Sunday, July 31, 2011

Apple and strawberry crumble with barley flour

This month I wanted the free spirit bloggers to bring to the rest of you dessert recipes with some not so commonly used ingredients. I cannot say unusual ingredients, but some that are not commonly used. The rest of the FSBs have very interesting ingredients while I took an easier challenge - Barley / barley flour as key ingredient with fruits as favourable ingredients.
When my parents visited us in Johor, my then neighbour and good friend, SewLee had invited us for tea. She knew well that my parents do not eat eggs. So she baked eggless cakes, cookies and some vegetarian savoury treats for us. Her daughter had made apple crumble for us then. I recalled that and asked Sew to mail me the recipe. I was grateful that she sent me this and her apple pie recipe too.
Apple crumble with normal flour is very easy to bake and quick too. I just replaced the plain flour with barley flour. I had to make some adjustments with the flour measurements, otherwise I followed my friend's recipe for the rest. And I added strawberries too.
There were some ideas I picked up browsing the internet. I have copied the texts from the website I have linked to the same. These were pointers that helped. I have also tried the pie crust with a combination of powdered pearl barley and brown rice, which I will share at a later date. (I am leaving for India for a month's holiday, and hence my posts will not be regular.)

Baked goods such as cakes, cookies, pie crust, pancakes, quick breads, and muffins that use baking powder and baking soda as leaveners do not depend on gluten and yeast for rising and structure. Soft flours with less gluten, such as cake flour and whole-wheat pastry flour, and flours with little or no gluten, such as rye, barley, and oat flour, work well in these baked goods. Bread flour, with its higher gluten content, causes cakes, cookies, pie crust, pancakes, quick breads, and muffins to be less tender.


As white flour alternative:

½ cup barley flour + ¼ cup brown rice flour + ½ TBL arrowroot powder Barley – pearled barley has the outer layer removed. Barley flour makes excellent pie crusts and cookies and mixes well with brown rice flour.


Now to the recipe:
5 apples Cored and sliced
10 strawberries pitted
1 tsp cinnamon,
1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar,
125 grams (1/2 cup heaped) butter
1 cup barley flour
1 tablespoon all purpose flour

Cook together, apples, cinnamon powder and the sugar until well combined.
It is also okay that you do not cook the apples until soft. Just cook them to absorb the sweet of the sugar and the flavours of the cinnamon. I microwave cooked them for about 5 minutes. The apples were holding the crunch even then.
Mix flour and brown sugar. Cut butter into the mixture. Gradually work on this mixture with tips of fingers or with a fork.The mix will be of the texture of bread crumbs that are sticking well together.
After a while they may be slightly gathered and well incorporated.
Pre heat the oven to 230 degrees C.
Spread the cooked apples on a greased pan and pour the flour mixture over it.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

The final product will not be something that you can slice as a cake . It will be crumbly, which is why the name.
Serve as warm dessert with some fruits.

You are about to read some great treats in Anu 's, Deep 's, Dhivi 's, Mads', Mridhu 's, Nags' and Siri 's blogs. Stay tuned. I bet my last penny that they are bringing in mind blowing dessert recipes.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mini Samosas

It seems like aeons ago; I had watched my college bakery make samosas from scratch and that was a clear memory I held for many years. As part of our curriculum, we had to register ourselves in the National Cadet Corps or with the National Service Scheme. Obviously, owing to the early hour calls and camp schedules, most of us opted out of the NCC. Thus, we were happily spending Saturday afternoons, under the supervision of two professors, in a small village that our school had adopted, doing nothing big to help them but cleaning up the elementary school and teaching few basic hygiene to the children.

Every now and then, we would carry stuff for the kids there. It was a great feeling to watch a shy smile cross over or to watch a wide toothy grin in acknowledgement. On one such occasion, I was assigned to collect mini samosas from the college-run-bakery and carry it to the village school.
I waited in the stuffy hot kitchen, watching the cooks make them,without actually paying any attention. Irrespective of the fact that I did not watch carefully, I could recall every detail of the activity, that is even today!

