Sunday, July 12, 2009

Egg Fried Rice

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Egg fried rice and noodles are my favourite indian-chinese fast food in Hyderabad. I don't know what sauces go into egg fried rice, but some of the roadside vendors make it tastier than good restaurants. I tried this recipe today from my own imagination and it turned out good, though not as good as some of the fast food places in Hyd.



Ingredients:

  1. Basmati rice - 2 cups
  2. Eggs - 3 no.
  3. Oil - 4 tsp
  4. Cloves - 4
  5. Cinnamon sticks - 2 (1/2" long)
  6. Onion - 1 no. (chopped lengthwise)
  7. Green chillies - 3 no. ( or as required, cut into small pieces)
  8. Green peas and beans - 1/2 cup
  9. Capsicum - 1/2 (cut into small pieces)
  10. Cashews - as required
  11. Ginger - garlic paste - 1 tsp
  12. Soy sauce - 3 tsp
  13. Bay leaves - 2
  14. White vinegar - 1 tsp
  15. Turmeric powder - a pinch
  16. Salt - as required

Instructions:

  1. Cook the rice with 3 cups of water.
  2. In parallel, heat oil in a pan and add cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and fry for 2 mins.
  3. Add onion pieces and fry until onion turns brown in color. Add turmeric, ginger garlic paste and fry for another 2mins.
  4. Add green chillies, capsicum, green peas, beans and fry until the veggies becomes soft. Add soy sauce and vinegar and cook for 2mins.
  5. Break the eggs and pour into the above mix and cook for 3mins stirring continuously. Add salt as required.
  6. Add the cooked rice to the above, mix well and fry for another 2mins.
  7. Serve hot.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rasgulla

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Rasagulla is a North Indian sweet prepared with fresh curd cheese. If we have soft paneer/chenna in hand it will take 15mins to prepare this sweet. You can find chenna recipe here.


Ingredients:
  1. Paneer / curd cheese - 1 lb (prepared with 1/2 gallon whole milk, here is the recipe)
  2. Sugar - 2 cups
  3. Water - 3 cups
  4. All purpose flour - 1 tablespoon
  5. Rose Water / Cardamom powder - 1 tsp (for flavoring)

Instructions:

  1. Knead the paneer along with flour on a clean surface with hands for 2-3mins.
  2. Seperate the dough into equal parts making round balls.
  3. Boil sugar and water in a pressure cooker (better to use wide cooker) closing the lid, without keeping the whistle.
  4. Once the liquid starts boiling, add the balls to the liquid and cover the lid, cook for 15mins. Make sure there is enough room to rasgullas to cook. Rasgullas become double in size after they are cooked. Add rose water/ cardamom powder to the sugar syrup.
  5. Take the rasgullas carefully with a spatula to a bowl and pour the sugar syrup on top of them.
  6. Cool at room temperature and refrigirate before serving.

This Rasulla is the main ingredient for preparing the Rasmalais. Cooking these rasgullas in milk, and sugar results the rasmalais. I will try to post the recipe for rasmalais in near future.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Watermelon Granita

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When I first saw this slush-type drink/dessert, I thought it was crushed ice colored in red with some flavoring. But when I tasted it, I got to know that it was made from watermelon. So I couldn't wait to try it at home.


Granita is an Italian semi-frozen dessert made with sugar, water and fruit. I used watermelon as it's my favourite summer fruit. As the name indicates, watermelon is 92% filled with water. Here is a hint on how to select a ripe melon:
To pick the perfect watermelon, use the hand to thump the watermelon. The sound will either be solid, like thumping a piece of wood, hollow like tapping a water jug, or thick like tapping a water balloon. If the watermelon is not ripe enough, it will sound solid. If it is too ripe, it will sound thick. A perfect watermelon will sound hollow.

Ingredients:
  1. Seedless Watermelon chunks - 4 cups
  2. Sugar - 1/2 cup (or depending on the taste of the melon)
  3. Water - 1/4 cup
  4. Lemon/Lime - 1 no. (extract juice)

Instructions:

  1. Boil Sugar with water until sugar has dissolved and the solution becomes clear. Cool it completely.
  2. Grind the watermelon chunks along with lemon juice and sugar syrup prepared above. Check for sweetness and add sugar if required, as the dessert is less sweet after it's frozen.
  3. Pour into a shallow, wide pan and freeze for 1 hour. Rake the mixture with fork and freeze for another hour. Rake and freeze for one more hour.
  4. Rake and serve in cups.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ravva Kesari

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Ravva kesari or Sooji ka Halwa is a commonly prepared sweet in Andhra or South India. There is a Sai Baba Temple near our house and every Thursday devotees offer different kinds of food as prasadam. Today, I made this sweet as our offering to God.


