Saturday, 29 December 2012

Dudhi Dosa/Lauki Dosa

Lauki Dosa (Dudhi Dosa)
Bottlegourd aka dudhi is a vegetable that I include a lot in my diet these days. It is called lauki in hindi and sorakai in tamil. It is a bottle shaped vegetable which is supposed to be rich in fibre. It is also high in water content and hence is said to be good for weight loss. The cooked vegetable is cooling, sedative and is also said to give calming effect after eating. I have searched quite a bit for dudhi recipes but most of them return with kofta or halwa. Kofta is a bit time consuming and ofcourse, I like to avoid the deep frying and as for halwa, we are not so much dessert family so that would be wasted. It had been long since I made dosa and decided to make lauki dosa. It was a wholesome dosa and I made kadappa to eat with it, wow! Here you go...

½ medium lauki, peeled, cubed and ground to fine paste
¼ cup urd dal
½ cup brown rice
½ cup idli rice (par boiled rice)
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
Handful of beaten rice (poha)
Salt to taste
Cooking oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Soak urd dal, both rice, poha and fenugreek seeds together over night. Grind to fine batter, not adding too much water and add required salt. Allow to ferment during the day. Just before making the dosa, add the ground dudhi to the batter and mix well
Add some oil and add the mustard seeds and after it crackles add it to the batter. The batter should be like regular dosa batter now. As grinding the dudhi would need some water and hence add water to the batter, I had said earlier that you not add much water while grinding the batter itself
(I am afraid I conveniently forgot the clicks! I promise I will upload them next time :) )

Heat a tava and spread a ladleful of the batter. Drizzle oil. Flip side once bottom is golden brown. Cook second side for a minute or so and it is ready to serve

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Barley Kheer

Barley Kheer
I do not know why but I do seem to have been left with a liking for sweet dishes after both my pregnancies. While I would not say I have a sweet tooth now, I am not all that hesitant to try sweets. To me, moderation is the key and being clever about what I add to my food makes all the difference. I normally make a kheer or any other simple sweet on Fridays and recently I tried barley kheer. It was ok but not that I would have blogged about. I then decided to refine the recipe to make it more similar to almond kheer and did some modifications, bingo! The use of barley, I think, would make this suitable for diabetics as well as people on 'diet'. Barley has plenty of good fibre, an important part of a healthy balanced diet. It also has a low glycemic index and that in simple terms, just means it will not shoot up the blood glucose soon after you eat it. A food with high glycemic index, like white bread, polished rice etc. would cause the blood glucose to rise soon after consumption. For diabetics, it is very important to avoid the fluctuation in blood sugar.

If you want to replace the dairy milk with any other milk, like almond or oat milk etc., you may do so but make sure it is okay to let that milk boil, if not just add it before serving. Adjust the quantity of sugar to taste. I like it less sweet so I get to enjoy the flavours from saffron and the nuts. If you like it thicker, add some more barley.

For one serving:
1 tablespoon barley, pressure cooked or well cooked by any other method
Sugar to taste
2 teaspoons of powdered nuts like cashew, almond, pista
Some chiroli seeds
Pinch of saffron
1 cup milk

Grind the barley well and pour it into a sauce pan, add some water and bring to boil. You need to stir often else it will stick to the bottom and burn

Add the milk and required sugar and allow to boil

Add the ground nuts and saffron and boil for couple or minutes. If you have the time, steep the saffron in some hot water so it releases its flavour quickly before adding.

Garnish with chiroli seeds and serve chilled

Friday, 21 December 2012


I was planning on making  a new variety of dosa and was sure I did not want a chutney to go with it. As it was the first time I was making this type of dosa, I wanted to make sure I have an interesting side dish. I know, trialing to dishes in one meal is a bit of risk but that occurred to me only after I made both of them. I looked for side dish for dosa on google and came across lots of familiar dishes. One dish stood out though – Kumbakonam kadappa. Kumbakonam is the town from which my father and father-in-law hail from. I have been to the place so many times and never once have I heard of this dish. Ofcourse, every time we went there we will go for just the same restaurant which served more of the Brahmin food and I am guessing kadappa id not fit that category. Anyway, I was a bit disappointed that I had no idea about this dish and wanted to try this. Result was awesome. Such a simple dish with simple flavours and it went very well with dosa. It had just a touch of coconut, touch of the aniseed flavour, little ehat from the chillies and very slight tartness from the tomato. It was wonderful! I think this is a great side dish for rotis, rice, idlis, dosa, idiapam and even puttu. For a western palatte, this could make a great meal on its own as it has protein, carbohydrates and other vitamins. Here you go...

