Friday, December 31, 2010

Sesame Ladoo

Let me begin the new year with something sweet to share :) The below recipe is one of my very good friends recipe. Well, perhaps quite a lot of you know how to make this but never has this tasted better than when she used to make! She is long gone now but her perfect recipe remains for all of us to enjoy. I could never understand how a simple recipe like this can taste so good. 

Sesame seeds: 2 cups
Jaggery: 1 cup
Cardamom powder: 1 tsp

  • Roast the sesame seeds until they change color to brown. 
  • In a mixer grinder, grind the sesame seeds and jaggery together and add cardamom powder. You dont have to grind it fine, it will taste good even when coarsely done. 
  • Take the mixture in a bowl and add a little water to the side and make a ladoo. You can substitute water with ghee.
  • Like wise, make all the ladoos.

Happy New Year!

To all my bogging buddies, have a great New Year ahead!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Spinach Pizza

I couldn't believe that my husband is such a great cook! He made the below pizza all by himself! here is the recipe, its really sweet of him that he made this for us.
The crust recipe is something I picked up here (Thanks Dominio's Pizza!)and the toppings can be anything you like! The below would make two "10-inch" pizza crust's.

For Crust:
All Purpose Flour: 2 1/2 cups
Sugar: 1/2 tbsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Instant Yeast: 1/2 tsp
Warm Water: 3/4 cups
Extra virgin olive oil: 1 tbsp.

Method for Crust:
Mix all the above ingredients thoroughly and keep the dough aside for 5 mins and then kneed the dough again for about 3 to 5 mins.
At  this point, if the dough is too crusty, add another 1/8 cups of water and kneed again. Divide in to 2 equal halves and store 1 of the lumps in an oiled bag. You can also freeze this now.
Allow the dough to raise in room temperature for about an hour. You can also lightly cover this with a clean cloth.

After an hour, make a 10 inch pizza in a pizza pan. I used my hands here.

Toppings: we used the below but you can get creative here.
Spinach: 1 bunch, blanched
Mushrooms: 1/2 cup, chopped
Chopped olives: hand ful
Grated Cheese: Any cheese, as much as you want
Sauces: You can use any sauce, below is what we used
Tomato sauce: 3 tbsp
Hot sauce: 1/2 tbsp
Sweet and sour sauce: 1 tbsp

Layering the Pizza:
Pre-heat the oven to 450 D F. Mix all the sauces together and layer this first on the crust.
Second layer is going to be spinach.

Third layer is going to be Mushrooms.
The 4th layer is the cheese.
The final layer is going to be olives. Keep this in the oven until the crust is slightly browned. It took me about 20 minutes. Keep checking after that until the desired brownness.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dessert with Dates

I really wanted to thank the lady who has invented this wonderful dessert dish. I have seen this recipe in one of the dessert-round-ups but I am unable to pin point which one it is. Its been a while. Thanks dear unknown blogger!
Its fairly simple to make this dessert and it practically takes only 10 minutes!

Dates: Seedless 20 (de-seed if you cant find seedless dates)
Cashews: 5, broken
Raisins: 10
Pecans or Almonds: a few, broken
Clarified butter/Ghee: 2 tbsp
Coconut: Dry or fresh, grated, about 1/4 cup (I used dry coconut)

Mash the dates with a wooden spatula.
Heat ghee in a small pan and roast cashews, raisins, pecans for a few minutes or until the dry fruits turn golden brown.
Add the above to the mashed dates and mix. Make small balls out of the mixture and roll in to the grated coconut.

Award Time!
Dear Santosh, thanks a ton for passing on the award to me. I am extremely happy that you think my blog deserves this award. Thanks a lot.

Here are a few things about me:
1. I love reading books and I am either reading or cooking as a hobby.
2. I am very easy going.
3. I hate hypocritical people.
4. I love red wine.

5. I hate driving

I am passing on this award to:
1. Gaouri Guha
2. Kurinji
3. LR
4. Sanctified spaces
5. Aipi

And to all my blogging friends.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chicken Biryani

Who doesn't like Chicken Biryani eh? The only down side being its too much work. Anyway, this is one of my favorite ways to make chicken Biryani. I will keep the introduction short because the recipe itself is big. Start it when you have enough time. Below would serve 6 people easily. So make sure to adjust the quantity. Another thing is that, the below picture is taken before I placed the dish in oven. i had some guests at home; so couldn't take the final version.

