Monday, 26 January 2009

Omelette in Tomato and Green Peas gravy


( Vegetarians can use Moong / Besan Chila in place of the Egg Omelette ).

Ok ... this is a cheater's dish. When I do not feel like cooking full meals and at the same time do not feel like ordering a takeaway ... or eating out ... I turn to eggs. Easy and fast to make ... eggs are a sure life saver. I love them anyway ... boiled too ... but my other half has a prob with "uncooked eggs" ( his way of explaining bland eggs ... as in boiled/poached/fried etc etc.) :-)

Plain omelette would have been a little too dry with parathas .... so I cubed it and dunked it into a sauce of tomato and onions. Added some fresh green peas just because I love green peas and do not think twice before adding them to any dish.

Btw ... I used my Onion chutney as the gravy here. :-)

Need : Eggs, chopped and sliced onions, chopped green chillies, chopped tomatoes ( if not using the chutney), red chilli powder, a little cooking oil, salt to taste.

How to : Beat the eggs with a little salt , chopped onions and green chilles. Heat oil in a pan and pour in the egg mixture. Cover and let it cook for some time. Flip over the omelette and cook for a whle more.

Take out the omlette in a plate and cut it into cubes.

In another pan heat a little oil. Add the sliced onions and fry.
Add the tomatoes ( if using the chutney, no need for tomatoes) and the red chilli powder. Fry till mushy. Add the green peas and salt and fry till slightly dryish.

Add the omlette cubes and serve immediately.


Great with rotis / parathas/ bread / steamed rice. :-)

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Kuler Achaar / Ber ka Achaar / Pickled Berries


This is my second try at making achaar/pickled stuff. Though it takes very little time to make ... the actual time to make this pickle will span over a few days ... i.e the time taken to sun dry the kul/ ber/ berries.
Am making optimum use of the winter sun these days before it shifts back. So when I came across some berries being sold, I picked them up impulsively .... wanting to try making Kuler achaar myself.
The Ber for this achaar should be the round and sour ones.


Need : Kul / Ber, jaggery, red chilli powder, roasted and freshly ground Paanch Phoron ( equal quantities of methi/fenugreek seeds, kalaunji/onion seeds, rai/mustard seeds, saunf/fennel seeds, jeera/cumin seeds).
How to : Wash the berries well and leave them to dry.
Now comes the best part .... take every berry and crack it open to check for insects. Discard the bad ones.
Spread them out in a flat vessel or cloth and sun dry them for a few days.

In a heavy vessel heat the gur/jaggery with a little water till it melts. Add the berries and stir well. Let it cook till the jaggery thickens.


Sprinkle red chilli powder and the Paanch Phoron powder and remove from heat.
Do not cook after adding the Paanch Phoron powder .... else it will turn bitter.
Done!


This has a very long shelf life if the berries are sun dried well and hold no moisture.


Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Pineapple Cake


Another successful experiment ! :-)
I had some pineapple stowed away in the freezer a fortnight back and completely forgot all about it. When I finally took a look at it, it was stone frozen. I was in the process of making my Coffee Cake .... the one I make very frequently. So decided it will be a Pineapple cake instead.

The recipe is here.
I just ran the frozen pineapple in the mixer so that it got just crushed. The small irregular pieces in every bite made it taste even more awesome!
Since the amount of Pineapple was very less ( I had around 1 cupful of crushed Pineapple ), I halved the proportions of everything needed for the cake. And added less than the usual amount of milk ... as the Pineapple would release moisture.
This turned out to be the softest cake I have ever baked ... it almost melted in the mouth. :-) 



Enjoyed a slice with my evening cuppa of my favourite Darjeeling tea. :-) 


Friday, 9 January 2009

Creamy Vegetable Stew

I make this stew very regularly ... it is great in the monsoons when it does turn a little cold here .... or in the winter, when we get good veggies. It tastes great when eaten cold too ... in the summers .... but it is impossible to get fresh greens then.

Very simple to make, this can be a full meal by itself if you add some noodles (last snap) or pasta.

Its creamy texture and flavour gives vegetables a completely new makeover ... and eating veggies turn just so delightful.

You can serve it with fresh warm bread. Or just eat up plain bowlfuls. Either way you will absolutely love it. :-)


This can made in a pressure cooker too .... just take care that the veggies are not overcooked.
I make it in a deep heavy bottomed pan ... I like the veggies to stew slowly .... soaking up each others flavours.

