Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Chicken in yoghurt based gravy

Finding variations in chicken curry is very difficult for me... The reason being, I can't make anything spicy, else my little girl will not be able to eat; I cannot make a chinese gravy as hubby dear does not prefer chinese; Hubby does not like anything tangy either; The quantity of gravy has to be more since we prefer it always with Chapati and so I am left with very limited scope for variation.
So here is one innovation that worked well in my favour:

Chicken - 350 gms
Large onion - 1 (coarsely chopped/sliced)
Tomato - 1 (chopped)
Ginger paste - 1/2 tbsp
Garlic paste - 1/2 tbsp
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - chopped - 10
Coriander leaves for garnishing
Fresh thick curd - 1/4 cup
Oil for frying - 1 tbsp
Powdered cashew and almonds - 1 tbsp

Wash and clean the chicken pieces and keep aside. `Heat the oil and add onions and curry leaves. Saute  for a few minutes and then add tomatoes. Add all the masala ingredients (chilli powder, cumin powder, garam masala, ginger-garlic paste, pepper powder and salt). Saute until the raw smell is gone. Add the chicken pieces and fry for a few minutes, until the oil separates from meat. Add 1/2 cup of water and cook the chicken pieces. Once done, add the curd quickly and mix it. Add the powdered nuts mixed in water and bring to a boil. The gravy thickens as it cools down so turn off the flame just before the      gravy reaches the desired consistency. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis.  

Verdict: The yoghurt mellows down the spices and brings out the flavour of the chicken. It was relished well with hot rotis.

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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Whole Wheat Eggless Butter Cookies

My daughter now goes to play school and packing snacks for her everyday is a challenge. She hardly eats breakfast so her snack box, has to have healthy and tasty choices, and they should be quick eats, to fill her palette. So I bake a batch of cookies every weekend to last for the following week.

I usually bake one Nankhatai type and another cookie type every weekend.

For the Nankhatai, I have some choices and keep switching between them. I have baked the eggless butter cookie with All-purpose flour. You can find that post here. But this time I tried the Whole wheat Eggless butter cookies recipe, that I came across on Divya's blog.

Whole Wheat Flour/Atta - 1 cup
Powdered Sugar  - 1/2 cup
Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp (Omit if using salted butter)

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, cardamom powder and salt well.
Add butter and start kneading lightly until you get a smooth dough.
If the dough is crumbly you could add a teaspoon of ghee or melted butter.
I find that adding milk, to soften the dough makes the cookies harder, so I add butter/ghee to knead the dough.
Also kneading the dough too much makes cookies harder.
Make small balls of the dough and flatten a little with the palm of the hand.
Place the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet, about an inch apart.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or till the cookies turn golden brown.
Let the cookies cool on the baking tray for about 5 minutes and then transfer to the wire rack.
Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 20 cookies.

Verdict: Awesome wheatish, cardomomy, sweet and buttery :). My little girl simply loved it.

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Friday, 22 July 2011

Choco-chip walnut cookies

 I am overjoyed when I come across cookie recipes that don't call for Egg or Baking powder. If they call for choco-chips and/or nuts, even better ;)
So I was thrilled to see this recipe on Divya's blog. I made a few changes here and there.
Maida - 1 1/4 cup
Butter, softened - 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar - 3/4 cup
Walnuts (chopped) - 1/2 cup (I reduced this from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup)
Chocolate chips - 1/2 cup


Preheat the oven to 150 Degrees C.
Mix butter and powdered sugar till creamy
Slowly add the flour and knead till it forms a smooth dought
Add crushed walnuts and choco-chips.
Add a couple of teaspoons of Ghee/melted butter, if the dough is too soft.
I find that adding milk, to soften the dough makes the cookies harder, so I add butter/ghee to knead the dough.
Also kneading the dough too much makes cookies harder.
Make small balls of the mix and flatten a bit.
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or till done.
Cookies spread a bit while baking, so place the cookies with some space inbetween.
Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes and transfer to wire rack later.
Store in an airtight container.
Makes 34 cookies.

Verdict: Awesome cookies, crumbly and intertwined with nuts and choco-chips. This one is a favourite at home now.
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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Potato saagu

Saturday, 11 AM. My struggle with my daughter's breakfast feeding is not yet over. But I have to get started with lunch preparation. Hubby dear shares in my predicament too and tries to get my daughter to drink atleast a few ounces of milk. Nothing works. I finally decide to let go and start making lunch, with the hopes that she will eat her second meal atleast properly. I open the refrigerator and a shocker awaits. There are no vegetables, except tomatoes. Then it hits me... Yes vegetable and fruit shopping is due and I had absolutely forgotten. Too late to send hubby dear for this. I hunt in the kitchen cabinets for onions and potatoes. Yes, check. Hunt in the freezer for frozen green peas. Check. We're good so far. Spices are always there, so check. Papads, check.