My mother makes samosas just by rolling out small size puris, placing the filling and folding the outer dough in two and then deep frying the same. I was also doing the same, until one day when I was making them, my niece suggested that I roll the dough in a big disc and cut strips and fold the dough over the filling. Surprisingly, this process was faster than rolling small samosas individually.
However, now I have discovered Mrs. Mallika Badrinath's book; her recipe in procedure matches the one I watched way back in the bakery. The only change to the recipe is that I use, like my mother, semolina in the place of all purpose flour to make the dough. That is by habit and no particular reason. My mother is one of those few people who dislike potatoes, so she makes fillings with other vegetables. I make them with even more interesting fillings, depending on the mood and availability of ingredients. The filling shared here is just basic.

For the outer dough pastry:
1 cup very fine semolina (I use Durum wheat semolina) (you may use all purpose flour/chiroti rawa)
2 tablespoons oil
Salt as required
1/4 cup of ice cold water (you may not require this full quantity, depending on the quality of the semolina)
1/8th teaspoon soda-bi-carbonate

For the filling:
2 large potatoes
2 carrots
10 french beans
1/4 cup shelled green peas
1 large onion chopped finely
Salt as required
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mango powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon anardhana seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons oil

For spreading in between the sheets of rolled dough:
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
5 teaspoons oil

Few teaspoons all purpose flour for dusting and rolling
Oil for deep frying

(you can add any more vegetables, crumbled paneer,sprouts and many more)

The filling:
Chop onion finely. Wash, peel and cube the potatoes and carrots. String the french beans.
Steam cook the vegetables until soft to mash coarsely and bind. Add the salt and mix well.
Heat the 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. Add the onions and saute' them.
Add all the powders listed and finally add the cooked vegetables. Toss them in the pan for a few minutes so the flavours blend.
The filling is ready. You can make this ahead and refrigerate for some time (few hours).

For the outer layers:
Mix the soda-bi carb and salt to the semolina. Rub the oil in the mix and incorporate well.
Gradually add ice cold water and mix the ingredients to a firm dough. Mix for many minutes to make the dough elastic.
Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth to avoid the drying of the surface. Rest the dough for at least half an hour.

This next step is what my mother would do to make the dough very elastic:
She would place the dough in the grinding stone and pound it well with a pestle, turning it over repeatedly.
I choose to drop moderate sized pieces of the dough in my mixer and pulse a few minutes.

If you are making fairly large quantities, use the kneading hooks in your electric mixer or the dough attachment in the processor.
This surely aids to better elasticity of the dough than kneading with hands.
Once done, roll the dough back to a cylinder and pinch out big lemon size portions.
Roll these into thin flat discs dusting minimal flour as possible.
Place them aside, covered with the damp cloth.
Once you have rolled out four or five such discs, take one at a time on the board.
Take the oil and flour listed under 'for spreading.....dough'.
Spray some oil and spread it over the surface of the rolled dough. Sprinkle some flour over the greased dough disc.
Place the next rolled disc on top of this and repeat the spraying of oil and sprinkling of the flour.
Repeat this procedure for all the four or five rolled out discs.
If you have more dough, the same procedure as above has to be followed until all dough is used up.
Keep these prepared discs also covered in the damp cloth until you are ready for the next step.
Place a flat pan / tawa on the stove. When the pan is hot, lift the whole of the 4-5 rolled-and-prepared discs and place them on the hot griddle.
Allow half a minute for the under-most side to cook.
Flip the whole, so the side that was top facing thus far, is placed on the heated surface directly.
Now, the already part-cooked side is the top most at this point, gently peel it off and place it on the board.
Repeat this turning-cooking-and-peeling off procedure until all the four or five have been cooked partly on one side.
Try to place the uncooked side facing upwards when you take them back to the board.
Cut these discs in 1and 1/2 inch (1&1/2") wide strips.
Now place a small quantity of the filling on one edge of the strip. Roll this over so as to cover the filling on two sides. Again roll another fold to cover the open part. Roll repeatedly until the end of the strip. Thus you would have rolled them in a triangular shape, in few layers, covering the vegetable filling well with the dough.
Rub some water on the edge of the strip and paste it well to seal it.

The procedure looks cumbersome and intimidating to read, but it is very easy to actually do it. I hope the picture above is helpful in conveying the idea. The steps marked from 1 to 14 show this process.

