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Archive for January, 2008

Hot’n Crispy Samosas

Today as soon as I opened my inbox, the first thing that drew my attention was Dhivya’s sweet letter! :) I immediately decided to post the long overdue samosas, which have indeed become cold lying in the photo section of our blog for too long! :D It would be a lie to say that I could’nt type the recipe which takes only 15 minutes . The computer was not available to me for 2 weeks in December and I just lost the habit of blogging. Dear Srivalli I am finally posting the samosas which you saw in my flickr account! Thanks dhivya for inspiring me to start blogging regularly again and obviously this is my entry for the Potato Fe(a)st hosted by you! :)

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Roll into triangles and place the filling in the center.
Filling for Samosas

Samosa before cooking

Bring the corners together and seal the edges well.

Ingredients

For the filling

  • Potato – 1/2 kg
  • Green peas – 1/2 cup
  • Onion – 1 large
  • Ginger – 1/4 inch finely chopped
  • Green chillies- 2 nos
  • Curry leaves – 1 twig
  • Coriander leaves – 2 twigs
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Hing – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cashews – 4 nos
  • Oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – to taste
  • Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon (optional)

For the covering

  • Maida – 1 cup
  • Salt – 2 pinches
  • Ghee – 1 table spoon
  • Oil for deep frying – 2 cups

Method

  1. Wash and pressure cook the potatoes. Steam the peas in a MW for 3 minutes.
  2. Skin the potatoes and allow to cool. Finely chop the cashews, onion, ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves and curry leaves.
  3. On a medium flame, heat 2 teaspoon oil in a kadai, add cashews. Once it is light golden, add onions and other chopped ingredients and keep stirring.
  4. Add the green peas, turmeric, garam masala, hing and salt. Mix well.
  5. Mash the potatoes and add to the kadai and mix well. cook for a minute, stirring continously and put off the flame.
  6. In a bowl mix maida, salt and ghee. Add very little water to form a stiff dough.
  7. Make 1 inch balls out of the dough and roll into thin triangles as shown in the picture.
  8. Place some filling in the center and close the triangle to form a pyramid as shown in the picture. Press the edges well to seal. You can prepare these samosas and keep in the fridge for 1 hour before frying.
  9. Fry the samosas in oil on medium flame. Serve with Tomato ketchup.
  10. Hot n Crispy Samosas

Tips

The potatoes should be mashed only after they cool. This keeps he filling dry and the samosa stays crisp. You can pressure cook the potatoes atleast an hour earlier.

The outer covering dough must be stiff. If it is soft the samosas will become soggy very soon.

Keeping the samosas in fridge in a flat container before frying also helps to get crisp samosas.

Update

Just got to know from my BBF Asha that Sia of monsoon spices is also hosting a potato event An Ode to Potato. I would like to include a few of our older posts for the events.

Potato cheese balls

Potato pachadi

Potato finger chips

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“Esref Armagan, of Ankara, Turkey, is a 53-year-old blind painter. Blind since birth, Armagan is a gifted visual artist who can draw and paint in three dimensions; drawing comparisons to Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi, the first artist to master three point perspective.”

Read the rest of this at Thoughtware.tv. Vist Esref at armagan.com

My Patti is the chief inspiration behind all my cooking and my passion – for aromas; for achieving the right consistency; for serving with lot of love and for savouring good food. To quote from one of Amma’s (Latha – to save the confusion) first posts:

My amma is a typical Brahmin lady with her “as shiny as marble” skin, big red pottu, “vaira thoodu” (diamond studs), “vaira mookutthi” (diamond nose ring) and nine yard podavai (saree). Her expertise in the kitchen is legendary. She’s never had good eyesight, with one blind eye and a high power that no technology can counter in the other. Her culinary skills are so highly developed that she cooks with the aid of an impeccable sense of smell. So you can imagine how difficult it is to beat her standards.

This is the 200th post on our blog – and this post is dedicated to my Patti (grandmother in Tamil), an exceptional woman, a brilliant cook and an amazing artist in her own right.

