Monday, 20 April 2009

Onion & Green Chilli Appams

I do not even know if anything like this is common or not ... i.e. anything other than plain appams. And I have never made appams before .... enjoyed them everytime at South Indian joints though.

It was only at a food court .... where you can see the cooks preparing your dish ... that I saw the appam being made. And felt stupid.

Coz I realised that the cute little non-stick wok I have been using for low-oil for frying is actually an Appam kadhai.
And I always make the batter for idlis / dosas. Yet never gave a thought to making appams.

Appams are good to have with any gravy based curry. I have found them to be very soft whenever I have had them outside ... but mine turned out to have quite crisp sides ... but was soft and spongy in the centre.
If anybody can give me some tips on this .... please do.

I had made the batter to make something for breakfast. And as usual ... set off to experiment. Thought of adding onions and chillies to the batter and make something at one shot .... that can be had with just chutney.
So made this. A new thing .... a cross between the Uttappam and the Appam. :-)

If you are averse to the soft and just cooked smell of onions, I'd suggest you fry the stuff first in a little oil and mustard seeds tempering .... and then add to the batter.

Need : A thin batter of rice & urad dal ... (soaked overnight and ground to a smooth paste), chopped onions and green chillies, curry leaves, salt to taste, very little cooking oil.

How to : Heat an appam kadhai and smear a little cooking oil.
Add everything to the batter .... yes ... a little cooking oil too.

Pour around a tablespoonfull of batter into the kadhai and give the kadhai a swirl till a pancake is formed all around and a little batter settles in the bottom.

Cover and wait till the sides are done .... usually the sides are not browned ... but I did.
When done, the appams will come out easily when you try to pick them up.

For a meal, serve with any curry. I was making for breakfast .... and had it with chutney. :-)

Enjoy !!

Updated : Varsha suggested they will go great with stews too ... and I agree completely. Thanks Varsha!
My two stews .... one with the coconut milk and the other creamy stew seem perfect for the combi. :-)

Friday, 17 April 2009

Chaler Payesh / Rice Kheer

It was a junior colleague's b'day on the 15th. It was doubly important for him as it was the New Year too ( he is a Bengali ).

Away from home for the first time, he lamented how his mother was very upset as he did not have Payesh / Kheer. Hubby is a softie ... and immediately committed that he will get his payesh the next day.
Notwithstanding the fact that we ourselves have been living off bread / McD's burgers for the past so many days.

But I can't blame him. We both are suckers. One just had to whine and we fall for it. Both friends and just aquantainces have greatly benefited from this. ;-)

Like the pregnant wife of a colleague ... who on our first introduction ..... went on and on how she was craving for Rosogollas ( she knew I was a Bengali & cook well too ..... thanks to our loyal friends ). And I very good naturedly make some the very next day .... and off goes the dear husband with a big box.
I never heard from her again.

And there have been uncounted times when a friend would want to have fish .... and gets a box on his table the next day. No ... nobody believes in returning a favour ... not even with a word of thanks. Only when we get to cross our paths at a party or get together I'd get to hear that I cook fish very well.

But thank god such characters are few and far between. There are lots & lots more with much more etiquette and courtesy... who will call up to warn they are barging in ... make me promise I won't step into the kitchen ... get some stuff .... and spend hours sprawled on the floor ... endless talks on endless topics .... and laughs. :-) They are the ones who make friendship worthwhile. No prizes for guessing which lot I cherish and absolutely love to cook for. :-)

Anyway ... So there I was the next morning ... cooking payesh .... when I'd rather have somebody cook me a decent meal.

Decided since I was making it anyway, I might as well post it. So clicked some snaps with a lot less enthu than I'd on any other time.

( This snap has a successfully blurred background, unlike the other ones. And I do not have Photoshop. :-) )

Need : Rice ... around a quarter cupfull ( broken Basmati rice is best for this ), 1 litre milk, sugar, less than a pinch of salt, elaichi / cardamom seeds, bay leaves.

How to : Soak the rice in a bowl with a little milk / water for around half an hour.
Boil milk with the cardamom and bay leaves till it reduces a little ( whole / full cream milk works best for kheer ).

Now add the rice & the salt ( it has to be very, very little ... just to complement the sugar ) .... and let it boil.

Remember never to leave it even for a moment ... the rice will stick to the bottom (yes, even if you are using a non-stick pan ).
Keep stirring and stirring .... till the rice gets cooked completely.

Now add the sugar ( I cannot give the measurement ... just taste it and decide when it is enough ). It will release water.

So boil for some more time.

Serve warm / cold.

