July 25, 2007


Hot Chillies!!! That is the choice for "Jihva for ingredients" aka JFI which is started by Indira of Mahanandi and this month it's "Nandita from Saffron Trail"'s turn to host. Thanks for taking time Nandita!:))

Red and Yellow (store bought) Bell peppers I used to make these dishes with my own homegrown Green Poblanos, milder Yellow Banana peppers,Pear and Cherry tomatoes!

Chili peppers,as they are called in US, are thought to have been domesticated by prehistoric people in different parts of South and North America,from Peru in the south to Mexico.The name Chilli peppers,which is spelled differently in many regions (chili, chile or chilli), comes from Nahuatl via the Spanish word chile. The term chili in most of the world refers exclusively to the smaller,hot types of capsicums. The mild larger types are called bell pepper in the USA, simply pepper in Britain and Ireland, capsicum in Australasia and paprika in many European countries.From Mexico, at the time the Spanish colony that controlled commerce with Asia, chili peppers spread rapidly into the Philippines and then to India, China, Korea and Japan with the aid of European sailors. The new spice was quickly incorporated into the local cuisines.Chili pepper figures heavily in the cuisine of India!
Chilli peppers are now grown around the world because they are widely used as spices or vegetables in cuisine, and as medicine.They are rich in vitamin C,high in potassium and high in magnesium and iron,and are believed to have many beneficial effects on health.Canadian researchers believe that chilies might play a vital role in treating diabetes.Chili pepper as a component in weight loss diets has been the subject of a book titled "The Chili Pepper Diet".
Info from WIKIPEDIA.

Mirchi-Besan Bhaji:
(Delicious Chillies-Chickpea flour Gravy or Menasinakai Gojju in Kannada)
If you like spicy food,this dish is "it" for ya! It's delicious (I have used milder semi-ripe Banana peppers,) with creamy yellowish chickpea flour gravy.If you are still not brave enough,then feel free to use just sweet bell peppers to replace hot ones.But do not miss the delicious tasting gravy.It goes well any Parathas or Pulao,Biryani as a side dish. Hope you try.

Usually I insist my kids to eat all the Indian food I cook whether they like it or not, but this time I pardoned them from eating this dish! They happily ate Ramen Chicken noodles instead!;D

You Need:

About 8 banana peppers, 2-3 any large mild green chillies,2 small green chillies,,Roasted 3 tbsp Besan/Chick peas flour, 1 tbsp Coriander seeds powder,1/2 tsp Cumin seeds powder, 1/4 tsp Hing/asafoetida,1/4 tsp turmeric,1 tbsp Tamarind juice, 2 tsp or more Jaggery or sugar and salt.
For Garnish:1-2 tsp lemon juice,salt,1 tsp Garam masala,cilantro.

For seasoning:1 tbsp butter+2 tsp oil,1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp mustard seeds,1/2 onion sliced, 1" ginger+2 garlic, both ground together to paste.

How to make it:

1. Slice chillies in halves or fours,take out the seeds,soak in salt water for 15mins if you are using hot chillies but skip this if you are using sweet bell peppers.Drain and keep aside.Roast Besan flour until slightly golden in a non-stick pan,keep aside.
2. Heat butter and oil in a pan,add the seasoning ingredients,fry until slightly reddish.Now add sliced chillies and fry until they wilt and you see the chilies soften.
3. Sprinkle besan and all the dry masala powders and.Stir fry for a minute, and add salt,Jaggery or sugar,1 cup of water with Tamarind juice.Simmer until you see the thickish sauce, and oil shows on top.If it's too thick add more water.
4.Take off the heat,sprinkle Garam masala,cilantro and lemon juice if needed.
5. Serve with slice of lemon,Parathas or Rice Rottis or Pulaos.

A plate for you with hot Mirch Bhaji,cool yogurt Raita and yummy Wheat-Barley flour Rotis:

To make Barley flour Parathas: Use 1 cup Wheat flour,1/2 cup Barley flour,hot water,salt to knead to a stiff dough.Let it rest for 30mins,roll to circles,cut with 4" round cookie cutters (my secret to perfectly round rotis!;D )and cook rotis on a griddle both sides.
Raita: Mix plain yogurt,cubed cucumber,few Tomatoes,salt,Cilantro well and chill for 1/2 an hr in the fridge.

Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan:
(Red and Orange Bell Peppers and Poblanos cooked in a deliciously thick and flavorful Gravy, a very popular Hyderabadi dish adapted from Ms.Bilkees A. Latif's Hyderabadi and Telangana cuisine cookbook with my additions)

A famous Hyderabadi dish prominently served at the Muslim weddings as the author says along with Hyderabadi Biryani,is a delicious dish you must try.You can use any chillies you like to make it mild or hot.I chose sweet bell peppers and mild Poblanos.I LOVED the taste of this with Parathas as well.
You need:
3 colorful Bell peppers/Capsicums,2 large Poblanos,1/4 tsp Turmeric,1 tbsp Tamarind juice,Cilantro,few Mint leaves,Jaggery or sugar as much as you want,1/2 tsp chilli pd(optional if you are using hot chillies but add if using sweet bell peppers)
For Seasoning:
2 tbsp butter and 1/2 tbsp oil, 1 large onion,sliced thinly.
To Grind #1: Fry 1 large onion,sliced thin , until reddish with little oil, and grind with 1" ginger, 2 garlic.Keep aside.
To Grind #2: 2 tbsp dry coconut,1 tbsp Sesame seeds/Til, few curry leaves,1 tbsp Cumin pd,5 Cashewnuts or Almonds, 1 tbsp Coriander powder,1 tbsp Poppy seeds, 2 red Tomatoes with little water to a smooth paste.Keep aside.
To make it:
1. Slice peppers into wide,long pieces. Heat oil in a pan, add 1 onion sliced,fry until reddish brown with little sugar and salt.Add ground (#1) Onion-ginger-garlic paste,fry until you see oil on top.Add Turmeric.
2. Now add sliced peppers,fry until they change color slightly,and wilts.Add in ground masala #2,stir for a minute.
3. Add Tamarind juice,salt,Jaggery and 1 cup of water.Simmer for 10 mins until oil shows on top.When done,there should be good amount of thick gravy with soft cooked but not mushy peppers.Adjust the salt,chilli ,sugar and tamarind to taste
4. Garnish with Cilantro and Mint leaves.Serve with Parathas or rice rottis or any Pulav or Biryanis.Best with Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani and Raita called Boorani!

Here are few Mirchi dishes I already have:
Jalapeno Chutney
Stuffed Mirchi Bonda
Mirchi-Baingan Salan
Chilli Pepper Stir-fry

After all that OOH AHHH of delicious spicy gravy,don't you want some good old classic flavored Ice Creams to cool your palate?

Authentic Indian Kulfi! Unlike Western Ice Creams, Indian Kulfi is traditionally made from boiling milk until reduced to half the quantity with sugar and 1 tsp Cornstarch added to keep the shape(No eggs added).To this any fruit and flavor and color may be added.When thickens,it is poured into small coney Kulfi containers(like Popsicles cones) and frozen.Unmould and serve on a plate garnished with pistachio pd or Cardamom pd.Kulfi is also served with falooda which is made from heating Cornstarch,milk and little sugar,thickened to a dough,cooled and passed thru' a press like Noodles.Serve Falooda chilled with Kulfi on top to be authentic!! Here is a photo(not mine) if you want to see how Falooda-Kulfi look!

Finally!!! A delectable ever popular Pistachio Ice Cream/Kulfi, a recipe made Ben and Jerry's style from their Ice Cream book! after freezing for about 3hrs!!:)

Look what I made after nearly 2 months of getting this Ice Cream maker as a gift!:D I had to make some space for the Ice box in my freezer before even I tried and it was well worth the wait.I will never buy another Ice Cream after tasting these.This machine really is worth every penny of $50, specially tried with Ben and Jerry's creamy Ice Cream recipes.Pista Kulfi(Pistachio Ice Cream) was out of this World! There are 3 methods of Ice Cream base,according to this book.I used the first one,which makes the creamiest and the most delectable version.Egg makes all the difference in this recipe avoiding the Ice crystal from forming and gives the Ice Cream a fluffiness of a cloud! Skip the Eggs if you like.I made half of this recipe that makes 1 Pint of Ice Cream instead of 1 Quart(2 Pints). Here it is goes:

Served right after the processing in the Cuisinart, still in creamy semi-solid stage:
Recipe makes one quart(2 Pints) of Ice Cream,I made half the quantity ie 1 Pint.

Basic sweet Cream Base #1 (to make 1 Quart): 2 cup heavy cream,1 cup 2% or full milk,3/4 cup sugar,2 Eggs. Whisk eggs until light and fluffy,add sugar next whisk,then add cream and milk along your fav. color(I added 3 drops of green color for Pista Kulfi)and 1 tsp any Essence and pour it in the frozen Ice Cream bowl and start.Fluffy Ice Cream is ready in 30 mins.Add any nuts (I added 1/4 cup crushed Pistachios)and fruit you like just a minute or two before you stop the machine.Collect and freeze for 3 hrs in a air tight container.Scoop them and enjoy.
Don't have this Machine? Whisk everything together in a blender except nuts,add to a container,freeze for 3 hrs.Take out and blend again until crushed and creamy ,add Pistachios,mix and freeze until set.Beauty of owning a Ice Cream machine is in the constant churning of cream and creamy light texture which is unachievable without this gadget!

Here is the process with Cuisinart Ice Cream maker:

French Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Oreo bits on a slice of Pound cake!!

After my favorite Pista Kulfi,kids wanted to make their own favorite with French vanilla with Chocolate Oreo bits! Same as above with French Vanilla essence and Oreo bits added just before stopping the machine after 30 mins. I baked a Pound cake(Betty Crocker's low fat mix) and topped with Ice cream scoops!!(My son HAD to add some colorful Xmas sprinkles on top!)

