Mar 31, 2008

Recipe - Aloo Palak (with sesame seeds)

(Potato and Spinach cooked with sesame seeds)

Summary:


Aloo palak curry is one of my favorite curries. This curry is very easy to make and has nice flavor to it. With sesame seeds garnish it looks beautiful :-)
What can I say, I am a girl. I learnt this recipe from my mom. Different kinds of curry powder's can be prepared with variations in ingredients. Some with coconut and mixture of dals or sesame and red chillies or peanut and red chillies the list can go on.....

Aloo palak can be prepared with the sesame curry powder sprinkled on top. But I like the look of whole sesame seeds on the curry.

Ingredients:

  • Potato - 2 medium size
  • Spinach - 1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen is used or 2 cup fresh cut
  • Green chillies - 1 serrano pepper (one green chilli)
  • Dry red chilli - 2 (according to the spice level)
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
  • Sesame seeds - 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt 3/4 teaspoon (according to taste)
  • Oil - 1 tablespoon

Vegetable cutting:

Cut potatoes in one inch cubes with skin, finely chop spinach and green chillies lengthwise.

Sesame seeds roasting (optional):


Preheat a medium sauce pan/skillet, sauté sesame seeds. Seeds will start to splutter in a minute or two. Turn off the heat.

Process:


In a medium size skillet preheat the oil on medium heat. Add Potatoes, green chillies or red chillies, turmeric, chilli powder (optional) and hing. Sauté for 8 - 10 minutes.

Add spinach after the potatoes are cooked.

Add salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Now add roasted sesame seeds, sauté for a minute and turn off the heat.

Serve hot with rice or roti for a quick meal.

Preparation time - 20 minutes
# Servings 2

Mar 30, 2008

Recipe - Grill/Toasted cheese sandwich with onion and tomato

Spicy toasted cheese sandwich

Summary:

Grill cheese sandwich can be made with variations. I make this as a quick dinner for my family. For kids, spare the green chilies, add desired vegetables like finely chopped broccoli, shredded carrots, chopped spinach. Again they eat vegetables and protein in such type of meals :-)

Ingredients:

  • Bread - 2 slices
  • Cheese - 1 slice
  • Onion- 1 tablespoon (chopped)
  • Tomato - 2 teaspoons (chopped)
  • Green chilies - 1 teaspoon
  • Butter - 1 teaspoon

Process:

Apply butter to both the sides of the bread. Toast the bread slices on one side at medium temperature.

Turn the bread on the second side. Place cheese slice on the toasted bread. Sprinkle onion, tomato and green chilies.

Place the toasted side of the second slice on top of the cheese and onion garnish.

Toast well on both the sides and serve with ketchup or hot sauce.

Preparation time: 5 - 10 minutes

Servings - 1

Mar 29, 2008

Recipe - Eggplant curry/Brinjal curry ( Vankaya koora/baingan ki sabzi)

Eggplant cooked with onions and tomatoes

Summary:


Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetable. Eggplant helps control cholesterol. It is high in potassium and good source of folic acid.

Eggplant is consumed more in China and in India. Eggplants are grown in different sizes and colors.

My whole family loves eggplant and the dishes made out of it. We can live on eggplant for a week :-)

Ingredients:

  • Eggplant - 3 - 4 cups (medium size purple eggplant)cut in thin stripes
  • Onion - 1 cup (chopped)
  • Tomato - 1 cup (chopped)
  • Curry powder - 2 heaping tablespoons
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon

Seasoning:

  • Chana dal (bengal gram) - 1 teaspoon)
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds- 1 teaspoon
  • Green chilies - 1 serrano
  • Dry red chiles - 1 no
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon
  • Oil - 1 tablespoon
  • Curry leaves - 1 stalk



Process:

Preheat the wok with oil, add dals and seasoning seeds. Let the seeds splutter, add green chillies, red chillies and curry leaves.


Add Onion and tomatoes to the seasoning. Saute them for a minute or two.

