Thursday, September 29, 2011


Homemade Indian Cottage Cheeseballs in Sugar Syrup

Milk(whole milk) - 1 Litre
Lemon juice - 3 tbspns
Sugar - 2 cups
Water - 3 &1/2cups
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch
Ice cubes - 12 nos
Nuts (optional) for garnish

Heat the milk, when it starts to boil, simmer the flame, add the lemon juice and stir properly.
Heat further until the whey water clearly separates. Put off the flame. Add the Ice cubes and mix well. Take a metal strainer, lined with a cheese cloth/muslin cloth(You can use dupatta). Pour the curdled milk in it. Wash it well in the running water under the tap to remove the lemon smell and sourness.
Then squeeze the excess water gently and hang it for 30 minutes. After 1/2 hour, take out the paneer in a bowl. It will be now more like a crumble look wise.
Now knead this for 7-10 minutes gently to make it like a soft and smooth dough. Make smooth equal sized small balls. Approximately 20 medium sized balls.

Now take the sugar, cardamom powder and water in a pressure cooker and boil it.
After the sugar gets dissolved completely and the syrup boils, add the balls made carefully one by one. Cover the pressure cooker and cook it till you get one whistle in low flame. After a whistle, simmer more and keep for another 5 minutes.
Put off the flame and let the pressure gets released by itself, then open the lid to see the rasgullas – by now it would have doubled in size.
Cool down and refrigerate and serve chilled!

Use lemon juice as mentioned and the milk should boil while you add the lemon juice.
The kneading part is very important, knead smooth and soft with patience.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dum Aloo

Small potatoes - 20
Onion - 1
Tomato - 1-2
Curd - 1/2 cup
Red chili powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
Ginger garlic paste  - 2 tsp
Coriander leaves - 1 tbspn, chopped
Lemon juice - 1 tbspn
Salt - according to taste
Oil - 1 tbspn

To roast & grind;
Onion - 1
Black cardamom - 1
Cloves - 2
Cumin - 1 tsp
Fennel - 1 tsp(optional)
Cashews - 10

To temper;
Oil - 1 tbspn
Cinnamon - 1 piece
Bay leaf -1
Red chilies - 2

Pressure cook potatoes for 2 whistles and peel the skin, prick it here and there with fork. Heat a pan with oil and roast the potatoes until golden. Make sure you keep it turning in between to ensure even browning.
In the same pan, fry cardamom, cloves, fennel, cumin, cashews and onion. Grind it with little water to smooth paste.
Heat oil and temper with the items under ‘to temper’ table. Add finely chopped onion and fry till transparent. Add ginger garlic paste and the ground paste and fry for 2 minutes in medium flame.
Add chopped tomatoes, salt and fry till mushy. Add chili powder, turmeric, coriander and garam masala powders.
Fry  in medium flame, till the oil separates from masala. Add curd little by little, frying for each time for 1/2 minute.
Add the roasted potatoes and add water(1 & 3/4 cups), bring to boil.
Simmer for 5 minutes and garnish with lemon juice and coriander leaves, after switching off the flame.

Tip of the day: Peeled potatoes will last three or four days in the refrigerator if a few drops of vinegar is added to the water.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 potato peeled & chopped 
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped 
3 carrots chopped & peeled 
2 celery stalks chopped 
1 onion chopped 
2 garlic cloves minced 
3 cans (14.5 oz each) veg broth /water
3 tbs. honey 
3/4 tsp dried thyme leaves 
salt & pepper to taste 

Cook garlic and onions in 2 (Stock Pot) tbs of butter about 5 min. Stir in carrots and celery. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until just tender. Stir in potato, squash, veg broth, honey and thyme.
Bring mix to boil; reduce and simmer, covered 30-45 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Remove from heat and cool slightly. Put in blender, food processor or use a hand blender and process until smooth. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper then reheat. 
Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and chopped fresh chives or fresh thyme.

Tip of the day: Placing Potatoes in salt water for 15 minutes before baking, make them bake quickly.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vella(Jaggery) Kozhakattai

For the Cover;
1 cup rice flour
1-1/4 cups water
Pinch of salt
1-2 tsp vegetable oil or Ghee

For the Jaggery Coconut filling (Vella poornam)
1 cup fresh coconut, grated (fresh is recommended, though you can use frozen too)
3/4 cup Jaggery, powdered
Pinch of cardamom powder (or as per taste)

For the filling;
Add jaggery and coconut together in a skillet.
In low heat, saute until the jaggery melts and the mixture thickens. Add the cardamom to the mix and toss well.
Tip: If it does not thicken well, add a little rice flour along with little drops of ghee and cook further for few seconds until it thickens.
While still warm, take a small piece of this filling (it will be sticky, you can grease your palms with ghee or oil) and make a small ball. Repeat for all the filling.