Two more Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Bases:Makes 1 Quart
Base Cream #2: 2 cups heavy cream,2/3 cup half and half,3/4 cup Sugar.(creamy but does not store well like the first base,got to finish all in 1 day!)
Base Cream #3: 2 cups light Cream, 1 cup sweetened cold Condensed milk.(less creamy,less rich)
Add color,flavors,fruits and nuts of your choice.Enjoy!:))

Lemony Watermelon Slushy!
What's a Slushy? According to Thesaurus,slushy = being or resembling melting snow; "slushy snow". Every time we go to movies,kids have to have those Blueberry and Raspberry slushies they sell there.Now, no more spending money on those,when they can make their own at home!!:D

When you have a huge Watermelon, you make what else but Watermelon slushies with a squeeze of lemon juice!!You can make any flavored cool aid slushies in the same way.

Slushy ready to be served!

Slushy is very simple to make with machine! Blend 2 cups of sweet Watermelon chunks, seedless of course, with 1 tsp of lemon juice until smooth,add to the frozen jar to start and it's ready in 15mins to scoop up and devour immediately!! Or you can blend Watermelon chunks,lemon juice and ice cubes in blender until it's slushy !

That's it!! Enjoy.See you all next week.
Oh btw, I went to a Eye Surgeon for consultation for Lasik surgery on my half blind Myopic eyes.Although I don't get rid of my glasses completely,he will try his best to fix it.I have one more discussion with him next Wednesday and then get a date for my chop-chop time! Will let you know what happens next week!:)

July 18, 2007


Thanks a million to all bloggers who wished me and my blog last week.You are all such a wonderful bunch,I really am honored to be a tiny part of your lives.Unless you are a blogger yourself,you won't understand the joys and pains of blogging!100th post did feel special for me,I don't think I will be THIS happy for 200,300..!:D

I specially want to thank these ladies who are "No longer lurkers"; Angela, Geethi(I will try the Adobo!),Carol ,Suma and Mary. Big hugs to you girls,thanks for commenting. You really didn't have to bother to say anything but you did! I really appreciate it. Now that I know you,hope you stop by once in a while to say hi to me.I will remember you. Hope you are reading this!:)

Wish I could buy Ice Creams for all of you or may be I will make Kulfi next week!!;)

Well..it's time to celebrate "Regional Cuisines of India",a brain child of LakshmiK of "Veggie Cuisine".This month's host is our own sweet Richa from "As dear as salt" blog and we are showcasing the state of Punjab.Thanks for hosting Richa!:)

A wonderful cookbook I used for cooking these Punjabi dishes and some info about Punjab:
I love this cookbook.I used to cook Punjabi food before but after following the recipes in this book,I found out that how Punjabi food are really supposed to taste!:)

The name Punjab means "land of five rivers", and literally translates from Persian into the words Panj, related to Sanskrit Pañca, meaning "five", and Āb ,related to Sanskrit Āp, meaning "water" respectively. The rivers are the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej and Beas. The five rivers, now divided between India and Pakistan, merge to form the Panjnad, which joins the Indus.Agriculture is the largest industry in Punjab.Bhangra is one of the many Punjabi musical art forms.Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Punjabi people.Punjabi cuisine can be non-vegetarian or completely vegetarian.The main masala in a Punjabi dish consists of onion, garlic and ginger and usually mildly spiced. Tandoori food is a Punjabi specialty especially for non-veg dishes.All these info from WIKI.

Sardai and Mango Lassi:
(Almond,cardamom drink with milk and Mango-Yogurt drink)

Almonds are the very nutritious and are often included in many ways in Punjabi dishes.Now you know why they are so strong and sturdy!:)
Of course,Mangoes are every Indian's favorite fruit,why not make it even more delicious the Punjabi way, as Mango Lassi!

You Need:
3 cups 2% milk, about 5 tbsp sugar or to taste.
To Grind:
15 almonds,soaked and skin peeled, 1 tbsp of poppy seeds, 2 tsp melon seeds, 2 cardamoms powdered.(few Peppercorns,powdered is optional)
To make it:
1. Soak almonds and Poppy seeds in few tbsp of warm water for 30 minutes, drain and peel the brown skin, and put it in the blender along with all other ingredients shown above and grind to a very smooth paste using the same water.
2. Add 1/4 cup water to this mixture and strain through a muslin cloth to get a smooth liquid.
3. Add milk and enough sugar, blend again.Chill before you serve.

Mango Lassi
(Mango puree blended with yogurt with optional Cardamom pd)
You need:
1 cup mango puree`, 1 1/2 cups fat free yogurt, powdered sugar to taste,Cardamom pd as an optional flavor.
How to make it:
1. Blend all this in a blender with a whipper blade until well mixed, thick and frothy.Add Cardamom pd if you like.I love the natural Mango flavor and aroma, so I skip adding the cardamom pd.
2. Chill before you serve, serve in tall glasses with a straw.

