Sunday, August 31, 2008

Spiced Buttermilk (Yoghurt) / Sambaram

Sambaram, chaach, majjige or spiced buttermilk - what is in a name? The drink is truly refreshing. Today was an especially hot day, and when we got back home after the weekly grocery shopping, both of us were tired!!! P loves this drink and loves to have it after a heavy meal. So, I made sambaram. It is very easy to make & it is so refreshing!!!

Time - 5 mins
Serves - 2

Yoghurt - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 1/2 cups
Ginger - 1 inch
Chili - 1
Curry Leaves - 15 -20
Salt to taste

Mince ginger, chili & curry leaves and add to yoghurt - churn well for 1 minute.
Add water & salt -churn another minute.
Pour into glasses!

It is that easy to make. If you have the traditional wooden / steel churner (mathu), then churn a little longer. I use a hand blender & blend on low speed for a minute.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Savoury Soya Pancakes / Soya Dosai

I was thinking about what to make for the JFI-Soya event hosted by Sia, went to the local indian grocery store and found soya flour & nuggets. I was thrilled!!! Having found the flour, I didn't know what to make. The only way I've used soya flour, is to add to the wheat flour & make chhapathis. Now, what do I make? Inspiration struck and I thought of soya dosai.

Soya Flour - 1 cup
Rice flour - 1/4 cup
Soya yoghurt - 12 oz or 340 gms ( I used 2 packs of plain soya yoghurt)
Water - as needed
Chili - 3
Ginger - 2 inch
Coriander - as you like
Salt to taste
Oil to cook

Mix soya and rice flours
Chop chilies, ginger & coriander finely and add to flours
Pour in the soya yoghurt and mix. Add water as needed to make a smooth paste. Batter should be a little thinner than regular dosai consistency.
Heat a griddle with raised edges, pour 1-2 ladles of batter in the middle in a circle. Sprinkle a few drops of oil on the sides. Cover and cook for 30-40 secs. Remove cover and turn dosai to cook other side for 30-40 secs or till dark brown spots appear.

This dosai takes a long time to cook as it is thick. Make sure to keep a medium heat setting, else the dosai will turn brown too quickly & won't be fully cooked. So, check the centre before removing from griddle. Tasty by itself or with dosa molaga podi. My husband liked it with kothamalli thogayil too!

Masala Chai

I love that evening cup of tea with biscuits - preferably marie. Back at home, tea is at 5 pm. I remember many an evening when my mom, sisters and I would get together for our evening cuppa. Though now I am not at home, I still brew myself a cup'a tea every evening.

This evening, while I brewed my tea, a friend asked for some too. This recipe is for him. Each person has their preferred masala chai. I like mine a little sweet & a little peppery. Here's my recipe for you.

Time - 10 mins
Serves - 2-3

Water - 1.5 cups
Milk - 1/2 cup
Tea - 2 tsps
Black Pepper - crushed - 4-5
Saunf - 1 tsp
Sugar - to taste

Heat the water, saunf & black pepper in a saucepan to a boil. Cover and simmer for 2 mins.
Add tea leaves and simmer for 2-3 mins longer.
Add milk and sugar. Stir and simmer for another minute.
Strain into a mug and enjoy!!

This is my regular cup'a tea. Fresh ginger and green cardamom can be used instead of the black pepper and saunf. To make it more interesting - add 1-2 cloves and a small piece of cinnamon to the pepper & saunf.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Zesty Tofu Toss

I am a new blogger. For a long time now, I have been thinking about blogging my recipes, but never did it. Earlier this month, inspired by a friend, I created my first blog!! Originally I planned to post all my recipes also there. But then I discovered that in food blogging, there were many events every month. That was so exciting!!! So, I took the plunge!

JFI-Soya is the first event I am participating in. Sia, here's a vegetarian dish cooked specially for this event!!! Till I tried this dish, I wasn't a huge fan of soya, but I am making this for lunch tomorrow for my husband!!!

I made another tofu dish this afternoon, Tofu Bites, but they lacked a "bite". I made this from the left over tofu and other veggies in the fridge - sort of took a few items and tossed them together and was pleasantly surprised by this zesty dish!!!

Time - 40 mins
Serves 1-2

Thai green chili - minced - 1
Ginger - minced - 1 inch
Garlic - minced - 2 pods
Cabbage - chopped - 1/3 cup
Baby Carrots - chopped - 8-10
Cashew - broken - 1 tbsps
Spring Onions - minced - 1 tbsp ( I used a packet of dried spring onion from a japanese store)
Chili Flakes - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 6 tsps
Low Sodium Soy Sauce - 3 tbsps
Firm Tofu - 1 slab (from a 24ox package)
Rice Vermicelli - broken - 1/2 cup or lesser (I used a very little from a 450 gm or 16 oz pkt)
Olive Oil - 2 tbsps
Salt to taste