Add freshly cut eggplant to the wok. Mix it well and cover the dish for 5 - 8 minutes.

Stir occasionally to check if the eggplant is well done.

Add curry powder to the already cooked eggplant curry, turn off the heat. Mix it well. Let the curry sit in the wok for 5 minutes and retain the heat. Dish out the curry into a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro.

Serve hot with rice or roti.


Preparation time: 20 minutes
Servings 4

Tips:

Eggplant curry tastes good without curry powder too.
Curry powder preparation: Refer to: Masala's/Chutney Powders

Mar 28, 2008

Recipe - Palak saag with chana dal (palakura senga pappu/ akkura pappu)




Spinach soup (Spinach cooked with bengal gram)

Summary

Spinach has high level of iron and calcium content for a vegetable. Spinach is also rich in vitamin A. Spinach is not only healthy but tastes very good if cooked right. Spinach is also eaten as a salad. Chana dal is low in fat and high in dietary fiber and a healthy source of carbohydrates for people with diabetes. Nutrition source is from wikipedia.

Knowing the benefits of the greens, I try to cook greens at least twice or thrice a week. Kids usually don't like to eat greens. I usually blend/grind some of the greens to save myself from all the fuss.

For Palak saag, I add chana dal to serve protein and vegetable in a single dish. For variation, toor dal can be substituted for chana dal and different kinds of greens can also be used instead of spinach.

Ingredients:

  • Spinach - 1 bunch (approximately 4 cups or 10 oz frozen spinach)
  • Chana dal - 1 Cup
  • Green Chillies - 1 Serrano pepper or 1 big Indian chili cut in length (optional)
  • Dry red chillies - 1 (optional)
  • Chilly powder - 1 teaspoon (according to spice level)
  • Turmeric - 1/2 - 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon (for seasoning)
  • Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Hing (Asafoetida )- 1/4 teaspoon)
  • Salt- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons (according to taste)
  • Ghee/Oil - 2 teaspoons
  • Lemon juice - 2 tablespoons (optional)

Spinach cutting:

Wash and cut spinach into thin leaves. Slice green chili in length.


Process:

Wash dal, add 3 cups of water and add spinach leaves, salt, turmeric and green chillies. Pressure cook dal till 4 whistles. The temperature should be medium high.


After the pressure releases, blend all the ingredients together in a grinder/mixer (optional). Add water to bring it to desired consistency.

Seasoning:

Preheat oil in a kadai (skillet). Add cumin and mustard seeds for seasoning. After you see the seasoning seeds splutter, add red chillies (optional) and hing (asafoetida ).

Add the seasoning to the dal and add lemon juice (optional). Cook it for 2-3 minutes. Serve with roti or rice.



Preparation time: 30 minutes.
# Servings 3 - 4

Mar 27, 2008

Recipe - Jowar ki roti (Jonna rotellu)

Indian flat bread with millet flour

Summary

Jowar roti is a very nutritious roti, suitable for a winter diet. Traditionally it is consumed in colder climates as it provides warmth. In India it is part of Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarati cuisines.

Jowar roti needs extra care while making as they may break while transferring them on to the tawa/skillet. Jowar roti is easy to digest when the dough is prepared beforehand (about 12 hours for fermentation). Fermentation of dough is optional. These rotis are not available in restaurants. These rotis build good stamina and typically consumed by the folks who work in fields back in India. Bajre ki roti is also prepared the same way as Jowar ki roti.

I learnt this recipe from my husband's aunt who is a very good cook. Since she cooks by estimation, I decided to document it by providing some measurements. I can't communicate how well it tastes, I hope you give it a try and decide for yourself. The shape of this roti may not be round as a wheat based roti.

Ingredients:

Jowar flour (millet flour) - 1 and 1/2 cups

Salt - 1/2 teaspoon (according to taste)

Water - 1/4 cup

Process:

Knead the millet flour with salt and water.

