February 25, 2009

Shivaratri Thali: Togari Bele Obbattu, Kayi Payasa, Obbattina thili Saaru,Tenginakayi Saaru, Kadale bele Kosumbari, anna,Tuppa, Uppinakayi, Happala!

I know that above long title is all "Greek" to you if you don't speak Kannada but I wanted to keep it authentic, will explain it all below! ;D

I am sure
most of you all had
a wonderful time celebrating Shivaratri last Monday. We don't fast or do any religious rituals much in our home but do a quick "Namaste" to Shiva, will definitely cook up a pure vegetarian feast as you can see! I know! I know! We are a sorry excuse for a Lingayat/Shaiva family but hey! Something is better than nothing!! :D

What's Shivaratri? Navita's blog post has beautiful explanation and stories about Shivaratri festival, do read if you are interested! Here is another of my Shivaratri platter I posted before.

Anyway; for this year's Shivaratri, I decided to make my paternal Mysore grandmother's (sweet, quiet and kind lady whom I LOVED, who is no longer with us) style Tuar dal Obbattu (which most south Indians are familiar with of course) with coconut-Cashews Payasa/porridge/dip and Obbattu saaru which I haven't posted at all in my blogs until now and I also made an authentic Coconut saaru which my ajji used to make which I don't make often here. Chana dal-Cucumber Kosumbari/salad is another one of my ajji's recipe as well. I miss her always and this is my tribute to her. My kids were not thrilled to see yet another vegetarian thali but they were understanding and ate without a fuss because they know it's ShivaRatri day! :)

Here is my Shivaratri thali: (Habbada Oota!)
Obbattu (Kanaka/pastry stuffed with Hoorana/sweet Toor dal dumpling), Coconut-Cashews-Saffron Payasa (porridge/dip), Obbattina thili saaru (dal broth or Rasam), Coconut Saaru, Basmati rice, Chana dal-Cucumber-red onion Kosambari (salad), Happala/papad, Nimbe Uppinakayi/Lemon pickle and Tuppa/Ghee.
Obbattu with Coconut-Cashews-Saffron Payasa as a dip first:
To make the Kanaka/pastry covering:
1. Take 1 1/2 cup of plain flour, 1 tbsp sugar powder, 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder,1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 3 tbsp oil and enough water to make a firm non-sticky dough and knead well for 5 minutes. Brush the dough with oil and cover it to rest the dough for an hour. I use KitchenAid to make the dough and traditionally, lot of oil is the added to this dough which you don't need to but we never ever add flour to roll out Obbattus, always use a bit of oil if needed!!

I am sending this photo to Gayatri of "Just Urs" blog's "Magnificent click contest" event! Thanks for hosting Gayatri! :)

How to make Obbattu stuffing/Hoorana:

1. Cook 1 cup of Tuar dal with 3-4 cups water, 1/2 tsp oil in a pressure cooker until just cooked, dal should be soft, still somewhat whole but not mashed up or cook in the microwave for better control over how much to cook without getting the dal in a mush. Drain the cooked dal thru' a sieve and save all the water for making Rasam/thili saaru later, let the cooked dal cool.
2. Add 3/4 cup more Jaggary or dark brown sugar to dal, 1 tsp Cardamom powder and run thru' a blender without adding a drop of water, keep pushing the dal down until you get a sweet and aromatic mass of thick dal. In India, they pound or grind all these in a stone mortar and pestle called "Oralu Kallu" until they are thick and well mixed. Divide into equal (Golg ball) sized portions and keep aside.
3. Divide the dough into equal pasrts as well, roll out each to 4" circle (can use a bit of oil but NEVER use flour to roll!), place a sweet dumpling in the middle, cover as shown, flatten and roll out again gently to 5-6" circle.
4. Heat a tava/henchu,pan, cook these both sides until golden adding a bit oil again.

Serve hot or warm with plain ghee or coconut Payasa to dip.

