Monday, March 31, 2014

Flavored Puttu and Varutharacha Kadala Curry

Puttu is a very popular Kerala breakfast dish.It's usually made up of ground rice and coconut which is steamed in special moulds.Here is a flavored version of Puttu. Though not the traditional one, this has become a favorite of us all off late.
Though puttu can be served with many different curries, and even with just bananas, one of the most popular combination is that of puttu and kadala (black chana).

Flavored Puttu


Roasted rice flour - 1 cup
Coconut - 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup for layering
Cumin seed - 3/4 tsp
Shallot (sliced)-1/4 cup
Salt Water - to taste

Take rice flour, coconut,shallots and cumin seeds in a bowl and mix well.Add salt to the water and mix it with the rice powder. The mix should be not too wet, nor too dry. If you take a little of the mix and press it between your fingers it should hold its shape without being sticky. In case it is too dry, add more water little by little, mixing thoroughly. Put the powder in the mixer or a food processor and whip it for 3 seconds (not more, as otherwise the powder will turn to a dough like form), till the powder is in a bread-crumb form.
 If you are using a puttu maker, line it with a spoon of grated coconut and fill the remaining potion with the prepared powder. If you don't have a puttu maker, you can use a steamer instead. Just line it with the remaining coconut and spread the rice powder over it and steam it for about 4 minutes.

Kadala Curry:


Cooked Black chana/ kadala 2 cups
Grated coconut ½ cup
Garlic 2 cloves, sliced
Red chilly powder ½ Tbs
Coriander powder 1 Tbs
Turmeric powder ¼ tsp
Cinnamon-2  1" piece
Fennel seeds-2tsp
Mustard-1/4 tsp
Coconut slices-1/4 cup
Curry leaves a few
Onion-1 big
Ginger-1 small piece
Salt as needed

Heat a non stick pan at medium high flame and add the grated coconut, garlic and curry leaves. Saute this until the coconut starts to slightly change its color to light brown. Reduce flame and add red chilly powder, turmeric powder ,coriander powder ,cinnamon,fennel and cardamom. Saute again until raw smell from the powders are all gone. Switch off flame and allow the mixture to cool down. Grind this to a smooth paste adding little water, if needed. Take a pan add 1 tablespoon oil and when hot splutter the mustard in it and then saute the coconut pieces . When coconut turns light brown add onion ,curry leaves and ginger. When onion turns slight brown add tomato and saute till oil separates or you can skip adding tomatoes and add the cooked chana along  with  the water its cooked in and ground coconut. Cook this for another 10 to 15 minutes at medium heat till the gravy thickens to your liking.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Congo Bars

If you are a lover of chocolates as I am, you are sure to love these delightful desserts. These can be considered a cross between chocolate chip cookies and brownies. I know there are those who call these blondies or blondie bars, because they are blond in color unlike the brown of the brownies. But whatever the name that you choose to call it by, these are delicious to taste.

Recipe source:Rachael Ray
2& 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 &1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
2& 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, optional
1 and 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips or peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips or M&M
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Makes 32-35 bars
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. Combine the butter and sugar using a mixer until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the sugar mixture, mixing on low in between each addition. Add the vanilla and mix. Add the flour and mix until combined. Stir in the chips ,nut and coconut.
Coat a 9-inch x 13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and spread the batter evenly into the dish.( If you prefer you can  sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips on top).  Bake for 20 -25 minutes, if you prefer chewy bars or you can  cover the top with foil to avoid over-browning. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with moist crumbs. You will think they are under-done, but they aren't. Make sure you don’t over bake!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Buttermilk Pie

Today being the pie day (3/14, Aishwarya wanted a pie to be baked since that would give her some extra credits for her maths home-work. As we are always looking for an excuse to make a pie I was all for it. As usual I wanted to try something new so I went on a pie searching spree and finally decided to try this one. Off course, I made a few changes to suit our taste. It turned out one of the best pies I have ever made.