Preheat tawa/skillet at medium high temperature. Make lemon size flour rolls. Place one roll on a clean surface with little flour on flat surface.

Flatten the dough with the palm/rolling pin in a circular motion. Pat the dough lightly with little pressure. Do not flatten the roti too thin as it may break when lifting from the surface. Dust roti with flour in while flattening the roti (prevents sticking of dough to palm/rolling pin).

Transfer the flattened roti on to the preheated tawa/skillet. Cook it for 30 seconds to 45 seconds.

Flip the roti on the second side and cook for 30 - 45 seconds.

Transfer roti on to the grill to ensure roti is cooked well on both sides of the roti.

Apply ghee/clarified butter. Serve jowar ki roti with any kind of dal.

Preparation time: 10 - 15 minutes

# Roti's: 4 (depending on the size)

Mar 26, 2008

Recipe - Plain Makki ki roti/Corn roti (mokkha jonna rotellu)

Indian flat bread with maize flour/corn flour

Summary

Makki roti is very nutritious roti, suitable for a winter diet. Traditionally it is consumed in colder climates as it provides warmth. In India it is part of Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarati cuisines.

Makki roti is easy to make and doesn't need a lot of preparation. Though this roti is available in restaurants, I enjoy eating home cooked meals. Home cooked meals have a lot of love and taste much better.

I learnt this recipe from my husband's aunt who is a very good cook. Since she cooks by estimation, I decided to document it by providing some measurements. I can't communicate how well it tastes, I hope you give it a try and decide for yourself.

Ingredients:

Maize flour - 2 cups

Salt - 3/4 teaspoon (according to taste)

Water - 1/2 cup (warm)

Process:

Knead the maize flour with salt and warm water.

Preheat tawa/skillet at the medium high temperature. Make lemon size flour rolls. Place one roll on a clean surface with little flour on flat surface.

Flatten the dough with the palm in a circular motion. Pat the dough very slowly with little pressure. Do not flatten the roti too thin as it may break when lifting from the surface. Moisten palm in between flattening the roti (prevents sticking of dough to palm).

Transfer the flattened roti on to the preheated tawa/skillet. Cook it for 30 seconds to 45 seconds.

Flip the roti on the second side and cook it well.

Apply ghee/clarified butter.

Cook both sides of the roti and ensure roti is well cooked.

Serve makki ki roti with a gravy vegetable like turnip's curry/sarson ka saag or palak paneer.

Preparation time: 10 - 15 minutes

# Roti's: 4 - 6 (depending on the size)

Mar 25, 2008

Recipe - Palak Paneer (saag paneer)

Spinach cooked with cottage cheese/tofu

Summary

Spinach can be cooked in many different forms with different ingredients. Palak paneer is a very popular dish in Indian cuisine. I use tofu in place of paneer to speed up the cooking process.

Spinach has lots of nutritional benefits including high level of iron, calcium, and vitamin A. Spinach is not only healthy but tastes very good if cooked properly. Spinach is also eaten as a salad. Knowing the benefits of the greens, I try to cook greens at least twice or thrice a week. Kids usually don't like to eat greens. I usually blend/grind some of the greens to save myself from all the fuss. I prefer to serve protein and vegetable in a single dish to feed the kids.

Ingredients:

  • Palak (spinach) - 1 bunch (approximately 4 cups/10oz frozen spinach)washed and chopped
  • Onion - 2 cups (1 big size) chopped finely
  • Green chilies - 1 serrano pepper (1or 2 Indian green chilies)
  • Dry red chili - 1
  • Ginger - 1 tablespoon (chopped/minced)
  • Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
  • Red chili powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cream/yogurt - 2 -3 tablespoons (optional)
  • Paneer - 1 cup (cubes, fried)
  • Salt - 3/4 teaspoon
  • Oil - 2 teaspoons
  • Hing - 1/4 teaspoon (optional)

Process:

Preheat wok with oil, add cumin seeds, let the seeds splutter at medium heat temperature. Add red chili, green chili and hing. After a minute, add onion and fry the onion till golden brown. This step takes about 5 minutes.

