Friday, 20 September 2013

Mushroom and Vegetable Curry

Button mushrooms - 200 g
Potato - 1, diced
Green pease - 1/2 cup
Capsicum - 1, sliced
Onion - 3, medium sized, sliced
Tomato - 2, diced

Ginger paste - 1/2 tsp
Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Green chilli - 1
Salt - to taste 
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Oil for frying

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions until pink and transparent. Add the diced tomatoes and continue frying. Add the spices and keep frying until the raw smell goes. Allow it to cool. 

Grind 2/3 of the onion-tomato-spices mixture into a coarse paste in the blender. 

Fry all the vegetables with the 1/3 of the onion-tomato mixture, add the ground paste and keep frying. 

Cook in the pressure cooker for 1 whistle. 

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Verdict You can optionally add soaked and ground cashew paste to make the gravy thicker. It yields a gravy of taste and consistency similar to that of restaurants.

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Monday, 16 September 2013

Eggless white-chocolate and fig cookies

I prefer baking egg-less cookies. When I baked the egg-less and with-egg versions of the same cookie and compared, I found the egg-less version tasted good even after a week of storage, whereas the with-eggs version were a still stale and had a very mild strange odor.

So instead of the regular chocolate chips, I decided to try a different combination and hence used white chocolate and figs. This recipe makes around 30 medium-sized cookies.
1/2 cup butter
6 tbsp granulated white sugar
6 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup of chopped white chocolate
1/2 cup of chopped dried figs

Soak the flax seeds in water for 10 minutes. Grind to a fine paste.
Beat butter in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until fluffy (2-3 mins). Add the flax seed paste and beat until incorporated. Add the Vanilla extract and beat again until incorporated.

In another bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mix to the butter mixture and beat until incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and chopped figs at the end of the mixing stage.

If the dough is too soft or sticky to shape into balls, put it into the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Shape the dough the size of a gooseberry and place it on the parchment of the baking sheet. Make sure to have enough room between the dough balls. The dough spreads while baking.

Bake at 180 degrees C for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are golden brown around the edges.

The cookies feel soft at the end of the baking cycle. But they harden as they cool down. Move the cookies from the baking sheet after 5-7 minutes and then place on wire rack to cool completely.

Verdict The sugar can be reduced in half. The figs are sweet and the white chocolate also contributes to the sweetness. But otherwise the cookies were great in texture and lasted for a good 2 weeks for us.
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Sunday, 15 September 2013


The never-ending drizzles in Bangalore have arrived a wee bit early this year. It starts drizzling early in the morning for the first few days, then it starts raining by midnight. In a few days, the time of day that rains start, keep advancing. Very soon it starts raining by the evening hours after sun-down. It does not pour. It just drizzles with varying intensity. The roads are a mess during this season and the traffic is more chaotic than ever. But on the bright side, on a warm Saturday afternoon when the drizzles start early, it is rewarding to sit down in the balcony and enjoy the rains with a hot cup of tea. A crisp samosa, especially home-made, with the tea is an added bonus.


For the stuffing:
Potatoes (medium-sized) - 5
Green peas - 1/2 cup
Salt - to taste
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Amti Masala - 1/2 tsp
Ajwain - 1/4 tsp
Kalonji or Nigella seeds - 1/2 tsp
Coriander - 1 tbsp

Note: In place of Amti masala, you could use Garam masala too.

For the crust

Maida - 1 1/2 cups
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Water - as required

Oil - for frying

Wash the potatoes and slice them in half. Boil the potatoes until soft. Cook the green peas until soft. Peel the potato halves and mash them coarsely. Allow some 1 inch pieces of potatoes to remain whole. Add the green peas and all the spices, to the mashed potatoes and mix them with finger tips such that they are evenly incorporated. Add the coriander leaves to garnish.
Sift maida with salt. Add the oil and coarsely incorporate with finger tips. Add water and knead into a smooth dough.
Make balls of the dough the size of a lemon. Roll out into a thin circle. Using the back of a knife cut the circle in half. Place palm-ful of the stuffing on one half of the rolled-out dough. Fold the dough to cover the stuffing and seal the edges.

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and lower the samosas carefully into the oil. Fry until one side is golden brown and then flip over to fry the other side.

Serve hot with ketchup or chutney.

Verdict The spices (chilli) is deliberately less keeping in mind the little girl who has to consume the samosas. You could adjust the spices to your taste. You could also roll out the dough into a circle then fold it into a triangle and roll it out. Cut the triangle in half and stuff the potatoes. You will get a layered and crisp crust this way.
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Saturday, 14 September 2013

Cheesy-Corn Tart

These are different from the Potato-cheese tarts I tried out last time. And this time around the tart shells were crisp and the stuffing juicier.