In celebration of food, these few months of blogging and life.

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A big thanks to all my blogger friends who unfailingly leave their comments, though I am unable to visit any of your blogs these days. I will be back blog hopping only after the second week of February. :)

Pongal is the harvest festival. Farmers celebrate the festival to thank nature for the rich harvest. The festival is celebrated on the first day of Thai month (Thai Maasa pirappu). Pongal as a festival is celebrated widely with Tamils irrespective of religion. People gather in big grounds. They build large stoves with bricks and use fire wood to light the flame. Pongal is prepared in large decorated earthen pots. At home we prepare pongal in Vengalapanai (bronze pot)

Decorating the panai

A turmeric pod, a small banana and a small piece of sugarcane are tied to the neck of the pot. Shaivaites and Vaishnavaites decorate the pot with Thiruneer( Vibhudi) and Thiruman, Shree Swarnam respectively.

ricedaladdedtopongal

The next day banana and sugarcane are offered to the cow along with some sarkkarai pongal. The turmeric pod is used by the ladies to make a paste for applying on their face.

Ingredients

  • Rice – 1 and 1/2 cup
  • Moong dal – 1/2 cup
  • Milk – 1 and 1/2 litre
  • Jaggery – 3 cups
  • Cardamom – 6nos
  • Saffron leaves – a few
  • Ghee – 4 tablespoons
  • Cashew – 2 table spoons
  • Dry grapes – 2 table spoons

Method

  1. Wash the rice and moong dal, drain well and keep aside.
  2. Boil milk in the decorated vengalapanai. When the milk boils and reaches the rim of the panai and slightly over flows, add the washed rice.
  3. Allow to cook over medium to low flame till the rice is soft. This takes around an hour. Add hot water or milk if required.
  4. Add grated jaggery, mix well and cook for another 15 minutes.
  5. Add powdered cardamom. Mix the saffron leaves in warm milk and add to the pongal.
  6. Garnish with cashews and dry grapes fried in ghee.

My previous post with the Vengala Panai has attracted a lot of queries on why there’s a banana, why is a sugarcane piece tied, where the turmeric is and so on. I’ll write a separate post on about why banana, sugarcane, turmeric and so on are used during festivals.

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AFAM – Dry Fruits Round up

Botanically a tomato is a fruit not a vegetable; cashew is not really a fruit; a peanut is a legume and not a nut; an almond is a seed and not a fruit. And there are fruits that may not necessarily be naturally dry but dried either by sun bathing or with a help of a dehydrator.

However, in a culinary sense dry fruits would refer to not just fruit that’s dry but also all nuts whether fruit or seed and even ordinary dates, even if they also happen to be sold in another drier “dried” form . Since definitions are so wildly varied, even if one is looking at an ingredient from a purely culinary standpoint, how does one define if something qualifies or not as a dry fruit?

When we chose “Dry Fruits” as the theme for AFAM in December 2007, we anticipated these differences in definitions and we decided that we’ll not set any boundaries of what would qualify as a dry fruit and what wouldn’t. We decided to let the food lovers in the virtual world define what a “dry fruit” is – although this might seem like making things very vague, we were quite confident that no one would drastically call a cabbage a dry fruit.

So here’s the round up of all the lip smacking entries we’ve received.

panettone_pudding_dhivya.jpg
Panettonne Pudding with Dried Apricots
Dhivya Karthik at Culinary Bazaar

oats_porridge_dhivya.jpg
Dried Fruits,Apple and Oats porridge
Dhivya Karthik at Culinary Bazaar