Repeat the same process with all the dough / strips.

Heat the oil for deep frying in a heavy pan. When the oil is hot and ready, drop the samosas gently in the oil as many as would fit. Deep fry until well done on all sides.
Serve them hot with green chutney and ketchup.

You can prepare them ahead until the stage where you roll the samosas and freeze them.
Once rolled, covered and sealed in the edges, place them on trays, slightly apart and cover with a cling wrap. Freeze them in the freezer.

Whenever, you are ready to use them, remove just as many as you might require, and thaw just until the oil is hot and ready. In such a case, be prepared for some spluttering of the oil as freezer cold samosas touch the near smoking hot oil.
This is very helpful when making them in bulk for parties.

There is no way that you can have exact strips and exact filling. Try to make the filling somewhat extra, and any left over is always easy to reuse.

Samosas are truly a treat, be it a party or just an evening snack. Once you have made samosas try making samosa chaat and be sure it is another addictive dish.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Aloo Mutter in microwave

Potatoes cooked in any form will be consumed without complaint by my dear husband. Adding masala and onions only makes him happier. Only I find it mundane, to grind the same masala for the base and hence try to make a different base for the gravy once in a while. This recipe is result of one such experiment.
One evening, after I announced that I will make aloo mutter for chappathis, the gas cylinder let me down. I do have one electric option in the hob, which was convenient to make the chappathis. So I was left with no option but to microwave cook my aloo mutter masala. I had decided on a brown onion paste and was almost dropping the idea, when he suggested trying to saute' the onion also in the microwave. Instead, I slit the onion at four points, drizzled the oil and cover cooked in the microwave. Thus the paste was not very brown in colour but the effect of browning was achieved.
Having accomplished this, making the dish in the microwave was very easy and that is what I wish to share.

Preparation time: under 15 minutes
Cooking time: under 30 minutes
Servings: 4


5 medium to large potatoes
1/2 cup shelled peas (or frozen peas)
2 medium onions
2 medium tomatoes (or ready to use tomato paste)
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoons red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 fresh green chillis (I had very red ones and used them)
2" piece ginger
1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon olive oil or any cooking oil to drizzle over the onions
Salt as required


Wash and cube the potatoes in medium to large cubes. (You may choose to peel them prior to cooking. I usually cook them and then remove skin.) Place them in a bowl of water until ready to cook.
Peel the onions. Remove the top and bottom edges. Make a cross like slit until 3/4ths deep.
Drizzle the 1 teaspoon oil inside the slit and on the surface of the onion. Place it in a microwave safe bowl. Cook on 100% power without covering for 4 minutes. Check at the end of 2 minutes and if the onion has shrunk and shriveled, reduce the power to 80% and continue to cook.
Remove and slice the onions.
In the jar of your blender, take the cut onions, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder. Blend to a smooth paste.
Make a small cut in the tomatoes and place it in a microwave safe bowl. Sprinkle few drops of water. Cover with a lid and cook on 100% power for 2 minutes. Allow a standing tome of about 30 seconds.
The tomato might have cracked open and sometimes splattered over the wall of the bowl.
Remove all the contents to the jar of the blender and coarsely pulp the tomatoes. Again you can save this time and effort if using ready-made tomato paste.
Chop the chillis and slice the ginger finely.
Add two teaspoons of water to the potatoes, in a microwave safe bowl and cook, covered on 100% power for 5 minutes. Check if they are soft and the peel comes off. Otherwise cook for a further minute. If the potatoes are slightly old and soft to begin with, reduce the cooking time.
Remove potatoes from the bowl and cook the green peas in the same bowl. If using frozen peas, skip this step.
Cook peas covered with a cling wrap punching small holes in the wrap for 2 minutes on 100% power.
In another bowl (or if the above bowl is big and cleaned, use the same) take the olive oil and heat on 100% power for 1 minute. Add the cumin seeds, ginger strips and chillis. Heat this again on 100% power for another minute.
Add the potatoes, salt, turmeric powder, the crushed tomatoes and onion paste. Add 1/3 cup of water and cook without lid, for 4 minutes on 80% power.
Add the kasuri methi and the green peas and cook again for 2 minutes on 80% power.
If the gravy is not thick as desired, allow to boil for a few more minutes at 60% power.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, some sliced onions and a hint of lemon juice, if desired.
Serve hot with chappathis.

