31.3.11

Idly Upma

Ive posted before how my family hates leftovers. Anything taken from the fridge is a big NO-NO!!! But somehow I don't feel like throwing it away. I keep it just in case there was something useful I could do with them- like liven it up by making something tasty and different. So this Idly Upma is a magic dish from left over Idlys- well, this isnt my magic. This is a regular dish in most of the Tamil households and I first had it during a train journey. One Tamil Brahmin friend was travelling with me. So she had told me earlier that she will bring chappati for dinner but finally she decided against it and brought Idly Upma....so yummy!!! By the way, Ive written about her in my Green Peas recipe page.

Chopped Idlys : 15 (get the recipe for Idly here)
Onion: 1 big diced
Ginger: 1/2 inch chopped fine
Green Chilly: 2 slit
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp (optional)
Chilly Powder: 1/2 tsp (optional)
Salt: as required
Ghee: 1 tbsp
Mustard: 1 tsp

Melt the ghee in a kadai and splutter mustard.
Throw in the onions, ginger and green chillies and saute till onions are wilted.
Now add the chilly powder and turmeric powder (if you are using...it tastes just as great even without these ingredients)
Add the chopped Idly and mix everything properly.
At this stage, if you want you can add a little more ghee for extra taste.
Do a taste test and add salt if necessary.
Switch off the stove and serve warm.



Egg Dry Roast

This is another version of the egg roast Ive posted earlier, but without the coconut cream.


Eggs: 6 boiled and quartered
Onion: 1 big chopped fine
Ginger: 1 tbsp chopped
Garlic: 1 tbsp chopped
Coriander Powder: 2 tbsp
Chilly Powder: 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Salt and oil: as required
Garam Masala: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp

Boil the eggs and quarter it and keep aside
Heat oil in a kadai, splutter mustard and saute the onions, ginger and garlic till onions are browned.
Make a paste of the dry masalas with a tbsp or 2 of water and saute for 3 minutes on low flame.
Add the eggs and mix everything without breaking or separating the eggs. You can sprinkle a little water at this stage.
Adjust the salt and serve as an appetizer or with chappatis.



30.3.11

Cabbage and Carrot Thoran

This is a very tasty veg dish from India's spice garden- Kerala. This is a regular dish served atleast once in 3 days in any kerala household. This is a must have dish for Onam- Thoran!!!
By the way, just a reminder...any Kerala dish in incomplete without curry leaves...and if you are a regular reader of my blog, you will notice that I don't include curry leaves in my ingredients.... well, thats because we don't get curry leaves here in Egypt.... SAD...I KNOW.... so if you are trying out any of the kerala dishes from my blog, pls add curry leaves.... add a lot of it!!!! wink!!! so heres my curry leaf- less authentic kerala recipe...LOL!!!...o by the way, just in case you wanted to know...we don't get mustard also here...but Ive brought enough stock from India to last me a year...


Fresh Coconut grated: 3/4 cup
Mustard: 1 tsp
Cumin: 1/2 tsp

To Mix before cooking:
Cabbage Shredded: 3 cups
Carrot Grated: 1 cup
Onion: 1 small diced
Green Chillies: 3 slit
Ginger: 1/2 inch chopped fine
Garlic: 2 tsp juliennes
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tsp
Salt: as needed

Mix all the ingredients in the "to mix before cooking"with your hands and keep aside.
Heat oil in a kadai and splutter mustard and cumin.
Now add the Cabbage Carrot mix and let it cook on low flame.
Sprinkle water if needed (I don't)
When it is almost done (should take about 6-8 mts) add the grated coconut.
Mix everything properly and switch off the stove when properly cooked.
Serve with plain rice.


29.3.11

Paneer Pepper Fry

I guess Paneer is one food, us Indian just can't say no to- Vegetarians and Non Vegetarians alike!!! I love Paneer in any form... and this is a very simple preparation and tastes just wow!!!!!

