. Some cuisines and languages are just more well-known than others.South India is made of four states and the one I live in is Tamil Nadu. The food here consists of fermented rice flours and mostly curries that have very mild spices. Of course even in Tamil Nadu, there are several kinds of food. We have many, almost a dozen sub-cultures, and they each have their own cuisines! Its quite wonderful, in a way. For example, food from different cities might be different, within the same state!Dosas are pretty predominant across Tamil Nadu. Different people make it differently. There are so many many variations of this. I have made several variations myself in this blog. Well, you can imagine my delight when I came across this book: Dosai by Chandra Padmanabhan. She is one of my favorite south Indian cookbook authors. Every recipe of hers is a keeper! This book is so amazing. Here's a lovely recipe from the book. Paithum Paruppu and Vendayam Dosai (Green Gram and Fenugreek Dosa)(recipe from Dosai by Chandra Padmanabhan)Makes 10-12 dosais1/4 cup husked green gram (mung dal)2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds1 cup Parboiled Rice1 1/4 tsp Salt1 tsp Cumin Seeds3-4 Green Chillies, seeded and finely chopped2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped1 Onion, finely chopped5-6 Curry LeavesOil, as neededCombine the dal and the fenugreek seeds. Wash well and soak in water for a couple of hours. Separately, wash the rice and soak for a couple of hours. Drain and grind the dal, till light and fluffy, adding 1/2-3/4 cup water.Drain the rice and grind to a smooth batter with 1-1 3/4 cups water.Combine both the batters and add the salt and mix well. Set aside and allow to ferment for 4 hours.When ready to make the dosas, add the cumin seeds, green chillies, coriander leaves, onion and curry leaves. Adjust the consistency by adding some water to make the batter of pouring consistency.Prepare a tawa or flat top pan. To Prepare: Smear a thin layer of oil evenly on a tawa or griddle pan using a halved potato, or onion dipped in oil. Heat the tawa. When you sprinkle a few drops of water on it, it should sizzle.With a clean wet cloth, wipe the tawa to remove excess oil. Lower heat and the tawa is now ready for cooking the dosai.How to cook the dosai:Pour a ladle of batter into the center of the tawa or griddle pan. Spread quickly using a circular motion with the back of the ladle to form a 6" round dosai.Drizzle 1 tsp oil around the edges.Raise heat and cook for 1-2 minutes, till the base is golden brown.Turn over carefully and fry the other side, till crisp and golden. Remove from heat.Wipe the tawa with a wet cloth after making each dosai so that it does not get over-heated.Oil the tawa again if it becomes too dry.Repeat for the remaining batter. Serve hot with a chutney, podi and/or sambar.Other dosais in this blog: Dosai, Peas Dosai,  Neer Dosai, Tomato Dosai, Pesarat, Adai, Vegetable Adai, Akki Roti and Ilai Vadam. [...]



The Miracle Mayo

2015-09-15T12:49:00.232+05:30

I'm not really a fan of mayonnaise. In fact, I quite dislike it. But my kids love it. Seriously love it. I'm super picky that they don't eat a lot of mayo because I think it isn't healthy. I've also been on a major non-prepared foods phase, which has resulted in us making our own peanut butter, jam and mayo at home. We have also started making our own pasta and pesto. Soon we will be making our own bread. (I haven't quite perfected the perfect sandwich bread).

I've also started buying completely organic pasteurized milk, growing my own vegetables at home and buying any extra vegetables we need only from known farms that are local. I've also started composting our kitchen waste for our rooftop garden.

I came across this recipe in a Saveur magazine and decided I simply must try it since all our attempts at making mayo have utterly failed. Well, this one worked like a charm. Now I must say that it doesn't always work. I have no idea why, but sometimes when I follow the exact same steps, it just doesn't emulsify. But sometimes, it works like a dream.



Saveur's 20-second Mayonnaise
(recipe from Saveur)

1.5 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard (I don't always use Dijon)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Egg
2 cups Canola Oil.

Put all the ingredients into a tall slender container. Lower an immersion blender into the container until its at the bottom. Turn it on and blend for 3-4 seconds and slowly bring it up, incorporating all the ingredients until it begins to emulsify and turn into mayo. The whole process takes about 20 seconds when its done right.

I have sometimes experimented by adding flavors to the mayo, like chilli powder or lemon rind, and it tastes great.

