Category Archives: Indian Cuisine

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Cranberries are considered a super food as they are high in antioxidants. I have observed that they  are commonly used ingredient in Thanksgiving meals . People usually make drinks, sauce and desserts. I bought two packets of these seasonal berries thinking that I would make bread or cookies. But finally ended up making something unconventional to satisfy my south indian palate.

Puliyogare/Puliyodharai is a simple Tamarind Rice which is one of the most popular Southern Indian Rice varieties. “Puli” means “sour” refers to the use of Tamarind as one of the main ingredients. It is known for its longer shelf life and is often used as a great travel food. I have fond memories of my mother packing this during most of our long road trips. Every family has their own recipe, some use sesame seeds some don’t, some make it simple without lentils. This is my take on this classic recipe with a slight twist, i.e. addition of cranberries.

While cooking, these berries eventually pop up and become mushy so chopping them is not the best use of time. Traditionally Pulikachal or Puliyogare gojju( ‘Gojju’ means ‘gravy’)is made using Tamarind juice/water and spices. Addition of tamarind is a must in this recipe because it gives the much needed sourness & tanginess to balance the tartness from the berries. I used indian dry red chillies for the spice and jaggery for the sweetness. Instead of Jaggery brown sugar can be used too. What we make is the Puliyogare Gojju and once it is mixed with rice it becomes Puliyogare/Puliyodharai/Pulihara.

I was expecting a pinkish or reddish colored rice but surprisingly it just looked just like the regular Puliyogare. Looks like cooking it with tamarind and all the spices did the trick. They tastes best when cooked in sesame oil which is actually the authentic way of making this recipe.

Cranberry Puliyogare ( Sweet & Tangy Cranberry spiced Rice)

Ingredients

  • Cranberries - 12 oz (340gm), washed
  • Dry tamarind - a golf ball size soaked in water
  • Oil - 1/4 cup
  • Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Urad Dal - 1 teaspoon
  • Chana Dal - 1 teaspoon
  • Red chilies - 2
  • Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves - a few
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Jaggery/Brown sugar - 1/3 cup or more
  • For the dry powder:
  • Oil - 1 teaspoon
  • Split Chickpeas (Chana dal) - 1 tablespoon
  • Black Gram (Urad dal) - 3//4 tablespoon
  • Coriander seeds - 1.5 tablespoon
  • Asafoetida - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sesame seeds - 1 tablespoon
  • Dry red chilies - 6-7 (Indian Variety)

Instructions

First lets make the spice powder . Heat a teaspoon oil and roast urad dal, chana dal, red chilies, asafoetida and red chilies until golden. Finally add sesame seeds and roast until light brown, Cool down and grind it into coarse powder.

Again in the same pan add 1/4 cup oil, add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, curry leaves, 1-2 red chili crushed and asafoetida. Now add the washed cranberries and turmeric. Mix well. Lower the flame and cook until all the cranberries pops up and turns mushy. Pour the tamarind juice and salt. mix and cook until all the raw smell from tamarind disappears and the water seems to evaporate. Now add the powder and jaggery. Do a taste check and add more jaggery if needed. It needs to have a right balance of sweetness and tanginess.

When ready mix with cooked rice and enjoy with some chips.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2017/12/cranberry-puliyogare-sweet-tangy-cranberry-spiced-rice/

Just use little gojju to mix with cooked Rice. You wouldn’t need the whole batch. The Gojju should be refrigerated and should be good for about two weeks or so. Enjoy!

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gOBI 1
Learn how to make Gobi Manchoorian/ Gobi Manchoori