For the cover;
Soak raw rice in water for 1 hour. Drain the water well with a cloth and tie the ends of the cloth so that the rice is not exposed to the air. Let it dry for 1 hour. Now grind them in the mixie to a fine powder and sieve it. 
Bring 1 1/4 cups of water to a boil. Add salt and oil to the boiling water.
When its boiled, remove 1/4 cup of water and set aside. You can otherwise heat only 1 cup of water to boil in one skillet and another 1/4 cup of water in another skillet.
Take this skillet off heat and set it in a counter.
Add the rice flour to the 1 cup of boiled water.
Using a wooden spoon give it a stir. It will be hot. It should come together into a mass all clumped together. 

Tip 1: If you find that this is too dry and not sticky, then add the additional boiled water you set aside, drop by drop, until it comes together.
Tip 2: If you find this too sticky and not pliable, you can use additional few sprinkling of rice flour/maida (all purpose flour) until it does. Make sure too much flour is NOT added. The taste might get affected. That's why its preferable to go with less water and then added if needed than vice versa.

Let it sit for few minutes until its cool enough to handle. It should still be hot - only just enough to enable you to handle the dough. Dont let it get cold.  Set aside two small bowls - one with oil/ghee, another with warm water. Grease your hands with oil and start kneading the dough.
The idea is to make it pliable - into a smooth consistency like that of chapathi dough. The difference is that while chapathi dough has gluten and will stretch, rice flour lacks the gluten and will not be stretchy.
The dough will be smooth but yet slightly sticky.
Grease your palms well and break off a small piece from the dough. You should be able to rotate the dough into an extremely smooth ball - as seen in the picture.

Alternate now between dipping your fingers and greasing it with oil and warm water for preparing the rest of the steps. Using your thumb and other fingers , make a small crater in the ball you made, like an inverted cone. 

Slowly rotate and go around making this crater until it looks little bigger. Make the crater sufficiently big enough to drop in the rounds of filling you made earlier.
Drop the sweet filling you made into the depression.

Very slowly brings the ends together over the top of the filling. Be gentle.
Bring it together so that you can pinch the top, sealing the filling.  Pinch to make a small horn.
You can always pinch off excess dough and shape the remaining to look like a beak. 

Repeat with rest of the dough. Now steam them for about 7 minutes. To know its done the color slightly changes and the cover becomes little translucent.
Once done, remove and drizzle some ghee on top of it (optional) and enjoy it warm/hot.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Corn on the Cob Curry

600g corn on the cob, cut into 2cm chunks
3 tbspns sunflower oil
10 black peppercorns
2cm stick of cinnamon
6 cloves
2 tspns coriander seeds
1 large onion, finely sliced
150g freshly grated or frozen coconut
1 tsp cumin seeds
150g tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder

Put the corn into the pan with enough water to cover it and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook until tender. Drain (save the water for the curry) and reserve.
Meanwhile, make the curry paste. Heat half the oil in a kadai or heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the whole spices and fry for 1 minute. Then add the onion and stir fry until brown.
Add the coconut and continue stirring until the whole mixture is a rich brown. Take off the heat and allow it to cool. Add a little water and grind it to a fine paste in a blender. Reserve.
In another saucepan heat the remaining oil and add the cumin seeds. When they darken, add the corn and mix very well.
Mix in the tomatoes, spice powders and salt. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved corn water.
Gently stir in the curry paste and simmer for 3 minutes to blend well. Add more water if necessary to make a thick sauce.


Tip of the day:  Before making popcorn on the stove or in a microwave, soak the kernels in water for 10 minutes. Drain the water, then pop as normal. The additional moisture helps the popcorn pop up quicker and fluffier.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sweet(Jaggery) Puttu - Steamed Rice Cake

Raw Rice - 1 cup
Jaggery - 3/4 cup
Coconut - 1 tbspn
Cardamom powder - a pinch
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt - a pinch
Cashews - 1 tbspn
Raisins - 1 tbspn
Ghee - 2 tbspns
Warm water for mixing