Enjoy. (image)



Gozleme

2015-09-13T12:22:05.587+05:30

Have you heard of these delicious Turkish Anatolian flat breads known as Gozleme?They sounded familiar but I hadn't had one until this summer when we happened to be in gorgeous Sydney for the Vivid Sydney light festival. The festival sees the entire city light up every night in the most creative, gorgeous way and it is a sight to behold. While the festival is on the for the week, the streets are filled with lovely street stalls and one of them sold Gozleme. It seemed to be a hot favorite and so we stood in line for a good 20 minutes to get a hot, steaming Gozleme fresh off the pan.It was delicious, crispy, flat bread stuffed with spinach and feta, full of flavor.Back home in India, we wanted to have it one more time, and like most international foods, if you want to have something a little bit out of the ordinary, you have to make it yourself. Chennai is behind most cities in India in the diversity of its cuisine. It is getting more adventurous every year but still very far away from other cities in India.Anyhow, I decided to make the gozleme. Having got the recipe off the web, here goes. (a small note here: I got the recipe from a website called Ozlem's Turkish Table. This website is quite a gem. She has step-by-step instructions for most recipes and every single item on there looks do-able and delicious! Do take a moment to go through her website. I've bookmarked half her savory pastries!!). It came out quite perfectly. Do give it a try. Its easy and even the kids love it.Gozleme(recipe from Ozlem's Turkish Table)For the flat bread:3 cups All-Purpose Flour, sifted8 g Dry Instant Yeast3 tbsp Olive Oil2 tbsp Plain Yogurt260 ml Warm WaterA pinch of saltFor the filling:200 g Spinach Leaves, finely chopped1 Onion, finely chopped230 g Feta Cheese1 tbsp Olive OilCrushed Red Pepper, or Chilli Flakes, or Red Pepper Paste, to taste (optional - you can make the filling as spicy as you'd like or omit it completely)Combine about half the warm water, salt and yeast in a bowl and leave aside for 5 minutes until the mixture is frothy. Now combine the flour, yeast mixture, olive oil, yogurt, salt and the rest of the water. Combine all the ingredients and knead until a soft dough is formed.Divide the dough into 5 balls and keep aside, covered in a damp cloth, until doubled in size.Meanwhile prepare the filling.  Combine all the ingredients for the filling and knead well to release the flavors and make the onions softer. I ended up sauteeing the onions and blanching the spinach leaves.Now roll out each ball into a thin, flat round. Fold the top and bottom edges of the round until they meet in the middle. Spread the filling in the center and then fold the left and right sides until the filling is covered. Press the edges together to seal. Repeat for the remaining dough. Heat a non-stick flat or griddle pan. Brush one side of the gozleme with olive oil and place, oil side down, on the pan and let cook for 5-6 minutes until browned. Brush the other side with olive oil and flip over and cook until both sides are brown. Repeat for the remaining gozleme.Serve either cut up into squares or rolled up. Attack! :)[...]



Avocado Cucumber Salad

2015-08-02T20:04:40.178+05:30


Avocado Salad 

There's nothing healthier than avocados (full of good fats), egg whites (fantastic proteins) and cucumbers. 

This salad, thrown together by my five year old, since she just found these ingredients in the fridge, and didn't realize she was making something super healthy.

Chop up the avocados, egg whites and cucumbers (try to make them somewhat the same size). Add chopped spring onions and cilantro. Mix them all together. Add salt and pepper to taste and add some crushed red pepper for heat (if you want it). 


Dress the salad with a few tablespoons of Greek yogurt for a dressing. That's it. All done. 

Obviously this is an extremely flexible recipe. The cucumber gives some crunch but you can also add peanuts or other good nuts. Some mint might be nice too. 
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Mustard Potatoes

2015-04-08T17:06:00.060+05:30

Don't you love the taste of raw mustard? I do. I've used it a lot in my cooking. I simply love that pungency and a little bit of a hot, spicy taste. Its delicious.

Now, if you put that and potatoes together, there can be nothing wrong with it!

Here's a lovely Bengali dish with some raw mustard, mustard seeds, mustard oil and potatoes. It's really really good. It makes a great side with rice or rotis/ chapatis.