Gobi Manchoorian/ Manchoori is an Indo Chinese food which is quite popular in India. It is said to have been developed by the tiny Chinese community that lived in Kolkata for over a century.  It is nothing but fried cauliflower tossed in a sweet and chili sauce. There are two different variants of it, dry and gravy. If I were frying I would use all purpose flour and cornstarch to make a thin batter; dip the florets in the batter and then deep fry.  Once that is done follow the below mentioned sauce recipe.  Few recipes even call for Ajinomoto (MSG) to increase the taste however I try to avoid it due to health reasons. Some add food colors to give the florets a bright red color, which is quite common in restaurants. I avoid that as well.
gOBI 2
In the past I have baked the same dish using different flours – chickpea,all purpose and even whole wheat flour. The problem was it wasn’t as crispy as I had expected it to be also there would a thin layer of batter stuck in the base of the florets. This used to put me off. That’s when dusting cornstarch came to my mind. I actually used about 3-3.5 tablespoon of cornstarch. The cauliflower florets baked beautifully, ending with a crispy texture. But the only thing was I could feel the cornstarch even after baking ( I realized I added a lot).The next time I would work with 1.5-2 tablespoons only. I know fried ones are the best but I wanted to try something that I could enjoy whole heartedly without worrying about calories. Making junk food healthy is a very smart idea🙂 .
Gobi 3
To me these tasted great, not as crispy as the fried ones but slightly close to it. Once they are coated in the sauce, I don’t see much of a difference. A good sauce is the key! If you plan to use them just as plain fritters, do season them with salt, pepper, cayenne and some turmeric (for the color) before baking. Also broil it for about 2-3 minutes towards the end to make it more crispier.

Baked Gobi Manchoori

Serving Size: 3

Baked Cauliflower with sweet and Chili sauce - healthy twist to a tasty junk food.

Ingredients

  • Baking Cauliflower
  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets about 5-6 cups
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1-2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • For the Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2-3 garlic pods, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, chopped
  • 2-3 thai green chillies, chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup bell pepper, cubed
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Green chili/red chili sauce, as needed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro , chopped
  • Salt as needed

Instructions

Preheat oven at 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Wash and dry in a paper towel. Place all the cauliflower in a large bowl. Drizzle oil over the florets coating it well. Now add the cornstarch and toss it. Spread it evenly on the lined sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip each floret. Increase temperature to 425F. Bake again for about 20 minutes. You will end with slightly crispy florets with a brownish tinge. Feel free to broil it for about 2 – 3 minutes for more crispier option, which I didn’t.

Sauce - Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic, ginger, chillies, onion and bell pepper. Saute until the onions turn pink. Do not overcook the veggies, do retain the crunchiness. Now add the ketchup and soy sauce. If you are using the chilli sauce, please add now( We don’t eat too spicy food, so I avoided the sauce). The mixture will start sizzling. Add the cauliflower,lemon juice and salt. Mix well. Garnish with cilantro.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2015/03/baked-gobi-manchoori/

If you are thinking of gravy please add some water mixed with very little cornstarch towards the end and then a quick boil will result in a semi gravy Manchoorian sauce. Serve as an appetizer or along with fried rice/noodles. Spring onions are a great choice too, if you have some handy do add it right at the end.

Enjoy guilt free!

 

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Mawa Cake 1 main

Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen was our August 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to make some amazing regional Indian desserts. The Mawa Cake, the Bolinhas de Coco cookies and the Masala cookies – beautifully spiced and delicious!

I was really kicked about the Mawa Cake and worked on it as soon as I read the post. In a hurry I ended making a stupid mistake. I read 4 cups of milk as 4 litres of milk(that was alot of MILK!!!). Mawa requires patience and lot of stirring. Mine took almost 3-4 hrs; that’s when I felt something was wrong;logged into the DBC site to check and that’s when I realized how dumb I was!!!.Now that I was left with a huge batch of Mawa,I saved up a cup for the cake and added a little sugar to the remaining. Mixed it well and made small flat disc and refrigerated it for sometime. These are called Pedas and they make agreat dessert. But yes…not to forget they are made with whole milk so very very HIGH in calories.