Punjabi Aloo Tikki with sweet and hot chutney:
(Potato patties/cutlets stuffed with savory split peas with sauces)

My eternal favorite snack Aloo Tikkis made Punjabi style that is stuffed with seasoned split peas and served with two sweet and hot chutneys.What more can I say? My kids ate them like Burgers in buns with Ketchup!(Rolling my eyes!):p

To make Tikkis:
4 medium potatoes, boiled and mash, 2 tbsp corn flour, salt to taste, chili powder to taste, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp garam masala.
1/3 cup channa dal, cooked and drained, 1/2 tsp crushed cumin seeds, 2 green chilies or 1/8 tsp chili powder, 1/2" ginger, minced, salt to taste, 1/2 tsp each of chaat masala and garam masala and 1 tbsp minced cilantro.
How to make them:
1. For potato cutlets, mash all the ingredients shown above until you get a smooth stiff dough. Keep it aside.
2. To make filling; soak channa dal for 1 hour,and cook with water until soft but not completely mashed. Drain the water.
3. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil, add cumin seeds, chopped green chilies or chilli powder , ginger, and salt. Add dal and all the other filling ingredients. Take off the heat and cool.
4. Take a ball of the mashed potato and make a shallow cup. Add 1 tbsp of filling in the center and seal well to form a ball. Flatten slightly to make thick patties/cutlets.
5. Heat about 2-3" of oil in a pan for deep frying or shallow frying up to 375 F, add 2-3 tikkis carefully at a time in the oil and fry until golden brown and crisp on both sides.Drain well on paper towel.
6. Serve with sweet tamarind(Mix Juice+salt+sugar+Cumin pd) chutney and hot Mint(Ground Mint+Cilantro+green chillies+salt+Lemon Juice) chutney.

Methiwali Makki di Roti:

I used Yellow Cornmeal we get in the US grocery store rather than whitish corn flour, makes excellent colorful Cornmeal rotis and adding the fresh Fenugreek leaves and spices enhances the taste.You can add Spinach chopped,if Methi Saag is not available to you which makes them Palakwali Makki di roti!:D

You need:
2 cups makki da atta (Yellow Cornmeal/flour),1 cup finely chopped fresh Methi(fenugreek) leaves,2 tsp oil, 1 onion very finely chopped, 2 green chillies finely chopped (optional), 1/2 tsp salt or to taste,hot water to knead the flour, 2 tsp cumin seeds crushed slightly,2 tsp lemon juice,1/2 tsp sugar.
Some Ghee/melted butter to brush on the rotis after cooking them and no-stick oil to spray on the foil.
How to make it:
1. In a big bowl,mix all the above except ghee to brush,add enough hot water and knead until you get a stiff dough.
2. Divide in 6 balls,cover and keep it aside.
3. Heat a griddle.Meanwhile,take a ball on a no-stick oil sprayed foil and press with your palm to make a 6" circle.Gently transfer it on to the griddle.
4. Cook both sides until golden,brush little melted butter and serve while warm with Sarson da saag or Palak Paneer.Enjoy.
Note: Another way to make these is to heat 1 1/2 cup water+little butter and salt,add yellow Cornmeal,stir cook until you get a stiff dough.Add little water if it's too dry.When warm enough to handle,make balls,follow above steps.

Sarson da Saag:
(Soft and spiced Mustard greens+Spinach+Turnips)
Sarson da saag is Mustard greens in Punjabi,a favorite Greens used in Punjabi cooking which has a slightly spicy taste.It makes a wonderful simple side dish for Corn rotis.

You need:

2 bunches of mustard greens (sarson), 1 bunch spinach, 1 Turnip,chopped and cooked (I didn't have it!),2 minced garlic, 1" minced ginger, 1 green chili chopped, salt to taste, 2 tbsp corn flour or Cornmeal(not cornstarch), 1 tsp sugar,1/8th tsp turmeric.

1 tbsp ghee or butter, 1" ginger, minced, 1/8 tsp of red chili powder or 1 dry red chilly.1 tbsp softened butter to serve.

How to make it:
1. Wash, clean and chop both of the greens and Turnip if you are using.
2. Heat butter, add the chopped onion, garlic, ginger, green chilies, and cook until soft.Add chopped Spinach and Mustard greens,cooked Turnip cubes,1 cup of water,cook until soft and almost dry.
3. Take off the heat,mash a little, return the pan on the heat. Sprinkle the cornmeal flour,sugar,oil and cook on low heat until slightly thick.
4. Heat the ghee/butter, add ginger minced,stir fry until slightly reddish.Take off the heat and add 1/8 tsp of chili powder or 1 red or green chilly.
5. Add this seasoning to the cooked greens, mix. Serve with a dab of softened butter on top and Cornmeal rotis.