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Bengali Mustard Potatoes

(the original recipe is from a paper I've torn out of a magazine ages ago and only recently found. I have no idea which magazine this is from, so can't credit the source)

4-5 tsp Mustard Seeds
8 Potatoes, scrubbed and cut into pieces
3 Tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp Mustard Oil
Kasundi (a special Bengali mustard paste. Its available at specialty stores) (optional), to taste.
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
2 tsp Red Chilli Powder, or to taste
10-12 Garlic Cloves, crushed
2 cups Water
Salt, to taste

Crush the mustard seeds in a mortar and pestle or really with any heavy object.

In a deep pan, heat the mustard oil, add the garlic cloves and stir fry until the garlic is a golden brown. Add the crushed mustard and turn the heat to low. Allow to cook for a minute or two. Keep stirring and don't allow the mustard to burn. Add the potatoes wedges. Mix thoroughly to coat.

Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, kasundi, salt and water. Cook covered on medium heat till potatoes are cooked and tender, about 25-30 minutes,

Serve warm with rice or rotis.




If you like this, you'll also like Mustard Curry and Mustard Chutney, on this blog.(image)



Corn Soup

2015-04-04T16:43:00.348+05:30

In continuation of the healthy soups, here's one that is a big hit with the kids, and adults and grandparents! And no one believes anything this delicious could be low fat and healthy. Go ahead and try this.

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Corn Soup

2 corn on the cob, or about 1 1/2 cups of corn, cooked with a little salt.
1 cup Water
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 tsp Butter. (yes, only one one tsp)

Cook the corn with a little bit of salt and remove the corn from the ears. Or, if using prepacked cooked corn, forget the above step. D-uh.

Put the corn in a blender with the water and blend well. Strain through a very fine strainer. Take the remaining bits of corn which haven't blended and return to the blender with a little water and blend again. Again pass through the strainer.

Add the strained corn to a saucepan on low-medium heat. Add a little salt, pepper and the butter. Heat through but do not allow to come to a boil.

Serve hot or warm.

Other soups on this blog: Carrot Soup, Mulligatawny Soup and Mushroom Soup.(image)



Monkey Bread

2015-03-31T16:20:00.061+05:30

Another easy lovely recipe from Saveur magazine - this one is a lovely recipe for you to do with the kids. Not much can go wrong and the kids will have a lovely time. This is one of those recipes where you know if you put in all this delicious decadent stuff, nothing can go wrong, and if something does, it tastes great anyway!




Cinnamon Monkey Bread

(original recipe here)

3-3 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 cup Butter, softened plus more for greasing
1 1/4 cup Sugar
1 cup Milk
1 tbsp Active Dry Yeast
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp Salt

Heat 2 tbsp of butter with milk and 1/3 cup water on medium heat until warm. Transfer to a bowl of a stand mixer with a hook attachment. Add 1/4 cup sugar, and the yeast and stir to combine. Allow to activate the yeast and foam, about 10 minutes.

Turn the mixer onto a medium speed and add the flour and salt. Beat until all combined and the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow to rise until double in size.

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Grease and flour a 10" bundt pan.

Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside. Melt the remaining butter in a pan, add and combine the brown sugar and set aside.

Pinch small rounds from the risen dough (about the size of small cherry tomatoes). Toss the small balls of dough in the cinnamon sugar mixture (the kids will enjoy this part!) and fit snugly into the prepared bundt pan. Pour the butter-brown sugar mixture slowly and evenly all over the dough, allowing it time to get into the nooks and crannies.

Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve warm. (with vanilla ice cream or a caramel ice cream). :)

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Milagai Inji Puli

2015-03-27T15:44:00.341+05:30

Milagai Inji Puli or literally Tamarind-Chilli-Ginger, is a very famous south Indian side that tastes great with almost anything. Literally. Spread it on toast. Mix it in with rice. Add it to plain yogurt. So delicious. Here's a very simple recipe that's great to whip up and gets a lot of attention from guests.

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Milagai Inji Puli
(Chilli Ginger Tamarind)

100 gms (about 1/4 cup) Ginger, cut into match sticks-sizes
5-6 Green Chillies, (use extra long ones. Snip off the top stem, slit halfway lengthwise,keep the chillies whole)
A lemon-sized ball of Tamarind, soaked in warm water and reserve the pulp
1 tbsp Sesame oil (I used Indian sesame oil - gingelly or til oil - but regular sesame oil is fine)
2-3 tsp Asafoetida (or according to taste)
A lemon sized ball of Jaggery
2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Turmeric Powder (optional)
Salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a deep pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add the asafoetida and the long green chillies. Stir fry for a couple of minutes. Next add the tamarind pulp and turmeric powder (if using). Let it come to a boil and then add the salt and jaggery. Continue to boil until the mixture thickens.