Paneer: 250 gms
Onions: 2 big diced
Garlic: 5-6 chopped fine
Green chillies: 3 slit
Pepper: 1 heaped tsp
Garam Masala: 1/2 tsp
Salt: as required



Cube the paneer and fry it in a little butter and keep aside.
In a kadai heat oil, fry the onions. when it is translucent, add the garlic and green chillies.
Stir for 2 minutes and add the Garam Masala and the Paneer.
Keep the flame low and add the pepper and required salt.
Mix everything properly and switch off the stove.
Serve hot as an appetizer or as side dish for Rotis.


Award!!! and Iam in 7th heaven!!!!!!!!!

Well, what do I say? Don't know what I did to deserve all these awards...Such a great honour. I would love to thank Vimitha for being such a sweetheart and passing this on to me.




Now 7 facts about me:

1. I have menu panic when I have guests for dinner.

2. Iam an animal hater... I know u guys would want to throw stones at me...but can't help it!!!

3. I can't draw or paint. My 5 year old is much much better than me!!!

4. All my life I hated children...well, till the day I miscarried my first one... after that incident my whole life turned 360 degrees and now I just love em like crazy!!!! Sometimes u learn it the hard way!!!

5. As a child, wasn't allowed to watch television much...so at school, I wouldnt understand anything my frens talked about that particular show or whatever!!!!

6. I love to watch Friends reruns....and also FullHouse!!!! n number of times

7. I love chocolates and even steal my kids choco bars!!! I know...bad Mom....

Now to the passing on ceremony... This goes to:

Archana Vivek of My Culinary Endeavours
Jessica of Portuguese girl cooks
Elizabeth of Cooking Finland
Denise of Epoch Recipe Box
Swetha of Our Cherished World
Shubhash of kuchmeredilnekaha
Maria and Lisa  of The art of two tarts
Nancy of A recipe a day
Nicole of The galley gourmet
Bobbies baking blog
cookin with goodlookin
Jay of A tasty appetite
Asha of a tasty challenge
Fajeeda of fajis hot pot
Reina of Is It Bloggable?

Rules:

1.Accept the award. Post it in your blog with the name of the blogger who has given u this award with a link to his/her blog.
2.Pass it on to 15 other blogger friends.... to keep the ball rolling.
3.Let the nominated blogger know about their award [leave a comment in their most recent post

4.Write 7 facts about u

28.3.11

Dhokla with Semolina

Dhokla is a Gujarati dish which I happened to taste back in 2004. A friend of mine once came home with Besan Dhoklas (which reminds me, the casserole is still lying in my Chennai home.....if she is reading this, she will ROFL...theres a big story behind that!!!!!!!)


After coming to Cairo, my husband's colleague ( a Gujarati ) once on his way to office (he started a lil early so that he could give it to us before my husband started for office) brought us a box of steaming Rava/Sooji Dhoklas. I instantly fell in love with it. It tasted somewhere in between our upma and Rava Idly. So I did some search on the net and got a recipe but sad sad sad...What I made  looked nice but didn't taste like how theirs tasted. So what did I do... since I knew the basic ingredients, this time I changed the proportion a bit and used my commonsense and made it....and wow!!!!!!!   (added oil-coz I could feel that texture when I had the Dhokla they brought but the recipe I followed didnt have...and also the recipe I followed used a lot of curd and I have to tell u, it doesnt taste so great..... and here is my version of the recipe!!!

Rava/Semolina- 1 Cup
Curd: 3 tbsp
Oil: 2 tbsp
Green Chilly: 1 finely chopped
Ginger: 1/2 inch finely chopped
Water: 3/4 cup ...May need more...so keep reserve ;)
Mustard: 2 tsp
Dried Red chilly: 1 chopped fine
Fruit Salt: 1 tsp
(If you are in Egypt, go to any medical shop and ask for Fawar Fruit...and If you are in India, you can ask for Eno... well, I don't know what brand u get in other parts of the world.)