2 medium potatoes or 1 large, boiled well
¼ cup mung dal, well cooked
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 bay leaves and a cinnamon stick
4 teaspoons coconut (I used dessicated)
Dash of caraway seeds (use more if you like aniseed flavour)
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 onion, sliced thinly
3 green chillies, slit
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1 tomato, cubed
Salt to taste
Cooking oil (coconut oil preferably)

Heat some oil in a heavy bottom pan and add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and mustard seeds. Allow seeds to crackle

Add the onions and sauté for couple of minutes

Add the ginger garlic paste and green chillies and cook till raw smell goes

Crush the potatoes by hand and add. Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the mashed dal and some water and required salt

Allow to boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes but make sure it does not burn. You could add more water if needed. Dal and potatoes are thickeners so the dish will thicken as it cools.

Grind the caraway seeds, coconut and poppy seeds with required water and add it to the mixture and boil for couple of minutes. Serve!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Paneer Cigar Roll (non fried)

Paneer Cigar Roll (non fried)
The last time I made paneer cigar rolls was for my son’s birthday celebration last year. It was loved by everyone and was a hit. After that though, I somehow never got to make it again, probably because I have just not had the time and energy for it. Not to say it is energy consuming but because it involves deep frying. This time though I tried my hands on baking it. I felt that if home made dough was used for the pastry then the results may not be very satisfactory so chose filo pastry. For those who do not have access to filo pastry, make a dough with about a cup of all purpose flour (maida) with required water and couple of spoons of oil. Roll the dough as thin as possible and that is almost as good as filo pastry substitute. You can see from the pictures that they look more like the huge cigar rolls than the sleek cigarettes, am sure you can do a better job of rolling them, I had far too many things going on including a crying baby. Paneer is Indian cottage cheese. You could use other cheese like cheddar or mozzarella too. As these will melt, so not add it to the pepper on the stove, mix it after the pepper has cooled down a bit. I made my own dip by mixing hot an d sweet sauce, soya sauce, garlic infused olive oil and sugar. The below mentioned quantity makes about 9 rolls.

100g paneer, grated
1 large red pepper, finely chopped
3-4 spring onions, green and white part finely chopped
½ teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
Turmeric powder
½ teaspoon chilly powder
Salt to taste
6-8 sheets of filo pastry
Cooking oil

Heat some oil and sauté the spring onions for couple of minutes

Add the peppers and add required salt and cook just until if begins to soften

Add the paneer, turmeric powder and spice powders and sauté for couple of minutes

Take two sheets of filo pastry and brush with little oil and cut into three equal parts across its length

On one end, put some of the prepared paneer stuffing and start rolling. Seal the ends with wet fingers and with seam side below, place on lined baking tray. Repeat until all filling is used

Brush few drops of oil on all of the rolls and bake at 170degC for about 15-20 minutes until golden

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Peanutbutter chocolate fudge

Peanutbutter chocolate fudge
As I had mentioned before, we are not peanut butter people at all. However, I thought it is a good form for my son to try his hands on peanuts. I try not to give him whole nuts until the recommended age of about four so peanut butter is good enough now. I have not tried spreading it on bread but I do know he likes the chocolate spread and may not like this much. Anyway, I thought I will make something new without the need to really cook or bake and also allow him to participate. Here is a quick and easy treat...
6 tablespoon peanut butter
¼ cup icing sugar
150g chocolate
5 digestive biscuits, crushed finely
2 teaspoon oil

Mix the crushed biscuits, icing sugar and peanut butter together, add just enough oil so the mixture comes together

Spread this on a plate to desired thickness.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler (put chocolate in a bowl and place this on a pot of boiling water making sure the water does not touch the bowl), making sure no water gets into the chocolate itself. Melt completely. You could do this in a microwave oven if you want.

Spread over the peanut butter mixture and set in fridge

Cut using sharp knife, dipping the knife in hot water

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Palak Paratha

Palak Paratha
Few days back I had posted the recipe for palak rice/green rice. My son had been asking for it since then and last weekend we finally managed to find some palak. I was hoping he would be ok with making green chapatti instead of rice as chapatti was on the menu for the rest of us. Well, he did and I wanted to make sure it comes out well so he likes it and has it in future. I think it is important to keep recipes that kids try very simple so they first develop a liking and then we can add some twists to it after a good few times. Anyway, I decided to make it like a paratha, slightly thick but not stuffed. The use of ajwain seeds made such a big difference as it lent so much flavour to the parathas. We had it with a curry and pickle and it went down a treat. I had earlier posted recipe for spinach roti and this one is like its cousin. Here is the recipe...

2 bunches palak
1 teaspoon ginger, chopped
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 pinch ajwain
1 ½ cups wholewhear flour
Cooking oil

Blanch the palak in boiling water for couple of minutes, cool and grind to fine paste with ginger and coriander powder. Use just enough water to make a paste. You could add some sugar to the palak while blanching to keep its green colour

Take the flour in a bowl and add salt. Crush the ajwain seeds between your palm and add the same. Use the palak puree to make a soft dough and use oil at the end of kneading just to coat the dough. Rest it for about 30 minutes

Take lemon size balls and roll into rather thick parathas. Cook both sides on hot tawa and drizzle bit of oil/butter. It is the usual sequence - once the bottom sides starts bubbling, flip side, then let the bottom bubble. Then flip again, give it like 5 seconds, then press down with tea towel in hand or ladle as this will help it puff up. Drizzle oil/ghee.