I make plain rice and tomato rasam. My little angel already told me when I was laying out food choices in the morning, that she wants to eat "ratham buuva". I just had to make this potato and peas saagu for us.

Here is what I did:
Potatoes (large) - 2
Onion (large) -1
Green Peas - 3/4 cup
Saunf powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsbp
Salt - to taste
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves and coriander leaves for garnishing

Slice the onions coarsely and dice the potatoes.
Heat the oil in a cooker and cumin seeds. When they start to splutter, add the onions and fry. Add the saunf and cumin powders. Add the ginger and garlic paste along with the garam masala. Finally add the potatoes and peas and fry for a few minutes. Add the chilli powder and salt and pour about 300 ml of water and close the cooker. Allow two whistles and turn off the flame. Open the cooker and mash most of the potato pieces to make a slightly thick curry.

Garnish with coriander and curry leaves and serve hot with jeera rice/peas pulav or even plain white rice.

Verdict:Potatoes and frozen green peas are a boon, when we are running short of vegetables and we do not want to bore the household with eggs once again ;). I go that route very often. But this saagu is traditionally made a little thick and served with Rava idli/dosa or even upma. But I made it watery to go with rice. This can be had with dosa/roti as well. This one is definitely a winner.                                                                                             
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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Vegetable Stew

I love mixed vegetable gravies. I have quite a few variations of mixed vegetable gravies that I dish up from time to time. Here is my version of the Vegetable Stew.

Carrots (diced) - 1/2 cup
Beans (chopped) - 1/2 cup
Potatoes (diced) - 1/2 cup
Grean Peas - 1/2 cup
Onions (large) - 1 (sliced lengthwise)
Green Chillies (sliced lengthwise) - 2
Salt - to taste
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 pinch
Oil - 1 tbsp
Coconut milk - 1 cup
Coriander leaves - for garnishing

Heat the oil in a cooker vessel. Add the sliced onions and fry for a few minutes until pink. Add ginger paste, green chillies and garam masala and fry for a few seconds. Add all the vegetables and continue frying until the raw smell is gone and there is good aroma. Add very little water and cook the vegetables until soft. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for a few minutes and turn off the flame. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with Chapatis or Appam.

Verdict: This one is a winner every single time at home. You cannot go wrong with this simple yet tasty dish.

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Sunday, 10 July 2011

Whole Wheat Indian Biscuit

As I mentioned in my earlier posts, I started baking cookies and cakes mainly for my daughter. I found these Nankhatais or Indian Biscuits quite rich for a quick snack for children. I had often baked the Maida version of these biscuits. I came across this post for Atta Nankhatais on Divya's blog and I decided to try out the healthier version :).

Atta Nankhatai (Recipe adapted from Divya's Blog)


Whole wheat flour/Atta – 1 ¼ cup
Rava/Semolina – ½ cup (I used the Chirotti Rava)
Ghee – ½ cup
Powdered sugar – ½ cup (I used granulated sugar)
Crushed cardamom seeds – of 2 cardamom
Baking soda – a pinch

Preheat oven to 150*C.
Sift together atta,rava,cardamom seeds and baking soda.
Cream ghee and powdered sugar with a spoon.
Add the sifted ingredients little by little to make a dough.
Make small balls of the dough and flatten a little.


Arrange on a greased baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or till the nankhatai turns golden in colour. I prepared two baking sheets and set the time to 30 minutes. The first batch was done in just 15 minutes and the second sheet was ready to go into the oven without any need to preheat. 

Verdict: These biscuits are so wonderfully rich and have a great melt-in-the-mouth texture. I used granulated sugar as my daughter was asleep and I did not want to wake her up by turning on the blender to powder sugar. But nevertheless the biscuits turned out great :). They were cooling down when she got up and she immediately stuffed herself with two biscuits!

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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Pound Cake - July Punch

I am participating in the sweet punch group for the first time and it is exciting. I loved the pound cake recipe adapted from the cake bible, when I cross the same on I bookmarked it and copied it down, but never got around to actually baking it. So needless to say, I was excited to be baking this for the first "Sweet Punch" assignment :).