In a bowl, mix the Rava/Semolina, Curd, Oil, Green chilly, Ginger.
Add enough water to make it into a flowy batter (like for Idly batter)
Keep this aside for half an hour.
Now Boil water in a big mouthed vessel and keep a steamer plate.
Grease a round cake tin.
Mix the fruit salt in the batter just before you pour it into the greased cake tin.
Place the batter filled cake tin in the steamer plate and close the lid.
Let it cook for 15-20 minutes.
Insert a fork in the Dhokla and if it comes out clean, it means it is cooked.
Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds and dried red chilly.
Pour this over the hot Dhokla.
When it cools, Cut the Dhokla into triangle shapes.
Serve and enjoy!!!!

26.3.11

Award again!!!

I got my 2nd award a week back...but its been a very hectic week and all of a sudden Cairo temp dropped..so u know, we had our bout of cold and coughs... and you know how the common cold is so troublesome. So cudnt post earlier... Iam as excited as I was the first time...ThankYou so much Reshmi Mahesh  of Easy Cook for remembering me...it means so much!!!!

\

Iam passing this on to:

Mitu of Mitu's Kitchen Delights
Urmi of khanamasala
Sayantani of a homemakers diary
Shoba of food mazaa
Nithu of Nithu's Kitchen
Vimitha of My Culinary Trial room
Anshu of Rajasthani cuisine
Divya of divyaz easy recipe
Bhagi of idli burger
Cooking Foodie of cookingfoodie
Uma of 100 recipes


Rules:
1. Post the award in ur blog with the name of the person who gave you.
2. Pass it on to 15 other people.
3. Do drop a comment in their recent post informing about the award.


Thanks again, Reshmi... Its such an honour....and each of u, my friends, U all rock!!!!
Love,
Sojo.



25.3.11

Palak Paneer (step by step pics)


This is a 4 year old post. Iam updating with step by step pics (better pics too!!!!) And I dont have the heart to delete the story behind this post. so keeping it here for me to read once in a while and smile :)

Finally, I got paneer here in Cairo. Its a long story... As Ive told before, no Indian stores :(  Very few people speak English here and even if some shopkeepers speak and I ask for cottage cheese, they will give me full cream cheese. Once I saw a box with the label Cottage cheese and happily I bought...but it was tooooooo salty.
Then one day, I visited an aunty here and she served me palak paneer (it was yummy...I made it the same way here)... and I thought she had made the paneer at home but still I asked (in case!!!) and she said, it is available in a Dairy store 2 blocks away and it is called Gibna Halwa//// I said bye to aunty and immediately phoned my husband and told Gibba Halwa (I forgot the name).. so he asked one of his Egyptian colleagues and they said it is Gibna halwa... well, my husband forgot by the time he reached the store and he said Gibbon halwa.... and they corrected him. So now we know what it is called.... he bought a kilo and came home... so what did I do, I made Paneer Butter masala, Kadai paneer and also Palak Paneer.... and here is how I made the Palak Paneer. I don't often use cream, but this was a celebration- we finally bought Paneer!!!!!!!!
But, if you are making palak paneer, please use the  cream. It gives a rich divine taste...so restaurant style!!!!


Palak: a bunch
Paneer: 250 gms
Onion: 1 diced
Ginger: 1 inch
Garlic: 3 pods
Green Chillies: 2
Garam Masala: 1 tsp
Lime juice: of half a lime
Salt: as required
Fresh Cream: 3 heaped tbsp


Wash the palak, cut the stems off.
Chop onions, crush the ginger and garlic.
Cut the paneer into cubes and fry it slightly in a pan. (You can use butter or oil)
or you canjust fry the whole block and cut into pieces later










In a kadai, boil water with a little salt.
 Mix in the palak and cook for a minute.
Turn off the stove and let the palak remain in the hot water for another minute.










Take it out, and once it cools, add the green chillies and make it in to a paste in the mixie.
In a non stick kadai, heat oil and fry the crushed ginger and garlic till slightly brown and a distinct aroma emanates.
Now add the diced onions and fry till slightly brown.











