Monday, February 28, 2011

Dosa-avakaya Pachadi (Cucumber Pickle)

The days are still cold and the nights are worst. I usually fall sick around this time of the year with the lack of sun light for more than 5 months at a stretch. When I am sick, I feel like having something hot and spicy. Luckily the last time we went to the grocery store we found the Indian cucumber which we call Dosakaya in Telugu (is there a Tamil word for this?).
Oh how I love this pickle!! I can have it anytime of the day with hot rice and a tsp of ghee...yummy!
Indian Cucumber (Dosakaya): 1
Mustard Powder: 3 tbsp:
Red Chili Powder: 3 tbsp (make it 4 more more spicy pickle)
Salt: 1 to 1/2 tbsp (stop at 1 1/2 tbsp, you can add later if you need more).
Sesame oil (til/nuvvulu/ellu): 4 to 5 tbsp
  • Wash the cucumber and dry it. There should not be any water residue. Now, cut the cucumber in to half and remove the seeds. Now, chop them in to 1 inch cubes.
  • Mix salt, chili and mustard powder in a separate bowl and add to the cucumber pieces. Mix well. Now add the spice mix to the cucumber pieces and mix well. 
  • Slowly add the oil to the cucumber pieces. The mixture should me slightly oily like shown below but not too much.
  • Now, cover the bottle/bowl with a tight lid and leave it aside for about a day.
  • The above picture shows how it is supposed to look like when it is freshly prepared. The first picture is how it looks like after a day when we can enjoy the pickle with hot rice, ghee and and mudda pappu (dal without tadka).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pavakka (Tamil)/ Kakarakaya(Telugu) or Bitter guard fry

For some reason Bitter guard is my favorite. The only problem is chopping them fine. I still remember, I used to help mom in chopping this before she fries this (feels like a long time ago). We even had a bitter guard plant when when I was really young.
Its fairly easy and I am pretty sure most of you already know how to make this. I am still posting this here to remind you all that "its-out-there" :). Go grab it! Below would serve 2. I have served this with spinach dal (Palakura Pappu). I keep using Telugu words at home from time to time (mostly we speak Tamil or English) and my hubby is picking up Telugu very fast :). The other day he said, "Pappu super baagundi".
Bitter Guard: , finely chopped in rounds
Onion: 1 medium sized, chopped
Curry leaves: 1 string, washed
Garlic pods: 2, crushed
Red Chili Powder: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp (or according to taste)
Oil: 2 tbsp

  • Chop the bitter guard in round shape and wash them. The finer you chop them, the better it is 'supposed' to taste. I usually leave the seeds within.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add crushed garlic, curry leaves and chopped onion.
  • Fry the onions until translucent and then add the chopped bitter guard (stir often to avoid burnt guard).
  • Fry the bitter guard until its completely cooked and started to get a little brown.
  • Add salt and chili powder and switch off the stove. 
  • Serve warm with dal or rasam.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Zebra Cake

One of the most visually appealing, yet, easy to make cakes is a Zebra Cake. My hubby keeps calling this as Marble Cake :) I made this for Valentines Day. This is my first attempt at Zebra Cake and I am quite impressed with myself for this...ha ha ha! I got this recipe from Bakingbites. Thanks Baking Bites!
All purpose flour: 2 cups
Baking powder: 1 tbsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Cocoa powder(dark) :2 1/2 tbsp
Large eggs: 4
Sugar: 1 cup
Milk: 1 cup
Vegetable oil: 3/4cup
Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
Almond extract: 1/8 tsp
Round cake pan, 9 inches
  • Mix the flour, salt and baking powder and keep aside. 
  • In another big bowl, mix eggs and sugar well in such a way that sugar is almost melted and the mixture is lightly creamy. 
  • To the eggs mixture, add milk, oil, vanilla and almond extracts and mix well until everything is combined properly. 
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well until combined. 
  • Measure just under 2 cups of the batter and transfer to another bowl. To this, add the cocoa powder and 1 tbsp of milk and mix well until combined.
  • Now you have 1 bowl of plain batter and 1 bowl of cocoa batter. 
  • Line a 9-inch round cake pan with a circle of parchment paper and lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pan. I didn't have the paper, so I just greased the pan and I had some difficulty getting the cake out of the pan.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 D F.
  • Pour in 3 tbsp of plain batter into the pan and let it spread a little. On top of that plain batter, add 3 tbsp of cocoa batter (use separate spoons). 
  • Alternate the spoonfuls until you exhaust all the batter.Take care while pouring in the batter, its easy to mess up (like I did the last layer).
  • Bake for 38-40 minutes(please use a timer) in 350 D F preheated oven. 
  • Let the cake sit out for 10-15 minutes and you can remove from the pan and enjoy!
Happy Caking! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bhendi Burji with aloo (Orka with Potatoes)