Marinade the below together:
Chicken: 2 lb or close to a kilo (I used bone-in and skinless)
Yogurt: 1 cup
Salt: 1 tsp
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tbsp

Marinade all the above for at least 4 hours. Leave this in fridge.

Get the below ready:
Basmati Rice: 4 cups (medium sized cups)
Oil: 6 tbsp or a little more
Clarified butter/Ghee: 6 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste: 1 tbsp (yes, again)
Milk: 1/2 cup
Safforn or food color

Spices you will require:
Cardamom (Elachi): 6
Nutmeg and mace: A little
Cinnamon (Chekka/Dalchini): 2 inch piece
Cloves: 8-10
Bay leaf (Biryani leaf): 4
Caraway seeds (Shah Jeera): 1 tsp

Fresh produce:
Mint leaves: a handful
Cilantro/Coriander leaves: a handful
Chili powder: 1 tbsp
Green Chilies: 4 split length wise
Tomatoes: 3 large, chopped
Coriander Powder: 1 tsp 

To garnish:
Onions: 6, chopped length wise
Cashew nuts: handful (optional, I didn't use)
Almonds and raisins: (optional, I didn't use)

Getting the garnish ready:
Heat 6 tbsp of oil in a large pan and fry onions until golden brown. Use high flame so that they turn brown. Keep them aside on paper towel to drain the oil.
If you are using cashew nuts, almonds and raisin's,fry them in a small pan in 1 tbsp of ghee. Keep this also aside. We will be using the above all to garnish.

Cooking the chicken:
Now, in the same pan in which you fried onions, add little more oil and add 3/4 of all the spices under "spices you will require" section. (The remaining 1/4 quantity we will use later). Add ginger-garlic paste and give it a quick stir. Now add the chicken marinade followed by everything under "Fresh Produce". Cook until chicken gets completely cooked and its not watery. Now add 1/3 of the fried onions to this and remove from heat.

Cooking the Rice:
Take a large pot and add rice and hot water (at least 12 cups of water for 4 cups of water) and a fist full of salt. Yes, you will need at least a fist full so that rice is slightly salty when it is cooked. Don't worry, you will not put too much. Along with the salt add all of the 1/4 of the saved spices from the above step.
You will need to cook the rice until it is 3/4 done. This would not usually take more than 10 mins.
Now drain the rice.
Layering the Biryani:
I am going to mention 2 ways here. We need to cook the rice completely with the steam. So we have 2 options here. Either we use oven (which is what I did) or dum-cook on flame, sealing the lid with dough. 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 D F. Take an oven-safe wide glass vessel.Mix milk and safforn/food color and keep aside.
Grease the pan with ghee. Lay a layer in the same order as below:
1. Rice, spread in the bottom.
2. Chicken, spread lightly
3. Fried onions, spread some
4. Chopped coriander leaves
5. 1 tsp of milk and saffron mix.

Repeat the process until you finish all the rice/chicken. For me the final layer came out as rice. I also sprinkled fried onions, coriander and the remaining milk and saffron.

Seal the dish with aluminum foil and make a few holes for the steam to escape. Leave the pan in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
If you are using cooking stove for this: Seal the lid of the pot and leave it on simmer for 45 minutes.

Open the foil/lid very gently because once I hurt my fingers with the wild/escaping steam.

Finally my favorite part of making this starts...which is eating!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pulihodarai (Tamarind Rice)

Thanks to Shanti Krishnakumar, finally I am able to make Pulihodarai, temple style from the recipe given in her blog! Shanti didi, thanks a ton, I made this last night and I was pleasantly surprised that pulihodarai tastes exactly like the one we get in temples in Chennai!

Every blog-buddy out there, do try this out; you will not be disappointed.

For powder:
Channa dal: 2 tsp
Methi seeds: ¼ tsp.
 Pepper corn:1 tsp
Dry red chillies: 4
Coriander seeds: 4 tbsp

Dry roast all the above and keep aside.