Srivalli's Microwave Easy Cooking event is being hosted by Sin-a-mon themed Potato Feast, to which I am sending this recipe.
And I would gladly share it with Radhika of Tickling Palates who says 'Let's Cook - Subzi's for Rotis'

Monday, July 18, 2011

Potato nests with channa chaat

This is something my husband made yesterday, a rainy Sunday evening. Earlier during the week I had watched a chaat special episode on Khana Kazana. As I was watching, I was on the phone with my husband during his lunch break and told him how appetising the chaats were. We wanted to try something for the weekend evening.
I had boiled some chickpeas, made the sweet and mint green chutneys. While I was about to boil the potatoes, we thought of deep frying potato strips and adding them to the dish, just like sev or bhoondhi.
Then I mentioned that I had read somewhere that we can press the potatoes between two steel tea / juice strainers and deep fry them. Just release them and you will have crisps baskets made of potatoes. I wonder why I thought of it, however, we decided that we shall give it a try.
I did not have two strainers that will fit one into another, but had this ladle (that I had purchased thinking it would be good for boondhis, which evidently was not) with slotted eyelets! We thought of using that and another ladle to press the potatoes in. He even bent the handle to almost 90 degrees to its original position, to aid the immersion of the slotted cup well in the oil.
I grated the potatoes in big, slightly thick strips into a bowl of water, thinking that squeezing out the water and frying them will be good. Alas, it was not to be so. Then a quick reference to Mallika Badrinath's recipe and Sanjeev Kapoor's website helped, though one said drop the strips in water and the other said not to! Then my husband went by his instinct. He drained the water and we spread the potatoes on a cloth for a few minutes. Mixed the salt and for binding I sprinkled very finely powdered sago (I had it from my sago murukku experiment). You can use corn flour or rice flour as you choose.
Getting all this assembled, my husband said he would do the rest while I will take care of the filling. Making the filling wasn't much, considering the fact that I had made the sweet chutney and thick mint green chutney ahead. The chick peas was also boiled and ready. All I needed was to chop onions and coriander.

I was more than happy to watch and take pictures while he made the potatoes in perfectly done crisps, gently released them from the slotted ladle with a spoon on the absorbent tissues.
Thus a very welcome chaat dish was made at home and we enjoyed, eating it warm and had hot masala chai watching the rain.
Later, I had to share the picture on facebook when Vijitha suggested that we can make a low oil version using the paniyaaram (appam)pan. I am yet to try that version. I had to share this tip for those who are wanting to attempt.
You may get as innovative as you choose with the fillings. Mine is a simple one, though I like the Chaatwale channa recipe I made earlier!

(for potato nests)
5 medium potatoes
Salt to taste
3 teaspoons cornflour (or any flour that will aid some binding, I have used powdered sago)
Oil for deep frying

Gadgets useful:
Two immediate sizes stainless steel tea strainers/ or fruit juice strainers.

(for the filling)
1/2 cup chick peas (soaked, pressure cooked and salted)
2 tablespoons Kajoor-imli ki chutney
2 tablespoons Spicy mint chutney (read recipe in Pani puri / Golgappas green chutney)
1 small onion sliced finely
1 tomato chopped
A generous amount of chopped coriander leaves.

(For the filling)
Cook the chick peas well and add the salt.
Mix all ingredients listed for filling.
Keep ready.

Method to make potato nests:
Wash and peel the potatoes.
Use the large eyelet side of the grater and grate the potatoes in fairly broad strips. Tale them in a bowl of water.
Rinse well and drain the water.
Spread the potatoes on a dry cloth and cover in a fold.
Meanwhile keep oil for deep frying ready.
Take the potato strips, which are very slightly damp in a plate or bowl. Add some salt and the flour. Mix well.
When the oil is hot, Spread lightly the potatoes, in a layer in the bigger of the strainers.
Place the smaller fitting strainer on the potatoes. This will press them inside the big strainer in the shape of a cup. If it is not fitting well, you may just remove this strainer and try to make with the bottom one alone.
Gently immerse this whole in the hot oil. Hold them in the oil until the potatoes are fried.
Remove from the oil and gently release the cups on to absorbent tissues.

