Saturday, 31 August 2013

Healthy Cookie Balls - Fun Food

This is a wonderfully simple snack, what you can call fun food.If you want to keep a kid engaged on a rainy day this would be the perfect activity.Little girl and I were bored sitting indoors on a warm rainy day.We were skimming through YouTube when we saw this video for cookies from Tarla Dalal. It featured some little girls making cookies and my little one wanted to try it herself too.We tweaked it a little and it did keep us busy for an hour :) Then she asked me if her favorite 'Cooker' does something like this and she would like to watch that too.Now if you're wondering who this Cooker is ,it's none other than VahChef. She actually loves watching him cook and sometimes even him prefers him to her favorite cartoon characters.Coming to the cookies,you can relate them to AR Rahman's music :) The first time you try them you'll think 'nothing special' but you'll still reach for another one.And after two or three you'll soon finding yourself loving it :)It does have some healthy ingredients and you needn't feel guilty or worry about fat while munching a few :)

You'll Need:
Whole Grain Biscuits or Digestive Biscuits - 10 -12
Peanut Butter - 1/2 cup -125 g
Flax seed powder - 1 tbsp
Almond Powder (or any nut powder ) -  2 tbsp
Condensed milk - 3 - 4 tbsp
Quick cooking oats - 1/2 cup
Chocolate chips - 2 tbsp
Desiccated coconut for rolling the cookies

-Coarsely crush the biscuits with your hand or pulse in a blender.
-In a bowl mix the crushed biscuits,Peanut butter,Flax seed powder,almond powder,flax seed powder,oats and chocolate chips.
-Add the condensed milk and mix well.Knead with your hands to form a soft dough,adding some more condensed milk if needed.
-Pinch little balls from the dough and roll them in between your palms.
-Pulse the desiccated coconut in the blender once or twice.Roll each of the balls on the coconut powder.Done !

Thanks for stopping by ! Have fun !

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Fish Scramble - Tuna Scramble

This is what I'll call a perfect quick fix side dish.Tuna has loads of health benefits with no fat involved so it's a regular at our place.I always have tuna tins stocked up as they come in very handy on lazy days.This  tastes great with any mildly spiced gravy.You could also replace Tuna with any other boneless fish of your choice.

You'll Need:
Serves 3 - 4
Tuna - 200 g Tin (in olive oil)
Green Chillies - 2 - 3 (slit)
Curry leaves -  leaves from 1 sprig
Onion - 1 big (finely chopped)
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Ginger Garlic Paste from -  Garlic 7 - 8 cloves and ginger - 1-2 " piece
oil - 2 tsps
salt as needed

-To a pan add the olive oil in which the tuna is preserved.When it heats up add the mustard seeds when it splutters add the green chillies and the curry leaves(be prepared for a lot of spluttering :)).If using fresh fish add 2 tsp of oil and start cooking.
-Saute for 2 minutes.Add the ginger garlic paste and saute until it's well browned.
-Add the onions with little salt and saute until they are well browned.
-Add the tuna and mix well.Saute for 5 -7 minutes until its well browned.Check for salt.
-Add the coriander leaves and saute for another minute or two...Done !

-Tinned Tuna mostly has a little bit of salt in it,so it's better to add very little salt to the dish before adding the tuna.
-If using any other fresh fish,just boil it in a little bit of water with salt and turmeric.Then drain and mash with
a fork.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Channa Tikki - Chickpeas Patties

The needle in my weighing scale simply loves to move towards the right.Well I've almost given up trying to make it dip towards the left,all that I expect is that it stays where it is :) This was one more effort at keeping that needle in place.I actually boiled some chickpeas as it makes a very healthy snack.But then my taste buds wanted something more appetizing,so I ended up making these patties.They are real yummy and healthy and can be whipped up in no time.For an even healthier version you could bake them in the oven.This makes a great snack for kids too,just skip the green chillies !