A plate of Methiwali Makki di Roti and Sarson da Saag with a dab of butter on top!

Palak Paneer:
(Spicy ground Spinach with cubes of Indian Cheese, similar to Cottage cheese or Ricotta cheese)

Palak is spinach and Paneer is Indian cheese usually home made, used to make various Indian dishes .It's not as hard as people think to make Paneer at home but takes a little time to prepare them.Spinach is cooked with light spices and ground coarsely and Paneer is added just before serving,makes a nutritious side dish as well for Rotis.Hope you try.
Here is how I make Indian Paneer:
Heat 1/2 Gallon of full cream milk until hot,add 1/2 tsp or more of Citric acid or lemon juice,keep stirring until whey separates.Strain through the Muslin/cheese cloth and hang it until dry.When it stops dripping,squeeze,tie the top,shape into a square block,place on a plate and something heavy on top to set the cheese.Keep it in the fridge overnight.Take it out,cut into cubes.You can shallow fry to add to dishes or use plain cheese as it is too.It's also sold in Indian stores in blocks.

To make Palak Paneer, You need:
About 10 cubes of homemade or store bought Paneer, 6 cups of fresh spinach(can use 10oz frozen pack too,squeeze dry), 2 green chilies, salt to taste, 1/4 tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp of garam masala, 1 clove powdered, 1 cardamom powder(optional), 1 tsp Mango powder.(1/4 cup Tomato sauce can be added as it says in the book but I did not use in this recipe,wanted to keep it purely green!)
To fry and grind:
2 tbsp butter, 1 onion chopped, 1/2" piece fresh ginger, 2 garlic.
1 tsp butter/ghee, 1" piece ginger, sliced into strips, 1 green chili(optional), a pinch of paprika.
How to make it:
1. Cut Paneer into 1" pieces, keep it in the fridge. Pressure cook spinach with 1/4 cup of water with green chilies until soft and cool.
2. Heat ghee/butter, add chopped onion,saute until soft,add minced garlic-minced ginger,fry until golden. Add salt, mango pd and garam masala.
3. Add spinach, powdered clove and cardamom, 1 cup water. Cook until slightly thick and shiny on top.When slightly cool,grind cooked spinach coarsely.
4. Fry the ginger strips until reddish,drain on paper towel.Just before serving the Palak Panner, add the cubed Paneer, strips of fried ginger and sprinkle Paprika.

Here are some popular Punjabi desserts!

Jalebis(sweet Plain flour spirals)

Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot Pudding,Skip the Beetroot!)

AHHHH..!!! That Bottle Gourd plant is swallowing our deck chair! There is big Bottle Gourd underneath that chair too!:D

That was it for Punjab.We certainly enjoyed having real Punjabi food. What's next?! How about loads of Chillies?!:D
YUP! JFI-Chillies are coming up next cooked with beautiful home grown chillies!! Have a great weekend.

July 11, 2007


Remember I kept telling you "I can't take a break now even when I am on vacation because something special is coming up"? Here is the reason!;D

YAY!!! This post is my 100th and on July 14th 2007,I will be completing one full year of blogging! What a coincidence that it came to 100th post this week and a year too! I had never thought I would be blogging for so long.Many times I have thought of making FH into a private blog and just keep it for my kids! Sometimes I got stressed to keep up,sometimes I have laughed whenever I update my old posts and few readers are shocked(;D) to see my post show up in their blog roll other than Wednesdays and most of the time I am too happy to blog about food and such.It's been fun so far!:)

It's all because of you my blog friends and your comments which I appreciate tremendously that kept me going.Comments are like a protein boost to any blogger's creativity.I comment on so many great blogger who hardly get any comments at all from others!! But It is also a two way street indeed. Bloggers got to appreciate others' work too! Just lurking around without commenting is not enough either! Blogging is harder than people think and not to mention the funny politics which goes on!! OYYY!!;D

Anyway,one mile stone is reached and I am happy for that.Let's see what happens in the 2nd year,more excitement about food blogging or brain freeze??!!
A note to all new bloggers; Foodie's hope is my main blog with new post every Wednesday! I know many of you like Aroma but makes me happier to see you here as well!!:)
"Thank you all once again,here is to the beginning of second year.Cheers!!"

Okay,let's eat now people; how about a Black Bean Burger platter!!
When in Nashville,we went to a fast food chain called 'Charley's Cheese Burgers'.They had these wonderfully spicy veg.Black bean burgers which I loved and had to make them as soon as I came back home.Here it is,slightly Indian style Burgers! You can make the burgers as thin as you like,I made them thick. Beans are quite bland,make them spicy!!

