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Monday, November 26, 2012

Spinach And Carrot Layered Rice

My son's homework for the long weekend was this sheet which had the picture of a plate marked out into partitions. He was supposed to fill out what he ate for thanksgiving feast. Our thanksgiving dinner was at a Chinese restaurant, with friends of course, though I am sure that filling out the restaurant menu was not what the teacher had in mind!

Well, the saving grace is that I did cook lunch for the family in the morning, so what if the family is just the three of us - kiddo, hubby & me! And I did bake something, so what if it was neither turkey nor tofurkey!



So, here ladies and gentlemen, is what I prepared for our cozy thanksgiving meal - Spinach & Carrot Layered Rice with Tomato Avocado Raita. Oh yes, there was pineapple jelly for dessert! Don't you dare scoff at the menu, after all, didn't Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (US writer & physician) once say -
"The true essentials of a feast are only fun and feed."

And let me assure you, both the essentials were present at our dining table :)

This recipe is adapted from a Tarla Dalal recipe book that I have. The original recipe does not use any of the spices. I thought it would taste rather bland, so I added the whole spices to the rice and nutmeg to the spinach. Also, the original recipe called for curry powder to be used for cooking the carrots, I did not have any handy, so I ended up using Sambar powder instead...

Preparation & Cooking: 30 minutes                          Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:
Parmesan Cheese - for garnish
Oil/Cooking Spray - to grease oven proof dish
For the rice:
Basmati Rice - 1 & ½ cup
Cardamom Pods (Elaichi) - 4
Cloves (Laung) - 4
Star Anise - 2
Cinnamon Sticks - 2
Cumin Seeds (Jeera) - 1 teaspoon
Ghee (Clarified Butter) - 1 tablespoon
Salt - to taste
For the spinach layer:
Spinach - 2 cups, chopped
Peas - ¼ cup
Onion -1 small, chopped
Green chillies - 1, chopped fine
Cumin Seeds (Jeera) - 1 teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 teaspoons
For the carrot layer:
Carrot - 1 cup, grated
Turmeric Powder (Haldi) - ½ teaspoon
Sambar Powder - 2 teaspoons
Oil - 2 teaspoons

Method:
  1. Cook the basmati rice with the whole spices, salt and ghee. I microwaved it, took about 10 minutes. Spread it on a tray to cook so that the grains don't stick to each other.
  2. Cook the spinach and peas in the microwave with the salt and nutmeg for about 4 minutes. In the mean time, heat oil and add cumin seeds. When the seeds crackle, add onions and green chillies and saute them till the onions turn translucent. Now add in the cooked spinach and peas and give it a good stir. Set aside
  3. Cook the grated carrots in the microwave for about 5 minutes. In another pan, heat oil and add the remaining cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the grated carrots, salt, sambar powder and turmeric powder. Cook for a minute and switch off the gas.
  4. Grease an oven proof dish. First cover the bottom with a layer of rice. Next spread a layer of spinach and peas. Once again layer the rice on top of the spinach and peas. Finally spread the carrrot curry over the rice layer. Top this off with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

Nutritious, colorful layered rice is ready.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Idli Manchurian

Just before the euphoria of Deepawali, we were hit by hurricane Sandy, causing major devastation along the east coast. Our area was pretty badly hit too. We live a couple of blocks from the waterfront of the Hudson river, right across NYC. Once the water started rising, the streets started flooding at an alarming rate. Within a matter of minutes, the streets in front of our buildings were flooded and street parked cars were submerged. Within moments, most of the area lost power. It was disconcerting - you have to live in or across NYC to experience that sudden loss of electricity when the whole city is plunged into darkness, and all you can see in the darkness, is this monstrous rush of water! Don't get me wrong, growing up in the NCR region of India, I have seen my fair share of power cuts. But somehow, experiencing this in the city that never sleeps was something else entirely! The winds were howling like crazy and the building swayed a bit! We even saw a few swift boats from our window!

