Friday, 16 September 2016

ABC Breakfast Muffins

Sometimes when you hear a certain old song or read a certain book or watch a certain old movie ,doesn't it make you get all nostalgic and literally take you back in time to a certain phase in life.Mostly they rekindle pleasant and fond memories.Watching them or listening to them makes you feel so happy and young.I have books,songs and movies that mark almost every important phase in my life :)Once you have kids the songs and movies are replaced by cartoons and rhymes.I remember every phase of my daughter's life with cartoons,Mary had a little lamb - she's laughing and cruising,Pocoyo - she's running around, Caillou - she's talking ,Peppa Pig - Kindergarten and now Mia and Me - School :) I know I sound like that perfect bad parent who uses cartoons as her baby sitter.As much as you'd condemn the cartoons,I'm indebted to them.They are those angels who help me get at least 30 minutes of break to get something done around the house.Now I'm not talking about those cartoons where the characters speaks Filmy dialogues :) The last time on my India trip I was honestly astonished with the cartoons on certain TV channels.Chinese cartoon characters speaking Tamil movie dialogues,the world is indeed becoming small.Well I did grow up watching Uncle Scrooge (Duck Tales) talking Hindi ,but watching Hattori sing 'Naan aducha thange maate'  is heights of comedy :) I sort of believe that good cartoons do benefit our kids,they do pick up a few good things from them.The only thing I don't like is the way they portray these perfect parents who never raise they voices and keep their calm like a Buddha statue :) Guess cartoons have taken over my life,when everybody else were curious to know who Jon Snow's (GoT) parents were,I was breaking my head over who Charlie and Lola's parents were,don't you think it's spooky,they never ever show them :p
Coming to the recipe,this is a perfect snack box recipe.What I love about it ,is it's ease of preparing,just mix all the ingredients in a bowl and bake.I stumbled across the vegan version of this recipe on 'The Minimalist baker's blog'.She has a wonderful collection of easy vegan recipes. I've changed the recipe a bit and I used very ripe bananas,it kind of gave it a creamy taste.When you have those bananas which are so ripe that their skins are almost fully black,this is is the perfect recipe to use them up.I named them ABC because they have apples,bananas and carrots in them.They taste super yum for breakfast and stay good for a day or two. So off to the recipe !!


Makes about 8 muffins
Recipe adapted from here
You'll Need:
Egg - 1
Olive oil - 4 tbsp
Honey - 4 tbsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Milk - 1/2 cup - 125 ml
Carrot -  2 grated - 1 cup
Apple grated(Finely) - 1 or unsweetened Apple sauce -  1/2 cup
Half a big banana - mashed - 1/2 a cup
Spelt Flour/Whole Wheat Flour - 1 cup
Oats - 3/4 cup
Almond powder - 3 - 4 tbsp
Brown Sugar - 1/2 a cup


Method:
-Preheat the oven to 150°C/ .Line a muffin tray with 8 muffin cups.
-In a big mixing bowl add the egg,olive oil ,honey ,mashed banana and whisk.Next add the salt,cinnamon powder,sugar and apple and whisk.
-Next add the grated carrot and milk and mix.
-Finally add the spelt flour,oats and almond flower and mix well.
-Divide the batter equally among the 8 muffin cups and bake for 25 - 35 minutes.Keep checking from the 25th minute,mine were done by the 30th minute.I use a small OTG,the baking time and temperature might vary with oven.Use the temperature settings used for cake baking :)


Thanks for stopping by ! Have a nice day!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Aviyal

Have you ever noticed that your food taste changes over the years.I remember being a very picky eater as a kid.I'd rather starve than eat food that I didn't favour,and the list of foods that I didn't like was pretty long.But over the years,call it maturity or ageing, I started eating most of these stuff,partly because I realised the health benefits they offer or I just started liking them.I still don't like certain varieties of Spinach though ,and I still try to swallow them with a cup of water :) Aviyal was probably the last thing on my list as a kid,it was synonymous with my grand mom's place.My mom hails  from a small town in the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala,and everything in the town from the food habits to culture is so similar to Kerala ,that I sometime wonder why the town is still a part of Tamil Nadu. Coconuts,fish and Aviyals are a part of day to day cooking.I started liking Aviyal mainly during my pregnancy,it's such a nutritious dish with so many vegetables and involves absolutely no sauteing.This dish really helps,when your heightened sense of smell and tiredness makes cooking difficult during pregnancy.This is not an authentic version of it,but I tweak it to fit whatever I find in my kitchen :)It pairs up well with rice ,So off to the recipe.....


