Monthly Archives: June 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits

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Light, Flaky, Scrumptious Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe from www.smittenkitchen.com

Light, Flaky, Scrumptious Buttermilk Biscuits
Recipe from http://www.smittenkitchen.com

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Moong Dal Pudlas (Split Green Gram Pancakes)

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I’m back home!

After a month of TLC at my parents’ following a brief illness & ban from the kitchen, I’m up & about & ready to take on the world! I did start making up for the 3 weeks away from my favourite space by making this, & this & of course this over at my parents’!

And now…I’m back in my Odd Hour Kitchen, planning menus, packing lunches for the husband… fun stuff!

Here’s my first dish back 🙂

Pudlas (Gujarati), Uttapams, Appams & Dosas (South Indian), or Chillas (North India) are various Indian Pancakes or Crepes. The South Indian ones are made with a fermented Rice Flour batter or with Semolina (Rawa). The Gujarati & North Indian ones are made with various Lentils (Dal) or non-fermented Rice Flour batter & even Semolina.

This recipe that I’m going to share with you, is my maternal grandmother’s. She would use Whole Green Gram Beans or Moong, which she soaked overnight. But I didn’t have any  yesterday & I wanted to keep the batter ready in the fridge for this morning’s breakfast, so I want ahead & used the Split Green Gram or Moong Dal.

Moong Dal

These Pancakes are very easy to make & perfect for a heavy breakfast or a light-ish dinner. They use a little oil, but are Carb & Gluten Free… so they aren’t bad for you either! In fact they are high in Vitamins A, B, C & E & Minerals like Calcium, Potassium & Iron. The Dal is rich in Protein & Fibre & a perfect food to help you in your weight-loss regime 🙂

Ingredients

Soaked Moong Dal

  • 3/4 cup Moong Dal / Split Green Gram (soaked for 4-5 hours)
  • 2 small Onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 inch piece Ginger (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 Green Chillies (finely chopped)
  • 4-5 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • Coriander (finely chopped)
  • Cumin Seeds / Jeera
  • Salt
  • Oil

Method

The Batter

  1. Grind the Dal in a food procession with the ginger, garlic, green chillies & 1/4 of the onions. Do not add any extra water.
  2. Pour the mixture into a bowl, add the remaining onions, cumin & salt.
  3. The batter is supposed to be a bit thick, like porridge. But, if you feel it is too thick, add a little water.
  4. Heat a flat non-sitck pan or skillet & grease it with a little oil. Drop a ladle-full of the batter as you would normally for pancakes. Sprinkle some tomatoes & coriander. Once you see the edges come away from the pan, drizzle a little oil around the pancake.Carefully flip the pancake to cook the other side.
  5. Serve hot with a Sweet Chilli Sauce or Mint Chutney or Yogurt.

This Recipe makes about 16 Pancakes.

The batter can be stored in the fridge & used over the next 2 days.

A Left-Over Lasagna

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The Mango Season is on it’s way out in the City, but that never stops us at the Vakil household! Each year Ma gets dozens of Pairee Mangoes … sweet with just the right amount of tartness & the pulp not too thick… perfect for the juice & squeezes out batches of Aam Ras (Mango Juice), packs it small boxes & freezes it… to be defrosted & eaten when the craving hits you after the fresh fruit is gone! This Ras, in our Gujju household is eaten as a meal accompanied with either Pooris (small, round, deep fried whole wheat flatbread), Poli (thin, layered whole wheat Roti or flat-bread) or our family favourite Safed / Chokha ni Rotli (cottony soft white flat bread made with rice flour).

Safed / Chokhani Rotli

These Rice Flour “Tortillas” are soft, melt-in-your-mouth, & surprisingly light. You could go through a half dozen of these without even realizing it! And they take on the flavour of Mangoes beautifully.

To make these Rotlis, you basically mix equal parts of rice flour & boiling water to which salt & oil are added, & knead out a soft, firm dough. Then you roll out small, thin rounds & roast them on the tawa or griddle. I’ve never tried making them myself… the process always seemed a little complicated for me! And besides I have to admit, with great embarrassment, that I cannot roll out a perfect round Roti / Rotli / Chapati to save my life!