By God's grace, things quickly got back to normal,or as close to normal as can be expected under the circumstances. Finally the adults are at work and the kids are in school, the stores are stocked and the gas stations don't have lines snaking around the block!


I know, I know, you must be wondering what any of this has to do with Idli Manchurian! Believe me, if it weren't for the hurricane, I doubt I would have come across this yummy dish! We were well stocked with non-perishables and water in expectation of the storm. Just to be on the safe side, I prepared some idli batter and enough idlis to last me a couple of days, just in case we had no electricity and water. Though most of the buildings in our area suffered loss of power and water supply for days together, we were the few lucky ones to scrape through unscathed. But what that did was, I was left with so many idlis that I did not know what to do with them. I mean, there are only so many idlis you can eat with chutney/gun powder. Another option was idli upma. But after that,  I had mutiny on my hands. Even I was fed up. That's when I remembered my cousin mention that he had eaten idli manchurian at his aunt's place and had loved it. So, I decided to try out this dish. After all, anything is better than eating plain idlis for all your meals 2 days in a row! Boy am I glad I did make this dish! It was a big hit with all of us :)

I used left over mini idlis. By all means make fresh ones if you don't have left overs :). Also, if using regular idlis instead of the mini ones, just cut each one into 4-5 pieces.

Preparation & Cooking: 20 minutes (excluding idli preparation)                      Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

Mini Idlis - 12-15
All Purpose Flour/Maida - ¼ cup
Corn Flour - 2 tablespoons
Pepper - 1 teaspoon
Green Chilli Paste - 3 teaspoons
Soy Sauce - 2 teaspoons
Siracha Sauce - 3 teaspoons
Rice Vinegar - 1 teaspoon
Scallions - 1 small bunch, sliced thin
Ginger Garlic Paste - 2 teaspoons
Water - to prepare batter
Sesame Oil - 2 tablespoons
Peanut/Sunflower Oil - for deep frying
Salt - to taste
Sugar - a pinch

Method:
  1. Prepare a batter of slightly thick consistency using  all purpose flour, corn flour, pepper, salt, 1 teaspoon green chilli paste, 1 teaspoon siracha sauce, 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste and a little water.
  2.  Dip the idlis in this batter and deep fry them till they turn golden in color, remove with slotted spoon and set aside on absorbent paper.
  3. Saute the white part of the scallions along with the ginger garlic paste in the sesame oil.
  4. When the onions turn golden brown, add the remaining sauces, a little water, sugar and a little bit of salt. Be careful while adding salt as soy sauce is already added to it. 
  5. Once the gravy thickens, switch off the flame and add the fried idlis to it. Garnish with the green part of scallions.

Yummy idli manchurians are ready. You could eat them as an appetizer, or increase the gravy and eat it with some hakka noodles or rice.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vanilla Mint Chocolate Fudge

Last year for Diwali I had made this milk chocolate double layer barfi, the recipe for which I got from "Show Me The Curry". It was a big hit. Everyone loved it. Infact, I had sent out some sweets and savories to the teachers at my kid's school and they liked it so much that they requested me to get them some more of the same!



So, this year I was leaning towards making the same sweet again. Then I hit a snag. The original recipe calls for the use of heavy cream. It was 2'o clock at night and I was out of heavy cream. The next day was Diwali - it was too late to go to the store and it was also too late to start off on another track altogether. I was extremely tired and at my wits end. Then I thought, let me skip the heavy cream altogether along with the sugar. I replaced these two ingredients with condensed milk. Now that I had started giving the dish my own twist, I thought, why not go the whole nine yards. I replaced the chocolate chips with mint chocolate chips. I also added some vanilla essence to the plain layer of the fudge. The end result was a refreshingly different sweet dish.