Add the palak paste, Garam Masala, lime juice, salt and cook on medium flame for 5 minutes.










Do a taste test, and if you feel it is not cooked, cook for some more time but not too long.
Add the fresh cream and paneer.




Let it cook for a minute or two.
Serve hot with rotis




Pepper Rasam

I don't know how many different varieties of Rasams are there... we have lime Rasom, Pepper Rasam, Tomato Rasam, Green Chiily Rasam, Garlic Rasam... Okay these are the varieties I make... and I know there are still a lot of other varieties...
My favourite is Tomato Rasam...well till the day I had this. I happened to taste this by chance. This happened in Chennai once, when my lil girl was 8 months old. It was a very busy Sunday and it was almost 1'0' clock and all that I cooked was rice. I was a bundle of nerves and that time my part time helper came in. I told her... "Pls make a Rasam for me"... and she made this.. It was too good... I asked her for the recipe and she told me when she was around 18 years, she was working in a Telugu filmstar's house. There she had to make this every day!! Pepper Rasam!!!!

  

Pepper: 1 tbsp
Cumin: 1 tbsp
Garlic: 5-6 cloves with the cover
Tomato: 1
Coriander leaves: a handful
Tamarind: a big lime sized soaked in 1.5 cups water
Mustard: 1 tsp
Dried Red Chilly: 2
Shallots: 2 sliced
Curry Leaf: 1 sprig

Grind the pepper and cumin seeds till almost powdered.
Now add the garlic pods into it with the cover, and run the mixie for a few seconds.
Put the tomato in and run the mixie again to make it a paste.
Squeeze the tamarinds and take it out of the water.
In the tamarind water, mix in the tomato paste, coriander leaves and salt as required.
In a kadai, heat oil and splutter mustard seeds, add the shallots, curry leaves and dried red chillies.
Now pour the rasam mix to it and let it boil
In a serving dish, Pour quarter cup water and on top of that, pour the hot rasam.
Serve with Rice.

Smoothie (Orange/Strawberry)

All of a sudden, I became very health conscious and started shopping for fruits like crazy!!! And what do I do with it... I eat it, make fresh juice, make milkshake...and if still there are fruits left...I make smoothies... Something all  4 of us can have any time of the day!!!!

So here, Ive made 2 very simple smoothies- one with orange and the other with Strawberries.


Oranges: 2
Yoghurt: 100 gm cup
Honey: 1 tbsp

Blend juice of the Oranges, Yoghurt and Honey until smooth.
Serve immediately and enjoy!!


Strawberries: 10
Yoghurt: 100 gm cup
Honey: 1 tbsp
Blend all the ingredients until smooth.
 Enjoy delicious Strawberry smoothie without guilt



Fried Rice

This is a very easy Chinese style friedrice preparation. Here I've used prawns and chicken. You can use any non veg of your choice. Just make sure that everything (vegetables chopped and non veg cooked) is ready when you actually prepare the friedrice coz then the procedure is very easy. Also, you can add scrambled eggs in the end.

Cooked Basmati rice: 4 cups
(Cook it a few hours earlier and refrigerate)
Onion: 1 diced
Carrot: 1 diced
Beans: 150 gm chopped
Green Peas: 150 gms
Capsicum: 1 diced
Red and Yellow Bel peppers: 1 medium each diced
Garlic: 2 pods crushed
Ginger: 1/2 inch crushed
Soya Sauce: 1 tbsp
Prawns: 400 gm cooked with prawns and salt
Chicken: 250 gm cooked with pepper and salt





Heat Oil in a wok and saute Onions till soft.
Now add the carrots, beans, green peas and stir for a few minutes till it is cooked but still crisp.
Now add the capsicum, red and yellow bell pepper and stir for a few minutes.
Mix in the cooked prawns, chicken and soya sauce.
Add the rice and stir thoroughly.
Serve hot with any chinese side dish or just tomato sauce!!!