Mawa Cake 2 main Mawa Cakes are a speciality cake that is the hallmark of Irani cafe’s in India. Mawa (also known as Khoya/ Khoa) is made by slowly reducing milk (usually full-fat) until all that remain is a mass of slightly caramelized granular dough-like milk solids. Mawa is used in a wide variety of Indian sweets like Gulab Jamun and Peda, to mention just two. Mawa is pronounced as Maa-vaa; Khoya is pronounced as KhOh-yaa.
Mawa Cake 3 main In this cake, Mawa lends a rich and a caramelized milky taste to this cake which is slightly dense and reminiscent of a pound cake. Cardamom and cashewnuts are typical of a Mawa Cake; but almonds can be used too. I had a whole pack of blanched sliced almonds from Trader Joe’s that came into use. The batter can be used to make Cupcakes as well. They were totally moist and the cardamom flavor was to die for. Even my little enjoyed this cake. Masala Cookies 2 main
Masala cookies are something that features very often at home. So these were not something new; however I just baked them with the flavors I like.The word Masala means “Spice Mix”, they are savory and spicy Indian snack. These were quite spicy because of the chilies and pepper that went into them. They are loaded with flavors and are super crunchy on the outside;soft and flaky in the inside. I used Mint and Dill leaves which added a zing to the cookies. Masala Cookies 1 main I made the Mawa two days ahead of time and stored it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Allow it to come to room temperature before you make the cake. Instead of cardamom you may choose to use nutmeg also.For the Masala cookies I didn’t have curry leaves handy; Cilantro,Dill and Mint leaves did their flavoring magic:)

Mawa Cake

Serving Size: Makes One 8 inch Cake

Ingredients

  • For the Mawa:
  • 1 litre (4 cups) full fat milk
  • For the cake:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted Butter (soft at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup packed crumbled mawa
  • 1-1/4 cups castor sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 to 6 cardamom pods, powdered, (about 1-1/2 tsp powdered cardamom)
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • Blanched Sliced Almonds / Cashewnuts to decorate

Instructions

First make the “Mawa”. Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably a non-stick one. Bring the milk to a boil, stirring it on and off, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Turn down the heat to medium and keep cooking the milk until reduces to about a quarter of its original volume. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half.

The important thing during this process is to watch the milk and stir it frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick to the sides or bottom of the pan and get burnt. The danger of this happening increases as the milk reduces and gets thicker.

Once the milk it has reduced to about one fourth, 1/4 quantity, lower the heat to low and let cook for a little while longer. Keep stirring regularly, until the milk solids (mawa) take on a lumpy appearance. There should be no visible liquid left in the pan, but the mawa should be moist and not stick to the sides of the pan.

Remove the pan from heat and transfer the mawa to a bowl and let it cool completely. Then cover and refrigerate it for a day or two (not more) till you’re ready to make the cake. It will harden in the fridge so let it come to room temperature before using it.You should get about 3/4 to 1 cup of mawa from 1 litre (4 cups) of full-fat milk.

Now start preparations for the cake by pre-heating your oven to moderate 350°F . Beat the butter, the crumbled mawa and the sugar in a largish bowl, using a hand held electric beater, on high speed until soft and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed till well incorporated. Add the vanilla and milk and beat till mixed well.

Sift the cake flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt onto the batter and beat at medium speed and well blended. If you cannot find cake flour, place 2 tablespoon of cornstarch in the bottom of your 1-cup measure and then fill it with all-purpose (plain) flour to make up to 1 cup.

Grease and line only the bottom of an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan. Pour the batter into this and lightly smooth the top. Place the cashew nuts (or blanched almonds) on top of the batter randomly. Do not press the nuts down into the batter. A Mawa Cake always has a rustic finished look rather than a decorated look.

Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 1 hour until the cake is a golden brown and a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Do not over bake the cake or it will dry out. If the cake seems to be browning too quickly, cover it will aluminium foil hallway through the baking time.

Remove from oven and allow it to cool for 10 min in the tin. Release the cake, peel off the parchment from the base and let it cool completely.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2013/09/mawa-cake-and-masala-herb-cookies-daring-bakers-august13-challenge/

Masala Herb Cookies

Yield: Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 2 tablespoons fine white or brown rice flour (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or according to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 3/4 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorn, crushed coarsely
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and crushed coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon each finely chopped fresh cilantro,mint and dill leaves
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cold yogurt
  • A little oil to brush the tops of the biscuits/ cookies

Instructions

Put both flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda into the bowl of a food processor and add the pieces of chilled butter. Pulse until the mixture takes on the texture of breadcrumbs.