You'll Need:
Makes 14 -15
Chick Peas/Kabuli Channa/Garbanzo beans - 3/4 th cup - 125 g
Onion - 1 small (finely chopped)
Carrot - 1 medium(finely grated)
Cabbage - 1/2 cup(grated)
Coriander Leaves -  2 tbsp (finely chopped)
Capsicum - 1/2 a small one(chopped finely)
Lemon Juice - 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder -1/4 tsp
Green Chillies - 2 tsp(chopped)
Corn Flour - 1 - 2 tbsp
 salt as needed

-Soak the Chickpeas overnight or for 6 -8 hours in sufficient water.Rinse the chickpeas and pressure cook with 2 cups of water & salt for 1 whistle and simmer for 8 - 10 minutes or until well cooked.
-Drain the chickpeas and preserve the water.You can add the water to other curries or use it for kneading chapatis.
-Grind the chickpeas without adding water to a coarse paste.
-Add all the ingredients except the oil and mix well.Check for salt.
-Make small patties.
-Heat a little oil in a pan on medium flame.Cook the patties on both sides till they turn golden brown.
-Alternatively rub a little oil on the patties and bake in a pre heated oven at 350°F / 175 °C for 25 -30 minutes.

Thanks for stopping by ! Happy Cooking !

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Mushroom Masala

I love Mushrooms,they are healthy and delicious.I find that they taste better when they are cooked with little spices in a very mild way.This is one of my all time favorites.It calls for a very few ingredients and tastes very rich and delicious.When I prepare this for guests I've always had people telling me that it tastes amazing like a restaurant style gravy.I used to be reluctant to prepare mushroom for guests as many people are either allergic or complain from heart burn.But removing the stem and using only the crown has proved to be very effective.I'm reading yet another book and my brain has again shut down :) So off to the recipe......

You'll Need:
Serves 2 -3
Mushroom - 200 g
Onion -  1 big (finely chopped)
Tomato -  1 big ( finely chopped)
Cumin - 1 tsp
Fennel  - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 1 " stick
Cloves - 1
Cardamom - 1
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves - 7 -8 sprigs
Boiled Milk - 1/2 cup
oil - 3 tsp
Butter - 2 tsp
Salt as needed

-To a pan add oil and when it heats up splutter the cumin,fennel seeds,cardamom,cinnamon and cloves.Add the onions with a little salt and saute until they turn soft.
-Add the tomatoes and saute until they turn soft.Then remove from the stove,cool and grind the mixture to a fine paste.
-Add some butter or oil to the pan and add the onion tomato paste.Saute for 2  -3 minutes.Add the chilli powder and turmeric powder and mix well.
-Add the chopped mushroom and saute well for 5 -10 minutes until it looks half cooked.
-Grind the coriander leaves into a paste.
-Add some water and the coriander leaves paste and let it to cook in a medium heat for 5 minutes.Add the boiled milk and further simmer for another 5 -8 minutes.
-Done !

Thanks for stopping by ! Happy Cooking !

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Peas Pulao & Mutton Curry

 Happy Independence day  !! I know its a great day and I wholeheartedly honor all those unsung heroes who fought for our freedom.But I guess if most of them are alive today they wouldn't be happy with the state of our country.I somehow feel that previously it was explicit slavery ,but now we are slowly becoming implicit slaves to so many unwelcome forces . Ok,I want this this to be a lighthearted post,so I'm not getting into gruesome details :))
If you visit us on a Sunday ,there is a 70% chance of you getting peas pulao with a chicken or mutton curry.Mostly it would be a chicken gravy though :) Though we are non vegetarians we mostly stick to chicken & fish.It's only recently that I've developed a liking towards mutton.We are what you can call 'weekend Non Vegetarians'.Back at home,mom would make vegetarian food from Monday to Friday ,fish on Saturday and chicken or mutton on Sunday. Occasionally we would have chicken on Wednesday and my sister & I would be super excited about it :) I stick to the same menu.
    I'm a big fan of Peas Pulao,probably one of the easiest to prepare but very rich and flavorful.Every household would have its own recipe.The best peas pulao I've ever tasted was at 'Uphara Darshini' in Jayanagar,Bangalore.It's a fast food place where you just stand and eat.It used to cost me only 15 Rs but simply splendid. I've tried different versions of peas pulao and this is one that comes a little close to the taste in my memory :) 
   I usually stick to chicken,firstly because we don't find lamb here and secondly I'm not a big fan of its meaty flavour. The lamb that we find here is a little expensive too.It's only recently that we discovered this little Turkish shop that sells lamb at a reasonable price. I set out trying out different recipes and this was one that I really loved.I watched this in a travel cooking show and gave it a shot.It's very flavorful and somehow adding mint kind of alleviates the meaty flavour. I wanted to post them as two different posts,but they looked and taste so good together that I didn't want to separate the Pulao and the curry :) So off to the recipes......