You'll Need:
Drumstick - 1/2 a long one(cleaned and chopped into 2" pieces)
Carrot - 1 medium(cleaned and chopped)
Potato or yam - a small one(cleaned ,peeled and chopped)
Raw Banana - 1 big(cleaned ,peeled and chopped)
Curd - 2 - 3 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - a pinch
salt as needed
To Grind:
Green Chilli - 1 to 2
Coconut- 2 tbsp(grated)
Cumin Seeds -  1/2 tsp
Whole Pepper Corns - 1/4 tsp
To temper:
Coconut oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - leaves from a sprig


Method:
-In a vessel add the chopped carrot,potato,yam,raw banana and drumstick.
-Add about 1/2 a cup of water,a pinch of turmeric and salt as needed and mix well.
-On a medium flame let it cook until the vegetables are 3/4th cooked,they should hold their shape and not turn mushy.
-Add the ground coconut paste and mix well.Let it cook further for another 4 -5 minutes until it loses its raw flavour.
-Now remove it from the stove and add the curd and mix well.
-In a small pan heat the coconut oil and splutter the curry leaves and mustard.
-Add the tempering to the cooked Aviyal and gently mix.Done !


Thanks for stopping by ! Have a nice day !

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Sweet Corn Vada

The Olympic season each time doesn't just bring out the best sport-talent ,but also brings out the best human beings.There are always so many beautiful people who beat the odds to create history.Like I read somewhere 'People who practice so hard for years for just moments of glory'.So many awe inspiring stories of people who push themselves beyond the limits.Michael Phelps turned into an unbeatable legend,it's not just his winning this year ,but the way he fought with his personal struggles,that makes him more remarkable.Bolt ,true to his name ,literally,as always bolted :) He's always been my favourite ,but this year Dipa Karmakar stole the show.For a person from a country where sports(which is almost synonymous with cricket ) is given absolutely no importance, to have come this far is no mean feat.And to be more specific, in a country where people seem to strongly believe that the words sports and fitness have nothing do with girls, what's she's done is the absolute display of will power and strength.I really admire her parents, who I'm sure would've heard a million of times from people around them that they were making a mistake,still took that leap of faith and trusted and stood by their daughter.And today it took another woman,Sakshi Malik to fetch India its first medal.I know this sounds like a feminist:p ,but I'm kind of very happy that it was a woman who finally got the medal.For a country which still boasts of its patriarchal society and shuns the girl child,India sometimes still needs its women to find its glory.Be it Saina Nehwal,Mary Kom or Sania Mirza,Indian women really fight hard and get their place in the Hall of fame.I somehow felt that Dipa Karmakar deserved a medal,but sometimes life can be testing :)Anyway it's a great day for India and I'm waiting for the Men's 200 m run to watch Bolt,probably jog, to get that gold medal !
Coming to the recipe,this is an instant vada. If you love sweet corn ,you are sure to love this.It can be done in no time and tastes amazing !


You'll Need:
Sweet Corn Kernels (boiled) - 2 cups - 250 - 300 g
Corn Flour - 4 tbsp
All Purpose flour/ Maida - 4 tbsp
Ginger (chopped finely) - 1/2 tsp
Green Chilli - 2 (finely chopped)
Onion -  1 small (finely chopped)
Mint and Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp each ( finely chopped)
salt as needed

Oil for deep frying


Method:
-I used Tinned corn,so just drained them,If using fresh ones.Boil the corn on the cob and with a knife scrape the corn Kernels
-Keeping 2 tablespoons of corn apart,grind the rest of the corn kernels to a coarse paste.
-Now in a bowl mix the paste and all the other ingredients (except for the oil :))and add the 2 tbsps of full corn kernels.
-Let it rest in the refrigerator for 15 - 20 minutes.
-In a deep pan heat the oil,to check it it's warm enough add a pinch of the batter,it should rise immediately to the surface.
-Keep the heat in medium and make small patties of the batter and drop them in the oil.They can be a bit sticky,applying a little oil on your hands or wetting them with water helps.
-Fry the patties in small batches ,turning them over once or twice and let them drain on paper towels.
-They taste crisp and yummy when they're had within an hour of frying.