Put a paper towel on a cutting board & place the tofu slab on it. Put another paper towel on top of the tofu. Place a heavy skillet upon this. This helps drain the water from the tofu. Keep aside.
Chop the cabbage & carrots. Mince the ginger, garlic & chili. Keep separately.
Remove tofu from the paper towels. First cut the tofu slab in half and then into bite sized bits. Make them thin. I had about 20-25 bits.
Heat 1/2 the oil in a non-stick skillet. Add ginger, garlic & chili and saute till the garlic starts turning brown.
Add cabbage & carrot. Keep tossing till the cabbage turns brown.
Add cashews & chili flakes, toss another minute. Empty into a bowl.
In a sauce pan take enough water to cook the noodles. Add a little salt (just a pinch) & bring to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer till the noodles are done. 2-3 mins for al dente. Strain and wash noodles in cold water.
Heat the rest of the oil in the same non-stick skillet. Add the tofu. Give the pan a good shake to spread the oil across all tofu pieces. Cook till both sides are a nice golden brown. Takes about 3-5 mins.
Sprinkle the sugar over all the tofu pieces. Let the sugar caramelize. Toss a little to coat the tofu pieces with the sugar.
Add soya sauce & spring onion. Cook another minute. Add cooked vegetables & noodles. Simmer and cook for 2-3 mins.
Empty into a bowl & enjoy your meal!!

If you'd like chunkier pieces of tofu, don't cut the whole slab in half. Sprinkling some ground peanuts on top will be a nice addition.

This dish is also going to Lore of Culinarty who is hosting Original Recipes Event.

Here's the round up of the JFI-Soya event. An amazing 86 recipes!!!

Sauteed Spinach & Garlic Rice

So, I got back from the gym, and had to cook up lunch before he left for work, and decided to make the sauteed spinach dish as it can be cooked in a jiffy! I made this dish earlier this month on the spur of the moment. Just put together something and it was tasty. Before I posted this recipe, I wanted to check the time, measure and then make it. But, alas, I didn't! I was in a hurry & I just made it. So, measurements are approximate. I added a little more rice, than I liked, so have reduced rice in the recipe.

Spinach - 1 10 oz bag
Rice - 1 cup
Garlic - 2 tsps
Ginger - 2 tsps
Green Chili - 2
Peanuts - 2 tbsp
Soy Sauce - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Olive Oil - 1 tsp

Mince garlic & ginger. Slit chili lengthwise. Roughly chop the spinach. Grind peanuts to a chunky powder. Cook rice.
Heat oil in a non-stick skillet
Saute garlic, ginger & chili till garlic turns brown. You should also get a nice masala aroma.
Add chopped spinach. Sprinkle the soy sauce. Cover and cook for 30-45 secs.
Add cooked rice and salt (if required) and toss well.
Sprinkle the ground peanuts and serve.

I didn't add any salt as the soy sauce was salty enough for us. This dish is quite spicy - of course it depends on what chilies are used. I used the thai green chilies. The ginger, garlic, chilies, soy sauce & peanuts can all be varied to taste.

Neer Dosai

Neer dosai is a mangalorean recipe. I have had it in Commercial St, B'lore at Shiv Sagar and have always enjoyed it. A friend gave me the recipe. I also did some research on this dish and found a konkani version Paan Pole. Thank you Ashwini for the recipe & beautiful picture. The neer dosai looks exactly like the dosai in Ashwini's picture & since I am sure I can't beat that one, not going to take another!!!

The neer dosai, paan pole and kerala appam have common ingredients. Close cousins perhaps? So, here's my friends recipe (with a few tweaks!).

Rice - 1 cup
Urad Dal - 2 tbsp
Cooked Rice - 1 tbsp
Coconut - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Soak rice for upto 4 hrs
Soak urad dal for upto 45 mins
Drain water from rice & dal and wash a few times
Grind rice along with urad dal adding water as required
Add the cooked rice & salt to the mixer. Keep grinding till the batter is smooth & thin. Batter should be watery, but not too thin.
Spread on a hot tava, add a few drops of oil to the sides and cook covered for abt 30 secs. This dosa does not need turning. Remove lid, fold the dosa in half and then to a quarter.
Serve with chutney, jaggery or molagai podi.

As the batter for this dosa is very thin, it is not as easy as spreading the regular dosai. Use a round tava / griddle with raised edges. Drop the batter in the middle of the griddle, hold the handle and rotate the griddle in one direction till the batter is spread thin.

Sending this dish to SWC-Karnataka, hosted by Anisheetu.

About this blog

I remember cooking from when I was in my early teens. I have always found it to be a soothing & uplifting experience. I learnt all that I know while watching my mother and sometimes my gran-mom cook. Many of the traditional indian recipes in this blog are theirs.

Having traveled a lot, I had opportunities to try a variety of cuisines. Well, a little limited as I am a veggie :). I always experiment in the kitchen. Do I follow a recipe - yes, to an extent, but believe in giving it a tweak or two.

I have thought about blogging my recipes for a long long time now. However, never got around to it. Mostly because I am a spur-of-the-moment sort of cook & rarely follow recipes. :)

For this blog, I have taken measurements & cooked for the most part & where I didn't I've mentioned it.

You must all have experienced that moment, when a guest comes home and says - "What are you cooking? It smells heavenly!" - now, that is what this blog is about.