Bhendi Burji is one of my favorite recipes. Its easy and goes great with almost anything; rice, roti, naan or even curd rice! I made a slight variation to the traditional burji on the recommendation of another acquaintance of mine, Chitrala. I was falling short of bhendi (okra), so I was told to use 1 big potato to increase the quantity and guess was a huge success!If you have never tried making this combo, I recommend it, you would not be disappointed. Serves 2 easily.

Okra: 1/4 kg (1/2 lb), washed, dried and cut into small pieces
Potato: Big, 1 pealed and chopped
Onion: 1 big, chopped
Red Chili: 2, broken into 4 pieces
Cumin: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 string
Salt: 1 tsp or according to taste
Red Chili powder: 1 tsp (depending on desired spice level)
Oil: 2 tbsp

  • Heat (medium flame) oil in a wide bottomed pan and add cumin, broken red chili followed by curry leaves.
  • Now add the onion and fry until translucent.
  • Add the chopped potato and okra. Fry until okra and potato are cooked; stir at least once in 5 mins and it should be done in like 20 mins. 
  • Add salt and red chili powder and serve hot with naan bread/rice/roti.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chicken fry...without oil!

Can we even call it a fry if we do not use oil? Not so sure but who is going to be a word-police here eh? So, let me use the word, Chicken Fry :)
I started off this process hoping to make tandoori chicken in my oven (not the traditional tandoor). But I realized that I hardly have any Kissan Tandoori powder left. That's how this new chicken fry was born; all the ingredients are my guess work :). Most of the ingredients are commonly available in any Asian home.

Chicken: 1 lb (close to 1/2 kg), skinless and boneless, I used chicken breast
Yogurt: 2 tbsp
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Cumin Powder: 1 tsp
Red Chili powder: 1 tsp
Ginger Garlic paste: 1 tbsp
Salt: according to taste
Food Color: 1 pinch

Note: I actually used garlic seasoning and excluded salt. For extra favorite flavor, use what ever you like :)

Cut the chicken pieces in to desired size and marinate with all the ingredients. Keep it in fridge for at least 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 F. In a baking tray, line all the chicken pieces. Keep the chicken in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, remove from the oven and turn the chicken pieces so that the other side of the piece also gets properly roasted. Return to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes. Now remove and turn the pieces again. Cook for another 15 minutes. So, in total you cooked for 45 minutes. But now, the chicken would have cooked to perfection.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pongal- Breakfast specialty from Tamil Nadu

There are lots of recipes floating around for pongal and I have lots of recipes for the same. But here is one of the fool proof recipes. My Aunt makes the best of Pongals ever but, I don't have her here with me. So, i will have to make do with what I have...which is, a perfect recipe! Probably all aunts have the same recipe :)
Makes for 2 people. I have served this with coconut chutney.
I have also kept this for as naivedyam for Pongal/Lohri.

Raw Rice: 1 cup
Moong Dal: 1/4 cup
Ghee: 3 tbsp
Water: 6 cups
Salt: According to taste
Turmeric powder: 1/8 tsp

Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Curry Leaves: 1 string
Ginger: 1/2 inch, finely chopped
cashew nuts: broker, a few

Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a big pan (enough and more to contain 6 cups of water). Wash the rice and moong dal and fry for about 3-5 minutes, stir constantly. Now add the salt, turmeric and stir again. Add 6 cups of water (I use hot water to save time) and cook the rice. By the time the 6 cups of water is gone, pongal would have have been over-cooked (just the way its supposed to be). Make sure to stir the rice once in a while (once in 5 minutes). You can also pressure cook this. If you are pressure cooking, It shoudnt take more than 20 minutes on medium flame.

Switch off the stove. In another small tadka pan, heat the remaining ghee and add one by one the ingredients in "tempering". After a minute, add these to the rice and mix well.