Yes… this Good Gujarati girl married into a Mighty Maratha family cannot make the traditional, staple, Indian flat-bread 😦

But what I can do is make good use of these beautiful Rotlis on the rare occasion that we have a small batch leftover!

And that’s just what I did… Made a perfect light dinner in this gorgeous cloudy weather, after a long walk through my favourite streets in the City, Hot Chocolate & Contemporary India Art… a lovely evening out & about with my oldest, closest pal! Because guess what? I’m not under house arrest any more!

I made my version of a wholesome, flavourful Lasgna using these beauties!

Note: You could use Whole Wheat or Corn Tortillas instead of the Rice Flour ones.

Ingredients

  • 6 – 9 Safed Rotlis
  • 100 gm Cheese (grated)
  • Salted Cracker Crumbs
  • Olive Oil

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Filling

  • 200 gm Cottage Cheese (crumbled)
  • 100 gm Sweet Corn (boiled)
  • 1 Green Capsicum (finely chopped)
  • 1 small Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

 

 

 

 

 

Sauce

  • 8 – 9 Tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 Onions (finely chopped)
  • 8 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 dried Red Chillies (torn to bits)
  • 1 teaspoon Kallonji (Onion or Nigella Seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon Jeera (Cumin Seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ajwain (Carom Seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon Kasoori Methi (dried Fenugreek Leaves)
  • Red Chilli Powder / Chilli Flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Haldi / Turmeric Powder
  • Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Mixed Herbs
  • 3 tablespoons Tomato Ketchup or Puree
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Wine

Method

Filling

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl & keep aside.

Sauce

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan & add the cumin, carom & onion seeds.
  2. When they start to crackle, toss in the dried red chillies, onion & garlic. Saute till the latter are a light gold.
  3. Add tomatoes & salt. Cook till the tomatoes are soft & then add the chilli powder, turmeric, herbs & fenugreek leaves.
  4. Add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water or stock & the ketchup .Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Pour in the red wine & simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the flame, allow to cool & then coarsely process the tomato mixture to make a chunky sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Putting it Together

  1. Grease a deep baking dish and arrange a layer of the Rotlis.
  2. Pour some of the tomato sauce over it & then spoon in the filling.
  3. Cover with the tomato sauce, followed by another layer of the Rotlis, sauce & filling & continue doing so till you run out.
  4. Top up with a layer of the tomato sauce. Cover with grated cheese, cracker crumbs, chilli flakes & herbs.
  5. Drizzle olive oil over generously & bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 C for about 25 minutes.
  6. Serve hot with a dollop of hung yogurt whisked together with some chilli flavoured cheese spread.

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This Recipe Serves 4

Kaanda Bhajjias & the Pouring Rain

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The Monsoon has hit the City & the view from my parents’ bedroom is this…

Or a variation of this… Sometimes Darker, Stormier, Rainier & Prettier!

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It’s my favourite time of the year! The incessant rain, thunder, the cool breeze or insane winds, the strange sepia-grey light in the morning, … flooded streets, cancelled meetings, rain holidays, stalled trains, traffic jams not withstanding!

These are the days you want to ditch your umbrella (it wouldn’t stand a chance anyway with the crazy wind!), get into your flipflops, splash into puddles on the promenade by Marine Drive, bite into hot, spicy corn-on-the-cob, roasting slowly & deliciously on charcoal while you get drenched to the bones! Sigh… been a while since I’ve done that!

Right now though,  I’m glad I’m under house arrest & enjoying the rains from the indoors. It has a bit of romance of it’s own… hot cups of coffee or chocolate, music to go with the mood, a good book, a blanket to cuddle into & a Bombay rain staple… Bhajjias! 

Bhajjias or Pakoras as they are called up North, are little deep fried crispy pieces of goodness that are perfect with a hot cup of tea in the gorgeous rainy weather! You have Batata / Aloo (Potato), Mirchi (large green chillies), Daal (Lentil), Paneer (Cottage Cheese) & even Bread Pakoras!

But our family favourite… actually the Bombay street favourite… are Kaanda Bhajjias… light, crisp batter-fried Onion Fritters!

With everyone at home on a rainy, rainy Saturday evening, & a rained out India vs Pakistan Cricket Match on TV the weather & mood were perfect for these. And guess what… I could make these as my ban from the kitchen has been lifted!