Preparation & Cooking: 15 minutes plus 3-4 hours for setting     Makes: 2 dozens

Ingredients:

Condensed Milk - 1 can
Non-Fat Milk Powder - 1 packet
Cocoa Powder - 1 tablespoon
Semi-sweet Mint Chocolate Chips - ¼ cup
Unsalted Butter - ½ stick plus a little extra to grease the tray

Method:
  1. Grease a rectangular tray/container in which you would like to set the sweet.
  2. Take the condensed milk, nonfat milk powder, unsalted butter and vanilla essence in a microwave safe deep dish bowl.
  3. Microwave it for 8 minutes, stopping and stirring after every couple of minutes.
  4. Spread out half of this mixture on the greased tray and make it smooth.
  5. In the remaining half of the mixture added the cocoa powder and the mint chocolate chips. Microwave it for another 5 minutes, stopping and stirring after every two minutes.
  6. By now the plain Vanilla layer would have cooled and become a bit firm to touch. Pour in the chocolate mix on top of the vanilla layer, make a smooth layer and let it set for 3-4 hours.
  7. Once the fudge has set properly, cut out into diamonds or squares.


A simple yet delicious dessert that is ready in a jiffy.

Sending this across to Diwali Food Fest at Anu's Healthy Kitchen
Nupur's

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kesar Pista Badam Kalakand

Happy Deepawali! We just bid goodbye to the festival of lights and what better post to publish than a sweet recipe!

I love this festival.  And I happen to be among the few people who DON'T like bursting crackers. For me all the fun is in lighting the diyas and candles and also hogging the munchies. I don't mind sparklers, flowerpots and zameen chakkars - but that is the extent of enthusiasm towards fireworks that I can bring myself to show. Even as a kid, while my sister and cousins would be bursting crackers and rockets, I would just watch from a distance.

Deepavali literally means "row of lights". This festival finds its roots in Ramayana. Deepavali is celebrated to mark the occasion of the return of Lord Rama, his brother Lakshman and wife Sita to Ayodhya after 14 years of vanvaas (exile). It also signifies the victory of good over evil as Lord Rama, with the aid of the Vanarasena (army of monkeys), defeated Ravana and saved his wife Sita.

For us Tam Brams, Diwali starts with the "Ganga Snanam". We wake up before day break, apply sesame oil heated with some peppercorns and rice and take a bath. We wear new clothes and then starts the bursting of crackers! Oh, how can I forget the "Diwali marundu/leighiyam"? As kids, me and my sister used to absolutely abhor this weird tasting concoction that you are supposed to eat to cleanse out the stomach and avoid indigestion, considering the amount of sweets and savories that are consumed during the occasion! As an adult, I am more than happy to overlook that one tradition :), so I don't make it!

Another tradition is to distribute sweets, bhakshanams (savory snacks) and gifts to friends and relatives. The responsibility of distribution usually falls on the youngsters in the family. Many were the fights that me and my sister fought in order to divide the houses that each of us would go to give the stuff prepared by amma.

And now I have come a full circle. Coz this is the only thing that gives a feel of Deepavali here in the US for me. As the kids go to school and offices are also open, I am more than happy to get decked up in a sari/salwar kameez and visit friends in the evening to exchange greetings and goodies! No more complaints amma!

We also decorate the house with fancy multicolored light bulbs and candles and diyas. This year, apart from the lights at the window, I painted a few clay diyas that I had bought and decorated them into a rangoli form on a cardboard with acrylic colors and some sequins and beads. My kiddo joined my in the diya painting and we made a fun activity of it!
I also prepared a few sweets and savories - Ribbon Pakoda, Mullu Thenkuzhal, Methi Paara, Coconut Laddoo, Kesar Pista Badam Kalakand and Vanilla Mint Chocolate Fudge. I hope the share some of the recipes on this blog over the next few days...

But ofcourse I would like the first recipe to be that of a sweet. When I was in India this year, I borrowed up a couple of recipe books from my mom. This particular recipe is adapted from the Kenstar Microwave Oven Cook Book by Sanjeev Kapoor. But ofcourse I had to put my own spin on a simple Kalakand! The end result was this yummy moist sweet that looked like Kalakand but tasted more like Sandesh!