Ingredients:
  1. Sooji - 1.5 cups
  2. Sugar - 3 cups
  3. Ghee - 1/4 cup (I held back on ghee, but can add up to 1 cup)
  4. Water - as required (min 4 cups)
  5. Cardamom seeds (ground) - 1/2 tsp
  6. Cashew nuts/Raisins - as required
  7. Food color - optional

Instructions:

  1. Heat 2 tsps of ghee in a pan and fry the sooji till the raw smell of ravva goes away. Keep this aside.
  2. Boil the water and add the fried sooji slowly to the water stirring constantly (to avoid lumps). Cook for 10mins. Add water as required as water gets absorbed by ravva very quickly.
  3. Add sugar to the above mix and cook for 5mins. Add ghee slowly to it and cook for another 5-7mins.
  4. Heat 1 tsp of ghee in a pan and fry cashew/raisins till brown.
  5. Add cardamom powder and cashews to the cooked kesari.
  6. Serve hot or at room temperature. To make pieces, cool the kesari completely in a greased flat pan/tray and cut in required shape.
  7. It can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.




Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Carrot Halwa

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Carrot Halwa is one of the most commonly served desserts in Indian restaurants/buffets. After reading this recipe from my friend's blog, I thought of sharing my way of making it through this post. This recipe involves pressure cooking the carrots to reduce the preparation time and tastes as good as when the carrots are fried.


Ingredients:

  1. Carrots (grated) - 1 cup
  2. Milk - 1/3 cup (or till it covers the carrot pulp in cooker)
  3. Sugar - as required (typically 1/2 cup or more)
  4. Cardamom powder (ground) - 1/2 tsp
  5. Cashews & Raisins - as required
  6. Ghee - 3 tsps or optional
  7. Honey - 2 tsps (serves as a binding agent)

Instructions:

  1. Pressure cook grated carrots in milk until they are well cooked.
  2. Transfer the contents into a frying pan and fry until milk gets completely absorbed/evaporated.
  3. Add sugar, honey and ghee and cook for another 5mins.
  4. Mix the cardamom powder, cashews, and raisins.
  5. Cool to room temperature and serve.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

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This is my first attempt at making upside-down cakes. I always had the opinion that upside down cakes are nothing but a plain cake with a fruit topping. But when I tasted a pineapple upside down cake recently, I was quite impressed with the moist pineapple flavor absorbed by the cake. I tried this cake using bing and rainier cherries, and it turned out so yummy that I couldn't resist from having more than 1 serving.

The recipe makes one 8" round cake.

Ingredients:

  1. Cherries - 1 cup (pitted and cut into half pieces)
  2. Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons (I used "I can't believe it's not butter")
  3. Brown sugar - 1/2 cup (can be reduced if cherries are very sweet)
  4. Granulated Sugar - 1/2 cup
  5. All purpose flour/cake flour - 1 cup
  6. Baking powder - 1 tsp
  7. Salt - a pinch (less than 1/4 tsp)
  8. Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
  9. Orange zest - 1 tsp

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Place butter in an 8" round baking pan, and warm it in oven until the butter melts completely.
  3. Remove from oven, and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter.
  4. Layer the cherry halves, cut side down, all over the pan.
  5. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt in a bowl.
  6. Separate egg whites and yolks in two separate bowls.
  7. Beat egg whites at high speed until they become fluffy. Set it aside.
  8. Beat egg yolks with sugar, vanilla extract and orange zest at medium speed until creamy. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat until they are well mixed.
  9. Add the egg whites to the above mix and fold it using a spatula.
  10. Pour cake mixture evenly over the fruit layer in the pan, and smooth the surface.
  11. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until cake is done (a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).
  12. Cool it for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert carefully onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Before turning upside down -

After turning upside down -



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cherry Picking

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Imagine being in a huge cherry farm with hundreds of trees practically for ourselves - we are free to pick and taste as many as we wish and purchase the sweetest and the freshest ones at a very reasonable price. That's what we did today. I would like to share some of the pictures from our cherry picking trip.