Black Bean Burger,Potato Wedges and homegrown Cherry Tomatoes platter:

How to make Burgers:
1. Drain,rinse 16oz can of Black beans well until very dry and mash in a big bowl.
2. Now mince 2" ginger, 1/2 large onion, 1-2 garlic or 1 tsp garlic pd,1/4 tsp chilli flakes or 2 minced green chillies,1 tsp cumin seeds or 2 tsp cumin seeds pd,1 tbsp coriander leaves/Cilantro,1/2 tsp Mango pd,2 tbsp bread crumbs and 3 tbsp plain flour ,add all these to beans.
3. Mix well to stiff dough,add more flour if it's soft and add more water if it's too form, use your judgment. Adjust the seasoning. Divide into medium sized balls as thin or thick as you want and flatten them slightly to make thick or thin patties,chill in the fridge for half an hour.
4. Deep fry or shallow fry them until golden both sides.Add some cheese on top while they are cooling,so they melt in the heat of the Burgers.I added some crumbled Habanero cheddar cheese! SPICY!!
5. Meanwhile,slice 2-3 Potatoes in to 8 wedges,deep fry them as well until cooked.Drain them well on a paper napkin,sprinkle with salt,pepper and any spices like Mrs,Dash on the Potato wedges while still hot.
6. Serve burgers on the bun with Tomato slices,red onion rings,any sauce you like with Potato wedges and a salad.Enjoy! :)

Coffee plantation/Coorg style Benne` Kadubus with Coorgi Koli Kari:
Benne` means butter in Kannada and Kadubu (or Kadambattu for Coorgis) is a unique steamed bread/rice dumplings from the Coorg region and also from my grandmother's coffee plantation Lingayat kitchen in Hassan district,Karnataka.You will not get these authentic Kadubus in any restaurants except may be in small restaurants in and around Madikeri/Coorg!
My ajji would argue that Butter is not included in this recipe,but the texture of Kadubus itself is like butter hence the name Benne Kadubus but my theory is add a little butter to make them taste yummier!:D
You can also add 1/2 cup grated coconut to the Kadubu while cooking the Kadubus and 1/8tsp Cardamom pd for extra sweet flavor.
Of course, my ajji is a strict vegetarian,so Chicken curry or Koli(Chicken in Kannada) Kari in this combo is a Coorgi recipe which is traditionally served with Kadubus or Paputtus. Another Coorg/Kodagu's favorite side dish to serve with these breads is Pandi Kari/Pork curry or red coconut chutney.
You can make it vegetarian adding Cauliflower and Potato or Bamboo shoots,Black eyed peas and raw Jackfruit like my ajji, using the same masala,tastes great too.

Sunday lunch with Benne Kadubus with Chicken Curry:

To make Kadubus, you need:Makes about 6-7
1 cup thari(coarsely crushed raw rice), 1 1/2 cup of water, salt to taste, 1 tbsp Butter.1/2 tsp cardamoms pd and 1/4 cup Coconut(both optional)
To make:
1. Grind 1 cup raw rice without water until you get a coarse powder like Rava/Cream of wheat.Mix the thari, water ,butter and salt together(coconut and cardamom if you are using), simmer on a slow heat, stir it gently,cover and cook until you get lumps of soft almost dry rice.Take off the heat,cool slightly.
2. When it's still warm,apply some oil on the palms and roll it into medium sized balls.
3. Steam them like Idlies in the pressure cooker as usual for 12 mins.Serve warm with curry or Chutney of your choice.You can reheat these sprinkled with some water in the Microwave covered in a glass bowl.
4. You might be wondering how to eat these! You pinch off a piece of Kadubu and crush it to mix with little gravy to eat,it's as simple as that folks!:D

Step by step photos for Benne Kadubus and Coorgi Koli Kari:
Click on this to make it larger.

To make Chicken curry,you need:
3 chicken breasts,cut into medium sized pieces,1/4 cup cilantro, 1 large onion,thinly sliced, salt to taste,1 can of coconut milk,1 tsp sugar or Jaggery.
Roast these: 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 2-3 red chillies or 1/2 tsp chili powder+ paprika,1 tsp cumin seeds, 2" cinnamon/dalchini, 4 cloves, 2 tsp poppy seeds, and grind with 1/2 tsp turmeric, 2" piece ginger, 3 cloves garlic,tamarind juice until smooth paste.Keep it aside.
To make the curry:
1. In a pan,(I use pressure pan) heat 2 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter oil.Add the onions and fry until caramelized,as in the picture.
2. Add the ground masala, salt and fry well until you see the oil on top. When the raw smell goes, add the chicken and fry. Add about 1 cup of water ,cover and cook till done.Turn down the heat,add sugar and salt to taste.
3. Add the coconut milk and gently stir,simmer for 5 mins.Add cilantro and lemon juice if needed.I add some coarsely crushed peppercorns after I take it off of the heat.Tastes better a day after. Enjoy:))

If you don't want to make Kadubus,(which you should try to make at least once in a life time!),here is a wonderful light savory bread you can bake with either bread machine or make it by hand and have it with your chicken curry!!