Serves 4 
You'll Need:
Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Onion - 1 big sliced thinly
Fresh peas - 3/4th cup
Cinnamon - 1 big stick
Cloves - 3
Cardamom - 2
Star anise - 1
Bay leaf - 1 big
Oil - 1/2 tbsp
Ghee - 1/2 - 1 tbsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Green chilli - 2 big
Water - 2.5 cups
Curd - 1 cup
Boiled milk - 1/2 cup
Cashew nuts - 4 - 5 ( optional)
Kasoori methi - 1 tsp crushed
salt as needed

-Soak the basmati rice in water for 20 - 30 minutes.Then drain the rice and  preserve the water.
-Mix 2.5 cups of water (including the water in which the rice was soaked ),curd and milk well .Add the cumin powder,coriander powder,garam masala powder and mix well.Heat it until its warm and just starts boiling.Remove it from the stove.
-In a pan,heat the oil and ghee,when it heats up splutter the cinnamon , cardamom ,star anise and bay leaf.
-Add the Onions and the slit green chillies and saute until the onions turn translucent.Add the peas and saute cf or two minutes .
-Add the drained rice and saute on a slow flame for 4 - 5 minutes.
-Add the hot water,curd and milk mixture and mix well.Add salt and mix well,the mixture should taste a little bit salty.Add the Kasoori Methi and mix well.
-To cook the rice :
  -In an electric rice cooker,just add the contents and pout it in cook mode
  -To cook in a vessel on a stove - add the contents to a vessel and let it cook on medium flame,when it starts boiling reduce the flame and cover with a lid.Simmer for 10 - 12 minutes.
  -To cook in as pressure cooker, cook on medium heat food 1 whistle.Then simmer for 8 - 10 minutes.
-Garnish with Cashew nuts sauted in a little ghee.

For a richer taste:
 -You can add 2 tsp of almond or cashew paste.
 -You can replace the milk with coconut milk.

Serves 3 - 4
You'll Need:
Mutton - 250 g
Onion - 1 big (finely chopped)
Tomato - 1 big(finely chopped)
Mint Leaves - 1 - 2 tbsp ( finely chopped)
Coriander leaves -  2 tbsp ( finely chopped)
Green Chilli - 1 - 2 ( chopped)
Ginger - 1 " piece ( crushed or grated) - 1.5 tsp
Garlic - 6 -7 (crushed or grated)
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Fennel Powder - 3/4 tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 3/4 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1/4 tbsp
Curry leaves - 10 leaves
oil - 3 - 4 tsp
Coconut milk - 1/2 cup (thick milk)

-Clean the mutton and cut it into small bite size pieces.
-To a pressure cooker,add the oil and when it heats up add the curry leaves.Then add the crushed ginger and garlic and saute for 3 -4 minutes until they are browned.
-Add the onion and chopped green chilli with little salt.Saute until the onions are well browned.
-Add the mutton pieces and turmeric powder and saute for 4 -5 minutes on medium flame.
-Add the tomatoes and mix well.Add the garam masala powder,coriander powder,fennel powder and red chilli powder and mix well.Reduce the flame and saute until the mixture oozes out oil.
-Now add the mint and coriander leaves and about 1.5 to 2 cups of water.Pressure cook on high heat for one whistle and simmer for 10 -12 minutes or until the mutton is well cooked.After the pressure is released open the pressure cooker and add the coconut milk and let it simmer for another 8 - 10 minutes or until it reaches the desired thickness.Done !

Thanks for stopping by ! Happy Cooking !


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Prawn Cutlet - Eral Cutlet

   This is seriously an amazing starter, a sure hit in a party or get together.It was part of the food that I prepared for my daughter's birthday party.We are a small group of Indians who meet mostly on occasions like birthdays or on a warm sunny day .Actually all this is an excuse for us to eat good food :)We don't have any Indian restaurants around and we really look forward to occasions like this. Guess when we prepare food everyday,no matter how much we love cooking there are days when we wish someone would hand us a platter full of good food.And these parties are treats for us women,though it's hectic for the one who prepares food :)
     I'm usually nervous when I have to cook for a group,because something that I least expect usually goes wrong.This time it was the cake,my fridge sometimes behaves like a partial freezer and it decided to do it on the day of my little girl's b'day.So when I kept the cake on the table it was so hard that poor little girl had some difficulty cutting it :) And only then did I also realize that I forgot to pipe the border.She's a big fan of Pocoyo and wanted a Pocoyo cake,as with every little kid she was easy to please too and told me that she loved the cake.Though I wasn't totally satisfied.It actually tasted yummier towards the end of the day when it was at room temperature.It was a three layer cake(pistachio,orange and chocolate) with a butter cream icing. Will share the recipe soon.In all the hurry I couldn't get a good click, that's the poor cake :) Cake decorators please don't laugh :) I was thinking if I should write a book 'Cake'ai sodhapuvadhu eppadi'(How to ruin a cake)' ,Just kidding !