24.3.11

Pancakes

I know most of you have your own favourite recipe for pancakes. I love the way my Mom makes, very thin pancakes with coconut and sugar filling....oooo...heaven!!!! She used to make it as a 4'o' clock snack... O how I miss my school days!!!!
The batter here is almost the same but I make it thick coz that is how my hubby likes...and also he is not fond of coconut filling, so its honey drizzled for him...the American way....and for my kids, it is Nutella spread.... and O yes, this is my easy way out for a breakfast....
Once I sent a couple of pancakes for my husband's colleagues (I spread honey on each pancake and rolled it) and this is the feedback I got via e-mail.

Honey Roll
It was good in terms of taste and flavor
The roll was soft and mellow

All Purpose Flour:  1 cup
Baking Powder: 1 tsp
Sugar: 2 tbsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Milk: 11/2 cups
Egg: 1

Mix the Flour and baking powder.
Whisk the egg and pour the milk into it and mix properly. Add the sugar to this liquid mix.
Now add the flour mixture to this and make it a smooth paste. If needed, add more milk.
Heat a Non stick griddle and pour a ladle of batter.
Cook both sides and serve hot with your favourite topping/filling.




Moong Dal Sheera

This is a sweet made out of Moong dal. My son is a big fan of this sweet and I like making this sweet coz it is very easy to prepare... (like most other sweets!!)



Moong Dal: 1 cup
Milk: 1 cup (hot)
Water: 1 cup (hot)
Sugar: 1 1/2 cups
Cardamom powder: 1 tsp
Ghee: 8 tbsp
Almond slivers: 1 tbsp


Soak the Moong dal in water for 3 to 4 hours
Grind the dal into a coarse paste using very little water.
Heat a kadai, melt the ghee and add the moong dal paste and cook on a low flame stirring continously.
When it slightly changes colour and emanates a distinct aroma, add 1 cup of warm milk and equal quantity of water.
When the water and milk are absorbed, add sugar and cook on a low flame till the ghee separates
Add the cardamom powder and almonds and mix properly.
Serve hot or at room temperature.     


Strawberry Pudding



I had some fresh strawberries in the fridge and a packet of strawberry jelly. And guess what I did, yes, exactly what I did with my pineapple jelly packet two weeks back!!!

 

Fresh Strawberries: 400 gms
Water: 1/2 cup
Sugar: 11/2 cups.

Chop the Strawberries and boil it along with the sugar and water till it is thick and cooked well.
Pour it onto a dish, spread it and keep it in the freezer while you make the custard.


Strawberry Jelly Packet: 1
Milk: 500 ml
Sugar: 4 tbsp
Egg yolks: 3


Whisk the egg yolks properly.
Whip egg whites till stiff.
Boil 250 ml milk with 6 tbsp sugar.
Take a ladle of the boiled milk and mix it properly with the whisked egg yolks.
Now pour the mixed milk and yolk to the boiling milk stirring continously.
Now add the ingredients of the Strawberry jelly packet and stir till completely dissolved.
Turn off the stove and add 250 ml cold milk.
Fold in the egg whites.
Take the dish with the Strawberry layer from the freezer and pour this custard over it.
Refrigerate for 4 hours.
Cut and Serve cold.





14.3.11

Delicious Prawns Masala

This is a variation of the Prawns Roast Ive posted earlier (the recipe I took from Vanitha Magazine). I just changed the cooking method - this recipe comes somewhere between that prawns roast and my tasty fish pickle recipe...  well the end result- DELICIOUS PRAWNS MASALA- that's what my DH said!!!