Now add the ginger and boil for a couple more minutes. Remove from stove and allow to cool.

This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Enjoy.









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Dipu's Chocolate Chip Cookies

2015-03-24T21:54:00.292+05:30

My friend gave me this recipe ages ago and I should have tried it sooner, because these are some of the best cookies I've ever made.

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It was easy. My kids did most of the work! And they did most of the eating too!!

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Dipu's Chocolate Chip Cookies
(makes about 4 dozen small cookies or 2 dozen regular cookies - mine here are the small version!)

1 cup White Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup Walnuts, chopped
1 cup Butter, softened
2 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Hot Water
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 175 deg C.

Cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.

Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.




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Plant to Plate

2015-03-21T21:41:00.067+05:30

Its been a long dream of mine to have a vegetable garden at home, an organic vegetable garden. In our family, we are famous for having killed a cactus! So I didn't hold out much hope.A friend and some family started to have their own gardens and I decided I should try before I gave up. So I decided to start it in a very small way.I got some boxes made out of old cargo boxes that were being thrown away. I lined them with plastic and made some holes in them. I filled them with soil and topped it with a layer of compost that I bought at a local nursery.My kids and I then planted some seeds. We decided to go with super low maintenance vegetables that should grow quite easily in the bright hot sunny weather. We planted radish, ladies finger, eggplant, beans, tomatoes and green chillies, and a type of spinach.That was about a month ago or maybe a month and a half. Here's the progress so far. The spinach grew so fast that we actually got to eat it!From Plant to Plate.BeansTomatoesGreen ChilliesLadies Finger And finally, the spinach was made into a nice salad. Next, we are going to start our own compost pit at home! [...]



Green Pasta (for the kids)

2015-03-18T21:23:00.098+05:30

Not sure about other kids, but mine refuse to eat spinach. Or any leaves. They love broccoli and most vegetables but hate spinach. But I've been trying very hard to get them to eat it. This is what we made for dinner tonight and they actually liked it. I wouldn't say loved but they did like it, and that's a huge step. And said they would like to have it again. Sometime.



Green Pasta
(Pasta with a lovely creamy spinach sauce)

1 cup Pasta, feel free to use any kind, cooked
3 cups Spinach
2-3 Garlic cloves
1 cup Plain Yogurt
1 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup Pine nuts, toasted (optional or feel free to substitute any nuts that you like)

In a blender, add the spinach, garlic, salt, yogurt and parmesan and blend to a smooth sauce.

Put the pasta in a pan on medium heat and add the spinach sauce. Stir to combine and cook together for a few minutes. 

Spoon the pasta into bowls/plates. Top with grated parmesan and toasted pine nuts.

Really quite nice.

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Gougeres

2015-03-15T21:08:00.498+05:30

These little pillows of cheesy French heaven are a perfect snack or appetizer. It is a baked savory pastry made of choux dough. Choux dough or pate a choux is a dough made of only water, butter, milk and flour. Choux pastry is used to make such marvelous things as profiteroles, eclairs and beignets. And gougeres are just choux pastry mixed in with cheese. Sometimes they are also stuffed with meats, or even mushrooms.I've been quite hesitant to make choux dough since it requires you to be quick and act fast and I kinda like to take my time in the kitchen. But I was quite inspired by a recipe for a three cheese gougere that I read in Saveur, and subsequently went about reading several more recipes for gougeres from David Lebovitz and The Kitchn. All of those links above will tell you how easily these are made, and explain in step by step detail.The one thing you must do is have all the ingredients on hand. Its difficult when the dough is cooking to then grate the cheese. So make sure your mis-en-place is ready.Gougeres8 tbsp Butter, cubed1/2 tsp Salt3/4 cup Milk1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour3/4 cup Water5 large Eggs1 cup grated Cheese (I used Parmesan. I recommend any sharp cheese such as Gruyere, Comte or Pecorino)Preheat the oven to 220 deg C.On medium high heat, melt the butter in a saucepan, and add the salt, water and milk. When the butter has melted, add the flour. Whisk quickly with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and starts sort of looking like mashed potatoes. Reduce heat to medium and add half the cheese and continue cooking the dough, whisking constantly, over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, to dry out the dough a little bit. Transfer the dough to a bowl and using a hand mixer, mix the dough for 3-4 minutes until it has stopped steaming and slightly warm (be sure it isn't too hot or the eggs will cook when added).Add one egg at a time, completely incorporating the egg with the hand mixer before adding the next one. Continue until all eggs are blended in.Scoop all the dough into a piping bag with a plain tip or a Ziploc bag with the edge cut off (which is what I did). Pipe the dough onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Each gougere should be the size of a small cherry tomatoes. Smooth the top down if needed, so it doesn't burn in the oven. Top each one with an additional sprinkling of cheese. Once the dough is all piped out, put the trays into the oven for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 190 deg C and continue to bake for another 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.Serve warm, or at room temperature. It doesn't really matter. They'll fly off the plate in a matter of minutes. :)[...]