Dry Fruit Pongal
Suthi at SuthiRecipe

Dry Fruit Burfi, Cahew Murukku, Almond Murukku, Nuts Kheer and Kulfi
Suthi at SuthiRecipe

kalva-peas pilaf
Peas Pilaf with Raisins and Cinnamon
Kalva at Curry in a Kadai

DriedFruitsMuffins_viji
Dry Fruit Muffins
Viji at Vcuisine

pumpkinbreadviji.jpg

Spicy Pumpkin Bread
Viji at Vcuisine

bee-jai-warcake
Fruit and Nut War Cake
Bee and Jai at Jugalbandi

Christmascake-happycook
Christmas Cake
Happy Cook at My Kitchen Treasures

gretchen-coconutbananabrea...
Coconut Banana Bread with Lima Glaze
Gretchen Noelle Jones at Canela & Comino

mewa_achar-meera
Mewa Nu Achaar
Meera at Easy Indian Food

Cashew and Almond Chikki
EasyCrafts at Simple Indian Food

rajitha
Fruit and Nut Oatmeal Bar
Rajitha at Hunger Pangs

namratha
Festive Fruit and Nut Squares
Namratha at Finger Licking Food

NutsinHoneysrivalli
Nuts in Honey
Srivalli at Cooking 4 All Seasons

cookiesvijaya
Cookies with dry fruits and nuts
Vijaya at Daily Meals

marta
Torte Di Mandorle – Shell like Almond Chocolate Cake
Marta at An Italian in US

mom...
Mom’s Delight
Nags at For the Cook in Me

Dry Fruits Kuzhipaniyaram
Renuka at Fusion

fruit_cake_sailu
Fruit Cake
Sailu at Sailu’s Food

paru-egglesscinnamoncake
Eggless Cinnamon Fruit Cake
Paru at Brindavan – a journey for authentic Karnataka recipes

Rina
Christmas Fruit and Nut Cake
Rina at Rina’s Recipes

Nutty_Mini_Pie
Almond and Pistachio Ice Cream Pie
Mansi at Fun and Food

Focacciabharathy
Fig, Golden raisin and Date Focaccia
Bharathy at Spicy Chilly

raagacake
Fruit Cake
Raaga at The Singing Chef

mangokheerasha
Mango Kheer
Asha at Aroma Hope

suganya
Dried Fruit and Nut Cake
Suganya at Tasty Palettes

e-Fig-Tapenade
Fig Tapenade
Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska

Date_niblets
Khajoor Niblets (recipe follows)
Jigyasa and Prathibha at Pritya

Ingredients
500 gms seedless dates; 1 tin condensed milk (400 ml); 100 gms cashewnuts; 100 gms almonds; 100 gms dessicated coconut

Method

  1. Chop the dates into fine bits.
  2. Toss them with the rest of the ingredients into a thick-bottomed wok. On a low flame, stir the mixture for 6-8 minutes. As the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan, switch off the flame. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  3. Grease your palms with a little ghee (clarified butter or oil) and roll the mixture into thick long pieces – 1 inch thick and 5-7 inches long. Coat them lightly with dessicated coconut so that they do not stick to each other.
  4. Freeze them for 20 minutes and then chop them with a sharp knife into bite sized pieces. (Freezing them helps to retain the shape while chopping. Use a sharp knife so it may cut through the cashews and almonds.)

dryfruittruffles.jpg

Dry Fruit Truffles
Aparna at My Diverse Kitchen

We wrap this round up with Coffee and Dried Currants Cake from our side.

Thanks to all those who participated.

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Pongalo Pongal :)

pongapaanai
Poongapaanai – vessel used for making Pongal

topviewofpongal
Milk for Pongal beginning to boil

pongalopongal
Pongalo Pongal – milk boils over

ricedaladdedtopongalRice and Dal being added to make Pongal

Happy Pongal!