Note:If you find the batter a bit runny,you can add an extra Tablespoon of All purpose flour or rice flour.
Thanks for stopping by ! Have a nice day !

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Quick Mutton Curry

The summer this year's been an extension of spring.We've had just an occasional week of sun throughout this summer.And that for its part was too hot.Being accustomed to the sweltering heat of Chennai guess I shouldn't be complaining about the heat here.But the sea breeze somehow takes away the edge off the heat there,making it compartitively pleasant.But here you feel the heat till 9 or 10 in the evening.I like the way the sun behaves like a regular office-goer in Chennai,prompt from 6 -6 ,except for the rare rainy days.But here it goes into hiding throughout winter and when it does have to appear in summer,it does it reluctantly :) The rainy weather makes it difficult for me.as I'm then stuck at homes with my little ones.We are usually the weekend non vegetarians with the week having mostly veg dishes and egg.But when it's holidays, it's usually the other way around,mainly because of the ease at which non veg dishes can be prepared.This is one such curry,which needs just 15 minutes of preparation.It pairs up well with any main dish and tastes yum !


You'll Need:
Mutton - 250g
Onion - 1 large (sliced thinly)
Timato - 1 large ( chopped finely)
Oil - 2 Tb
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1/2 - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon - a small stick
Cloves - 1
Cardamom - 1
Stone flower/Kal Paasi - a small piece
Star Anise -  1/2 a medium one
Salt as needed
Coconut Milk - 3 -4 Tb(optional)
Coriander leaves - 2 sprigs (finely chopped)

To Grind to a fine paste:
Garlic - 3 -4 big cloves or 6 -8 small ones
Ginger - same quantity as Garlic
Green Chilli - 1 small
Whole Pepper Corns - 1/2 tsp
Fennel Seeds - 1 tsp
Poppy Seeds - 1 tsp
Cashew Nuts - 2 - 3


Method:
-To a pressure cooker  add the oil and when it heats,splutter the cardamom,cloves,cinnamon,star anise and stone flower.Saute for  a few seconds.
-Add the thinly sliced onions with a pinch of salt and saute for 3 -5 minutes until the onions shrink and are well browned.
-Next add the mutton pieces and saute for  3- 4 minutes until they turn pale brown.
-Add the coriander,turmeric and chilli powder and mix well.
-Add the Tomatoes and mix well.Saute for a few seconds.
-Add salt as needed.And close the lid.Cook on high heat until it whistles once.
-Reduce the flame and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
-Take it off the stove and wait till all the steam is released.
-Open the pressure cooker and add the coconut milk,coriander leaves and 1/4 tsp Garam Masala powder.Check for Salt and add if needed.Let it cook on low heat for another 3 -5 minutes.


Thanks for stopping by ! Have a nice day !

Monday, 1 August 2016

Mango Kesari - Mango Semolina Pudding

This is a quickie post.
Yet another attempt at adding Mango to desserts.
It adds a beautiful colour and flavour to the regular Kesari.
Though the mango flavour isn't very pronounced in the dish,the mangoes give a distinctively pleasant taste and aroma.


You'll Need:
Semolina/Rava - 2 cups
Mango - 2,mango pulp - 2 cups
Water - 6 cups
Sugar - 1 1/4 cups
Ghee - 50 ml(4 Tb) + 1 Tb
Nuts,Raisins - 2 tbsp
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp


Method:
-In a pan heat the ghee and when it heats up add the nuts and raisins and saute for a minute or two until the raisins puff.
-Add the Semolina and saute for 2 minutes until it gives out a nice aroma.
-In another vessel heat the water and when its warm add the mango puree to it and whisk well.
-Add the mango water mixture to the semolina and stir well ,make sure there are no lumps.
-Now reduce the flame and cover and cook on a low heat for 5 -6 minutes until the semolina is cooked.The semolina would have absorbed all the water and the whole mixture will be very thick.
-Now add the sugar and mix well.The mixture will loosen up again.Mix well.
-It tends to splutter so it's better to cover it and let it cook for a further 4 - 6 minutes until it thickens again.And becomes shiny and glossy.
-Now add the cardamom powder and the 1 Tb ghee and mix well.
-Let it again cook for another few minutes.Serve warm !!
-

Note: It does splutter a lot,so it's safer to stay at a distance while cooking :)
Thanks for stopping by ! Have  a nice day !