Ingredients

  • 8 large Onions (finely sliced)
  • 4 Green Chillies (finely chopped)
  • 2 inch piece of Ginger (grated)
  • 2 teaspoons Jeera / Cumin Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Haldi / Turmeric Powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons Red Chilli Powder
  • Coriander Leaves (finely chopped)
  • 5-6 tablespoons Besan / Chickpea Flour
  • Salt

Note: You could increase / decrease the quantity of Green & Red Chillies depending on how spicy you’d like the Bhajjias to be. These were moderately hot.

Method

                                              

  1. Mix together the onion slices, green chillies, ginger, cumin, turmeric, coriander leaves & red chilli powder in a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle enough Besan / Chickpea Flour to coat the onion slices. Make sure that there is enough to coat & hold the onions together without making it thick & batter-y.
  3. Season with salt & mix well.
  4. Take handful of the onion mixture, squeeze together to make sure it holds its shape & drop into a deep wok of hot oil.
  5. Fry till a deep gold brown & serve hot with Mint Chutney or Spicy Tomato Sauce.

Note: It is very important to season with salt at the very end, just before frying, that way the onions do not lose water into the batter. It’s necessary to keep any moisture away from the batter so that the Bhajjias get all crispy & crunchy 🙂

This recipe serves 4

A Year Older & Banned from the Kitchen…

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It’s been over 2 weeks since my last post! I’ve missed cooking! I’ve missed writing my blog! I’ve missed connecting with you, my friends in the blog world!

A lot was going on, both at work & home that didn’t leave me much time to cook blog-worthy dishes… if I made notes &  jotted down recipes, I couldn’t take great pictures, & if I did take some, there didn’t seem to be any time to write…

I did land up baking these for my last batch of theatre workshop kids… They were a hit… both the kids & the cookies 🙂

Red Velvet & White Chocolate Chip Cookies; recipe from http://www.gonnawantseconds.com

Well it has been a roller-coaster ride these 2 weeks… physically & emotionally.

I turned a year older on May 24 🙂

A lovely day spent with Ma & a scrumptious lunch that my pal Priti took me for, at Umame, a Pan Asian Restaurant… and we forgot to take pictures… And dinner at our favourite Smoke House Deli.

Celebrations continued on Saturday with aimless driving around the City & a bad film… a really bad film, with the husband & a Mexican dinner at Sanchos with old friends… a fun, memorable birthday weekend!

A Strawberry & White Chocolate Mousse Cake on a dinner date with the husband at the Smoke House Deli

3 days later I was in hospital for 2-3 days 😦

And this is the view I’m limited to since, for another 10 days!

The pretty lamps, curtains & the ceiling fan in my parents’ bedroom!

It’s nothing serious. I just need to rest, relax & generally look after myself. And like I’ve said before, the best place to head to when you need some serious TLC & pampering is to your Ma & Dad’s!  So here I am for the next 10 days or so.

The only bummer is that I absolutely have to lay down flat in bed all day!!! And that’s just driving me nuts! While I’m all for being lazy in summer & chilling all day… this is just… arghhhhh!! Forget about going out… I’m not even allowed to cook!

So here’s what I’m going to do… a project with my Ma that we have been procrastinating over a long while. We are going to document her traditional family recipes… our favourite comfort dishes, festival specials, recipes passed down by my grandmothers. Most of the recipes are in her head, some in tattered notebooks & scraps of paper & my grandmothers’ recipes in our native Gujarati script, which I’m embarrassed to admit I can’t read all that well! We’re going to put them all together & compile our very own Family Recipe Book!

I’ve also been catching up on my blog-reading & living vicariously through all the Kitchen Adventures of my fellow bloggers… And I have compiled a wishlist of all the recipes I wish I could make right now! 

Here they are… And when I do make them, I will keep you posted 🙂

Strawberry Cupcakes (Tea With Erika)

Chocolate Hazelnut and Sea Salt Fudge (All The Things I Love To Eat)

Homemade Sweet Rolls (The Joy of Caking)

Mexican Chicken Soup (Gluten Free Gus)

Grilled Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pizza (Good Food Not Much Time)

Maple Syrup Cake (Oh Lidia)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge (350 Kitchen)

Homemade Ricotta Cheese (From The BartoliniKitchens)