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Tawa Bread

The absence of “muchest needed foto” delayed the grand appearance of this favourite recipe of mine for long. It takes a great deal of resolve for me to actually stop and photograph food – I’d rather dig in. ;)

Layered, soft, earthy, flavourful, indulgent – in my opinion, bread can’t get better than this.

tawa bread

Ingredients

  • All Purpose Flour/ Wheat Flour – 1 1/2 cups
  • Grated Carrots or Beetroot – 1 cup
  • Fresh Coriander – 2-3 twigs chopped
  • Green Chillies – 1-2 finely chopped
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Active Dry Yeast – 1 tsp
  • Butter – 1 tsp
  • Ghee or Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water – enough to knead into a firm dough

Method

  1. Dissolve sugar in a few tablespoons of warm water. Add yeast to this and dissolve well. Leave to stand for 5 to 10 minutes. If the yeast forms a frothy layer on top, it means its still alive. If there is no frothing, you need to start again with new active yeast for the recipe to succeed.
  2. In a mixing bowl mix the flour, grated veggies, chopped coriander, chopped green chillies and salt together. Rub in the butter.
  3. Add the yeast-sugar water to this and using enough additional water knead into a firm dough. The dough should not be very runny. Grease the dough with ghee.
  4. Cover with a wet cloth and leave the dough in a warm place for 5-6 hours. The dough will almost triple in size.
  5. Punch the dough once and divide into 2 inch sized portions.
  6. Set aside a little flour for dusting. Roll out each portion into rounds or triangles. Cook both sides on a tawa on a medium flame.

Serve with gravy of your choice. You can optionally serve it brushed with plain butter, garlic cubes toasted in butter or sesame seeds toasted in butter.

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Wish you all a very prosperous and happy new year!! :)

Since one month my brother has been sending me nice thoughts every day. I will be sharing those with all of you along with my recipes. I have chosen a good one for the new year! :)

“All dreams will come true – if we have the courage and perseverance to pursue them”

I am really sorry for the belated new year wishes. I have received a lot of wishes from my visitors and fellow bloggers. I am unable to reply to all the mails right now. So please consider this as my personal wishes to each one who sent me a mail or left a note in my blog.

For the past two weeks our computers were invaded by my son and nephew. I could hardly check my mails. Blogging was totally out of question. Now that my nephew is back to his town and my son busy attending college, I have at least some time to sit at the computer. Though I will be able to blog regularly only after 2nd week of February, I will definitely try to post some thing whenever I can. :)

Every year I prepare a Rich fruit cake for Christmas and New year. This year too I prepared but without eggs. Baking simple cakes without eggs was easy, but a rich fruit cake which required slow baking for a long time was a real challenge. First time I baked on 11th December – the crust turned a little too dry and the cake crumbled, but the taste was perfect. Following the same recipe the second time I baked in the micro mode and got a perfect fruit cake. The secret of getting a perfect cake in the MW mode is to keep the cake just 1 and 1/2 inches thick. Lakshmi sent me an assortment of dry fruits, peels and nuts which I used for this cake.

Finely Chopped Dry Fruits for fruit cake
Single Cake

Ingredients

  • Plain flour – 2 cups
  • Butter – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 1 and 1/2 cup
  • Milk powder – 1 cup
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Curds – 2 tablespoons
  • Finely chopped dry fruits, nuts and peels – 2 cups
  • Grated chocolate or cocoa powder – 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder – 1teaspoon
  • Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Spice powder* -1 /2 teaspoon

Method

  1. Warm the milk and leave the chopped fruits to soak in the milk for 1 hour.
  2. In a small cup mix the curds and baking soda and keep it aside.
  3. Sieve the flour with baking powder. Powder the sugar with spices.
  4. Line the MW safe baking dish around 8 to 10 inch diameter with paper greased with butter.
  5. In a large bowl beat the sugar and butter with a wooden spatula. You can also use an electric beater.
  6. Add all the other ingredients and the curd, soda mixture. Mix throughly .
  7. Spread half of the mixture evenly in the baking dish and keep the other half in the fridge for baking later.
  8. Bake in MW high for 7 minutes.

* 2 cardamoms, 3 cloves, 1/4 of nutmeg, 2 inch piece of cinnamon powdered along with sugar will give a great flavour for the cake.

The timings will differ slightly according to the wattage of your oven. My MW is 900 watts, please refer to my MW tips for further information on MW cooking.

If you use self raising flour, you can reduce the baking powder to 1/2 teaspoon.
Chocolate Cake

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