Rainier Cherries:

Bing Cherries:
Nectarines:

Cherry picking season lasts from May to end of June in Northern California. Today, we visited a near-by U-Pick cherry farm for the first time, and we had a great time picking our favourite fruit fresh from the trees. We found Bing cherries and Rainier cherries at their peak and some Nectarines (but not ready for picking). I never tasted these fruits until I moved to the US. In India, we have processed/dried cherries that are commonly used in cakes/sweets and ice creams.


Few facts about cherries that I gathered on Google:

  • There are two types of cherries, sweet and tart or sour cherries. Tart or sour cherries are canned and used in pies, dried into fruit snacks and made into juice concentrate.
  • The most famous sweet cherry variety is the Bing cherry. Another sweet cherry variety is the Lambert. Both these got their names from a famous Chinese farm. The Rainier cherry, a light sweet variety, originated from the cross breeding of the Bing and Van varieties. The Bing, Lambert and Rainier varieties together account for a majority of the US sweet cherry production.
  • Like most other fruits, cherries are fat-free, low in calories and sodium and high in certain minerals and vitamins such as potassium, Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins.
  • Eating cherries will simply supply the body with a high concentrate of natural melatonin therefore increasing the antioxidant capacity in our bodies.
  • High in Antioxidants - that fight free radicals in the body and may help prevent cancer and heart disease as well as slow the aging process.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Vegetable Cutlets (Baked)

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As it was cold and cloudy outside, I decided to make Veg cutlets as an evening snack. Keeping calories in mind, I decided to bake them instead of deep frying in oil (the recipe uses only 1tsp of oil). I used simple ingredients to make these (no need for bread crumbs). This recipe makes about 20 medium sized cutlets.


Ingredients:

  1. Potatoes - 2 big (peeled and cut into small cubes)
  2. Mixed Vegetables - 2 cups (carrots, peas, beans, corn)
  3. Salt - as required
  4. Water - for boiling the vegetables
  5. Red chilli powder - as required
  6. Corn Flour - 4 table spoons (or as required to shape the dough)
  7. Cilantro - 1/4 cup (chopped finely)
  8. Amchoor powder - 1 tsp (optional)
  9. Garam Masala - 1 tsp (optional)
  10. Oil - 1 tsp

Instructions:

  1. Pressure cook vegetables along with potatoes until they become soft.
  2. Mash the vegetables lightly and mix with corn flour, cilantro, oil, salt and chilli powder as required.
  3. Make a cutlet shape with the above mix and place these in an aluminium foil in a baking pan.
  4. Set the oven to BROIL setting and bake the cutlets for 10 -15mins or until they turn brown in color. Flip them over and bake for another 5mins.
  5. Serve hot with ketchup or tomato sauce.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rice-Moong Dal Kichidi

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Kichidi/Kichiri is a combination of rice, lentils, vegetables and spices. There are many versions of making this, and here is my recipe using split yellow moong dal and rice. It is easy to digest and has a lot of nutritional value.


Ingredients:
  1. Rice - 1+1/4 cups
  2. Split Yellow Moong Dal - 3/4 cup
  3. Garam Masala - 1 tsp
  4. Onion - 1 (sliced lengthwise)
  5. Green Chillies - 4 (or as required, cut into small pieces)
  6. Salt - as required
  7. Water - 4 cups ( This is for Sona Masoori rice, varies depending on the rice type)
  8. Mixed Vegetables - 1 cup
  9. Tomato - 1 (finely chopped)
  10. Turmeric - 1/4th tsp
  11. Oil - 4 tsps
  12. Cloves - 4 no.
  13. Bay leaves - 2 no.
  14. Cinnamon stick 1/4" - 1 no.
  15. Cardamom - 1 no.

Instructions:

  1. Wash and soak the rice and yellow moong dal for 15mins.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Add cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and fry for 2mins.
  3. Add green chillies and onion and fry until onions turn brown in color.
  4. Add turmeric powder, mixed vegetables, tomato and salt and cook until vegetables turn soft (~5mins).
  5. Drain the water and add rice-moong dal to the above mix. Add garam masala and fry for 2mins.
  6. Now transfer the contents from pan to rice cooker and add water. Adjust the salt.
  7. Cook until rice is done.