Coconut and Cashews Payasa:
I made this traditional Payasa a bit thicker than the usual Payasa, so my kids can dip a piece of Obbattu in it to make it easy to eat since they don't or never learnt to eat with their hands like we Indians do. Traditionally, Payasa is thinner so we can pour some on the Obbattu to smother it and eat that literally finger licking good dessert! :)
This is how I made it:
1. Take 1/2 fresh coconut, separate the shell, scrape out the brown skin, cut the white flesh/pulp into small pieces about a cup or more, add it to blender (Sumeet makes the best smooth texture for Payasa) along with (as much as you like) Jaggary or dark brown sugar, 1 tsp Cardamom powder, 2 tsp rice grains, about 8-10 Cashewnuts. Blend all these to smooth paste with 1 cup (or more if you like thinner Payasa) of Milk.
2. Adjust the sugar and milk as sweet, thin or thick you want. Heat this mixture on low heat for 1/2 an hour. Coconut will split and separate if you cook it on a medium or high heat! I Microwaved it on 30% power for about 6-8 mins, got to be very careful. It thickens as it cooks and cools.
3. I just sprinkled some Saffron threads on top, it will dissolve in the heat. This Payasa should be white or creamish, so don't add too much Saffron, just few just for that festive aroma!

To make the rest of these thali dishes:

Obbattina thili saaru:
Title literally means "thin Dal broth", a Rasam as Tamilians would call it. After we drain the cooked dal, we save the nutritious broth and make a simple thin dal to top the rice it or to drink as it is in a cup.
Here is how:
1. Heat 1 tsp ghee in a pan, add 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, few curry leaves. 1 dry red chilly, pinch of Hing. Add 2-3 chopped garlic, stir it until soft.
2. Add 1/2 tsp thick Tamarind paste mixed with 1/2 cup water, 2 tsp any Saaru/Sambhar/Rasam powder you have at home, 1/4 tsp chilli pd, 2 tbsp chopped Cilantro, salt, 1 tbsp grated dry or fresh coconut, boil for 2 minutes. You can add 1/4 cup Tomato sauce to it, but it's optional.
3. Add dal water/broth, adjust the salt and heat, simmer for few minutes and it's ready!

Tenginakayi Saaru/spicy Coconut gravy:
This recipe comes straight from my ajji's home. Since my late grandparents and Uncles live in a coconut and Sugarcane farm few miles from Mysore, coconut and homemade sugarcane Jaggary is used almost everyday in every dish they cook. here I use the coconut, may be twice a week in dishes and I use Jaggary whenever I cook traditional Indian desserts which gives a unique taste, aroma and golden color to Indian desserts which always reminds me of home and Indian festivals! :)
You need:
1/2 fresh coconut, grated or cut into very small pieces, 1/4 onion, 1 garlic, 1/2 tsp turmeric, few curry leaves and few cilantro, 1/2 to 1 tsp thick tamarind paste, enough salt.
Roast each of these spices sepaarately without oil and cool before grinding:
2 or more red chillies, 1 tbsp Poppy seeds, 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tbsp Cumin seeds, 2 tsp Chana dal, 2 tsp Urad dal, 1 tbsp yellow roasted chana/Dalia/chutney dal until they are all crisp and cool these.
To grind: Add these spices to a blender along with all the "you need" ingredients given above and grind to a very smooth paste adding enough water. You are making a thickish gravy, so you can always add more water later.
Temper to make the Saaru first:
1. Heat 1 tsp ghee and 2 tsp oil in a pan, add 1 tsp Mustard seeds, few curry leaves, 1-2 red chillies, let them get a some color. Add 1/2 cup minced onion, 2-3 garlic, minced, let it get some color.
2. Turn down the heat to simmer, add 1/2 cup cold water and then add the ground coconut masala. Simmer on low heat for 1/2 an hour, stirring often. Never let it boil on medium or high heat, it might separate.
3. Adjust the salt, tamarind and chilli pd to your taste. Once it's cooked, you will smell the aroma and you can reheat in the microwave easitly too. Tastes better the next day, you can make in a day advance and keep it in the fridge.

Chana dal-Cucumber-red onion Kosumbari:
I always loved this salad, it's simple to make and delicious to eat, not to mention nutritious too. You can replace the Chana dal with Moong dal, rest of the ingredients are the same.
1. Wash and soak 1/2 cup Chana dal for 4 hrs in hot water, drain all the water until dal is dry and add to a bowl. Peel and chop 1/2 a Cucumber into small cubes, chop 1/2 of small red onion to small cubes, add to dal.
2. Squeeze 2 tbsp or more fresh lemon juice, enough salt, 1 green chilly chopped roughly, 1 tbsp minced cilantro and mix well. over and keep it aside to marinate for an hour. It's ready to serve!

Another look!