Repeat the entire process to use up all the potato strips.
Keep the prepared potato nests ready until time to serve.
Serve these filling some of the chick peas filling and garnish if you wish.
Ours were not deep to ne called cups or baskets and they looked more like the picture of the nest I had found in my parents' garden. So my husband called them potato nests.

I am sending these and my microwave potato cups recipe to Vatsala's LGSS_Potato event.

Banana Chips

Years ago, during my working days in Coimbatore, we had to walk past a pushcart chips shop, every morning to work and evening back. The man used coconut oil to deep fry the chips and the heady aroma of the oil will hit you few yards ahead. Though he sold potato, tapioca and sweet potato chips too, the banana chips were something else all together. Fresh from the pan to bamboo basket and then packed in a paper bag, made the chips a real treat. Later, many shops have come up selling these. With the development, the push cart shop has gone and has been replaced by a famous outlet.
Now, I get good raw bananas that are suitable for making crisps and make them at home. The deft and ease with which the man used to make them can never be achieved by me, but the attempt is worth. These days we enjoy safe home made crisps once in a while.
With about half a dozen large raw bananas and oil to deep fry those, you have crisps that keep for a few days, given the fact that you can resist them.

Wash and wipe the bananas. Peel them just lightly so there is a thin layer of the peel intact. Keep them immersed in cold water.
Place the oil in a pan and put it heat.
When the oil is almost smoking, hold the chips slicer above the oil and quickly slice the banana, dropping the slices in the oil.
However, beware of the steam that will assault as soon as the slices hit the oil. If you are not comfortable, slice the bananas on a flat dish and then drop the slices in the oil.
Allow the slices to fry well, tossing them in oil.
Remove, drain the excess oil and sprinkle generous amount of salt.
Cool and transfer to air tight containers.

I have tried making the sweet chips also. For these, I make a very thin sugar syrup, slice the bananas on a flat dish and toss them in the syrup before deep frying. The addition of the sugar gives the chips a deeper colour, not yellow any longer but crossed over to the brown side.

Notes: The shop man kept a bowl of water in which he had dissolved salt and turmeric powder.
He would sprinkle this water at intervals while the chips was being deep fried.
This way, there would not be a coating of salt on the crisps. I have never tried that, all because I am wary of the heat and wasting the oil.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Punjabi Special Mango pickle for Indian Cooking Challenge

This month's Indian Cooking Challenge brings you a very easy to make, tongue tickling mango pickle from Punjab. Simran had asked her mother for the recipe and shared it with Srivalli. Thus, the members were challenged to try this.
This was one of the few recipes those were not very challenging. People who are fond of pickles will love this one.
My husband never eats pickles and I am not also very fond of them, save a few exceptions. So I reduced the ingredients far too low to show a decent picture to post here. Srivalli gave the ingredients with 5 kilo mangoes and proportioned the same to 500 grams. I reduced that even further and made so much that will last me only a few servings. And now I am wondering what to do about the bottle of mustard oil and the packet of nigella seeds, new additions in the pantry!
Here, in Nigeria, we get mangoes almost all year around. They are big in size and cannot categorise them as either sour or sweet. Those are called salad mangoes and can be added to salads for the crunch and the sweet - sour taste. The other variety is a rich fibrous fruit, very small in size. In all varieties the skin is very thick.
I have tried the manga thokku, South Indian style mango pickle and now this with the salad mangoes.
The pickle might have been very nice if the mangoes were sour. Also never having tried mustard oil, to get used to that was a challenge for me!