Kichidi with fish fry :

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Chutney with Plums

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Season (May through October) for fresh plums started and we have a lot of plum trees around our house. The sour taste of unripe plums tempted me to make this novel chutney. These plums are similar in taste to Gooseberries/Amla/Usirikaya. This sweet and sour chutney makes a delicious side dish with dosas/rotis/rice (it goes very well with curd rice).


Plums are rich in antioxidants and offer a high level of defence against free radicals. They are also a good source of both iron and potassium and also contain vitamin E.


Ingredients:

  1. Unripe Plums - 1 cup (remove seeds and cut into pieces)
  2. Salt - as required
  3. Dry red chillies - 4 no. (as required)
  4. Sugar - 1 tsp (optional)
  5. Oil - 2 tsp
  6. Chana dal - 1 tsp
  7. Urad dal - 1 tsp
  8. Popu mix (Chana dal + Urad dal + Mustard seeds + Cumin seeds) - 2 tsp
  9. Curry leaves - 1 stem (optional)
Instructions:
  1. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan. Add dry red chillies, chana dal ( 1tsp), urad dal (1 tsp) and fry till dal turns brown in color.
  2. Add the plums and salt to the above mix and fry till plums become tender. Keep it aside and grind after it's completely cooled.
  3. In parallel, heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan, add the popu mix, curry leaves and fry for 2 mins.
  4. Add this fried popu mix to the grounded plum chutney. Adjust the salt.
  5. Add sugar to counter the sour taste of the plums, but is optional.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fish Fry

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Here is a simple fish fry recipe. Marinate the fish fillets with spices, shallow fry in oil and serve with onions, chillis and seasoning. This can be served as an appetizer or a side dish for biryanis/kichidis/pulaos. I have used tilapia fish fillets and can be replaced with any kind of fish.



Ingredients:

  1. Fish fillets - 1 lb
  2. Salt - as required
  3. Chilli powder - as required
  4. Garam masala - 1 tsp
  5. Coriander seeds / Dhaniya powder - 1 tsp
  6. Lemon juice - 1 tsp
  7. Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  8. Besan flour - 1/4 cup
  9. Ginger Garlic (GG) paste - 1 tsp
  10. Oil - 4 tsps and more for shallow frying
  11. Onion - 1 (sliced lengthwise)
  12. Green chillies - 3 ( or as required, sliced lengthwise)
  13. Popu mix (Mustard seeds, cumin seeds) - 1 tsp

Instructions:

  1. Clean and cut the fish fillets into pieces of 1/2" thickness.
  2. Marinate the fish with turmeric, salt, chilli powder, garam masala powder, dhaniya powder, GG paste, besan flour and lemon juice for 1 hour.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and fry the fish pieces till they turn brown in color. Flip carefully to other side and fry for another 2-3mins. Add oil as required and adjust the heat to avoid over frying the fish.
  4. Heat 1tsp of oil and fry the popu mix, onions and chillis. Add salt as required. Garnish this on top of fish pieces. This step is optional.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Homemade Paneer / Chenna

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Paneer is a commonly used ingredient in Indian cooking starting from appetizers, curries and sweets/desserts. It is easy to make at home and soft paneer is the main ingredient for preparing Rasgullas or Rasmalai. I tried using both whole milk and 2% milk and would recommend using whole milk as it's easy to curdle the milk and can prepare good quality paneer. Curdled milk is called chenna (soft) and flattened chenna is called paneer (hard).



Ingredients:

  1. Whole milk - 1/2 gallon
  2. Lime - 1/2 no. (extract juice) or White Vinegar - 2 table spoons (dilute with water)

Instructions:

  1. Boil milk in a heavy bottom non-stick pan on a medium-high heat. Stir properly to make sure that milk does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add fresh lemon/lime juice slowly to the milk, stir properly. Once you see milk curdling, reduce the heat to medium and collect the formed chenna into a bowl. Add the lemon juice to the milk until you see only whey (liquid left after collecting chenna from milk) in the pan.



  3. Drain the excess water from the collected chenna and knot it in a cheese cloth and hang it over sink or drain in a colander. Run cold water over chenna to remove the flavor of lemon.
  4. After removing the water completely, keep heavy weight over chenna and sit it for 1 hour. The more time you keep the chenna under the weight, the more hard the paneer will be. Knead the paneer and cut into desired shapes. This paneer can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1week.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Aloo with Jeera Chilli Paste

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Here is a simple, delicious aloo curry made with jeera (cumin seeds), green chillis and coconut mix.