For the tart
Whole-wheat flour - 1 cup
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Cold, unsalted butter - 4 tbsp
Cold milk - 2 tbsp
Cold water - as needed
For the stuffing
Corn kernels - 1/2 cup
Spring onions - 1/2 bunch
Shredded Cheese - 4 tbsp
Thyme - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Corn flour - 1 tbsp
Cream - 1 tbsp
Sift the flour and salt together. Cut the cold butter into the flour. Mix lightly with the fingertips until the dough is crumbly. Sprinkle cold milk over the crumbly dough. Add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time and keep mixing lightly with the fingertips until the dough comes together. Roll out the dough into a thin circle. Cut out 2-3 inch circles. Line the tart tins with the circles. Cut out one more circle for the top of the tart.

Chop the spring onions finely. Boil the corn kernels. Add the spices to the spring onions and corn. Make a paste of cornflour and cream. Add the paste to the corn mixture and finally add the shredded cheese.

Place a spoonful of the stuffing into the dough-lined tart-shell and place the circle to cover the top. Seal the edges and poke holes with a fork. Brush the top with some cream.

I got 6 small tarts and one large tart with the given proportions.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Cool for 5-7 mins in the tart tin and then place on a wire rack. Serve warm.

Verdict Crisp tart shells with juicy and cheesy stuffing. I guess this will be my regular recipe for savory tarts from now on.
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Monday, 9 September 2013

Pani-Puri - Totally home-made

The incredibly popular range of street food in India - the yummy Indian chat. I had not introduced this at home as yet. But when little ones mingle with other little ones, they get to know of all the junk food in town and it was only a matter of time before "bingo", "oreo", "poppins" and eventually "chat" is discussed. So the little girl asked me what pani-puri is one day. I explained to her how the tiny puris are stuffed with potato-peas or channa and some sweet-and-sour chutney and topped with onions, cilantro and mint. And finally dipped into some spicy water and eaten. She was particularly amused by the name "Gol Gappa" as it is called in some parts of India. I was postponing it for some time, since I was not so confident of making the puris at home. But finally decided to give it a shot. 

Recipe Source RiasKitchen
For the Puris

Maida - 2 tbsp
Chirotti Rava - 1 cup
Water - as needed
Oil - for frying

Sift maida and rava together. Add water form a course, but soft dough. Knead a little more and make it smooth. Keep covered with a damp cloth for 10 mins.

Pinch out a little dough and roll it out into a very thin disc approximately 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter. Keep the discs on top of the wet towel.

Heat the oil in a small kadai. When the oil is hot enough, drop one disc. Press the disc deep into the oil using the back of the slotted spoon and it will puff up. Then drop the next one. Once the puris are golden brown on one side, flip them over and fry the other side. Remove the puris from the oil and place them on blotting paper/newspaper to drain out the oil.

Tips: The puris have to be rolled out really thin. 1 cup of semolina dough yields atleast 60 pruis. I tried the 1/4 cup maida, and 3/4 semolina combination. I rolled out slightly thick puris and it turned out very rubbery. So the next time I used the above proportions, rolled the puris very thin and it turned out fine.

For the Pani or Spicy Water:

Mint leaves - 1 cup
Green chilly  - 3-4
Tamarind syrup - 3 tbsp
Lemon juice - 3 tbsp
Roasted Cumin powder - 1 tbsp
Salt - as needed
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 2 pinches
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Thyme - 1/2 tsp

Water - 4 cups

Grind all ingredients together into a fine paste with a little water. Strain the paste and add the remaining water. Adjust salt as needed.

Assembling the puris

Make a hole in the puris. Put a teaspoon of potato-peas masala or channa masala into the puris. Slightly warm the stuffed puris in the microwave. Add a teaspoon of Katta Meetha chutney and garnish with chopped onions, cilantro and mint leaves. Serve the puris and Pani in a bowl or plate and some katta-meetha chutney.


The puris, the pani and the chutney tasted so authentic. I don't think we will ever enjoy something from the street stall anymore. The little girl found the pani and chutney a little spicy to her taste. So she ate the stuffed puris.

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Katta-Meeta chutney (Dates, Jaggery and Tamarind Chutney)

If you liked the manga-vellam pachhadi, or any tangy and sweet taste combination, then this one is for you. This is the chutney that is served with the chat items.

Recipe source - Yummy Tummy
Deseeded Dates - 1 cup
Tamarind pulp - 4 tbsp
Grated Jaggery - 1/2 cup
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Water as needed

Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover the surface of the mixture. Bring to a boil. Simmer and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes. The dates should feel soft and cooked. Allow the mixture to cool down. Blend it into a fine paste and pass through a sieve to get a smooth paste. 

This goes well with all tiffin varieties and starters, chat items. I originally made it for pani puri and had quite a quantity left-over. So we used it for idli, dosa, parathas and chapatis and everyone loved it.

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