Add chopped spinach, remaining spices. Cover the dish with a lid, cook for 3 -4 minutes. Turn off the stove.

Blend the above spinach mixture to a coarse consistency. Pour the mixture back into wok, add yogurt (optional), add 1 or 2 cups of water to get the desired consistency.

Saute tofu in a teaspoon of butter.

Add fried paneer/tofu to spinach mixture. Cover the dish and simmer for five minutes. Garnish with lemon, onions and tomatoes.

Serve hot with roti.

Preparation time: 20 -30 minutes

Servings: 4

Mar 24, 2008

Recipe - Tamarind rice (Pulihara/Puli rice/Pulighodarai)

Rice mixed with tamarind sauce and spices

Summary:

Pulihara reminds me of temples and festive seasons. Tamarind rice is prepared as an offering at the temples almost everyday and is served as "prasad/bhog". Tamarind rice is very famous in south India. Each state, for that matter every household, in southern India prepares tamarind rice with variations. For example, small amounts of coconut or sesame seeds are added. The basic preparation for tamarind rice remains the same. The taste of pulihara is based on how carefully, tamarind gravy is prepared.

After leaving home, pulihara is prepared almost once in a month with the left over rice. I usually prepare the tamarind gravy before hand and freeze store them in small containers. I use them whenever needed and this gravy comes very handy.

Ingredients:

  • Rice - 1 cup (standard measuring cup not the rice cooker cup)
  • Tamarind - 1 lemon size (soaked in 1 cup of water)
  • Cashew nuts/ground nuts roasted - 1/4 cup (optional)
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Hing ( asafoetida) - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Sugar - 1 teaspoon
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon (according to taste)

Seasoning:

  • Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Chana dal (bengal gram) - 1 teaspoon
  • Urad dal (black gram) - 1/ teaspoon
  • Cumin - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves - 2 stalks
  • Green chilies - 2 serrano peppers ( 2 Indian green chilies)
  • Dry red chilies - 3 (cut in small pieces)
  • Oil - 1 tablespoon

Cook Rice:

Wash rice, add 2 cups of water with salt and one teaspoon of oil. Cook the rice separately and set it aside.

Process:

Preparation for the tamarind gravy:

Preheat oil in a wok/kadai at medium high temperature. Add chana dal, urad dal, cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Let the seeds splutter, add hing, green chilies, dried chilies, and curry leaves. Sautee them well.


Add tamarind juice/pulp, turmeric powder, nuts, sugar, and salt (according to taste). Remember, salt is added to cooked rice. Boil the tamarind pulp, cook it well (till the raw smell from tamarind is gone) at medium heat temperature. Some cooks prefer to notice the oil floating/leaving the walls of the wok. Approximately 10 minutes.


In a large open bowl, spread rice, slowly add tamarind gravy. Do not pour it all at once. One can't tell the sourness of the tamarind mixture, unless one is a very good cook.


Add the mixture according to your taste. If any tamarind mixture is left over , do not discard. Freeze the mixture, which will come handy. After tamarind gravy is mixed well, set the rice aside for 15 - 20 minutes for all the juices to blend with rice.

You may notice the rice is little wet. Not to worry, after an hour of preparation, all the juices will be absorbed by the rice.


Preparation time 20 - 30 minutes

Servings: 4


Tips:


Mix left over rice, tamarind mixture and 1 tablespoon of sambar powder. The result will be awesome :-)

For Tamarind pulp:

Take 5 small stalks of tamarind add half cup of water and microwave it for 2- 3 minutes. The water will decrease to 1/4cup. Let it cool and then mash the tamarind pulp with a spoon and filter it.




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Disclaimer

Some of the recipes presented here are originally inspired by others. Credit is given to the original postings. I have listed recipes here for my own reference as well as pictures are my addition to the whole cooking experience. Enjoy.