1/2 cup Buttermilk
1 & 1/2 cups Sugar
3 Eggs
3 Tbs&1TspFlour
1Tbs Lemon Juice
pinch of salt
1 stick butter  melted
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/8Tsp Nutmeg

Mix everything together and pour into an unbaked 9" pie shell.  Sprinkle the top lightly with fresh nutmeg.  Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees in a preheated oven. Reduce to 350 degrees and bake about 45 minutes longer.
Cool to allow the filling to set.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Candied Orange Peel

A good friend of mine surprised me one day with some home made candied orange peels.  They were so addictive,my family and me ended up finishing the whole bag in one sitting. I had no choice but to get the recipe from her as we were craving for more. She being a sweet heart gave me the recipe and here is the out come.
3 cups of loosely packed peels of one of these('Meyer'lemons,clementine,'Minneola'tangelos,pomelos,honey tangerines)
4  cups sugar, plus extra for rolling
4 cups water
Cream of tartar-1tsp
Candy thermometer
Wire rack
Its important to use organic fruit when making candied peels as most pesticide residue is found in the skin.
If the skin is waxed ,scrub of the wax using a scrubber or a tooth brush.
Cut tops and bottoms off of the orange and score the orange into quarters, cutting down only into the peel and not into the fruit. Peel the skin and pith of the orange in large pieces, you can do this using a spoon or knife , if it is a sweeter fruit more pith can remain use the orange for another recipe. Cut the peel into strips about 1/4-inch wide or into shapes like diamond or triangles. Put the orange peel in a large saucepan with cold water to cover, there should be enough space for them to move, bring to a boil over high heat. Then pour off the water. Repeat 1 or 2 more times depending how tart the peels are.By the end of this peels should be tender and almost translucent. Remove the orange peels from the pan and drop them into ice cold water to stop cooking and this also help the peels to keep their shape. Now drain and set aside.
Now add the peels to a sauce pan and pour water just enough to cover the peels.Keep track of how much water you used.Drain the peels and this time reserve the water.Return the water to the pan and add as much sugar as water( for 4 cups water you would use 4 cups sugar) Add 1 teaspoon cream of tartar to prevent cystallization to the sugar water stir and  bring water to a boil.Add drained peel and stir them in.Boil for 5 minutes and reduce the heat to the lowest and simmer for 50 to 55 minutes when the temperature reaches 230 F the syrup should be just right. Drain the peels, (save the syrup for ice tea.)
Place the peels atop a wire rack and let it drip dry for 30 minutes.Turn the peels once or twice. Add about 1 cup of sugar to a ziplock bag and add peels and toss to coat .Now place the peels on dry wire racks to dry for a day or two depending on the humidity level. Or you can speed up the process by placing them in an oven heated to 200 F and is TURNED OFF.Return the peels to bag of sugar and give another good shake.Place them in airtight container and never in fridge as it turns chewy,however you can freeze them in airtight container and defrost at room temperature.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Coconut Kofta

If you are in a mood for some creamy and delicious curry to go with your Indian breads or rice, here is one of my go to recipes. There are different varieties of kofta, made with meat, fish, paneer and a variety of vegetables. But being a vegetarian, this is one version of kofta that I often make.
For Koftas
2 cups grated Coconut
3 tbs Chickpea flour
4 Green Chillies, minced
1/2 cup cilantro minced
1/8 to 1/4 cup Mint leaves, minced (optional)
1/2 medium Onion, grated
1/2 tbs Ginger paste
1/2 tbsGarlic paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground Garam Masala
Salt to taste

For Gravy:
Tomato paste-2 tsp
Milk-1/4 cup
Ghee-1 tbs
Heavy cream-1tbs (optional)
Kasuri methi-1/4tsp
For paste:
 Ginger-1tsp, grated
 Cinnamon-1 stick
 Cumin -1tsp
 Garlic cloves-2
 Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp

Grind the coconut coarsely and mix it with all the other  kofta ingredients. Form the mixture into round balls and deep fry to a golden color . Kofta quantity is actually a little more than needed for the curry as I love having a few koftas to taste test :)
Heat a pan, add about a table spoon of ghee or oil and saute all the ingredients for paste till onion turns translucent. Make a paste of this sauted ingredients using about a cup of water. Mix it with tomato paste, milk,ghee,kasuri methi and salt and cook for 4 -5 minutes.When the gravy reaches desired consistency add cilantro and heavy cream.Add the koftas to the gravy before serving .Serve hot.
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