Buttermilk Onion Bread:
I encourage you to bake this wonderful bread.It's very light and it smells so good when it's baking.Since it's savory,it tastes great with soups and any gravy dishes like Chicken curry above.The recipe is adapted from my favorite 'Taste of home' magazine.Hope you try!:)

How to bake the bread,you need:
1 cup plus two tbsp warm buttermilk (heated 80 degrees F), 1 tbsp soft butter, 2 1/2 cups bread flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 2 tsp Wheat Gluten,3 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp dried minced onion, 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp dill weed, 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast.
To Bake in the bread machine:
1. In a bread machine pan, place all the ingredients in order suggested by the manufacturer of your bread machine. Select basic bread with light crust setting and 1 1/2lb loaf size.Bake.
To make it by hand:
1. Warm Buttermilk to 80F-90F, add all the ingredients,knead well,let it rise until double.Punch down again ,knead and let it rise again for an hour.
2. Heat the oven for 375F,put the dough in the greased,floured 2lb loaf pan and bake for 35-45mins or until loaf is hollow sounding and fully baked.
3. Cool on a rack and store wrapped in foil or Saran wrap.That's it!:)

I will end my 100th post and a year of blogging with a huge,

to all of you.I love you all bloggies!:))

Before I go,a sweet request to all the ghost readers/regular obsessive compulsive lurkers!!
PLEASE leave comments on all the blogs you visit,read,cook from and enjoy. Don't take us bloggers for granted.If we make all our blogs private,what the heck are you going to cook in your kitchens and do with your free time!:0 Think about that!!!;D
We work too hard to cook,type and post.We are too happy to entertain and help you out if need be.Please say is 'Hello' or 'Thank you' to us!!!Is it too much to ask? I think not!!:))
Okey dokey,have a great weekend and keep smiling. RCI Punjab next!!

A MeMe:
Last but not least, a tag for a short and sweet MeMe "Five Double Luxuries" to do which is just launched by Anali from "Anali's first amendment" blog.
She says "This makes me think of all those wonderful and unnecessary luxuries in life. In no way do we need them to survive, but they make life so much better!"
Take it up if you like and enjoy!:)
Here are my Five double Luxuries:
1. Cookbooks and Laptop.
2. Indian Chaat(Street cart food) and Masala Dosas(Savory Pancakes)!:)
3. Exotic spices(Annatto,Mace) and herbs like Mint.
4. Movies and Dish Network!:D
5. Camera and Camcorder!!!

Thanks Anali,it was a fun MeMe!:))

July 04, 2007


Enjoy the Fourth of July, BBQ and fireworks,have a great day today and be safe!
YUP! I am back and still "unpacking" physically and emotionally! I have posted this little later than usual so I can take the photo of my special lunch today but had typed the recipes yesterday. There is a Amaranth Dal with homegrown Amaranth greens I made as soon as I got home from vacation too!:)

Now the answers to those two pictures I posted last week. We were in Nashville as many of you guessed last week which is called "Athens of the South" with 16 Universities with more than 1/2 million population and also called a "Music city".I enjoyed Nashville since I love old country (don't like new country singers) music and singers like Glen Campbell,Jim Reeves,Tammy Wynette,young Elvis etc and loved visiting RCA Studio B!

Inji Pennu got both of them correctly(clever girl you, thanks Inji!!).They are in Tennessee.'Parthenon' in Nashville is a exact replica of the REAL Parthenon in Athens, Greece with a HUGE statue of Goddess Athena inside.It is really Gigantic!! The second photo is, of course, is the home of Elvis Presley 'Graceland' in Memphis,Tennessee.Thanks to all of you to indulge me in my own guessing game! I NEVER EVER can guess correctly when I try the guessing games in other blogs!:D

Independence day lunch, NC style pulled Chicken BBQ Sandwiches with fixings!:)
Lexington's Pulled Pork BBQ is famous here which goes on for a weekend every year and many people from other states come here to taste the famous BBQ.Of course,mine is simple homemade version of that with pulled Chicken! Vegetarians,I think you can add veges or pasta to the sauce, try it.
What is "pulled"? In Lexington,Pork is grilled or slow cooked overnight and instead of chopping or cutting,you pull the meat apart with 2 forks to small portions and then smothered with that special Lexington BBQ sauce.YUM!

How to make it:
Cook, grill, or bake 3-4 chicken breasts until white in the middle. Put it on a plate and and use two forks to pull the chicken apart until it appears to be stringy. Do not cut or slice it.

Barbecue Sauce: Heat about 3 tbsp of oil, add 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1/2 cup minced onion, and saute until transparent. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce, 1/4 cup of ketchup, and 1/2 cup of water and boil. Add 1/2 tbsp mustard powder, 1/2 tsp ginger pd,1 tbsp lemon juice,1/2 tbsp Liquid smoke, 3 tbsp apple cider, and 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, along with 1/4 cup brown sugar or Molasses. Simmer gently until thick. Add 1/2 tsp of chili pepper flakes, salt, and black peppers or to your taste.If the sauce is too thin, you can add a mixture of corn starch and water to make it thick. When sauce is thickish, add chicken, simmer for 5 minutes, adjust the seasoning, and serve on a burger buns with side dishes,crisps and a for dessert!