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Ginger Drink (Inji Surasam)

Ginger Drink (Inji Surasam)
I am trying to post recipes appropriate for the holiday season but the recent attack of cold in my family was a reminder that it is also the cold season. While it is great to munch on biscuits and nack on cakes and cookies, the sugars in them will weaken our immune system. Even if you are on a reasonable diet, you may be down with the cold every now and then. Considering I try to post as many healthy recipes as possible, I thought I should post a wonderful drink that does not just taste great but is super good for cold. It helps alleviate cold symptoms including body pain. To me, it is the best hot, sour and sweet soup. Although honey is also good for the throat, I prefer to use sugar in this case as honey when heated becomes toxic. It is my grandmother’s recipe, so yet again, a traditional gem preserved. I would strongly recommend people who suffer from sinusitis to try this about once in a week or when down with the infection. It will seem like a lot of ginger but you need that heat for it to work. I will try to post more recipes suitable for this season, until then here is a superb drink.
6 inch piece of ginger (about 5-7 cm wide) cut into smaller chunks and coarsely crushed
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons sugar
Pinches of salt

Bring to boil the ginger and cumin seeds in about two glasses of water. Allow it to boil for ten to fifteen minutes so the juices from ginger and cumin seep into the water. It will be quite aromatic at this stage

Take off the flame, add the sugar, salt and lemon juice, mix and drink hot. I normally run it through a sieve before drinking

Friday, 7 December 2012

Chocolate Truffle

Chocolate Truffle
What a day it has been! Started off with a severe migraine and I thought one more day of my life goes a waste. But when you are so far away from home and help, regardless of how unwell you are, you just got to get on. So I did. Made a simple lunch and then slowly started feeling better. I had been feeling terrible about not making much progress on the book front as I only have 3-4 recipes firmed up so far and have miles to go. With the holiday season round the corner, I wanted to bring the right mood in my household too. I have heard about truffles but as I am not a huge fan of chocolate I don’t think I have tried them before. I wanted to whip some up, but as you can imagine, the traditional one is not something I can quite make as it comes with loads of guilt. I wanted a sinless dish and not a sinful one. I had some shredded wheat (breakfast cereal) left over as my son stopped eating them suddenly. I did not want to throw them away so put them to good use here. I rolled the truffles in good coco powder. However, the bitterness of the coco was quite strong. For that reason, I am suggesting it be mixed with icing sugar or even powdered sugar and then rolled. Alternately, you could use coco powder which has lesser coco. I had made them bite size so once you put them in your mouth, the bitterness hits but is soon followed by sweetness from dried fruits. This recipe makes about ten truffles. You could use any other dried fruit like prune or apricot too. . Dry fruits are a good way to get your recommended quantities of fruits and these goodies will appeal to the young ones too. I will be working on few more varieties of truffles, but until then, here is an easy peasy one..
1/3 cup dates
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup ground almonds
2 tablespoon coco powder
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 shredded wheat biscuit or about 2 digestive biscuit

In a food processor, pulse the dates and raisins. It should not become pureed but just lumpy

Add the ground almond and broken shredded wheat and pulse few more times so they all come together

Roll into bite size balls and roll this on a mixture of icing sugar and coco powder

Dive in!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Multigrain Mango Muffin

Multigrain Mango Muffin
MMM recipe! Sounds tacky isn’t it? Well, I thought it is a good acronym for this really multigrain mango muffin. I had some left over mango pruee following my eggless mango cake trial and wanted to make a good breakfast. I thought cardamom would go well with mango as it is not a very strong flavour and will not fight with mango. I tried to take as many clicks as possible as I made the muffins but towards the end, after resting them, I thought they may not be good enough. I was so wrong and my fear of the effect of the ingredients I used was unjustified. I thought it will be an extremely dry muffin and will have a poor texture. However, it was quite good. It was quite springy, soft and easy to eat. Usually, millets tend to make the baked product a bit dry and difficult to swallow but I think it is the fruit puree that helped this muffin. If you find you child binging on this, just as well, the goodness in it will help their growth. Here is the recipe, lets get the holiday season started. Like most of my recipes, this is not very sweet so if you have a sweet tooth, please increase the sugar but have in mind that the mango pulp is sweet as well.
¼ cup ragi flour
¼ cup oat flour (oats ground)
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
¾ cup all purpose flour
½ cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup mango puree
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoon baking powder

Mix together the flours, baking powder, sugar, cardamom powder and salt

Add the oil, mango puree and water and mix until just combined

Pour into muffin moulds, about 3/4th full and bake in a preheated oven at 180degC for 20-25 minutes. A skewer inserted in centre should come out clean.

You may dust with some icing sugar and serve.