Now add the chopped green chillies, finely grated ginger, crushed peppercorn and cumin, sugar, the chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves. Pulse a couple of times to mix well.

Then add 2 tablespoons of yogurt and pulse again. Add one more tbsp of yogurt (or two, as much as needed), and pulse again until the dough just comes together and clumps together. You want a moist dough, not a wet one – somewhat like pie dough.

Do not over process or knead. The dough should be just moist enough for you to use your hands and bring everything together to shape into a ball. Flatten it into a disc and cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least hour. You can also leave it overnight (up to about 24 hours) and work on it the next day.

Pre-heat your oven to moderate 350°F and line your baking trays with parchment or grease them with oil.

Lightly dust your working surface and roll out the dough to 1/8”(3 mm) thickness, not more or your biscuits/ cookies will not be crisp. If using Sesame seeds, sprinkle it uniformly over the dough and use your rolling pin, very lightly, to press them in.Using cutters of your choice (about 2-1/4 inch in size), cut out biscuits/ cookies and place them on lightly greased baking trays. Brush a very thin coat of oil over them. This will help them brown while baking. Bake them in a preheated moderate oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or till they’re done and golden brown on the top. Remember the baking time will depend on the thickness and shape of your biscuits/ cookies. Let them cool on the trays for about 5 minutes and then cool them on racks. Once they’re completely cool, they should be a bit crunchy and not chewy.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2013/09/mawa-cake-and-masala-herb-cookies-daring-bakers-august13-challenge/

Note – I was traveling so posting very late. Its better late than never:)

Bon Appétit
Nina

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We as a family love Indian food. My sister in law had come over to visit us and I was in a cooking spree. One of the things that she wanted to have before she left was an Indianized Pizza. So I made her a “Vegetable Pizza with Indian spices”. I made the pasta sauce using onion & tomatoes. To give it a little twist I added bell peppers and carrots too. It was a nice change to the usual sauce I’ve made so far. As you would know by now that I am not a big fan of Pizzas. My husband always says that “ only things that are prepared at home are my favorites” and since I don’t like pizzas they are never made in my kitchen:). lol!. The last time I made Pizza was a very long time back, here it is –Pizza Margherita.

The sauce was a very simple one but loaded with veggies,thus making it healthy. Similarly, I replaced half of the all-purpose flour with Whole wheat pastry flour to make it slightly healthy. I had picked up a canned tomato sauce(not the usual Heinz sauce/ketchup) from Trader Joe’s that came handy; it looked more like a paste though. It gave the sauce a nice red color and tasted great too. Everyone was happy with the pizza, it had the perfect crunchy base, loaded with veggies and not to forget the main ingredient Cheese. It was super cheesy and delicious!

VEGETABLE PIZZA WITH INDIAN SPICES

PIZZA BASE
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon yeast
2/3 cup warm milk plus as required
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1.5 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Make the dough – In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 2/3 cup warm milk and yeast. Set it aside for about 10 minutes. Add all the other ingredients and mix on low speed. Gradually add more milk if required to make a soft dough. Knead for about a minute. Transfer to a greased glass bowl, cover with plastic and let It rise for about 1.5 – 2 hours, until doubled in size.

PIZZA SAUCE
Ingredients:

1.5 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion chopped
1/3 cup bell pepper chopped
¼ cup carrot grated
½ cup tomato paste/sauce
½ teaspoon chili powder/ cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala/pav bhaji masala
Salt as per taste
Topping – Onions, bell pepper, corn, pineapple, spinach and mozzarella cheese
Blanch the tomatoes for about ten minutes. Peel the skin and mash it. Heat oil in a pan, add onions and sauté until light brown. Slowly add the paste and tomatoes. Mix in the bell pepper and carrot. Allow it to cook for a bit,until all the water evaporates. Lastly, add the salt, chili powder and garam masala. Mix and set it aside.

Base – When the dough has risen, knock it back and divide into six balls and roll out each onto a work surface. Spread the sauce over each pizza base and top with the vegetables (topping ingredients).
Preheat the oven at 400F. Bake the pizzas in the oven until the bases are crisp ; golden brown around the edges and cheese has melted.

Bon Apetite!

Nina

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