Prawns: 750 gms (deveined)
Onion: 2 diced
Ginger Garlic Paste: 2 tbsp
Tomato: 2 medium chopped
Green Chilly: 2 slit
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Chilly Powder: 2.5 tsp (adjust to your tolerance level)
Coriander Powder: 1 heaped tsp
Garam Masala: 3/4 tsp
Salt: as required
Oil: as required
Cinnamon: 1 stick
Star Anise: 1
Cloves: 2
Coriander Leaves: 2 tbsp


Marinate the prawns with 1 tsp chilly powder, turmeric powder and salt.
Keep it aside at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
Fry the marinated prawns in a kadai with 2 tbsp oil.
(Water will ooze out from the prawns, Don't worry...wait till it dries out.)
Now keep the fried prawns aside.
In the same kadai, add more oil, heat it and add the cinnamon, star anise and cloves.
Now add the diced onions and slit green chillies.
When the onions turn slightly brown, add the ginger garlic paste and saute till it is properly browned.
Now add the tomatoes and cook till it is properly mashed.
Add the rest of the chilly powder, coriander powder,1/4 tsp turmeric powder, fried prawns and let the prawns get coated with the masala.
Add the garam masala, stir for a minute on low flame.
Add coriander leaves, mix properly and turn off the stove.
Serve hot with rice.

13.3.11

Rava and Rice Dosa


This is another favourite at my inlaws place. Though there are a lot of recipes to make rava dosa, I stick to one recipe which is my little boy's favourite.

Rava/Semolina: 1 cup
Rice Flour: 1 cup
All Purpose Flour: 1/4 cup
Salt: as needed
Water: as needed

To temper:
Mustard: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seed: 1/2 tsp
Onions: 1/2 cup diced
Ginger: 1 tsp
Green Chillies: 2 tsp


1.In a kadai, heat oil and splutter mustard and cumin, add the onions, ginger and garlic and saute for a minute.
2.Now add the rava and let it get roasted on a low flame. Keep stirring so that it doesn't burn.
3.Now in a bowl, mix this Rava mix, Rice flour, All purpose flour, salt and water to get the consistency in the picture.
The batter should be thinner than the normal dosa batter, otherwise it will be difficult to make dosas.



4.Now heat a flat griddle, and pour a ladle of batter and spread it like how you do for dosas.
5.Cook both sides and serve hot with Sambar.

There is an easier version too.. If you have leftover Dosa batter, then just do steps 1 and 2 and add it to the dosa batter ( 1 to 1.5 cups) and don't  forget to add water and then follow steps 4 and 5.

12.3.11

Eggless Orange Moist Cake




Iam feeling a crazy euphoria after baking this cake!!! I had a couple of oranges in my fruit bowl and noone was interested in having it. I had to find a way to use it in some recipe. Finally I decided to do an orange cake.

 Well, the idea of the orange cake started with a chat session I had with my cousin. She asked me for an eggless cake recipe. So I thought I will give my regular recipe- Mrs B.F.Varghese's Eggless cake recipe. 

But then I told my husband "why don't I make a recipe just like how we come up with our own masala to make a chicken curry" Well, he was not convinced neither was I coz from my experience, Baking is a science...you have to go by the rules word to word.... Well, then again I thought.. Ive come up with my own cookies recipes and some were really good... so, I will bake a cake and if it is good, I can share the cake and the recipe...and if it is not, then into the dustbin and start all over again.... well, I did bake the cake with the oranges and much to my surprise, came out well and absolutely delicious and moist!!!


Butter: 3/4 cup
Milk: 3/4 cup
Freshly squeezed Orange juice: 3/4 cup
All Purpose Flour: 11/2 cups
Sugar: 11/4 cups
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Baking Powder: 1 1/4 tsp


Sift the flour, salt and baking powder.
Powder the sugar in your dry grinder.
Cream the butter and sugar well till light and fluffy.
Add the orange juice and beat again.
Add the milk and mix well (you can work your hand mixer on speed 1)
Now add the flour mixed with the baking powder and salt.
(You can use your handmixer on speed 1)
Now Grease and flour a cake pan.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180C till done.
(The center will rise higher than the edges, and the edges will start to pull away from the sides of the pan)
Allow to cool and enjoy delicious orange flavoured eggless cake.