Category Archives: Lunch

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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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We got our little one’s ears pierced when she turned one. Much to my surprise, it was rather a simple process that took less than a minute. She being asleep made the job even easier. Just when I thought that I had knocked off an important milestone in my daughter’s life, one of her earrings fell off in less than 2 weeks. We had to go through another round of ear piercing and this time the “ear piercer” assured us that he had done a thorough job!!

Well, that wasn’t the case! My daughter managed to lose her pair of earrings again. This time my husband wasn’t keen on getting it done again and argued saying that the decision to pierce her ears is entirely hers. Well the truth was he did not want to see his precious darling cry in pain. Last week we had been to Mall of America. While my husband was busy in his favorite apple store, I decided to take little A to Claire’s to get her ear’s pierced again. The lady at the shop did it so quickly even before li’l A realized it. I was glad I got it done when my husband wasn’t around. If not I would have to deal with two kids:).I hope the earrings stay in place at least for some time!

We got back home, and our quick fix dinner was Pizza. I have always been wanting to make it from scratch for a long time but somehow never got around it. They were never amongst my favorite and perhaps that kept me away from trying it out! As far as possible, I make things from scratch. So that’s how the pizza base happened. I adapted the recipe from my favorite author James Peterson’s book Baking.

Pizzas are the one of the most recognizable symbol of Italian food culture in the world. I believe many years back, Queen Margherita of Savoy, wife of king Umberto I, Chef of Pizzeria Brandi and his wife created a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flagred(tomato),White(mozzarella) and green(basil).They named it after the Queen – Pizza Margherita.

PIZZA MARGHERITA
Makes two 11 inch Pizza crusts

Ingredients for the Pizza Dough

3 cups flour
¾ cup barely warm water
½ teaspoon active dry yeast proofed in 1 tablespoon barely warm water
¾ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoon extra – virgin olive oil

For the Pizza

Extra virgin olive oil for brushing
Pizza dough ( recipe below)
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced
6 large basil leaves

For the Dough – Mix the flour, water, and yeast in a bowl. Add the salt and mix, then add the oil. Knead the dough with a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook on medium speed for about 7 minutes. Turn the mixer to high speed if needed to get the dough to slap against the sides of the bowl. You may also during this time, pull the dough off the hook a couple of times so that the dough is mixed evenly. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to double in volume at room temperature for about 4hours. Or at room temperature for 1 hour and then overnight in the refrigerator.

For the Pizza – Brush two – 11 inch Pizza pans with olive oil. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a ball, shaping the dough with your fingers, pressing and turning, until the dough is somewhat round. Put on ball on each of the pizza pans. Put the pans in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Shape the dough nby pressing on it and pressing on it and stretching it with your fingers or with a rolling pin until it covers the pizza pan. You may have to press and stretch the dough 2 or 3 times,with a 15 minute rest between each time to get the dough to cover the pizza pans. Press up the edges of the round from the inside to form a border. Brush the dough with olive oil.

Preheat oven to 500F. Coat the basil leaves with olive oil,roll them up,slice the roll so you end up with strips. Arrange the tomato slices and cheese slices in the pizza.Bake for about 15 minutes,or until the crust is brown. Just before the pizza is done,sprinkle the basil strips over the top,and bake until done.

I had already made the dough before I stepped out, so it was easy to bake once I got back. The pizza crust was crunchy and the topping fills you right up and you don’t feel too heavy. Simple topping yet truly delicious because its CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE:).

The second time I made this I didn’t follow all of the method above. Once the dough had risen, I simple rolled it over, placed it in a baking sheet(yeah not a pizza stone),spread the topping and baked it immediately. It still tasted the same. I guess this is an easy approach.

Bon Appetit!

Nina

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Vineela Siva,Sreevidya and EC have passed on the “Creative Blogger award.This award is pretty unique as it has certain rules attached to it:)

1.You must thank the person who has given you the award.
2.Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3.Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.
4.Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5.Nominate 7 other Kreative Bloggers.
6.Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7.Leave a comment on which of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

I thank Vineela Siva,Sreevidya and EC for this lovely award.