Ingredients:

  1. Aloo - 4 medium (boiled and peeled, cut into small pieces)
  2. Onion - 1 no. (cut into small pieces)
  3. Green chillies - 3 no. (or as required)
  4. Salt - as required
  5. Cumin seeds/Jeera - 2 table spoons
  6. Dry coconut pieces - 1 " long two pieces
  7. Ginger - garlic paste - 1 tsp
  8. Oil - 4 tsps
  9. Popu mix (mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal, urad dal) - 1 tsp
Instructions:
  1. Boil th potatoes, peel off and cut into small pieces.
  2. In the mean time, grind jeera, green chillies and coconut pieces into a fine paste.
  3. Heat oil in a pan, add popu mix and fry till dal turns brown in color.
  4. Add onion to the popu mix and fry until transperant. Add ginger-garlic paste to onions.
  5. Add the ground mix (prepared in step 2) and potatoes to the onions and fry for another 2-3mins. Add salt as required.
  6. Serve hot with rice or chapathis.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sooji Upma

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Sooji Upma or Ravva upma is a commonly prepared breakfast item in South India. This is also known as Uppindi. It's quick and easy to make and goes well with Pesarattu. But I like it with sugar or peanut chutney. We can use roasted ravva or plain ravva to make this. We also can add vegetables (like tomatoes, carrots, peas, ..) to make it healthier. Here is my recipe for a basic version of upma with few ingredients -



Ingredients:

  1. Sooji ravva - 1 cup
  2. Onion - 1 (sliced lengthwise)
  3. Green Chillies - 3 (or as required, cut into small pieces)
  4. Ginger (grated) - 1" piece
  5. Cashews nuts - handful
  6. Peanuts - handful
  7. Salt - as required
  8. Water - 2.5 cups
  9. Oil or Ghee - 3 tsps
Instructions:
  1. Heat ghee or oil in a pan. Add chillies, peanuts, cashews and fry till nuts are brown.
  2. Add onion, ginger and fry till onions turn brown in color.
  3. Add water to the pan and heat until water boils. Reduce the heat, add sooji ravva slowly stirring properly to avoid lumps. Add salt to this as required.
  4. Close the pan lid and cook until ravva is done (~3-5mins).
  5. Switch off the heat and serve hot.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jeera (Cumin Seeds) Rice

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Cumin seeds are highly beneficial for digestion and for curing morning sickness. My favourite mouth watering combo is Jeera rice with Mutter Paneer or Butter Chicken. Didn't have time to cook either of them, so I made plain raita (mix of yoghurt, salt, chillies, corriander leaves) this time.


I followed the recipe from Manjusha with minor changes.

Ingredients:
  1. Basmati Rice - 2 cups
  2. Water - 3 cups
  3. Jeera/cumin seeds - 3 tsps
  4. Oil or Ghee - 3 tsps
  5. Cloves, Cardamom - 3 no.
  6. Cinnamon sticks - 2 (1 inch long)
  7. Bay leaves - 3 no.
  8. Onion - 1 no. (sliced into thin, inch long pieces)
  9. Green chillies - 3 no.(finely chopped)
  10. Garam Masala powder - 1 tsp
  11. Salt - as required
  12. Cashewnuts - as required

Instructions:

  1. Wash and soak the rice for about 20minutes.
  2. Heat oil or ghee in a saucepan and add jeera, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, green chillies and the cashewnuts. Fry till cashews turn golden brown in color.
  3. Fry the onions until they become transparent. Add garam masala powder.
  4. Drain the rice and add it to the pan. Toss the contents and fry for another 2-3 mins.
  5. Transfer the contents in the pan into a rice cooker. Add water and sufficiant salt and cook till the rice is done.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Floral Arrangements

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I learned this beautiful flower vase arrangement from my sister. Total time to make this is less than 30mins and a beautiful center piece is ready to be placed on the dining table or in living room.


Items Required:

  1. A Vase or Basket
  2. Stem cutter
  3. Glue gun
  4. Glue sticks
  5. Knife
  6. Styrofoam
  7. Super moss
  8. Artificial flowers and leaves/stems (of our choice) and
  9. Few pins to stick the moss to the foam.