500 grams mangoes
50 milli litres mustard oil

Spices to be added:
70 grams salt (this was slightly more for me. Possibly if you are keeping the pickle for many days, the salt acts as preservative)
10 grams fenugreek seeds
5 grams nigella seeds
10 grams fennel Seeds
5 grams whole black pepper corns
10 grams turmeric powder

Wash the mangoes and wipe them dry. Cut the mangoes in slightly large cubes. Spread them on a flat big dish and dry in the sun for 2 - 3 hours. If you cannot sun dry the same, dry them under an electric fan.
Use a ceramic jar or a glass jar to store the pickle. Metals and plastics can be reactive.
Clean the jar and wipe very dry. You can put the jar also in the sunlight for a few hours.
In a large pot mix all the spices and oil.
Toss the mango pieces well to coat them with the oil and spice mix.
More oil may be added if the mangoes are not well immersed in the oil. The oil preserves them. Hence, keep the level of oil slightly above the mango pieces.
Transfer the whole to the pickle jar. Leave the jar in sunlight for one day.
Then for the first fortnight, shake the jar with the contents in to toss them all over.
The pickle will be ready by the end of the fortnight.

Though there is no mandatory curing period, and you can pop pieces in your mouth even on the first day, the flavours will blend well over the period of these 15 days.
If handled carefully, the pickle stays well over a year too.
Adding some sodium benzoate (NaC6H5CO2 / E 211 preservative) to the spice mix will ensure longer shelf life.
The fenugreek and nigella seeds are absolutely critical for the unique flavour.
You may also note that the spices are added whole and raw. There is no chilli powder or any such heat. The heat comes from the whole black pepper, when you bite in to it.
I made the pickle soon after I saw Srivalli's mail, not because the mango season might fade, but we were in for heavy monsoon showers and would rarely see the sun out. Now I have exhausted the pickle and am glad to have tried this.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rajasthani Gatte Ki Kadi

When we bought the microwave oven for my mother, I borrowed the cook book that came with the oven. I have tried few recipes from the book. Now, my sister wants to use the book and it is only fair I send the book to her! Thus, before parting with the book, I decided to try a few other dishes.
I have never had this kadi even in restaurants or elsewhere that I could have tasted Rajasthani food. So this was a choice dish to try and journalise.
I have tried the stove top also and found that stove top cooking can be done in a jiffy. I shall write out both stove top and microwave modes of cooking this kadi in this post. You may choose to make it as desired.

Recipe adapted from LG microwave oven cookbook Tastes of India by Mrs. Geeta Narang.

(for gattas)
3/4 cup gram flour
2 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 cup yoghurt
Salt to taste

(for kadi):
2 cups sour yoghurt whisked
1 tablespoon gram flour
Few curry leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 pinch of asafoetida
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
2-3 dry red chillis
1 teaspoon oil
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Microwave method:
Serves 4 people; Preparation time: less than 5 minutes; Cooking time: under 20 minutes

Mix all the ingredients for gattas and knead to firm dough adding little water if required.
Divide this dough into 6-8 equal portions and roll each portion to a 4" long cylindrical roll. You may need to grease your palms with some oil while preparing these.
Take two cups of water in a microwave safe bowl. Drop the prepared rolls in the water.
Place this in the microwave and steam at 100% power for 6 minutes.
Drain the excess water and cut the steamed gattas in smaller pieces. Keep aside.
While the gattas are being steamed, beat the yoghurt, gram flour, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and asafoetida together.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat the oil on 100% power for 1 minute. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and red chillis. Heat these on 100% power for 2 minutes.
Pour the whisked yoghurt mix in and stir well.
Cook this on 100% power, without lid on for 5 minutes.
Drop the steamed gattas in the above. Place a lid and cook on 80% power for 3 minutes.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.

Stove top:
Knead the dough for the gattas. Grease your palms well and the steaming flat dish with little oil.
Roll the dough in long cylindrical shapes and steam in a steamer for 7 minutes.
Note that if any protein tends to become tough if over cooked. Hence, steam just until the gattas are cooked.
Allow them to cool and cut them in small pieces.
Meanwhile, beat the yoghurt and gram flour well. add 1/4 cup of water to this.
Add to the youghurt mix, salt, asafoetida, turmeric powder and red chilli powder.
Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard, cumin and fennel seeds. Allow the mustards to splutter.
Add the dry red chillis and saute for a minute.
Pour the yoghurt mix in the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for a few minutes until the raw taste of the gram flour subsides.
Add the steamed gatta pieces. Cook for a further 5 minutes, adding little water if the kadi seems very thick. Cook until the gattas soak and absorb the flavours.
Remove from the stove and transfer to the serving bowl.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve with hot rice!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Godhumai Pradhaman