Serve all the above with fragrant Basmati rice, South Indian style Lemon Pickle. Papad which we call Happala in Kannada and of course with Tuppa/ghee which makes everything tasty!! My son loves ghee in everything while my daughter will not touch it with barge pole! :P

That's all for this year's Shivaratri!
Last year, I completely forgot the Shivaratri date and didn't make anything for us or post here because it was too late by the time I realized it's Shivaratri day! This year, I marked it on the calender so I can remind myself!! :P

Now, I really really want to post a non-veg post after three vegetarian posts in a row!!!!! :D

Tried and tasted from other blogs, thanks to all of you for posting these delicious dishes:

Kollu Rasam, from Indosungod.

Eggplant pickle, from Ranji.

Brinjal cooked shallot coconut sauce, from Nagu.

Movies I watched:
The visitor

Here is my post on ULTRA Grind and Pride if you are interested in buying one of those. YES!! I bought both, call me crazy! :D

Oh, one more thing before I go!
I am having a hard time commenting in few blogs, either because of too many widgets flashing which don't let me load properly or the "Word verification" words don't show up even after several attempts or some other reason! I keep trying, get frustrated and after sometime I just give up! Except on the weekends and holidays, I do want to say hello to you in your latest posts whenever I can! Help me comment easily and quickly in your blogs please or else you won't see me there in your blog homes and you can't blame me!!

Have a great weekend! :)

February 18, 2009

Haryanvi Cuisine: Pakodi di Kadhi, Jeera Chawal, Mooli de Paranthe, Gajar da Achar, Aloo Raita, Besan Pinni and Chhas!

Look who is wandering into the wonderful state of Haryana today!
Yes! It's that time for my favorite RCI event again and this month we are going to tour and taste Haryana, which geographically surrounds Delhi (India's Capital) on three sides, forming the northern, western and southern borders. I am not from Haryana and what I gather from reading about this state from various online websites is that it's cuisine and culture are similar to Punjab. So I am trying to do my best here to bring you few dishes from that region, so bear with me if you think they are not very authentic Haryanvi! :)

Here is what WIKIPEDIA says about Haryana:
"The name Haryana means "The Abode of God" from Sanskrit. Hari (the Hindu God Vishnu) and ayana (home), although it may also refer to the lush green landscape of the state (from Sanskrit harit meaning green).
Chandigarh is the capital of Haryana and the state of Punjab as well. Haryana was the cradle of Indus Valley and Vedic Civilizations, both flourishing on the banks of the now lost Saraswati river. Haryana contributed heavily to the Green Revolution that made India self-sufficient in food production in the 1960s. The state of Haryana has the 3rd highest Per Capita income in the country. It is one of the leading industrialized states of India and is considered to be the current major hub for the information technology and automobile industries."

About Haryanvi cuisine:
"Haryanvi cuisine is like the people of Haryana, simple, robust. The 'Land of Rotis' is an apt title for Haryana as people are fond of eating different kinds of rotis. Haryana is well known for it's agriculture and cattle wealth, so there is a abundance of milk, butter, ghee, Lassi, Thandai, Buttermilk and vegetables, which are similar to Punjab." These infos are from a Haryana tourism website. Here is my RCI Punjab post.

Regional Cuisine of India aka RCI event is started by LakshmiK and this month EC of "Simple Indian Food" is guest hosting and she has chosen Haryana (vegetarian dishes) as the state for February. Thanks for hosting EC. With all those wonderful information about Haryana, let's celebrate and cook something Haryanvi, shall we? :)

Haryanvi Thali:
(I had to get my "big gun" thali for this Haryanvi cuisine menu, smaller thali won't do! :D)
Besan (chickpea flour) Kadhi with Pakodi, Jeera (Cumin flavored) rice, Mooli (Radish) Paratha, Potato Raita, Carrot-ginger-garlic pickle, Besan Pinni and Chhas (a lightly spiced Buttermilk). Some salt sits in the middle of the thali and lemon slices and a green chilly just in case if you feel the urge to take a bite! :D

Let me type in how I made these first:
You see Kadhi Pakodi, Jeera Rice and Carrot pickle below, you enlarge this by clicking on the collage. Recipes follows.
Pakodi di Kadhi:
For making Kadhi:

1. Beat 1 cup fat free or light Sour cream with 3 cups of water and add 4 tbsp Besan (Chickpeas flour) with a whisk to avoid lumps. Add 1-2 sliced green chillies, 1 tsp or more salt, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp chilli pd, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp each of cumin seeds pd and Coriander seeds pd, 2 tsp ground ginger and keep stirring often, simmer gently until it bubbles and thickens slightly, may be for 1/2 to 1 hour. Do not heat on medium heat, sour cream might separate.
2. Add Besan pakodis, let them soak and simmer for a while and turn off the heat.
To make Besan Pakodis:
1. Mix 1 cup Besan, 1/2 cup minced onion, 1 potato peeled and chopped fine, 1/2" ginger grated, 1/2 tsp dry chilli flakes, salt, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/4 tsp of baking pd, 1/4 tsp ajwain and add enough water to make a thick batter.
2. Deep fry small balls of these batter until golden and add to the above Kadhi.
Seasoning for Kadhi:
Heat 2 tsp ghee+1 tsp oil, add 1 tsp cumin seeds and 2 dry chillies. When they splutter, add to the Kadhi and mix.

Jeera Chawal:
This is an easy ghee and cumin flavored rice to make for Kadhi, of course you can also serve Kadhi with plain rice.
1. Cook 2 cups of Basmati or long grain rice with 3 1/2 cups water, 1 tsp oil or ghee and pinch of salt or as you cook rice usually. Cool the rice a bit.
2. Heat 1-2 tbsp ghee, add 1 bay leaf and 1 tsp cumin seeds. When they are slightly golden, add to the cooked rice and mix well.

Gajar Achar:
Freshly made Carrot pickle lasts in the fridge about a week. You can also add pickle masala like SWAD brand if you have it or you can add freshly ground spices. I added some garlic and ginger slices to this too, tastes great with Mooli parathas.
Here it is:
1. Dry fry 2 tbsp reddish Mustard seeds, 1 tbsp (or 1/2 tbsp, if you don't like it too bitter) Fenugreek seeds and 2-4 (or more for spicy) dry red chillies and pound these coarsely. Keep aside.
2. Take 1 large Carrot, wash, dry, cut into 2" sticks, 1 tsp paprika for color, slice 3 garlic and 2" ginger, mix with 2-4 tbsp Lemon juice and enough salt.
3. Add ground pickle masala to Carrot etc and mix well. Tempering the pickle is optional, I didn't do it. Adjust the spices and salt, keep it in the fridge. You can use it immediately.

Alrighty, second batch now!
This part has Aloo raita, Mooli (Radish stuffed ) Paratha, Besan Pinni (a delicious dessert like Burfi) and Chhas, a lightly spiced Buttermilk to wash it all down, Haryanvi style! :)

Mooli de Paranthe:
Mooli stuffing:
1. Thickly grate Daikon or white Radish until you get about 2 cups or so, sprinkle some salt and let it rest for a while to draw out the water. Squeeze out the water to get dry Radish.
2. Mix with a bit of chilli pd or minced green chilles, tsp of grated ginger, few pinches of turmeric, 1/2 tsp cumin pd, enough salt, little Amchoor (Mango pd), 1 tsp besan or cornstarch to make it all come together.Divide into equal sized portions.
Paratha: Mix 2 cups wheat flour (Atta), salt, 2 tbsp oil or veg shortening, 1/2 tsp of baking powder(optional but makes it very flaky) and enough water to make a firm dough, make into equal sized balls and let it rest for an hour or so.
To make Mooli stuffed Parathas;
Roll out dough to 4" circle, place a Mooli stuffing, cover and carefully roll out to 5-6" circles and roast on Tava with a bit of oil until both sides are golden. Check this "Aloo parathas" post to see step by step photos of stuffing.

Aloo Raita:
1. Boil 1 or 2 Potatoes, peel and cube them, keep aside to cool them.
2. Beat 1 cup of plain thick yogurt, add salt, pepper, cumin seeds powder, pinch of Kala Namak, pinches of Chaat masala and few chopped mint and coriander leaves. Add Potato cubes and mix to chiil and serve.