Instructions:
  1. Cut the Styrofoam to the shape of the bottom of the vase/basket. Glue it to the base of the vase. Fill the foam in the basket till 3/4th full.
  2. Place the moss on top of the foam and stick pins so that moss will stick to the foam and will not fall off.
  3. Now take the flowers and stems, cut them to desire length and insert into the moss to fill the basket.

Here are some creations from my sister -




We can make these beautiful bowls real quick either with natural/artificial flowers and need little enthusiasm and interest.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Andhra Fish Curry/Pulusu

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Here is a simple fish curry/chepala pulusu that I learned from my mom. I used Tilapia to make this since it is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and is relatively odorless.


Ingredients:

  1. Tilapia fillets (or any kind of fish) - 1/2 kg (cut into small pieces)
  2. Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  3. Salt - as required
  4. Chilli powder - as required
  5. Coriander / Dhaniya powder - 2 tsp
  6. Poppy seeds - 1 tsp
  7. Tamarind paste - 2 tsp
  8. Water - 1 cup (or as required)
  9. Green chillies - 3 (chopped into pieces lengthwise)
  10. Onion - 1 (cut into small cubes)
  11. Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
  12. Oil - 4 tsp

This is a two step process:

First, marinate the fish for 1 hour with turmeric powder, salt (1/2 tsp) and chilli powder (1 tsp).


Cook the marinated fish using the process below.
  1. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and fry onions until they become transparent. Let these cool completely and grind them into a paste.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan, add green chillies and fry for 2 mins. Add the grounded onion paste, ginger-garlic paste and fry for another 2mins.
  3. Add the coriander powder, poppy seeds and tamarind paste and fry for another 2mins. Add the marinated fish pieces to the pan and pour the water until the pieces are covered.
  4. Fry the fish (flipping them gently) till it becomes tender and the oil begins to appear at the edges. Add salt and chilli powder if required.

Tips:

  • It is said that fish curry/pulusu tastes better the next day after it's cooked.
  • Pour vinegar in a bowl and keep it adjacent to the stove to absorb cooking odors.
  • Don't stir the fish rigorously as it spoils the texture of the fish. Gently turn it once or twice.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ganesha Wall Hanging

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On a recent trip to my sister's place, I got a chance to explore her creative skills. Here is one of the beautiful wall hangings of Lord Ganesha she made with felt cloth, beads and lace on a white card board.



Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chapati with Aloo Curry

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This is a frequently made breakfast combination at home. It is easy to make, healthy and tasty. The Aloo gravy goes well with pooris/chapatis/rotis.
Ingredients:

Chapati:
  1. Chapati/Wheat flour - 1 cup
  2. Water - as required
  3. Salt - as required
Instructions:
  • Mix chapati flour, salt. Add water little at a time and make chapati dough to a firm but not stiff dough. Knead the dough for at least 10mins (the more it is kneaded, the lighter the chapati will be). Cover the dough with clear plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour.
  • Shape dough into round balls about the size of a large lemon. Roll out each one on a lightly floured board to a circular shape as thin as a French crepe.
  • Heat a griddle or frying pan until very hot. Put chapati on griddle and leave it for about 1 minute or until it is done. Turn and cook other side a further minute, pressing lightly around the edges of the chapati.
  • Serve these chapatis hot along with a favourite side dish.
Aloo Gravy Curry:
  1. Aloo /Potatoes - 4 no.
  2. Onion - 1 no.(finely chopped)
  3. Popu mix (cumin seeds, urad dal, mustard seeds, chana dal) - 1 table spoon
  4. Oil - 3 tsp
  5. Turmeric - 1/4th tsp
  6. Curry leaves - 1 stem (optional)
  7. Salt - as required
  8. Green chillies - 3 (or as required, finely chopped)
  9. Besan flour - 2 tsp
  10. Water - 1/2 cup
  11. Coriander leaves - for garnishing
Instructions:
  • Boil the potatoes with water in a pressure cooker until they become tender (~about 15mins or one whistle). Cut them into 1/2" cubes and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add popu mix, curry leaves and fry for 2mins.
  • Add green chillies and onion and fry until onions turn brown.
  • Add turmeric. Add the boiled potato pieces and fry for 2mins.
  • Mix the besan flour in water and add to the pan. Add salt as required. Close the pan lid and cook for another 5mins.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Karapu Chekkalu

1 comments

Here is another Andhra snack called karapu chekkalu/rice crackers. This is commonly prepared during festivals in South India. It's crispy nature makes it a perfect snack along with tea.