Preparation & Cooking: 30 minutes plus 2-3 hours for setting                      Makes: 24-25 pieces

Ingredients:

Milk - 1 gallon
Cream Of Tartar - ½ teaspoon
Sugar - 1 & ½ cups
Cornstarch - 1 teaspoon
Cardamom (Elaichi) Powder - 2 teaspoons
Saffron Essence - 1 teaspoon
Rose Water - 2 teaspoons
Saffron - a few strands
Almonds - 2 tablespoons (finely powdered) plus 10 whole (for garnishing)
Pistachios - 10
Orange Food Color - ½ teaspoon (optional)

Method:
  1. Coarsely powder the almonds and pistachios and set aside, this will be the garnish.
  2. Microwave the milk for 10 minutes in a deep dish.
  3. Add the sugar and cream of tartar and put it back in the microwave for another 10 minutes. The milk will slowly curdle. Depending on the microwave, you might need a few minutes less or more. Keep an eye on the milk and it will be ready when the milk curdles forming a variety of cottage cheese known as chenna, leaving a watery liquid behind.
  4. Strain this chenna through a muslin cloth then pass it through a sieve. The original Kalakand recipe required that most if the the moisture be removed, but I let the chenna be a little moist. 
  5. Mix this with the cornstarch, cardamom powder, saffron strands, almond powder, saffron essence and rose water and microwave it for another 4 minutes, stirring in between after about 2 minutes. At this stage, you could mix in the food color if you choose to use it.
  6. Now, spread this out on  greased plate, garnish it with the coarsely powdered almonds and pistachios and allow it to cool and set for about a couple of hours.
  7. After the mixture has set and cooled, cut it into square/diamonds using a greased butter knife.

Dig in, distribute and spread the joy!

Sending this across to Diwali Food Fest at Anu's Healthy Kitchen
Nupur's

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kozhakattai (Modak)

Ganesh Chaturthi has long gone by. Infact, even Navaratri just passed us by. So, it's high time I posted this recipe! As I mentioned in my last post, I make kozhakattai for neivedyam every year on Ganesh Chaturthi. After all, that's what Bappa loves to eat - right? 

Every year it used to be a hit or miss thing, mainly because the covering would either crack open or be a very thick layer. The reason for this was that I was using ready made rice flour just because I was too lazy to use soaked rice to make it! Finally, this year I decided that a well made kozhakattai is worth a little time and effort! And it worked! This year the kozhakattais were awesome and got consumed pretty fast.

I usually make 3 kinds of kozhakattais - the sweet ones (vella kozhakattai), the savory ones (uppu kozhakattai) and the tiny roasted ones (ammini kozhakattai). I love all three of them and so does my husband.  Its mainly just the former two kozhakattai that are usually made for neivedyam, and the left over dough from the outer covering is used to make ammini kozhakattai, but I love these so much that I make enough dough to ensure  the making of the tiny kozhakattais. These make an excellent snack item.

Making kozhakattais is not too difficult - it is just an elaborate and time consuming process. And the sad part is the rate of consumptions is inversely proportional to the time and effort put in!

Rice Soaking Time: 2-3 hours       Cooking Time: 2 hours           Makes: 12-15 of each kind

Ingredients:

For the Covering:
Rice - 1 cup
Water - to grind rice into a smooth batter
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Salt - a pinch

For the Sweet Filling (Vella Poornam):

Coconut -½, grated
Jaggery - 1 cup
Cardamom - ½ teaspoon

Ghee (Clarified Butter) - 2 tablespoons

For the Savory Filling:
Urad Dal (Black Gram Dal)- 1 cup
Channa Dal (Bengal Gram Dal) - 2 tablespoons
Green Chillies - 4
Red Chillies -2
Grated Coconut - 2 tablespoons
Cilantro - a few sprigs
Lemon Juice - 2 tablespoons
Salt - to taste