Need : Sliced or cubed vegetables ( I had beans, carrots, green peas, mushrooms, sweet corn, cabbage and cauliflower), sliced or cubed onions, chopped garlic, water, milk, a little maida, butter, salt and sugar to taste.

How to : Heat a heavy vessel and add a little butter. ( No yelling ..... you need butter here .... but see .... I have mentioned very little .... so .... :-) )

Take care not to over heat ..... we want no burning here ..... read no sharp flavours.
Add the onions and the garlic and just toss around a little till translucent.
Now add the veggies and stir fry for a little while.
Now add enough water. Add salt and sugar, cover and cook till all veggies are cooked but firm.

Mix a little maida to a cupfull of milk. ( Yes, it is maida .... not cornflour .... we need to give a little body to the watery thinness). Make sure that you do not make a paste. We don't want thick lumpy stuff in the name of a soup/stew.
You can use whole or skimmed milk.

Add it to the stew, bring to a boil (not on high heat) and let it simmer for some more time.

I had some left over boiled noodles in the fridge .... so added some to make a bowlful for myself. Had a creamy, slurpy, healthy lunch. :-)

Loved all the snaps .... so filled the post with all of them. :-)


Do have a go at this friends ... you will love it. :-)

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Macaroni Salad

The best thing about winter is fresh veggies. Even though we do get everything the whole year through, there is something definitely different about veggies in winter. The carrots are juicier, the green peas sweeter, the spring onions look happier ....

And this is the best time to have them raw. Nothing can compare to that fresh juice or that crunch.
I try to put in as much veggies as possible into anything that am cooking. Or have them as a salad.

I like macaronis ... but not the usual way .... messed up in a gooey white sauce (which I do like once in a while) or with lumpy, elastic cheese ( which I positively hate).
So I make them my way .... will post sometime.

And if I have some already boiled macaroni in the fridge .... I make a salad for lunch ( anything to not to cook for only myself ).

And here's my salad. You can add black olives too. I do not like them ... so did not.
And if you like garlic ... can add a very finely chopped clove. Nonveggies can add slivers or cubes of boiled chicken or cubed hard boiled eggs.

I added some toasted bread croutons .... loved that dry crunch with the juicy ones. :-)


Need : Boiled macaroni or any pasta, raw fresh vegetables like carrots, spring onion, green peas, tomatoes, chopped green chillies, lime juice, bread croutons, olive oil, salt and sugar to taste.

How to : Chop the veggies. Shell the peas. Toss everything together with a dash of lime juice and lots of olive oil.

Done ! :-)
Another closer look. :-)

Monday, 5 January 2009

Dankheer / Kheer made from Posto dana or Poppy seeds

Am starting of the New Year with a unique recipe from the in-laws side of the family. I had never heard of anything made this way from Posto / Khus Khus / Poppy seeds. The recipe belongs to MIL's family ... and is a great favourite.
Initially I searched the net but never found a recipe for this. Later, I learnt from SIL.

Dankheer or Danakheer is made from Poppy seeds' milk. It is a kheer ... but not your usual kheer per se ... i.e. it is not sweet. It has a very lightly salted flavour ... so light that when eating it, you can add sugar to make it sweet.
And the rice has to be extra mushy.

It is a full meal by itself ... like a khichdi ..... usually eaten hot with ghee and sugar ..... or with a spicy pickle. I served it with Garlic and Kair pickle.

There was too much of sunlight on my table ... so the snaps don't do justice to this dish. Never again am I going to crib about enough sunlight for snaps. :-p

Need : Poppy seeds, soaked and made into a smooth paste, washed and soaked long grained rice, a pinch of salt, water.

How to : Strain the poppy seed paste, adding a little water at a time to get a thick milk.
In a heavy bottomed pan take water ( it should be a little more than the usual quantity taken to cook rice) and bring to a boil.
Add a pinch of salt.
Add the rice and cook till tender ... but not fully done.
Now add the poppy seeds milk and cover and cook till rice turns mushy and thickens.


Dankheer is best eaten hot. The flavour of rice, poppy seeds and ghee tastes heavenly ! :-)

I did not have the heart to throw away the posto residue .... so made Posto Bhaja or fry. Shall post it next. :-)