Friday, 15 July 2016

Fish curry - Meen Kulambu

Traditions are funny things aren't they,neither can you put up with them nor can you do without them.And in their own way they characterise and make a culture unique. I've never been a huge fan of them and most of the time I follow them just to avoid fruitless and draining arguments.This is something you learn as you grow older,when you're young you question things and try to rebel and as you grow older you realise that tolerating things,more bluntly said indifference, saves you a lot of much needed energy :) Well, these days I look at traditions and customs with interest.As a kid when I found them illogical,I demanded for an explanation,and depending upon the mood of the grown up,I would either be threatened that not following them would bring evil or given a lecture about how I would understand their significance once I get old.Some patient people would tell me that each custom usually had some scientific reasoning behind it.I hope I'll one day figure out the scientific reason behind hanging a lemon on a vehicle or keeping a broomstick under the bed :) I was somehow of the idea ,that being raised in India I had seen it all when it comes to traditions, but I was in for a surprise. Every country seems to have their own share of traditions.Like I mentioned in my previous post my daughter's kindergarten years are over and she had a farewell party on her last day.Surprisingly or I'd rather say miraculously we were in time,I'm sure the whole kindergarten was shocked,we are always late .As we entered, the teachers were very excited and asked me if I was having mixed emotions  about the 'Rausschmiss .Now Rausschmiss directly translates to 'Throwing out'.That's the way things are here, everything from their language,clothes to their cakes, are pretty straight forward and practical,you'd rarely find anything very flowery or sugar coated,I have a separate post about that coming up later :)Coming to the 'Throwing out' part,I could sense the other parents moving about with a feeling of sadness and excitement.So we had an usual farewell party after which the parents were asked to take everything and go out and wait.I had no idea what I was waiting for when the teachers pulled up a big bed and threw it near the door.And then ,they carried the kids one by one and threw them out on the bed as the parents went near the bed to hug each one.The kids were super excited ,with each one demanding to be thrown higher than the previous one.One teary eyed mom standing near me whispered in my ears how it reminded her of her own 'Throwing out', where the kids were made to jump out of a window on the ground floor onto a similar bed.Guess though I didn't understand the reasoning behind the tradition,it would always be a cherished memory for the kids.Made me wonder if that was the whole idea behind some traditions,making memories.After all aren't memories one of those things which keeps us going !!
So now we have two months of holidays in our hands, and I literally have 'Two little monkeys jumping on the bed' :)Guess I'd be posting more sporadically,with both of them at home.Coming to the recipe,over the years my cooking style and taste has changed a lot.But this is one traditional recipe where I blindly follow my mom and Grandmother.This is a traditional south Indian dish. It is so easy to prepare and gives me that feeling of home.......


You'll Need:
Fish - 200 g
For the Masala Paste:
Small onion (shallots) - 7 -9 (peeled and chopped into two)
Tomato - 1 very big(finely chopped)
Coriander leaves - 3 -4 sprigs(finely chopped)
Curry leaves - from one sprig
Coconut - finely chopped -3 tbsp
Garlic - 5 -6 small cloves - chopped
Ginger - a tiny peice(optional)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Whole pepper corns - 1/2 tsp
Carom seeds -1/4 tsp(or lesser)
Cumin seeds -  1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1.5 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp

For the curry:
Tamarind - about the size of one or two big gooseberries
(soak in a cup of  warm water for 20 minutes and squeeze and drain to extract the juice)

 For the tempering:
Oil - 1 - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds -  1/4 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few

salt as needed


Method:
-For the masala: Add 2 tsp of oil to a pan ,when it heats up splutter the peppercorns, mustard,fennel ,carom and cumin seeds.Add the curry leaves and garlic.Saute for a minute or two.
-Add the small onions with a pinch of salt and saute for 2 minutes,Then add the Tomatoes along with the Turmeric,coriander and chilli powder and mix well.
-Simmer and let it cook until the mixture oozes out oil.
-Then add the coriander leaves and mix well.Finally add the coconut and saute for another two minutes.
-Remove the mixture off the stove,Let it cool and grind to a slightly coarse paste.
-Extract the juice from the Tamarind.
-Clean and chop the fish.