Besan Pinni:
A typical Haryanvi dessert, we loved these. Tastes like Besan Laddoos we always make at home but better with Pistachios and easy to make too. They say that Pinni is the way they make these sweets squeezed in the fist of your palm. I made few of both shapes.
Here is how:
1. Sift 1/2 cup Besan well to avoid lumps.
2. Heat a non-stick pan with 2 tbsp ghee and add besan to it on low heat and keep stirring until it's roasted or until you smell the aroma. Do not burn it.
3. Add 1/2 cup powdered Sugar,1/4 tsp Saffron, 1 tsp ground cardamom, 1 tbsp toasted chopped Pistachios, mix everything very well and cook for 2 mins or until sugar is incorporated.
4. Take off the heat, add 1 or 2 tbsp of milk to it just until it's little wet but liquidy. Just enough milk so you should be able to pick up the dough and make shapes with your hand.
5. Traditionally, you take a lump of Besan mix, squeeze it gently to make a fist in your plam to get the finger prints on it like Gujarati Muthias. I made some of those until my palms started to get red and then put some in a small cup and inverted them to make the other shape.
6. Cover to keep. This recipe makes about 7-8 small pieces which is enough for us.

Finally, a Chhas:
A simple but tasty Buttermilk drink to accompany these thali dishes, somewhat like south Indian spiced buttermilk but lot less spicy! Here is my very tasty Karnataka style Majjige!
To make Chhas:
1. Beat 2-3 cups of thin Buttermilk with salt, taosted and ground cumin seeds powder, coarse pepper pd well until frothy. Few chopped mint and Cilantro on top to garnish and flavor would complete the picture! Serve with Lemon slices.
One more look without the Chhas there. This thali was delicious!! Enjoy and have a great weekend!!!

Tried and tasted dishes from other blogs:
Thanks to all of you for posting these yummy dishes! :)

Potato Muruku, from Vijaya.
Zucchini chutney, from Laavanya. (Added 1" ginger and 1 garlic to grind and tempered with mustard seeds)
Crowder peas Usal, from Meera. (Made this with some gravy to go with soft Idlis!)
Kollu Pongal, from Jayasree.

Thank you Yasmeen for "You are a sweetheart" award, photo is in the side bar. I think you are the SWEETEST gal! :)

Book I am currently reading is:
"Q and A" by Vikas swarup, which is available at Amazon. He is a Indian diplomat serving in South Africa, the book says. This is also his first novel which is converted in to 34 languages so far! This is THE book which inspired the movie "Slumdog Millionaire".
The main character here in this book is a waiter in Mumbai who won a billion rupees in a contest and his name is Ram Mohammad Thomas!! When they arrest him, police mocks him "What kind of name is that? Your mother couldn't decide who your father is?"
Intriguing enough for ya? I am still reading it, has 12 chapters which takes to every question of that contest and his life experiences in every stage and it's very enjoyable, much more interesting than the movie! :))

Have a wonderful Shivaratri celebration on the 23rd, see you all next week with what I made for Shivaratri, a smaller thali than this for sure! No fasting in my house for any reason! ;D

February 11, 2009

South Indian Thali: Idli, Madras Erulli Sambhar, Uddina Vade, Hurikadale Chutney and Tuppa!

Phew!! That was one busy week! Weather suddenly improved and is almost like Spring now. That means Allergy season for me too. Not looking forward to itchy eyes, red skin etc but got to deal with it! Hey btw, Anoop Desai aka "Noop dawg" has survived Simon (American Idol) so far, he sings well, outfit is not that geeky anymore! :D

Well..I didn't have anything in particular to post this week. I thought why not post a south Indian favorite; Idli, Sambhar, Vada, chutney, ghee thali instead. What's so special about these, you might ask but take a look at the Urad dal vadas! Reminds you of something? Yeah, don't they look like sweet Doughnuts?
Oh, my 2L wet grinder "Ultra Grind" is coming home today, I will post the photo next week. YAY! Softest idlis, come to momma! HeHe!

I always have hard time making these Urad dal vadas into a thick batter and shaping them like thick doughnuts. You can see my old posts of vadas here and here. I did get lot of advice from other bloggers like chilling the soaked Urad dal, adding chilled water to grind, and chilling the blender bowl before you grind the batter etc. to make the traditional shape of vadas. So, I followed them all and they do work to make batter thick! Any more tips are welcome from you.

These vadas are like savory Doughnuts of India, usually shaped on your wet palm or on a banana leaf, make hole in the middle and deep fried. When I saw the Doughnut maker at the store (also available in Amazon) last month (about $15), something clicked in my head and thought of using this to make Urad dal vadas! I couldn't stop laughing at the sight of these perfectly round thinner rings of Urad dal vadas. They may not be traditional looking vadas as we make in India but they do look cute, don't they? :D

My south Indian thali:
Katori Idli, Udupi or restaurant style Pearl Onion Sambhar, Urad dal vadas shaped by Doughnut maker, Roasted yellow gram dal chutney and homemade ghee.