So off to the recipe,I always complain that we don't get good prawns here,but this time I'm seriously in love with the prawns here.I prepared this cutlet from store bought cooked prawns,it makes the whole process very simple and easy.A blessing for a lazy person like me :) 

You'll Need:
Makes about 10 Cutlets
Prawns - 100 g
Potato -  1 big
Ginger - 1/2 tsp(grated)
Green Chilli - 1 big(finely chopped)
Egg - 1
Corn Flour - 1 tbsp
salt as needed
oil - for frying
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Red Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder -  a pinch
Onion - 1 medium (finely chopped)

-Boil the potato.Peel and grate the potato.
-Boil the Prawn with little water,salt ,turmeric powder and red chilli powder.Drain the water and grind the prawns coarsely.
-Add oil to a pan and when it heats up add the ginger and stir for a minute.Then add the onion ,green chilli and coriander leaves and saute until the onions turn translucent.Add the ground prawn and saute for a minute or two.
-Whisk the egg slightly.
-In a vessel mix the prawn mixture,potatoes,egg,corn flour and salt.Mix well and add salt as needed.
-Make small dumplings and shallow fry or deep fry in oil until they turn golden brown in colour.

Thanks for stopping by ! Happy Cooking !
What are the dishes that you love to prepare for a party or what do you think is a crowd pleaser. Do let me know !

Friday, 9 August 2013

Cabbage Vada

It's been more than a week since I posted,I seriously didn't find time to sit at my comp.Well If u're wondering why,I've been attending kindergarten for the past 10 days :) This is a very hectic month for me,little girl turned 3 and she's started kindergarten.And here in Germany till when the kid settles in ,one of the parents (mostly the mother) accompanies the child to kindergarten.If  your kid doesn't have any separation anxiety this lasts for just a few days but for others it could last up to 2 -3 months.My daughter is one of those kids whose totally attached to her mommy,so I guess I'll be going there for quite some time.In India I still remember the first day of school.It's a very exciting experience for the parents and the passers by watching the kids.Some of the the kids kick and scream while the other go in smiling and the teachers some how manage to calm down a class of 50 or more howling children with ease :) Guess that's more difficult for the kids ,while going to kindergarten for 3 months can be difficult for a grown up :)I do feel out of place sitting there for 3 hours every day but it's a humbling experience too.Yesterday to keep myself occupied I picked up a 40 piece jigsaw puzzle and started doing it.I wasn't even half way through the puzzle when I was stuck.There I was sitting with a serious expression on my face as if I was thinking about the world economy,when a 5 year old asked me if I needed some help and finished the puzzle off in no time :) Blame it on aging or lack of interest,but I was humbled .Reminded me of something that my Dad always tells us 'The learning never ends' :)

So off to the recipe...This makes a wonderful tea time snack,I love adding  vegetables to snacks and this is one such attempt.

Makes 15 -18 Vadas
You'll Need:
Channa Dal /Gram Dal -  150 g
Green Chilli - 1 -2
Cabbage - 1 cup - 150 g (finely chopped)
Onion - 1 small( finely chopped)
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves - 2 -3 tbsp
Ginger- a small piece
Oil - for deep frying

-Soak the Channa Dal in about two cups of water for 6 hours or overnight.
-Setting about handful of the drained channa dal aside,Grind the rest without water along with green chillies and ginger to a slightly coarse mixture.

-Add the cabbage,onion,coriander leaves,the handful of channa dal and salt to the ground mixture and mix well.
-Heat the oil in a wok,test if its ready by adding a pinch of the dal,if it immediately rises to the top then the oil is well heated.Make small flat patties of the dal mixture.
-Add the patties few at a time and fry until they are golden brown.

-If you find that the batter is a little runny and you feel that the vadas might break on frying,try keeping the mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes before frying.
-Alternatively you can add one tbsp of besan/gram flour or corn flour to the mixture to absorb the extra moisture.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy Cooking !

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