Tempering for the Savory Filling:
Mustard - 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida (Hing) - a pinch
Curry Leaves - a few
Oil - 1 tablespoon

For the Ammini Kozhakattai:
Mustard - 1 teaspoon
Urad Dal (Black Gram Dal) -  1 teaspoon
Red Chillies - 2

Asafoetida (Hing) - a pinch
Red Chilli Powder - ½ teaspoon
Grated Coconut - 2 tablespoons
Curry Leaves - a few
Oil - 1 tablespoon

Method:

For the Covering:
  • Rinse and soak rice in water for 2-3 hours. 
  • Grind it into a smooth batter adding sufficient water to make it into a smooth paste a little thicker than idli batter.
  • To this batter add a tablespoon of oil and cook over a medium flame, stirring constantly till it thickens up to form a smooth dough. Now take it off the flame and cover it with a damp cloth/kitchen towel till it is ready to be used.

The same dough is used for all three kozhakattais.

 For the Sweet Filling (Vella Poornam):
  • Melt the jaggery, don't let it burn.
  • When the jaggery melts add in the  grated coconut and cook stirring constantly. 
  • Once the mixture thickens enough to form balls, add the ghee and the cardamom powder and remove from the flame.
  • After the filling cools enough to handle, make small balls out of it.
  • Now, take a little bit of the dough for the covering, knead it well and make a small ball out of it. Using the tips of your fingers shape this ball into a small cup. 
  • Place a little amount of the sweet filling into this cup and shape them into modaks by pulling the ends together.
  • Steam these kozhakattais in a cooker/idli steamer for about 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the gas and wait for a couple of minutes before taking the kozhakattais out - if you try to pull them out immediately, they tend to crumble. Yummy kozhakattais are ready for neivedyam.

 For the Savory Filling:
  • Soak the urad dal and chana dal together for about an hour. Drain and grind them to a coarse mixture along with the green chillies, red chillies and salt.
  •  Roll these into balls and steam them in a cooker for about 10 minutes.
  • Once they cool, crumble them and add the grated coconut, cilantro leaves, lemon juice and the tempering of mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves.
  • Now take a small quantity of the covering dough, knead it well and place it inside a ziploc bag or between two plastic sheets. Use a round bowl to press it into a circular shape.
  • Place this circular piece of dough in a mold, place some of the savory filling into each and seal the edges by closing the mold. If you don't have a mold, then simple seal the edges with your fingers, to give the kozhakattai a semi-circular shape. You could use the back of a fork to crimp it's edges to make a design. 
  • Steam these in cooker/idli maker for about 10 minutes. 

  • Turn off the flame and wait a couple of minutes before removing the kozhakattais, otherwise they will crumble. Delicious uppu kozhakattais are ready to be served.

For the Ammini Kozhakattai:
  • Roll the outer covering dough into tiny balls and steam them in an idli steamer/cooker.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard, urad dal, asafoetida, red chillies and curry leaves.
  • When the seeds splutter, add in the steamed rice balls, red chilli powder, grated coconut and salt and cook them till they begin to get evenly roasted and crunchy
  • Tasty and fun ammini kozhakattais are ready for munching.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ganesh Chaturthi



And I am back! Had a wonderful reunion with my parents, sister and relatives back in India after a gap of 3 years…

Well, to be honest, it’s been almost two months since I got back but have just been a little homesick and too lazy to do any serious blogging. First it was getting over the jet lag, and then it was cleaning and stocking a house that had been closed for a few weeks. Next came the back to school event! All in all, I had plenty of excuses to not start writing. But enough is enough. Hopefully, this was just something akin to a writer’s block, and this first post will help open the floodgates! 

Before beginning anything auspicious, we Hindu’s generally pray to Lord Ganesha. And since this a second beginning of sorts to my blogging, what better post than one associated with the festival that just passed us by – Ganesh Chaturthi!