Payasam is the simplest sweet dessert often made in any hindu household to celebrate special occasions. Today was my daughter's birthday, according to the Hindu calender. I made this godhumai pradhaman just so we have celebrated. With her away from home, we did not have a reason for a big celebration.
I have read the recipes Jayasree (godhumai pradhaman) and Madhuri (godhi pradhaman) shared in their respective spaces on earlier occasions and formed the idea. I chose to use up whole wheat kernels in my pantry and it was one of the very delicious, creamy dessert treats I have ever made. It is hard not to share the recipe.
Just with three key ingredients and a cooking time of little over 45 minutes, you can treat yourself to a lip smacking delicacy. I added powdered dry ginger (sukku podi) for the flavour.

Ingredients: (measures are 200 ml cup, in this recipe)

1/3 cup whole wheat berries
3/4 cup powdered jaggery
1 cup freshly squeezed thick coconut milk / store bought ready made coconut milk
1 teaspoon powdered dry ginger
1 teaspoon powdered green cardamom
(though you may cut some coconut pieces, roast them well in 1 teaspoon ghee and add to the pradhaman for garnish, I have not done so, simply because I did not have enough coconut)

Pick and clean the whole wheat berries and remove impurities such as some husk and stones, if any.
Rinse in water a few times. Soak the wheat berries in hot water for about 20 minutes.
Dissolve the jaggery in one cup of warm water, strain the impurities and keep aside.
Pressure cook the soaked wheat kernels until soft but still chewy. It took 5 whistles in my pressure cooker, say about 17 minutes.
Once cooked, drain the excess water, allow to cool and pulse in a mixer to a coarse texture. This grinding can be skipped if you like the whole berries as such.
While the wheat is being cooked, take the dissolved jaggery in a heavy bottomed pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 - 12 minutes until the raw flavour subsides.
When both are ready, add the wheat berries to the jaggery syrup. Cook for few minutes until well blended.
Pour the coconut milk and simmer on the lowest of the heat for another 10 minutes.

Remove from the stove, add the cardamom and dried ginger powders and serve. Hot, cold or at room temperature, it tastes divine all the same.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Whole wheat adai dosai

Few days ago, Viji who writes Vcuisine blog had shared a recipe for the appams using whole wheat kernels. The appams were very soft and porous and I had book marked the recipe.
I had whole wheat kernels on hand and wanted to use those up. I was curious as to how the whole wheat will alter the texture. I thought that would be glutinous owing to the wheat. She clarified that and also mailed in detail as to how long she soaked the wheat and such.
I tried them soon after and found that we liked them very much. That evening, I had some of the batter left over.That quantity would not suffice to make enough numbers of appams and so I used it to make dosais. The dosais were very soft too. Since we like such dosais as much as the crisp ones, I decided to give the whole wheat a try in other recipes such as adai.
I had powdered pearl barley for some other dish. The excess of that powder had to be used up too.
So I ventured to make adai with whole wheat, barley and legumes. I have some sorghum also in the pantry to be cleared, so that goes into this adai as well. With barley, wheat and sorghum (vellai sOlam), I did not add any rice. It is purely optional to use barley and sorghum. You may add rice with the whole wheat and not add any of these. Also if you have fresh coconut, adding that would enhance the taste.
The adai was as good as the ones we make with soaking and grinding rice, as soft and very delectable.

1/3rd cup whole wheat kernels ( I used samba godhumai)
1/4 cup (powdered) pearl barley flour
1/4 cup sorghum cereal
1/4 cup split urad dhal
1/4 cup moong dhal
1/4 cup channa dhal
1/4 cup thuvar dhal
5 dry red chillis
Salt as required
few teaspoons oil for cooking the adai

Place all of the four dhals in a bowl. Wash well and add some water to soak them.
Take the whole wheat kernels and the sorghum in a bowl. Wash to remove impurities and soak them in some water.
After few hours of soaking, grind the wheat and sorghum in a blender. Half way through, add the soaked dhals and red chillis. Grind all of these together to a coarse batter.
Transfer from the blender to a bowl. Mix the powdered pearl barley and salt to the batter.
The batter can be used up to make pan cakes soon after. However, you can allow the batter to ferment also, like how I prefer to do.