My whole Idli, sambhar thali goes Rathna of "Asvadha" blog to her "Made for each other" event! These are not the traditional Valentine's day grub but definitely a very well loved, "any time", heart healthy (if you skip the ghee!) south Indian platter. Thanks R, enjoy hosting! :)

Photo of Doughnut/Donut maker and a close up of the spout where all magic happens! :D
Click on the collage to make larger, you can see where the batter comes out forming the shape of a doughnut. Urad dal batter should be a bit thinner than usual thick batter we use for making the regular vadas which helps the batter slide out of doughnut maker easily.
This is how it works; You spray the inside with no-stick oil, pour the thick batter in, hold this straight up on the top of the hot oil, press the red thing down you see on top to drop the batter directly into the oil and release it quickly and deep fry. If the spout were little smaller than it is here, we Indians would have a perfect thicker round Urad dal vadas with smaller holes in the middle!

Plain Urad dal vadas/Uddina vade:
Beautiful Urad dal savory doughnuts are south India's favorite snacks to have. With some of these around, we make a snack called Mosaru Vade/Dahi baras as they call in North India, basically these round dal vadas are soaked in spicy yogurt, served chilled in Summer. I will post that recipe and dish this Summer.

1. Soak 1 cup Urad dal, 1 tbsp rice grains in water overnight in the fridge. Keep the blender jar in the fridge too if you can. This keeps the dal and the jar cooler when grinding it and helps to make the batter thick.
2. Next day, drain the water and grind dal with enough salt, 1-2 pinches of baking soda, 2-3 tbsp water until thick, airy and fluffy. Do not add too much water, batter should be very thick to keep the shape of the vadas.
3. Heat oil to deep fry or at 360F in electric fryer. Spray the inside of the Doughnut maker to make the batter slide easy.
4. Pour the batter 3/4 full, hold it straight on top of the oil, and press the lever and quickly stop the the flow.

You will get a round batter rings and deep fry these until golden and drain on the paper towel. It does take some practice to get the knack of dropping the batter but you will get it eventually like I did!
It costs about $15 in the store or online to buy. If you use it to make sweet Doughnuts as well, it's worth buying. I will make sweet Doughnuts some other time to post here! :)

My doughnut shaped Urad dal vadas go to Ashwini of "Spicy cuisine" blog, who is hosting a new event called "Lentils Mela" this month. What better snack could there be than these Urad dal vadas for lentil mela, right? Thanks Ashwini, enjoy hosting! :))

Katori Idlis:
Katori means cup in Hindi. I poured the ildli batter in cups rather than using the usual Idli stand we use in India to make traditional smaller round Idlis. I use 2 cups any rice, 1/2 cup Urad dal,
1 tsp Methi seeds and salt. You can the Idli and Dhokla stand here.

I made the rice and Urad dal Idli batter in the same way ie chilled before grinding, you do a get soft batter which we need to ferment overnight.

Rest of the method to make idlis are the same as you see here but pour the fermented rice and Urad dal batter halfway upto in Katoris and steam as usual, one layer at a time.

Unmold the Idlis, cool and keep them covered or serve immediately for the best taste. You can reheat the cooled Idlis in the Microwave to serve.

Pearl onion (Madras Erulli) Sambhar:
This is my favorite Sambhar which tastes so good with Idlis and Vadas, almost like restaurant. Sanna Erulli or Madras onions are Pearl onions. I get frozen ones which are so easy to use without the hassle of peeling etc. I just thaw them overnight and saute lightly in oil until almost cooked and golden to use in the Sambhar.

Roast these without oil and pd these first:
1 1/2 tbsp Coriander seeds,
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
1 tsp mustard seeds,
1/2 tsp Methi seeds,
3 tbsp dry coconut,
1/2" cinnamon(Dalchini),
Grind with 1/2 tsp turmeric pd,
1/2 tsp chilli pd.