“वक्रतुंडा महाकाय सूर्या कोटि समप्रभा
निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्व कार्येशु सर्वदा ”

Mine is a Ganpati crazy family - be it my parents, sister or me - Ganpati Bappa happens to be our favorite God! Though I believe that there is one supreme power, all Gods are the same etc etc, when I close my eyes to count my blessings or ask for help, I envision the sweet elephant faced deity riding a mouse as my savior!

Every time I go to Mumbai (which is every visit to India), I make it a point to visit the Siddhivinayak temple there. Whenever I see an elephant on the road, I feel thrilled, as though it is a sign of good things to come. Call me superstitious if you wish, but it is what it is!

Everytime me or my sister would go on a picnic, fair, trip or any outing, we would purchase a Ganesha idol for our parents. We still do the same, but just not as often. I have lost count of the number of idols in different poses, styles and materials in my parents' house.

My dad's brother deserves a special mention here. His house in Thane is a Ganesha museum in itself! Babu chitta, as I call him, opens it for the people to come and visit during the 10 days of festivities. He also has established a Ganesha temple at Badlapur. The picture below is a collage of some pictures taken at his house when we visited him last month. The image in the center is of the temple. 


Having grown up in such an atmosphere, is it any wonder that Ganesh Chaturthi is my favorite festival? As a kid, I remember seeing the huge Ganesha idols being decorated and readied for Ganeshotsav in Mumbai. I have lived in quite a few places in India (my dad had a transferable job), but the pomp and gaiety of that city does not match any other city that I have seen, as far as this festival is concerned. 

My school was at RCF colony, Chembur and while going home in the school bus we would get to see the preparations being done at RK studios and Dukes. On the day of the sthapna (installation of the idol at the place of worship) the streets would be crowded with people dancing in processions around huge trucks that would bring the idols to the pandal. The pandals would be decorated with lights and garlands. Over the years, the competition at various madals has grown stronger and there are huge investments. A lot of current affairs and political themes are being incorporated. Lal Baugcha Raja is reportedly the most visited mandal in Mumbai!

Not to be outdone, each residential building or society also usually has their own idol. The size of the idol, the decorations, the theme – everything is a cause for rivalry! There is even competition as to who bursts the most crackers! Remember the 5000 and 10000 ki ladiyaan anyone??

For the 10 days, there is an air of festivity and excitement. At home also, we would get a small clay idol. Usually people offer prasad and prayers to the Lord for the 10 days. Then on the day of the Visarjan, the idol is carried in processions, accompanied by loud music and dancing as well as bursting of fire crackers, to the sea/river and immersed in it. Shouts of “गणपति बाप्पा मोर्य, पुड्च्या वर्षी लौकर याrent the air. It is with bitter sad feelings that we say good bye to Ganeshji and pray for him to come back soon the next year.

Usually I just do pooja on Ganesh Chaturthi every year and prepare kozhakattais. But this year, I got a chance to share in this awesome atmosphere even here in the US thanks to a couple of friends who bring home Bappa every year. It was wonderful to attend aarti in the evening and gorge on modaks. My son also got a taste of Ganeshotsav for the first time!  He even learnt a new rhyme – “Twinkle twinkle little star, Ganpati Bappa Superstar!” chanted the kids :). In fact he insists on listening to “सुख करता दुःख हरता” every evening when I light the lamp in front of God!


Thank you dear friends for the wonderful darshan!

My favorite part of the festival is of course the  kozhakattais! So, next post up - the recipes for kozhakattais or modaks...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Away On Vacay!

The past week's been pretty hectic and this one promises to be the same. First came the last day at school, so shopping for teacher's gifts. Then came graduation day and all that it entailed! This was followed by the class year end picnic. And the inevitable mad rush, shopping for everyone back home. Followed by packing, weighing, repacking & reweighing!