For the Curry:
-In a vessel add the paste and the tamarind juice and mix well.On a medium heat let the mixture cook for 4 -5 minutes.Check for salt and add as needed.
-Then add the fish and mix carefully.
-Let it cook on a low to medium flame for 10 - 15 minutes until it is full cooked.Do not mix often as the fish might break into pieces.Let it simmer for another 2 -3 minutes.
-In a another pan heat the oil for tempering and splutter the other ingredients.
-Add the tempering to the curry and take it off the stove.



Note:This curry pretty much works with any variety of fish,but the ones with bones taste better.

Thanks for stopping by ! Have a nice day !

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Fish Patties - Meen Vadai

It has been a real hectic week with one of the kids falling sick and the other one having a sleepover at her kindergarten. I've never had a sleepover in all my life and when my little one's kindergarten said that they had a sleepover as a part of their farewell,I was a bit sceptical.But her enthusiasm was so contagious that I had to give in.It was fun to watch the almost 6 year old kids standing excitedly with their torch lights and backpacks,and the parents standing tiredly nearby with their makeshift beds.A part of me was happy when my little girl said 'Mummy leave I'm fine' and a part of me was also sad that she's suddenly all grown up and didn't say 'Mummy stay'.Having studied at the same school from kindergarten for 14 years,I find the system here a bit strange.The kids go to kindergarten for 3 years,then they move on to a Primary school for 4 years after which depending on their capabilities and accomplishments they move to different schools until they get to college.I am somehow convinced that most of the deep lasting friendships start in school and when the kids have to keep moving from one school to another, it would be difficult to find and hold on to a friendship.Not to mention the language and cultural barriers that they face with the kids coming from different countries.But on the other hand I guess it would also make them more adaptable and tougher.It's difficult being a parent, a part of you wants them to be tough and independent,and there's this other part which wishes that they'll always need you.Guess it's a long journey,the only way to keep going is to take one step at a time !

Coming to the recipe,this is an all time favourite at home .This is one starter that I prepare when I have guests coming over as it's easy to make and definitely a hit !



Makes 12 - 14
You'll Need:
Tuna or any bone less fish - 200 g (boiled and mashed)
Potatoes - 3 big (boiled,peeled,mashed)
Onion - 1/2 a medium one (finely chopped)
Ginger (grated) - 1/2 tsp(heaped)
Garlic (grated) - 1/2 tsp(heaped)
Green Chillies(finely chopped) - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves(finely chopped) - 1 tbsp
Curry leaves(finely chopped) - 1 tbsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
Pepper Powder  - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt as needed
Oil as needed


Method:
-Boil,peel and mash the potatoes.
-If using fresh fish:Clean,boil and mash the fish as well.Boil the fish with a little water and then simmer until all the water evaporates.If using Tinned fish u can directly drain the oil or water in it and use it.
-In a pan heat the oil and when it heats up splutter the ginger,garlic and green chillies.When they are slightly browned,add the onions and saute until they turn soft.
-Now add the powders,curry leaves and coriander leaves along with salt and mix well.Saute for another 2 - 3 minutes.Take it off the stove.
-Add the finely grated potatoes and mix well.Then add the fish and mix well.Check for salt ,adding more as needed.
-Shape the mixture into small round patties.
-Heat a little oil in a fat pan and shallow fry the patties turning them carefully after 4 minutes on each side.
-You can also deep fry them in oil or just smear some oil on them and bake in a preheated oven at 200 °C for 15 minutes,turning them over once after 8 - 10 minutes.


 Note:
If you wish to make cutlets,dip the patties in egg(one egg well beaten with a fork) and roll them on bread crumbs and fry them.


Thanks for stopping by ! Have a nice day !

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