I have been tagged earlier with similar rules and am jes copying what I had mentioned earlier.So here are few things about me……

1.Kitchen is my exclusive paradise, an area where I pursue my culinary endeavors , no one gets to cook..Its MY SPACE!
2.I am a cleanliness freak, particularly Kitchen & Bathroom.Utensils lying in the sink is a good enough reason for me to lose my temper.P bares the brunt most times.
3.I drink gallons of water,so I use the loo a lot:-P My friends always take a dig at me for this!
4.I believe,am not only good in making friends but keeping them too,still in touch with folks Ive known Since I was 5yrs old.Touchwood!
5.As a kid Ive been told books are like god,if your feet happens to touch it,take it immediately and hold it close to your eyes (actually its like saying sorry god).Just for fun,my Dad and bro torture me by actually taking a newspaper,touch it to my feet,hide it & make me run around the entire house,I would be relieved only when I find it. Its quite funny but I still believe in this.
6.I dont claim to be a Master neither a geek,but certainly good at excel and numbers, after all thats been my bread & butter for long.
7.I drool over Death by Chocolate & Tiramisu,the latter being my fav one.Am crazy to the extent of naming P’s number on my mobile phone as Tiramisu

I am passing this on to – Varsha,Prathiba,Vijitha,Supriya,Mahimaa,Vidya and Lubna.

Now coming to the post,of all the Kerala food that I’ve had,Puttu always remains close to my heart.This is one such food that I simple can’t resist.Typical Puttu is made using the Puttu Maker.I had picked one such during my India trip this year,however had to drop it due to weight constraints.So I am sticking to my own way of making it using a cooker.

Puttu

Prep Time – 10 mins
Start to Finish – 20mins
Servings – 2 to 3

KERALA PUTTU

Ingredients:

Store bought Puttu powder/Rice flour 2 cups
Salt a pinch
Fresh shredded Coconut 1 cup

Method:

If using rice flour,heat a pan and saute the flour until raw smell disappears.In a big bowl mix the flour,salt and lil water until you end up with a crumbled texture.Do not add a lot of water,as we don?t need a dough like consistency.For best results,sprinkle water lil by lil and gently mix the flour.Add coconut and mix well.Place the mixture in a wide vessel and steam it for about 8-9mins in a pressure cooker.You may use an idly stand or jes a plain wide vessel.Serve hot along with Kadala curry(recipe follows).

Infact,if you have a sweet tooth,you may add sugar and cardamom powder to the steamed mixture and have it along with riped bananas,a typical way of relishing them.While sauting the flour,ensure not to burn them.I generally use a 2:1 ratio for the flour and the coconut,you may choose to lessen the quantity of coconut.These days Puttu powders are easily available in any Indian Grocers which comes very handy,I’ve used Ragi Puttu Powder, which is very high in proteins.I came across an interesting way of making them in Divya Vikrams blog,you may check that out too.

Kadala Curry


Prep Time : 10min
Start to Finish : 45 min(excluding soaking time)
Serves : 2 to 3

KADALA CURRY

Ingredients:

Black Chana/Konda Kadala/Black or Brown chickpeas : 2 cups (soaked overnight and cooked with salt until soft)
Tomato : 2 (pureed)
Onion : 1 small (finely chopped)

For the masala(to be grinded):

Coconut 1/2 cup
Onion 1 small (roughly chopped)
Ginger an inch
Garlic pods 3 nos
Coriander and Cumin seeds : 2 tbsp each dry roasted (optional)
Coriander cumin powder 1 tbsp
Garam Masala 1 tbsp
Green chillies 2 nos
Red Chilli Powder 1 tbsp

Seasoning –

Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves a few
Coconut Oil 2 tbsp

Method:

1.In a wok/skillet,heat oil and add mustard and curry leaves.Add Onions and saute until translucent.
2.Add the grinded masala paste,saute for few minutes.Add the tomato puree and cook until the raw smell disappears.
3.Add salt(salt has been already added while cooking the chickpeas,hence be careful while adding it the second time).
4.Add the boiled/cooked chickpeas to this gravy.Add a cup of water and allow it to cook until it thickens.Serve hot with Puttu.

I mentioned that the coriander and cumin seeds is optional,I add them because it brings an extra flavor when grinded fresh and also brings in a nice aroma when blended with coconut.



Verdict:

Puttu and Kadala Curry is the best combo that I can think of.Though it tasted very well,i somehow feel that the ones made with rice flour tastes the BEST!

Sending Kadala Curry to MLLA 13 hosted by Harini of Tongueticklers,which is the brainchild of Susan of Well Seasoned Cook

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