Place the flat pan, griddle or tawa on the stove. When the pan is hot, give the batter a stir and pour out a generous amount of batter on the pan. Spread lightly to a 1/4 inch thick, 6 inch wide, circular pan cake. Spoon some oil over and around the circumference of the adai.
Allow to cook well and flip to the other side. Cook this side also well and remove from the pan.
Serve these hot with any chutney of choice.
Eating this with jaggery and a blob of butter is the best way to indulge.

Siri's Healing foods event is being hosted by Simona of Briciole, the theme of the month being Whole grains. These are sent to the same.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Rawa Dosai

Rawa dosai and rawa idli were few of the regulars while we were at school and college. Later, I do not remember having tried making these on my own for years. There were two valid reasons for that. Firstly,the rawa idli mix from MTR was a boon and secondly, I was not confident about my rawa dosai spreading skills! For a person who learnt to make the neer dosai with ease, this was still 'approach with caution' zone.
Later, when made in the non-stick tawa I could make these near perfect dosais. And guess what, my husband's suggestion would often be these for a light dinner!
My mother used to powder the rawa also and measure out as she would the rice flour. There is no fixed proportion for the buttermilk / whisked yoghurt in the recipe. I am assuming that the yoghurt provides some sourness to the taste and hence we use yoghurt, though I have never tried eliminating yoghurt all together.
I tend to add some roasted cashews, a fair quantity of cumin seeds and coarsely broken peppercorns just to enhance the taste. I ensure that the pepper corns are broken enough that we are not able to pick them and discard them while eating. Also a lot of coriander leaves go in, just because I love them.

1 cup semolina (if possible powder somewhat finely; it is purely optional)
1 cup finely powdered rice (store bought rice flour works well)
1/4 cup (or even less will do) thin yoghurt
Salt to taste
Oil/ ghee for sprinkling
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 fist full chopped coriander leaves
Few curry leaves chopped
1 tablespoon broken cashew nuts
1& 1/2 inch piece of ginger chopped
2-3 green chillis chopped
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoons oil for roasting the condiments

Mix the semolina, rice flour and salt with the yoghurt. Add sufficient water to mix these in a pouring batter.
Heat the 2 teaspoons oil in a pan. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and allow them to crackle.
Add to this the pepper corns, cashews and green chillis. Saute' for a few seconds. Toss in the chopped ginger and the curry leaves. Switch the heat off and transfer the contents of the pan to the prepared batter.
Add the chopped coriander leaves to the batter.
Leave the batter to rest for sometime. I leave it for two hours to even longer.

The flours will absorb the water and the batter will thicken. Water is added at regular intervals while the dosais are being prepared to keep the batter in thin pouring consistency.
When you are ready to prepare the dosais, keep a utensil full of water by the side to be added to the batter, in small quantities as and when required.
Heat the dosa tawa.
The solid contents in the batter would often settle at the bottom, leaving a rare watery liquid on the surface. Mix the batter well each time before to transfer a ladle full of contents on the hot tawa.
When the tawa is warm enough, give a brisk stir of the batter, and pour a ladle full on the hot tawa in a fanning motion. You will not be able to pour and spread in circles like the rice - urad dosa batter. This has to be swiftly tossed on the hot surface. you can add some more batter to fill the big holes that may have formed while spreading. However, keep the dosai as thinly spread as possible.
Sprinkle some oil and allow the dosai to cook. Once you are able to lift it off the pan, it ensures that the under side has been cooked. Flip the dosai and cook the other side.
When both sides have been cooked well, remove the dosai from the tawa and transfer on to serving plates.

Repeat the process again for the rest of the batter, ensuring that the batter is always in a medium to rare and pouring consistency.
Serve hot with any chutney of your choice and sambhar.
It is optional that you can add chopped and slightly saute'ed onions to the batter. Or you may make the potato masal and fold it in the middle of the dosai, call it rawa masala dosai.
This is quite simple to make and with practice you can make perfectly thin, nicely roasted, restaurant style rawa dosais.