Wash raw rice in water 2 or 3 times to remove the starch. Drain the water well with a cloth and tie the ends of the cloth so that the rice is not exposed to the air. Let it dry for 30 minutes(not more than that). 
Dry roast the rice in the kadai till the color of the rice changes to golden yellow.
Grind them in the mixie to a fine powder and sieve it. Add coconut, salt, turmeric and mix it well. Now add warm water and wet the flour, do not add too much water. To check if the right amount of water is added, just take some mixture in the hand and press it within the palm. If the mixture holds together at the same time breaks/crumble back into the powdered form, then it is in the right consistency. If it is still powdery and falls off, sprinkle more water.
Now transfer the entire mixture to a thin cloth and steam it in a cooker for 7 minutes.
Let the contents cool. Then transfer it to a shallow bowl and  mix it with the hand to make sure that no lumps are formed.
In the kadai, add jaggery with little water just enough to cover and let it dissolve completely.
Filter the syrup for any impurities. Now pour the syrup back to the pan and cook it. Keep cooking the syrup until you reach a foamy consistency. 
Now add the cardamom powder to it. Switch off the stove and add this syrup to the cooled flour mixture and mix it with the hand and make sure that no lumps are formed.
Fry the cashews and raisins in the ghee and add them to the mixture.

Tip of the day: Rinse uncooked rice in a sieve under cold running tap; this removes excess starch.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Green Chili Sambar

Moong dal - 1/2 cup
Thuvar dal - 1/4 cup
Drumstik - 1 or 2
Potato - 1 (cut into cubes)
Carrot -1 (cut into slices)
Brinjal - 1
Big Onions - 1 cup
Ginger - 2 tsp (chopped finely)
Garlic - 2 tsp (chopped finely)
Green Chili - 6-8 (cut lengthwise)
Grated Coconut - 2 tbspns
Tamarind - a small ball
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - a few
Sambar Powder - 2 tbspns
Turmeric - 1/1 tsp
Hing Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - according to taste
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Red Chili - 1 
Curry Leaves - a few

Heat the pan and fry the moong dal for sometimes and add the thuvar dal and switch off the gas. Then pressure cook the dals.
Note: Don't fry the dal until it becomes brown. Fry until the smell of the dal comes. It is not necessary to fry the thuvar dal.
In a kadai heat some oil then fry the onions, green chilies, garlic for sometimes until it turns brown. Then add the vegetables and fry for 2 minutes and add the tamarind water, turmeric and sambar powder.
Grind the coconut with water nicely. When the vegetables are cooked add the dals, salt, grinded coconut, hing powder and mix it nicely and allow it to boil for 4-5 minutes.
Heat oil in a fry pan season with mustard seeds, red chili, curry leaves and then add it to the sambar. Finally add the coriander leaves and lemon juice.

Tip of the day: To keep green chilies fresh for a longer duration remove their stems before storing.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Papaya of the Caribbean

3 1/2 oz(100g) (about 3/4 cup) papaya chunks
3 1/2 oz(100g) banana slices (about 1 medium fruit)
1/2 cup coconut milk 

In a blender, combine papaya, banana and coconut milk. Blend until smooth.

Tip of the day: To preserve vegetables fresh for longer, wrap them in newspaper sheets before freezing them.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Chinese Fried Rice

1 1/2 cups uncooked rice, preferably parboiled rice
2 tbsp oil
2 green chilies, chopped finely
2 spring onions, chopped along with the greens
2 flakes garlic, chopped and crushed
1/4 cup very finely sliced french beans
1 carrot, finely diced
1/2 big capsicum, diced
1 tsp salt
/12 tsp of each of pepper and ajinomoto
1/2-1 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp vinegar(optional)

1. clean, wash and soak rice for 10 minutes. Boil 6 cups  water with 2 tsp salt. Drain and add rice to boiling water. Cook uncovered till the rice is just done and still firm. Do not overcook. Strain. Keep in the strainer for 10 minutes to let all the water drain out. Fluff up the rice with a fork to let the steam escape and to separate the grains of rice. Spread out the cooked rice on a large tray and keep under the fan to dry out nicely.
2. Chop green onions, keeping the chopped green part separate.
3. Heat oil. Reduce heat. Splutter green chilies.
4. Stir fry garlic and the white of onions, keeping the green part.
5. Add beans and then carrots. Stir fry for 1 minute. Add capsicum.
6. Add salt, pepper and ajinomoto.
7. Add rice. Add soya sauce and vinegar.
8. Add the green onions and salt to taste. Stir fry the rice for 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Tip of the day: Add a few drops of lemon juice in the water before boiling the rice to make rice whiter.