With these measurements the Payesh / Kheer turned out to be very thick and creamy. If you prefer it a little less thick then lessen the quantity of rice ... and do not reduce the milk too much.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Instant Moong Dal Halwa for Shubho Nobo Borsho / Auspicious New Year

Wishing all my friends and visitors a very Happy and Auspicious Bengali New Year 1416 ! :-)

And a BIG Thank You to everybody for their concern and kind words left here and thru mails. Am getting better ... a little weak though.
So this is the fastest thing I could make for the day .... my instant Moong dal halwa.
Have a great time everybody! :-)

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Pyaaj Posto Bhaja / Onion & Poppy Seeds Fry

Have been down ... ill ... for the past so many days. Viral. All I am supposed to do now is to gulp down medicines dutifully .... and no cribbing. I did try visiting all the blogs I usually visit ... but was feeling too weak.

Today felt like sitting up a little ... so am posting this. Hope to get back to all the beautiful blogs and recipes soon. :-)

This is something that I always make whenever I get to make Posto paste.

Even if I am making the very delicious Posto Bora or our family favourite .... the Dankheer, I do keep a little of the paste aside and make this bhaja / fry.... that too after having a tough time deciding whether I want to have it Kaancha / raw or to fry it.

Simple, yet delicious.

Need : Posto or Poppy seeds paste, sliced onions, chopped green chillies, salt and a little cooking oil ( I used mustard oil ).

How to : Heat a little oil in a wok / kadhai. add the sliced onions and green chillies. Fry for a while.
Add the posto paste ... if it is too thick you can dilute it with a little water.
Add salt and keep frying till it turns dry.

Goes great with hot rice and dal .... but only if you have not already polished it off before it reaches the dining table. :-)

I'll be hopefully back a little after the Bengali New Year. So here's wishing everybody a great Baisakhi and Subho Nobo Borsho !!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Bisi Bele Bhaat

The first time I came across Bisi Bele Bhaat was when my Mama ( maternal uncle ) cooked it for the whole family the day before my engagement. He, inspite of being a head honcho of an international company, has varied interests at the home front ... the main being cooking. He can conjure up the best stuff in minutes ... making him the chef at all informal parties thrown ... at other's places too. :-)

Anyway ... I never thought I'd ever be able to make this at home .... I did try eating out of the readymade packets we get off the shelves in the stores.
Never was impressed much with the taste.

And then when Rashmi posted it I knew my search was over. I wanted to make it right away ... which in my case turned out to be 1 day later :-)

I have followed all the measurements that she has given ... only slightly altered the steps ... more for my own convinience. Get Rashmi's Bisi Bele Bhaat and the ingredients required here. She has done a great job of showing exactly what and how much to use.

Tatsed awesome! And tasted even better when we had the leftover for dinner too. :-)

The steps that I went through are below.

I had not soaked the chick peas before hand ... so added them to the dal and rice to pressure cook together.
I fried the vegetables and then added the tamarind water and covered to cook till the veggies were done.
Then added the cooked dal and rice with the chickpeas and the coconut paste.

The whole thing rises in volume ... so need to keep adding water to it to get the soft pulpy texture. In my case the tamarind water was not too sour .... so I kept adding that.

Loved this dish. Thanks Rashmi for sharing it ... especially being so precise with the measurements and steps ... and also for the prompt reply to my question. :-)

My posts are taking time in getting updated in Food World ... so please bear with me. Am sure they'll come up soon. :-)

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Eggless Coffee Cake

I bake this Coffee Cake very often as it is an absolute favourite. And I hardly ever deviate from the original recipe ... though while making it for SIL's family I did reduce the number of eggs on her insistence. The result was not at all different ... and I in fact got a very good cake.
Since then this recipe has been a favourite in the family.

I have never tried baking it eggless though. I wanted to bake a cake for our trip last weekend to Karpe Wadi ( post in my Travelogue ) ... just to munch on during the drive. But since I turn a veggie on certain days of the week ... and it turned out one of those days fell on the weekend ... I tried baking an eggless cake this time.

The result is here for all to see. Am so happy with this ... am now going to try eggless baking with different other stuff too.

This turned out to be the moistest & softest coffee cake I have ever baked. After the cake was done I noticed the top hadn't browned so well ... but did not want to bake further.

So just grilled it for around 3 minutes on low ... and got the perfect crispiness on the top crust. :-)
Maybe this won't go down well with purists ... but the grilling gave it that perfect crusty top.
Perfect!! :-)

Need : 2 cups maida / refined flour, a little more than 1/2 cup cooking oil, 1/2 cup milk, 3 teaspoon baking powder, 1&1/2 cup sugar, 1 pinch salt, 6-8 drops of vannila essence, coffee powder (don't use the fine powder ... the granules are better) .

How to : Grind the sugar into a powder first. Mix everything together ( I do not follow any steps ... just add everything and blend well).

Just make sure there are no lumps. And the mixture should be of pouring consistency .... so add more milk if you find it turning thickish ..... don't worry about measurements ... (see my experimentive self speaking? );-)

Pre heat oven. Bake at 150-180 degrees C. Remove from oven only when the cake has cooled.

A bite anyone? :-)