To make Sambhar:
1. Pressure cook 1/2 cup Tuar dal, 1/4 cup Green gram dal (Moong dal), 1/4 tsp turmeric with 3 cups of water until soft, mash.
2. Add thawed and sauteed 1 cup Pearl onions to the dal, set aside.
3. Heat 1 tsp oil, 2 tsp butter or ghee, add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds,1 tsp cumin seeds, 2 dry red chillies, few curry leaves and 1/8 tsp Hing. When they splutter, add 1/ 2 cup of water, 1/2 tsp thick Tamarind paste, powdered masala pd, salt, 1/4 cup Tomato sauce, (optional),1 tsp sugar or Jaggary, simmer for 5 mins.
4. Now, add the dal mixture, and 4 tbsp chopped Cilantro, simmer not more than 2 mins and serve hot. Sambhar must not be too thick or too thin. Adjust the water and salt.

Hurikadale Chutney/roasted yellow chana dal chutney:
This is a simple but most delicious low fat chutney because we use lot less coconut and more of the roasted dal (Dalia or chutney dal). I have posted a similar chutney before with different proportions. This chutney is even better tasting and last longer in the fridge than coconut chutney.

1. Lightly toast 3/4 cup roasted yellow chana, 2 tsp Urad dal, 3-4 green chillies, few curry leaves and grind these with 2" chopped fresh ginger, 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut, 1/4 cup or more water, 1/4 tsp thick tamarind paste, few Cilantro stems and salt.
2. Take it out into a bowl, adjust the salt.
3. Season with 2 tsp oil and 2 tsp mustard seeds. Let it splutter. Take off the heat, cool it a bit and add to chutney and mix.
I make this chutney a bit thinner than usual thick chutney. Thinner chutney is great for scooping with vadas.

Home made Tuppa or ghee is here.

To serve, get a traditional stainless steel south Indian style thali or platter, arrange one or two Idlis, vadas, sambhar, chutney and homemade ghee! Slurp!! :D

My tried and tasted list:

Thanks to all of you:

Potato Onion Rasa Palya, from Rupa Mohan.
Channa masala South Indian style, from Adlak.
Neer Dosa, from Ranji.
Khara bhath, from Nirupama.
Carrots chutney/stir fry, from sra
. (I used Broccoli, carrots,red cabbage)
Chettinadu Tomato Rasam, from Dibs.

"Revolutionary road", made into a movie with Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Got bored after few pages because of same old "going thru' middle age crisis" and how they "find themselves" in the end kind of "soppy" stuff. Well...on to the next one! :D

My big thanks to my blogger friends who sent me all those beautiful awards last week. I have listed you on my sidebar and as always, I appreciate each one of those awards and you too. Hugs to all of you! :))

Have a wonderful weekend and happy Valentine's day. See you all next week with Haryanvi cuisine!

February 03, 2009

Garlic, Red Chilli Pepper and Asiago Loaves, Savory French Toast

Hello, Hello!!
Hope you enjoyed the Super Bowl and Tennis games last weekend. We had fun, enjoyed the football game a lot this year. Steelers played a great game, deserved to win in the end! Since NC Panthers didn't make it to the final game, we didn't particularly have a preference, Steelers or Cardinals, just wanted to watch a good game and eat a lot. We weren't disappointed in both aspects! Hahaha!!

We were all so exhausted the next day but had to keep up the routine nevertheless. They should give us all a day off after the game every year, don't you think? What was our game platter looked like? Scroll all the way down to look at it. YUP! Took 2 days for us to recover from that platter, kids chose each one of those snacks this year! :D

Last week, I baked a simple but delicious savory bread. A combination of Garlic, red chilli pepper flakes and Asiago cheese makes these bread wonderfully tasty and aromatic. Slices of these loaves make delicious savory French toasts for
breakfast or just a great snack in the afternoon with cream cheese to munch on. This is also my 150th post at Foodie's Hope today, nice treat for me too! :)

These kind of unique bread is not usually available in the bakeries, so you can enjoy these homemade bread tailored to suit your taste even more at home! Asiago bread recipe is adapted from "baking for Today" book authored by Betty Crocker, with my little extra personal addition here and there as always!

A savory Garlic, red chilli pepper flakes and Asiago cheese bread loaves:

This recipe makes four small loaves or 2 medium sized loaves or you can halve the recipe to make just two small loaves, choice is your's. Loaves do freeze well, so better make the full recipe and freeze the bread for later use. Enjoy!

