Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Milk biscuits

These were one of first biscuits I baked. At that time I had used sugar instead of condensed milk. But this version turned out to be a super duper hit. They remind you of the milk biscuits you get in India. Flax seeds adds a nice crunchy topping and also a slight healthy element to the biscuits. They go very well with a nice cup of tea or coffee. Hope you will give it a try.



All purpose flour/Maida-1 cup
Salt-a pinch
Unsalted butter- 1/2 stick
Condensed milk-1/4 cup
Milk-1/3 cup
Vanilla essence-1 teaspoon
Flax seeds for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180 C. 


Sift together the flour and salt. Cream the butter and the condensed milk until smooth. Add in the essence and milk and mix well. Now combine the flour little by little until you have a smooth dough. Roll it out into 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Sprinkle some flax seeds on top and slightly press. Bake for 10 mins or until edges are light brown. Enjoy with a cup of tea/coffee and your favorite book.



Tips:
1. You could use sugar instead of condensed milk.
2. You can replace all purpose flour with whole wheat 
    pastry flour.
3. Add your own toppings or leave it out.
4. Using coconut milk gives you a nice twist on these 
    wonderful delights.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Idli

Breakfast makes or breaks a day. This applies to me hundred percent. If I do not have breakfast then, whatever I eat does not fill me up. On top of it I get acidity. Actually it all does makes sense. Right? Breakfast is named very aptly. You are breaking your fast. After the last meal, it is at least 8 hrs before we have our next meal. This is the longest time that we go without food. Rest of the meals are only 4-5 hrs apart. Your stomach is producing acid and with no food in their to balance its effect, it is quite natural that we suffer from acidity or heartburn. But it is a sad fact that many of us skip this important meal of the day because of our busy schedules. 

My recipe today is a breakfast dish that is quite popular in India and also elsewhere. The unassuming fluffy melt in your mouth idlis. Combine them with a cup of steaming Sambar or a bowl of coconut chutney and the crispy vadas, you have a wholesome breakfast to kick start your day. End it with a cup of masala chai or creamy coffee, I am ready to take on the world. Here is how I make it. Do check out my no rice idli in my other blog.



Parboiled rice-1/2 cup
Long grained rice-2 cups
Urad dal-1 cup
Cooked rice-2 tablespoon (optional)
Fenugreek seeds-one pinch (Optional)
Salt




Wash and soak the rice along with fenugreek seeds and cooked rice for at least 5 hrs and urad dal for 1-2 hrs. Grind them separately using very little water. Urad dal should be very smooth and fluffy. Rice can be a little grainy like that of semolina. Mix the two batters and allow it ferment overnight or atleast for 7 hours.

When ready to cook, add salt and beat it nicely to fluff it up a little. Grease your idli molds with little oil and fill them up. Steam them for 10 mins. Allow it to sit for 5 mins before demolding. Serve hot with sambar/chutney.




Tips:
1. Instead of cooked rice you can use flattened rice or 
    poha.
2. Increasing the amount of cooked rice will make your idlis 
    mushy. It is OK if you do not use it but don't use more.
3. Over using fenugreek will them bitter.
4. Proper fermentation is important for the fluffiness of the idlis and so is the    consistency (should be fluffy but easily pourable).
5. Beating the batter is done in order make the batter
    uniform and to distribute the air pockets evenly.
    However do not overdo it.

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Chapati upma

Have you ever heard of this before? Some of you might even be wondering what exactly am I talking about. Just as the name indicates, it is an upma made of chapati. I came across this dish when I was in the residential school (I did the last 5 years of my schooling in a residential school). This was one of the tea-time snacks. Here I have tried to recreate this dish from my memory. This is a very simple and straight forward dish. If you know how to make upma, then this will be a cakewalk. Just replace rava (semolina/farina) with leftover chapatis and you will have a delicious chapati upma. It always reminds me of kothu parotta. Try this out sometime, you will surely like it. 


Leftover chapati-4-6  cut to pieces
Oil-2 Tablespoon
Mustard seeds-1 teaspoon
Urad Dal-1 teaspoon
Green chilies-1-2 chopped fine (I have used orange)
Onion-1 small chopped fine
Ginger-1 inch chopped fine
Curry leaves- a few
Coriander leaves-chopped to garnish
Salt

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and urad dal. When mustard starts spluttering and urad changes color to golden brown, put in the curry leaves, onions, ginger and green chilies. Saute them until onion changes color. Add salt to taste. Mix in the chapati pieces until it is nicely coated in the oil and all the ingredients. Check and adjust salt. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Switch off the stove. Your chapati upma is ready. Enjoy it with a hot cup of tea or coffee.