Mashed Potatoes:
Boil 3 large potatoes until soft in water, drain, peel and mash roughly OR you can use two cups of mashed potato flakes. Add 1/2 cup of full cream milk OR 4 tbsp of heavy cream, 1 tsp of garlic powder and 3 tbsp of freshly chopped chives, add salt and pepper to taste.

Spicy Corn:
Get 2-3 corn on the cobs, grill them in the oven and peel off all the corn OR use 1 15 ounce of corn. Add 2 tsp of fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper or cayenne peppers and fresh parsley or cilantro. For variation, you can add chopped red sweet bell peppers or green bell peppers too.

A mini Harvest!!Click on it to enlarge.

First thing I did when I got home is to literally run to check my garden.Boy! Was I surprised to see a mini harvest there although it didn't seem it rained much that whole week.I was so happy to take photos,water them quickly, cut all the fresh veggies.Last photo is Green and Purlpe Amaranth on the green plate.I had bought Amaranath seeds online last May and they were fabulously grown and made a dal with freshly cut Amaranth greens!(I get desperate craving to eat a simple Indian dal whenever I come back from vacation!;p)

Amaranth Greens Dal:

How to make dal:
1. Cook 1 cup of Tuar dal and about 4-6 cups of amaranth leaves/greens with 2-3 cups water until soft. Mash slightly.
2. Heat the dal in a pan and add salt and chili powder to taste. Add the ground masala and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Take off the heat.
3. For seasoning, heat a pan with 1/2 tbsp each oil and butter. Add 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch of hing/asafoetida, 2 garlic, minced, 1 red chilly, and 1/2 onion, finely chopped until onions are reddish.
4. Add this to the dal and mix it. Serve with rice and papad.
Roast and Grind these masala: 1 1/2 tbsp Coriander seeds,2 tsp Cumin seeds,1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds,1/2 tsp Peppercorns,1 /2 tsp Mustard seeds,1" cinnamon,3 tbsp dry or fresh coconut to a smooth powder or paste.

Here are some photos,click to see the bigger images:
We stayed in a hotel next to Vanderbilt U(Most students from 16 U's are home for summer,thank God!) with numerous diverse restaurants like any college city.Some Turkish restaurants had signs like "NO I.D., NO HOOKAH!" outside!:D
We enjoyed the restaurants and my fav. was Woodlands,a south Indian veg. from B'lore,met a girl from Udupi too who manages Woodlands!

Woodland's Mysore Masla Dosa!! YUP!! Snuck in a photo too!:D

In the collage you can see; Elvis's living room which is beautiful,his famous Pink Cadillac,his grave with along his mom,dad and Grandmother's graves just outside his home,New Grand Ole Opry, RCA Studio B where legends of Country music stars recorded their music with a Piano where Elvis recorded his as well,huge statue of Goddess of Athena, Ganesha Temple in a beautiful place surrounded by mountains, a 'tallest in the south' Bell South building which locals affectionately call "Batman building"(looks like Batman's hood!) and Mr.Vanderbilt's statue infront of Vanderbilt U.

Gibson Guitar center:
My son loved the Gibson Guitar center tour which shows how their handmade expensive Guitars are made! He collected lot of Guitar picks for himself and enjoyed looking at all the Guitars of the country stars in the museums in Nashville.

There were 2 reasons for us to visit Memphis which is 3hrs drive from Nashville. One was National Civil Rights Museum at Lorraine Motel where Dr.Martin Luther King delivered his last speech and second was Graceland.Unfortunately,Museum was closed on Tuesday,so we just took photos.

Lorraine Motel/Museum, room #306 with his cars,a building opposite the room from where he was shot and a metal plaque with Dr.King's speech says " I may not get there with you but I want you to know that we as people will get to the promise land" April 3rd,1968.

Some photos to make you smile in downtown Nashville:
Our tour guide was saying that conservative people of Nashville are fighting to remove this Art with lot naked of male and female figurines from the Country Music city circle for 40 yrs and have failed so far!:D

Another interesting ironic street sign which shows opposite direction for these streets!
Gay st. was probably named after Mr.Gaylord who spent millions and built a brand new Grand Ole Opry House when the old one became unusable, Opry land Hotel and paid for a HUGE mall called Opry Mills.

Last but not least,a beautiful Ganesha/Shiva Temple surrounded by green mountains all around, a nature trail and not to forget the Laddu prasada!:D I really enjoyed visiting that temple.Priests there were from Bangalore,spoke Kannada,I chatted with them for a while too in Kannada.Lot of baby naming ceremonies were going on there!:))

That's about it.I successfully stayed from my laptop 99% of the time during the vacation!!Hurray for me! Now back to blog surfing!:D
Well...see you all next week,don't know what I am cooking,will see.Have a fun weekend!:))