I should have set the oven at 170 degrees C, as opposed to 180 degrees C. I was skeptical about the silicone loaf pan mainly for the dimensions. It is 8.5"x6"x2.5". The volume is the same as a standard 9"x5"x3" pan, but the cake turns out flatter. Moreover due to the flexibility, the side of the silicone pan, did not maintain a straight line while baking causing the cake to turn out in an odd shape.

I dare not post more pictures of this one. My photography skills need a lot of honing. Hubby dear says it has got to do with the lighting. He says I should bake/cook in the morning and photograph the dishes at the balcony for maximum natural light. I should probably try that sometime.

All said and done the cake tasted great and the texture was simple so crumbly and tight, exactly as Rose describes it in her recipe. I prefer to call the book the "Rose Bible" :). Let me repeat the recipe here:

 Pound Cake Recipe:


3 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (150 grams) sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
13 tablespoons (1/2 cup + 1/3 cup) (185 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
Pound Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter or spray the paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), place the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar) and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended. Add the butter and half of the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about one minute to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the remaining egg mixture, in 2 additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the egg and strengthen the cake's structure.  
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 55 to 65 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the cake browning too much as it bakes, cover with a piece of lightly buttered aluminum foil after about 30 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a lightly buttered wire rack.
The Pound Cake can be covered and stored for several days at room temperature, for one week when refrigerated, or it can be frozen for two months.
Makes one 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf.
To make cake Flour: From 1 cup of all purpose flour, remove 2 tbsps. Add 2 tbsps of corn flour and sift together two-three times.

Verdict: This one is so wonderfully rich and crumbly. It was a hit with my daughter and hubby dear too :)
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Monday, 4 July 2011

Spinach Garlic Balls

Spinach is such a great leafy vegetable, rendering itself suitable for versatile dishes... I was intrigued by Vardhini's event on Spinach and garlic. I have tasted a spinach and corn roll in Chinese restaurants and wanted to recreate something like that at home. I browsed for suitable recipes and came across innumerable quick starter-snack dishes with spinach. There was a good recipe for spinach-garlic balls, with a lot of western ingredients (thyme, parsley, parmesan cheese etc). I did not even have the patience to look these up and figure out their availability. I just took the basic principle and added our own spices.
Here is the recipe:
Spinach - 1 bunch
Garlic paste -  1 tbsp
Powdered bread crumbs - 1 cup
Eggs - 2

Processed Cheese - 2 tbsp, Melted
Butter - 2 tbsp, Melted

Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
salt - to taste
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Kasuri Methi - 1 tsp (optional)
Amchoor (dry Mango powder) - 1 pinch (optional)

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (350 F).
Wash and clean the spinach leaves and chop into small pieces.
Beat the eggs lightly.
In a large bowl, add the eggs and spices and whisk well. Add the melted butter, cheese and garlic paste and stir until combined.
Mix in the chopped spinach. Add the powdered bread crumbs and make a paste. The consistency should be such that you can make slightly firm, 1-inch balls of this paste.
Otherwise add in some more bread crumbs.

Make small 1-inch balls of this paste and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

This recipe makes 14 such spinach-garlic balls. 

Verdict: This was relished by my daughter and my hubby. It was a hit as a tea snack :)
I plan to try the Eggless version next time with mashed potatoes.

This was supposed to be my entry to Vardhini's event. But I missed the deadline :)

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Friday, 1 July 2011

Pepper Chicken

Another Chicken gravy... As I mentioned in one of my earlier recipes, bringing in variations to chicken gravy is very challenging for me :). Here is one recipe that uses only pepper powder and has no grinding etc required. It is a really quick recipe provided you have cleaned and cut chicken pieces.

Chicken - 350 grams
Onion, large - 1
Tomato, large - 1
Pepper powder -  1 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Ginger paste - 1/2 tbsp
Garlic paste - 1/2tsbp
Oil - for frying
Water - 3/4 cup to cook the chicken
Coriander leaves - for garnishing

Wash and clean the chicken pieces well and keep aside. Coarsely chop the onions and tomatoes. Heat the oil in a cooker and add the chopped onion and tomato pieces. Fry for a few seconds and then add ginger and garlic paste. Fry well until the raw smell is gone. Add the Pepper, cumin and turmeric powder and put in the chicken pieces. Keep frying the chicken pieces until the fat dissolves and raw smell is gone. Add 1/2 cup of water and close the lid. Allow two whistles and turn off the flame. When the cooker cools down, check the consistency of the gravy and add another 1/4 cup of water if needed and bring to a boil. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with Chapati.
Verdict: Well, my daughter relished three pieces of chicken from her dad's plate, that I had to give hubby dear a second serving :).

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