My New Twitter a/c: @akrishna73

2015-03-12T13:09:23.956+05:30

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Mustard and Cheese Bread

2015-03-12T13:01:00.293+05:30

This is a must-try bread. Just take my word for it. Even if you've never baked another bread in your life, do try this. Its delicious, easy and very forgiving. I received this recipe from a friend many years ago. I've made it many many times since then, but have only just realized I haven't posted this on my blog.It's from Martha Rose Shulman, who is a columnist for the New York Times and an author of several cookbooks. After the great success of this bread, I ran out and bought her book. It's just amazing. Buy a copy. Cheese and Mustard Bread(From Great Breads by Martha Rose Shulman)2 1/2 tsps Active Dry Yeast1/2 cup lukewarm Water1/2 cup lukewarm Milk1 tbsp Honey1 tbsp Oil1 large Egg, lightly beaten (about 1/4 cup)1/4-1/2 cup Mustard (the recipe recommends Dijon but I used an Indian mustard, Kasundi. Also I used a little more than 1/2 cup, as I love the spiciness of Kasundi).1 tbsp Shallots/ Onions, finely chopped (I used 2 tbsp)1 cup Sharp Cheese like Gruyere, grated (I used Pecorino, because I love it)2 cups All-Purpose Flour1 cup Whole Wheat Flour1 1/4 tsp Salt1 beaten egg, for egg wash (optional. I didn't use it).Dissolve the yeast in warm water and let stand for five minutes until frothy.Mix all the ingredients together including the yeast, in a bowl. (You can add several other options to this dough like cumin seeds, black pepper or any other herbs or spices, maybe even some nuts would be lovely). Keep mixing until they come together as dough. If too sticky, add a little bit of flour, but please go easy on the flour. Of course, you can add some water if the dough is too dry.Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the warmth of the room.Preheat oven to 180 deg C.Punch down and shape the dough into a loaf. (Or any shape you desire). Place in a loaf pan and cover with a cloth. Leave again in a warm place and allow to double in size.Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes until down. (Adjust timings if you are making anything smaller than a regular loaf). To test if a loaf is done, knock on it gently and you'll get a hollow sound. Let it cool slightly and then remove from pan. Allow to cool for a further 5-10 minutes before serving.Serve warm.[...]



Sri Lankan Pol Sambol

2015-03-08T21:55:00.554+05:30

Sambol is a popular topping and side dish in Sri Lanka. There are two basic varieties - sweet and savoury (pol sambol). Here I've made the spicy version and will soon follow with the sweet one. Pol Sambol is best served with idiyappam.



Its also super easy to whip up...

Pol Sambol

1/2 cup Grated Unsweetened Coconut
1-2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 Onion, cut fine
1-2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/2 tbsp Cilantro, chopped

Mix all the ingredients together. Serve as a side with idiyappam. Feel free to make it as spicy as you'd like. And you can play around with the lemon juice as well.