Ingredients:

  1. Rice flour - 1 cup
  2. Water - ~3/4th cup
  3. Green chillies - 2 (or as required, can use red chilly powder too)
  4. Salt - as required
  5. Cumin seeds - 1 table spoon
  6. Moong dal + Chana dal (soak in water for an hour and drain) - 2 tsp
  7. Ghee or butter - 2 tsp (optional)
  8. Curry leaves - 1 stem (optional)
  9. Oil for deep frying

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to boil.
  2. Grind the chillies, curry leaves and cumin seeds in a mixer along with salt.
  3. Add the above paste, butter, and chana, moong dals to rice flour. Combine well with boiled water. Batter should be little thicker than murukulu batter. Check for salt/chilly taste, can add more if required. Cool this dough completely.
  4. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan for deep frying.
  5. Place the round ball (smaller than a lemon) size of the dough on an oil coated plastic sheet and using poori press or with hand make a 2″ circle.
  6. Peel the round shaped chekkalu off the plastic sheet and fry in hot oil. Reduce flame to medium and deep fry the chekkalu till golden brown.
  7. Place the fried chekkalu onto an absorbent paper and cool. Repeat the same process till the rest of the dough is done.
  8. Cool completely and store in an air tight container.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Plain Cake

14 comments


As the name suggests, this is a simple cake with very few ingredients. Also known as pound cake (in which all the ingredients are a pound each), it is my family's all time favourite because of it's soft, light and fluffy nature.


Ingredients:

1. All purpose flour - 1 cup
2. Unsalted Butter - 1 cup (can use less ~3/4th cup)
3. Sugar - 1 cup
4. Eggs - 4
5. Baking powder - 1 tsp
6. Vanilla essence - few drops

7. Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl (all purpose flour, sugar,cardamom powder and baking powder).
  3. Keep the butter at room temperature. Blend it with hand mixer until it becomes fluffy (the more we beat, the more fluffy and light the cake will be).
  4. Add eggs one at a time and blend well.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the above and blend well. Finally add vanilla essence and mix well.
  6. Grease the cake pan with oil and place a parchment paper. Fill the pan with the cake batter 3/4th full and bake for 45 mins (or) until the cake is done. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Another entry to Event for Eggs.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sunni Undalu

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Minapa Sunni Vundalu/Urad dal laddu is a traditional andhra sweet and is easy to prepare. We can store the urad dal flour and sugar mix in an air tight container for atleast 2 months. And whenever we want to make these, we can just add ghee to the mix and make laddus.



Ingredients:

Urad dal / Black gram lentil (without husk) - 1 cup
Granulated Sugar - 1 cup
Ghee/clarified butter - 1/2 cup or less (I use just enough to make laddu shape)

Instructions:
  • Dry roast urad dal on low heat until it turns brown. Keep stirring continuously as urad dal burns quickly.
  • Let the dal cool and blend it into a smooth powder.
  • Blend the sugar to a fine powder.
  • Mix the urad dal flour with sugar powder in a bowl.
  • Slowly add ghee and mix with hands until the mix holds together to make a round ball.
  • Store these in an air tight container. They will stay fresh for 2 weeks.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dosakaya (Cucumber) Pachhadi

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This is a delicious, easy to make recipe with raw dosakaya or cucumber. Dosakaya pachhadi is also known as Dosakaya Mudibaddalu (or cucumber pickle). Total preparation will take less than 10mins if we have all the ingredients handy.


There are different ways to make the gravy - we can substitute the red chillies with green chillies, can add coconut, and can skip jaggery. Here is how I make it.

Ingredients:

Dosakaya (Cucumber) - 1 (chopped into small cubes)
Dry red chillies - 2
Cumin seeds, Sesame seeds, Urad dal, Chana dal, Peanuts - 1 tsp each
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt - as required
Tamarind paste - 2 tsp (Soak tamarind in water and extract the thick paste)
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Curry leaves - a stem
Jaggery - 1/2 tsp (optional)

Instructions:

  • Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and fry the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, chana dal, peanuts, Asafoetida and chillies for 2mins. Once mustard seeds starts popping, switch off the heat and cool.
  • Grind the above ingredients along with tamarind paste, turmeric, salt and jaggery to make a coarse paste.
  • Mix this paste with the cucumber pieces.
  • Lastly, fry mustard seeds, curry leaves in a tsp of oil and add to the chutney. I ignore this step most of the times, as I don't find much difference in taste.