Tips:
1. You can saute the chapati longer for a crispier upma or
    you can take it of the stove once they become coated 
    with the ingredients for a softer touch.
2. Adding grated or chopped coconuts will give a nice 
    crunch.
3. Add in one or two scrambled eggs into this and you have
    sumptuous meal


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Aviyal/Avial

Aviyal is a side dish served along side rice. It is also a quintessential part of sadhya (A traditional feast of a variety of dishes, usually vegetarian served on a banana leaf). It is a mixture of vegetables cooked with coconut paste. It may or may not have yogurt/curd, but is usually finished off with addition of fresh coconut oil and curry leaves.


In my home this was a dish usually made on very special occasions like Onam or Vishu (the main festivals of Kerala), birthdays or anniversaries. But in my in-laws place this is a part of everyday meal. This is one of those dishes I love to eat by itself.

Just like sambar, My Mom-in-law makes this completely different from my Mom, The main reason being that we hail from two different regions of Kerala. My mom's version is yogurt based whereas my Mom-in-law makes it without it, but adds tomatoes and garlic. Today I am posting my Mom-in-law's version here.


Chayote squash-1/2 

Carrot -1

Beans -6
Potato -1 big

Brinjal/eggplant-1
Tomato-1
Green chili-2 slit
salt


Grated coconut - 3/4 cup

Turmeric-1/4 tsp

Cumin seeds /Jeera - 1/4 tsp
Green chilli -2
Garlic-2 pods



Yogurt/Curd -1/2 cup


Coconut oil - 2 tbsp
Curry leaves - a sprig


Cut the veggies finger length. Cook them with a little water, the slit chilies and salt. Meanwhile coarsely grind coconut, turmeric, cumin, green chilies and garlic. Add this to the 3/4th cooked veggies. Once they are cooked through, combine the beaten curd and switch off the stove. Mix in the coconut oil and the curry leaves and close it with a lid until it is ready to be served.


Tips:

1. My Mom-in-law adds almost every vegetable. You can do so too. 
2. If you are using veggies that give out water, you can reduce the        amount of water you add while cooking.
3. The veggies should be just cooked but not mushy.
4. The last step of adding coconut oil and curry leaves is very
    important. it gives the dish an authentic flavor and aroma.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Unniyappam (Sweet rice pancake puffs)



Unniyappam! I am yet to find someone who does not love this delicious snack.  My dad loved these. Mom always made these for Onam and Vishu (two very important festivals of Kerala) and whenever dad asked for it. 

Many temples also offer unniyappam as offerings to the god. The temple most famous for unniyapppam is the kottarakkara Ganapathy kshethram. They are smaller in size comparatively but are so delicious that you will lose count of how many you ate. Easily you can pop two at time into your mouth. My brother-in-law visits this temple at least once in a month and never forgets to bring this delicacy. If you are not fast enough, they will be gone within minutes.

This is a very simple snack made of rice/rice flour, banana, jaggery/palm sugar with bits of crunchy coconut and flavored with cardamom. Sometimes toasted sesame seeds are also added. It is made in special pans with indentations.

Rice-1 cup
Banana-2 small or 1 big
Jaggery-3/4 cup
Baking soda-1/2 tsp (optional)
Coconut pieces-1/4 cup
Crushed cardamom-1 tsp
Oil as required for frying

Soak the rice for at least 4 hrs and grind it with banana using very little water. Melt jaggery and add it to the batter along with soda and mix well. Keep it aside for 2-3 hrs.

Fry the coconut pieces in a little oil until golden brown drain and add it to the batter once cooled. Mix in the cardamom.


Now heat a Unniyappam chatti with enough oil. Once hot, spoon the batter into the indentations and cook until the batter on top has set.


Turn them over and cook for another few minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Enjoy!


Tips:

1. After mixing the jaggery, if the batter is thin (it should be like
    the batter for idli or pancakes), you can add some all purpose
    flour or Rava/ or some rice flour and adjust the consistency.
2. Instead of grinding the rice, you can drain the rice after 1 hr of
    soaking and dry it on a muslin cloth and powder it.  You could
    directly use rice flour too.
3. If you are not using baking soda, then rest the batter longer. Say
    for at least 6 hrs.
4. Unniyappam chatti or pan is usually made of cast iron. The 
    indentations are completely filled with oil. the batter is poured
    into that oil when hot. That is why you see the unniyappams
    made in these to be uniformly browned. But now a days you also
    get non stick version of these pans. I believe Non resident
    Indians prefer buying these pans as they are light weight and           easy to pack in your check-in bags. Color of Unniyappams made
    in these pans depends on the amount of oil you use.

 
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