Enjoy.(image)



Easy Homemade Bread

2015-03-04T21:44:00.183+05:30

I've enjoyed baking my own bread for years now. I was very into making different kinds of breads, and then kinda stopped doing that for a while. I always wanted to bake my way through Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I'm going to try and do that this year. Think that would be super cool. His recipes are always perfect and clear.Anyhoo, this recipe is from another source, but it has been my go-to recipe for bread for all these years. Its easy, and completely versatile. You could use it to bake a regular white loaf, or add ingredients to make it a flavoured bread. The proofed dough could be also used to make buns or garlic twists. Or really anything. Its a blank slate. Add your signature.Basic White Bread4 cups All-Purpose Flour1 tsp Instant Active Dry Yeast3 tsp Salt4 tbsp Sugar (this makes it a little sweet, feel free to reduce the sugar to your taste level)2 tbsp Buter, melted400-450 ml WaterMix all the dry ingredients, and add water a little bit at a time until they come together into a shaggy ball. Add water, or flour, or both, if needed (use extra flour sparingly). Put the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. While kneading feel free to add any flavors you might like, or leave it plain. Place in a well oiled bowl, cover with a cheese cloth and store in a warm place until doubled in size.Preheat oven to 180 deg C.Punch down the bread, knead a couple of minutes. Now you can shape the dough as you'd like. Here, I have made two loaves. One is a Cinnamon Swirl Bread. For that, I stretched the dough out into a rectangle, covered with sugar and cinnamon powder and then rolled it up tight, shaped it into a loaf and placed in a well oiled loaf pan.For the other one, I had already added fried onions, green chillies, cilantro and cumin to the initial dough and made an Indian-style masala bread.You can also leave it plain. Just take the dough and shape into a loaf or buns or a free form loaf and place in a well oiled pan. Cover with the cheese cloth or linen and allow to double again in size.Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when knocked on gently. Allow to cool slightly, take out of the pan and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. This wait allows the bread to settle and enhances flavour. I think.Serve warm. So so good.The Indian Masala LoafSlices of Indian Masala BreadCinnamon Swirl BreadOther Breads in this blog that uses this bread recipes: Vegetable Il Gianfornaio, Pesto and Garlic Bread and Buns.[...]



Idimee

2015-02-28T21:07:00.753+05:30

Idimee is a fusion dish of Malaysian/ Burmese flavours of Mee Goreng and Indian idiyappam/ sevai or string hoppers. This was brought to India by the Chettiars, a successful business community in India.

This is easy to make and is a great one dish meal.



Mee Goreng

1 cup Idiyappam (I've linked to my recipe of it, but you can now even get store bought which just needs to be steamed. If you can, do try to make it at home. Its a bit of a lengthy process but worth it).
1/2 cup Carrots, julienned
1/2 cup Beans, julienned
1/2 Onion, sliced
1 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste
2 Green Chillies, chopped
1 Spring Onion, green and white parts chopped separately
4-5 tbsp Soy Sauce
Cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Cook the carrots and beans until tender but still firm. Saute the onions and green chillies and stir fry until translucent and caramelised. Add the whites of the spring onions and saute. Add the cooked carrots and beans and stir fry until crispy.

Add the idiyappam and toss to mix with the vegetables. On a low heat continue to fry the veggies and idiyappam. Add the soy sauce and mix through.

Serve hot sprinkled with the greens of the spring onions and the cilantro, if using.

Enjoy.(image)



Fried Green Tomatoes

2015-02-24T17:11:00.138+05:30

I've heard so much about fried green tomatoes, but have never eaten them. Well, now I have. I didn't love it, it was a little too sour for me and the kids. We made a bhajji (vegetables fried in a thin batter) out of it. I did use the green tomatoes to make other stuff, like sambar, and loved that. But, no, the fried green tomatoes were not for me!


Fried Green Tomatoes

5-6 Green Tomatoes, cut into discs
Oil, for deep frying

Batter
1 cup Gram Flour
1/2 cup Rice Flour
A pinch of Asafoetida
A pinch of Salt
A pinch of Red Chilli Powder
Water, enough to make a batter.

First heat the oil in a deep pan. Make a batter with all the batter ingredients.

Dip the tomato slices in the batter until thinly coated. Slowly lower a few at a time into the hot oil. Flip after a minute, and fry until cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat until you've fried all the tomatoes.

Serve hot with ketchup or a spicy chutney.


(Shown here with Kale chips. The little brown discs are the green tomato bhajjis)

(image)



Carrot Soup

2015-03-11T16:24:17.323+05:30

One of the many things I've done with my kids that I'm proud of is making them love soup! Every day they have a different kind of soup, and they have to have a bowl of vegetable soup before eating dinner. I blitz all my soups because my kids don't like chunky soups, but do go ahead and make it to the consistency that you desire. The other thing which I like about my soups is that they are very low calorie and low fat. Thankfully.