I can't ask for anything more if I have dosakaya pachhadi and tomato dal along with rice for a meal.



Monday, April 20, 2009

Frittata with Vegetables

2 comments


Here is a simple and delicious recipe for Frittata - an Italian version of Omelette. Can be served for breakfast/lunch.


Ingredients:

Eggs - 4
Olive Oil - 2 table spoons
Mixed Vegetables - 1 cup (I used carrots, potato, beans, peas and corn)
Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Salt & Pepper - as required
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese - as required (optional, can use any kind of cheese)

  • Pre heat oven at 400F.
  • Heat oil in a skillet and add onions. Fry till onions turn brown in color.
  • Add mixed vegetables and cook until they are soft.

  • Add salt and pepper as required.
  • Break eggs in a bowl and beat well.
  • Pour eggs into the vegetables mix and turn off the heat.
  • Transfer this entire mix into an oven safe bowl (greased with oil).
  • Bake for 5 mins or until the sides turn brown in color.
  • Sprinkle cheese on top and bake until it melts completely.

I am sending this recipe to the Event for Eggs hosted by Sudeshna.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spinach Tomato Sauce for Pasta/Spaghetti

3 comments


Here is one simple pasta/spaghetti sauce recipe made with spinach and tomato sauce.


Ingredients:


For Sauce

Fresh Spinach - 1 bag (finely chopped)
Onion - 1 (small, finely chopped)
Garlic cloves - 4 (crushed)
Tomato sauce - 1 can
Salt - as required
Pepper - as required
EVOO(Extra Virgin Olive Oil) - 4 tsp
Parsley - for garnishing
  • Heat EVOO in a pan. Fry the garlic cloves for 2 mins. Add onion and fry until they are soft.
  • Add the chopped spinach, cover the pan with lid and cook for 10mins.
  • Add the tomato sauce and cook for another 10mins.
  • Add the salt and pepper as required.

For Spaghetti

  • In a saucepan, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Rinse in cold water and drain well.
  • Add sauce and enjoy the delicious spaghetti.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Garbanzo Beans & Soya Beans Curry

1 comments


This is our family's favourite side dish with parathas or naans.
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) have a delicious nutlike taste and buttery texture. They provide a good source of protein that can be enjoyed year-round and are available either dried or canned. Soya beans are rich in the plant hormones phytoestrogens that in the human body seem to act to dilute the impact of the body's own oestrogens.
If we use canned beans, we don't have to soak them overnight. If we are using dry beans, it's always easy to cook them if we soak for overnight.



Ingredients:

Garbanzo beans - 1 cup (dry beans)
Soya beans - 1 cup
Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Tomatoes - 2 (finely chopped)
Salt - as required
Dry chilli powder - as required
Water - 1/2 cup
Chana Masala - 2 tsp (chole masala)
Oil - 3 tsp
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon - 1" stick

  • Pressure cook both the beans with water until they become soft.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add cloves and cinnamon stick and fry for 2mins.
  • Add the chopped onions and when onions turn brown in color add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft.
  • Add the cooked beans to the above mix and add 1/2 cup water and cook for 5mins.
  • Add salt, chilli powder and chana masala powder.

Plain Naan

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I learnt this recipe from one of my Gujarati friends. The naan dough is very similar to pizza dough, but needs 4 hrs to ferment. We can add butter to the dough to make butter naans.


Ingredients:

All-purpose flour - 2 cups (makes ~6 medium sized naans)
Active dry yeast - 1 tsp
Luke warm water - 3/4 cup
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsps
Plain curd/yoghurt - 2 tsp


  • Dissolve the yeast in luke warm water and keep it aside for 10mins.

  • Mix all the dry ingredients with oil and curd in a separate bowl.

  • Add the yeast water to the above making a soft dough as shown below. Apply oil to the hands so the dough doesn't stick. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and set aside for 4hrs.

  • Pre heat oven to 475F.
  • Divide the dough into equal parts. Use flour to roll the dough into naan shape (~1/4 inch thick).
  • Flour or greese the pizza stone or any other oven safe pan and bake the naans for 3mins or until they are done.


  • Brush the naans with a little butter or ghee to keep them soft.
  • Enjoy the naans with your favourite side dish like chole masala or chana curry.

Welcome to Lakshmi's Kitchen. Your feedback is always welcome. Happy reading.

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