For Paste:

Tamarind: 1 1/2 tbsp soaked in 2 cups of water
Channa dal: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Methi seeds: ½ tsp
Dry red chilies: 4
Peanuts: 2 tbsp
Curry leaves: 2 strings 
Hing: 1/8 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Heat oil in a vessel enough to contain 2 cups of water.
  • Add the mustard seeds followed by everything else under "for paste". 
  • Simmer the flame and let the water boil down to 1/8 cup or to a paste consistancy. This will take at least 45 mins.
  • Take cooked rice in a bowl and add a tsp of the dry powder and the wet paste. 
Enjoy the Perumaal kovil puliyodharai.

Here is the link for the original recipe...Please note that you need to mix this mixture with cooked rice.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Banana Bread

The other day my husband bought 6 bananas. I didn't know and I bought another 6 the next day. Needless to say, a few of them started getting too-ripe-to-eat with in 3 days. So I decided to make Banana Bread. I cant believe that I started baking healthy things like this! Its fairly an easy bread to bake, considering you don't have to wait for it to raise. 
I am also sending this to Aipi's and Priya's Ripe Banana Event.

Banana's: 4, very ripe, mashed
Sugar: 1/2 cup (You can increase this to 3/4 cup)
Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
Egg: 1, beaten
Melted Butter: 1/3 cup
Salt: a small pinch
Baking Soda: 1 tsp
All Purpose Flour: 1 1/2 cup

Preheat the oven to 350 D F. Mash the banana's well in a big bowl and keep aside. Beat the egg and keep aside. Now, add sugar, Vanilla extract, baking soda, butter, salt and egg into the mashed bananas. Now add the flour and mix well.
Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Cool completely and slice off!

Note: My current oven's starting temperature is only 350 D F. If yours is different, make sure to adjust the baking time or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in middle.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chicken Pickle

Having been in Andhra for many years, it is but natural that I developed a taste for pickles. My mom's kitchen, till date, has at least 5 bottles of pickles at all times of the year. Its convenient for her because she gets to make seasonal pickles like Mango, Amla etc in the respective seasons. Now that I relocated, I mostly end up buying pickles from stores.
So, I made chicken pickle the other day and, boy oh boy, it sure did come out well.

Cloves: 8
Cardamom: 3
Cinnamon: 1 inch
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Coriander seeds: 1 1/2 tbsp
Cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp
Poppy seeds  (optional): 2 tbsp

Dry roast all the above ingredients separately and fine grind them. Keep aside.

You will also need 8 tsp of red chili powder (or 10, according to require spice level) and 1 tbsp of lemon juice. 

Chicken (boneless): 1 lb (A little under 1/2 kg)
Turmeric powder: 1/8 tsp
Oil: 1/4 cup

Cut the chicken in to the desired shape and boil the chicken pieces until tender with turmeric powder and drain. Now, heat 1/4 cup of oil in a pan and roast the pieces until they turn slightly brown.Shouldn't take long at all. To this chicken, add the ground spices, red chili powder. Add salt according to your taste.
At this point you can add more oil if you think its too dry. 
Mix in lemon juice and stir for another 2 minutes.

For tadka:
Oil: (again) 5 tbsp
Cumin seeds: 2 tsp
Red Chilies (optional): 4 
Curry leaves: 2 strings

Roast the above in a pan and to the chicken pickle.
Let this cool completely and store in a container with tight lid. You can also refrigerate this. This can store well for even 8 weeks!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

From my previous post Here, you would have noticed that I don't like to waste pumpkin seeds. Why would I when I can make some real good snack with seeds? Its fairly easy and is perfect for munching while watching TV. Here is the recipe..

Pumpkin seeds: 2 cups
Salt: 2 tbsp
Water: 6 cups
Butter: 1 tbsp

Preheat the oven to 300 D F
Boil water in a large pan and add salt and pumpkin seeds. Boil for about 10 minutes and drain.
Stir in butter and spread the seeds in a baking tray, evenly.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes; make sure to stir every 10 minutes or so. Cool off completely before enjoying your snack.