Carrot Soup

3 Carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small Potato, peeled and chopped
1 tsp Butter
1 tsp Sugar
Cilantro Leaves, for garnish (optional)
Pepper and Salt, to taste


Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat. Add the potatoes and carrots and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Add water (enough to submerge the veggies), cover and cook until veggies are very soft and mushy, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the stove and allow to cool in the pan. Put the soup (the veggies and the water) in a blender and blend until smooth. It should be neither too thin nor too thick. Adjust water accordingly.

Put the soup back on the stove and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot. Garnish with cilantro leaves.



(image)



Pasta with Brown Butter Sauce

2015-02-16T15:50:00.069+05:30

Have you made brown butter? Don't think about the calories for once and go make this sauce. It's one of the best things you would've done. And you can always just smell, taste and then feed your hungry family, friends and neighbors. And let me tell you, they'll come asking when they smell that sauce.

Brown butter is exactly what it sounds like. You cook the butter down until it turns brown and caramel-ly and nutty and sweet and well...It's taking butter to a whole new level.

Well, try this recipe and you won't be sorry. It's a No Regret Move, as the consultants say.


Pasta with Brown Butter Sauce
(Recipe from Saveur)

8 oz Pasta, any kind will do. I used bucatini.
1 cup Butter (I know. It's not for the faint of heart, but trust me)
3/4 cup Pine nuts
4 Eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Freshly ground Pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta until al dente and keep aside, reserving about half a cup of the pasta water as well.

(image) Melt the butter on low-medium heat in a large pan. Add the pine nuts and stir until they turn golden brown. Remove the nuts with a slotted spoon. Now crack the eggs 1 or 2 at a time into the pan. Keep scooping the butter over the eggs until cooked. The recipe calls for fried eggs with a runny yolk, but I'm super scared of the infections that uncooked eggs can bring in India, so I turned it over and cooked it through. (Though I can just imagine that the runny yolk mixing in with the brown butter and coating the pasta must be just amazing).

Carefully remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and keep covered, and warm.

Now add the pasta, half the pine nuts and all the reserved pasta water. Toss to combine and heat pasta. Ladle the pasta into serving bowls, top with a fried egg, a sprinkle of the remaining pine nuts and some Parmesan. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper.(image)



Dāngar

2015-02-12T11:28:00.302+05:30

The Chettiars are an old banking and financial community in India, and especially present in southern India. The Chettiars are considered to be among the pioneers of organized banking in the country. They are also credited with introducing the concept of double entry book-keeping. This community from the south of Tamil Nadu has left a silent signature on everything from manufacturing to banking to films. And on food. Chettiar cuisine is characterized by aromatic and spicy foods with fresh ground masalas and lots of seafood and meat, except beef and pork.

Some Chettiars are originally from Burma where they functioned as moneylenders and contributed significantly to the economic development of Burma. Hence a lot of Chettinad food has Burmese and Malay influences.

This dish is a spicy pickle/ side that tastes great with idlis and dosas. And even as a spread on toast. It is spicy, tart and sweet.


Chettinad Dangar

2 cups small Onions, chopped fine
1 cup Tomato, chopped fine
6-8 cloves Garlic, chopped fine
8-10 (or according to how spicy you'd like it) dried Red Chillies
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Tamarind extract
1 tbsp (or according to how sweet you'd like it) Jaggery
3-4 tbsp Sesame Oil
Salt, to taste

Roast the chillies without oil for 4-5 minutes. Cool and then break them into 3-4 pieces each.

Add the sesame oil to a frying pan. Add the dry roasted chillies and fry for a few minutes. Add the onions and garlic and salt and fry very well until the onions are translucent.

Now add the tomatoes and stir fry until soft. Add the chilli powder and mix well. Continue to cook on a low flame. The oil will start to separate in the pan. Now add the tamarind extract. Continue cooking on low until the smell of tamarind has gone. Now add the jaggery and stir to combine. Cook on a low flame stirring occasionally until it becomes thick. Cook on low for as long as possible for the best results.

Let cool and transfer to a sealed container. This can last up to a week or longer in the refrigerator. Or, like in my house, it can be finished in one meal!(image)