Sliced to show the texture:

To bake these loaves, you need:
3 tbsp vegetable or Olive oil,

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced,

1/2 tsp or more dry red chilli pepper flakes,

5 to 5 1/2 cups of Bread flour or plain flour,

1 tbsp Sugar,

1 1/2 tsp salt,

2 packages of regular or quick rising Yeast,
2 cups very warm water, (120F),

3/4 cup grated Asiago cheese or you can use any cheese as long as it has less moisture,

1 tsp dry or fresh Parsley,

1 tsp dry or fresh Chives.
(or you can use 1 1/2 tsp Italian Herb seasoning)

To bake:

1. Heat oil in a skillet and add the minced garlic, stir for a minute or so until translucent. Add chill flakes and take the pan off the heat. Cool.
2. In a blender bowl, add 2 cups, sugar, salt and Yeast, stir once.

3. Add very warm water, olive oil with garlic and chilli flakes to this mixture, beat with kneader attachment or mix by hand for 2 mins.

4. Start adding the flour as much as need, to this mix, knead for 5-7mins and keep kneading until you get a pliable, smooth dough without sticking to your hand.

You might need to use all the flour or less than 5 1/2 cups, you do the math or use your judgment.

5. Grease the dough with some oil, cover the bowl and keep it in a warm place to rise for 1 to 2 hrs or until it's double in size.

6. After the dough is raised, punch it down and divide into 4 equal parts, make about 6" rounds.

7. Spray a baking sheet with no-stick oil or any oil lightly. Place all 4 dough balls, smooth side up, 3-4 inches apart from each other on the baking sheet.
Cut the top of the dough with 1/2" deep X or + with the sharp or serrated knife.
8. Cover lightly and let it rise again for 1/2 an hour ot until they puff up again.

Preheat the oven at 375F.

9. Remove the cover off of the dough balls, place them and bake for 20 25 mins or until they are golden and sound hollow when tapped. DO NOT over bake.

10. Remove the loaves on to the cooling rack. Now, they are ready to be sliced and savored warm or cold!
Nothing tastes better than a freshly baked warm bread in your hand with some butter to enjoy! :)

A savory "French" toast made from Asiago bread slice for breakfast!

French toast is also called "
Pain perdu" or "Lost bread" in French.
You can freeze those Asiago loaves to use it for later or use the day or two old bread to make savory French toasts in the morning, dotted with hot sauce (Sriracha!, can you handle it?! :D). Tastes great on cold Winter mornings to get your brain working super fast!! Here is how I made these savory ones.

You need:
4 thick slices of above bread, day old is perfect for toast.

3 large Eggs,
4 tbsp milk or Half and Half or cream,
enough salt to taste,
1/8 tsp Cumin seeds powder,(optional)
1/8 tsp Garlic powder,
1 tsp fresh Parsley or Basil or any herb you like,
or 1/4 tsp dry mixed herb seasoning,
1 tsp Parmesan cheese.(optional)

To make savory French Toast:

1. Take a wide mouthed bowl or pan wide enough to dip the bread flat, add all the above ingredients except bread slices and beat well.
2. Let the bread slices dry a bit, keep them out after slicing on the counter top for few minutes.
3. Then dip each bread slice in the egg mixture for a minute on each side and keep them aside on a plate.
4. Heat a non-stick pan with little butter in it. Place one or two slices at a time and cook until golden brown both sides.

Serve these sprinkled with pepper or Hot sauce on top.

This savory French toast (Pain Perdu) goes to DK of "Culinary Bazaar" for her event "A.W.E.D.-French cuisine" this month. I don't know whether French people would have a savory toast in the morning but we do love to have it in their name!! :D
Thanks DK, enjoy hosting!

That's all this week, have a fun rest of the week! :))

Super Bowl platter to ready to go in the oven. Gone now, of course! :D
White castle mini Burgers, spicy Chicken Wings, Chicken and cheese Taquitoes, breaded Shrimps, Steak Quesadillas, mini Corndogs and Chili cheese Fondue with Olive Bread chunks and White Corn Tortilla chips to dip!!
Wait!! Michelob Ultra lite Lime Cactus Beers for us and Mountain dew for kids! Now, I am done!! Here is my last year's Super Bowl platter! :))

List of my tried and tasted dishes:
Click on the collage to see larger image.

Lahori dal, from Super chef.
Vankaya Pulusu, from Rekha.
Palkova, from Sagari.
Errisery,(I used Turnips), from Happy Cook.
Chilli chicken, from Sig.
Cabbage-Moong dal Kootu, from Smitha.

Thanks to all of you for posting these! :)

Check out my Carrot-Fennel-Walnuts cake at Aroma!