Now, am all set to go. Passport - check, GC- check, PIO Card - check, Tickets - check. Just getting out. Going to India after almost 3 years. Really excited.

So, will try an post off and one, but won't be a regular here! See you guys after a break...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flavored Basmati Rice

There are days when dinner is a simple dal and rice with may be some salad or papad as a side. Tonight's dinner was one such simple affair. I was too lazy to even make a salad! So, I just added some vegetables while pressure cooking the dal. But when it came to rice, I did not want to just cook plain rice.

Instead I used some whole spices to add flavor to the dish and cooked it with some vegetable bouillon and some cilantro seasoning cubes. This was very similar to jeera fried rice, except that I added more spices than just cumin. You could omit the vegetable bouillon and cilantro seasoning cubes, but I just felt that it enhanced the flavors.



This is a very simple recipe, but the flavors and aroma made it seem like an elaborate preparation!

Rice Soaking Time: 15 minutes       Cooking Time: 12 minutes            Serves: 2

Ingredients:
Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups
Black Cumin/Kala Jeera - 1 teaspoon
Bay Leaves - 2-3
Cinnamon Sticks - 2
Green Cardamom Pods - 4
Cloves - 4
Star Anise - 2
Mace - 2-3
Roasted Jeera/Cumin Powder - 1 teaspoon
Vegetable Bouillon - 1 cube
Cilantro Seasoning - 2 cubes
Ghee - 1 tablespoon
Oil - 1 tablespoon (I used Olive Oil)
Salt - to taste

Method:
  • Rinse and soak rice in water for 15 minutes.
  • Heat the ghee and oil in a sauce pan and add all the whole spices to it. Saute this for a minute.
  • Add in the cumin powder and soaked rice, after draining out the water. Give this a good stir.
  • Now add in the salt,vegetable bouillon, cilantro seasoning cubes and water and bring it to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, reduce the flame, cover the rice and let it simmer for around 10 minutes.
  • By this time the water should have evaporated and the rice will be cooked. Spread the rice out on a a tray or cookie sheet so that the grains or rice don't stick to each other, but remain separate.
  • After the rice cools down completely, remove and discard the whole spices.

Heat it again before serving. This rice goes well with dal or any other gravy based vegetable.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stuffed Bread Pakora

Today was the last working day at kiddo's school, tomorrow being the "Celebration Day"! But it was a washout day what with the non-stop raining and all. He had been looking forward to spending a long day at the park as a fun start to his vacation (apart from a class picnic that also got cancelled). So, that put a damper on our spirits.

But rainy weather always makes me yearn for two things - spicy roasted corn on the cob and hot pakoras! Well, I did not have any corn on hand, but I could definitely make pakoras. Decided to make stuffed bread pakoras.

A steaming cup of tea (chocolate milk for the little one) and bread pakoras with ketchup - just what the heart desired!

Preparation & Cooking: 15 minutes              Makes: 6

Ingredients:
Bread Slices - 6, edges sliced off
Oil - for deep frying the pakoras
For the filling:
Dried Potato Flakes - ¼ cup
Peas - 2 tablespoons
Haldi/Turmeric Powder - ¼ teaspoon
Dhania/Coriander Powder - 1 teaspoon


Jeera/Cumin Powder - ½ teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder - ½ teaspoon
Salt - to taste
For the batter:
Besan/Chickpea Flour - ¼ cup
Rice Flour - 2 heaped tablespoons
Red Chilli Powder - 1 teaspoon
Hing/Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt - to taste

Method:
  • Mix all the ingredients for the filling, add ¼ cup of water and microwave this for 2 minutes.
  • In another bowl, take all the ingredients for the batter and add water gradually to make a smooth paste of a slightly thick consistency. Mix thoroughly, making sure there are no lumps.
  • Spread the filling on each of the bread slices and dip them into the batter, coating it well.
  • Deep fry this batter coated bread and once they are brown.
  • Drain them out on absorbent paper or kitchen towel.
Serve hot with tomato ketchup.