A Break!

Dear friends,

We are going on vacation to India for about 3 weeks. We would be welcoming the new year "2010" with our parents!!!!!! Hence my next post will be 2010 :) (reason being 1. enjoying the vacation 2. laptop is dead!) So new year to me means new hopes, new resolutions, new ideas for blogging and of course, new laptop too!

So Wishing you all Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Promising New Year!!!!


Vegetable Pulav, T&T Chilly Paneer

Yay, I'm back! Thanks a bunch friends, for all your concerns, tips and wishes, my laptop has gotten itself some life and is normal (at least as I am typing this post!) For anybody who is facing this issue, I uninstalled and re-installed my Anitvirus and did a couple of malware scans and that did the trick. Please do write to me if you would like to have the complete steps.

Coming to our recipe for today, Vegetable Pulav is one yummy, complete meal that is a sure hit in most of our homes, be it a party or a lazy sunday lunch! I have about half-a-dozen pulav recipes, with difficulty level ranging from easy to high, the simplest (yet tasty) one being my MIL's version. I shall post that some time soon!

Here is a version that calls for a little bit for work before hand, but is well worth the effort. So without much talks, let's see how I made Vegetable Pulav.

Vegetable PulavBasmati rice cooked with marinated vegetables and spices
Serves 2

What we need:
Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Onion, big sized - 1, thinly sliced
Tomato, big sized - 1, roughly chopped
Vegetables - 1 cup ( I have used Carrot, Beans, Peas, Cauliflower, Potato)
Soya chunks - a handful - Optional
Green chillies - 2 or 3, minces
Mint leaves - less than a handful
* Pulav Masala powder - 1 tbsp.
Bay leaf - 1
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp.
Ghee/Oil - 3 tbsp.
Water - 3 cups
Salt - according to taste
Coriander - chopped, for garnish

To marinate:
Thick Curd - 3 to 4 tbsp.
Red Chilli powder - 2 tsp.
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp.
Cumin powder - 1 tsp.
Coriander powder - 1 tsp.
Salt - a little
Kasoori Methi - 2 tbsp., crushed
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tbsp. - Optional
A few mint leaves

* If you don't have store-bought Pulav masala, you can dry-roast 3 to 4 cloves, 1" inch cinnamom stick, a black cardamom, 2 or 3 green cardamom, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and powder them.

How to do:
1. Wash well and soak the basmati rice in water for 30 to 40 minutes.
2. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients given under 'To marinate'. To this, add the vegetables and give a good mix. If you are adding soya chunks, boil them for 3 to 4 minutes, squeeze the excess water and add them to the marinade. Let this also sit for 30 minutes.
3. Heat ghee/oil and add the bay leaf and cumin seeds.
4. When they are done, add the onion, green chilli, mint leaves and saute well.
5. When the onions turn translucent, add the tomatoes, salt and Pulav masala powder.
6. After the tomatoes turn soft, add in the marinated vegetables and the remaining marinade if any.
7. Drain and add the rice; mix well. Now add water (1 cup of rice: 1.5 cups of water)and cook till the rice is done.

Take care when adding salt, as our marinade has a bit of salt.
If you are using Pressure cooker, in step 7, add boiling water, add a few drops of lemon juice and cook for 1 whistle.

Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with a raita of your choice!!

T&T Chilly Paneer from Kanchan's Personal Tadka

Paneer is my all-time favorite ingredient, and am sure it is for most of us too! (That is evident from so many Paneer-related events in the blogsphere!) But for snacks, I stick diligently to Paneer tikkas or Paneer bites. Kanchan's Chilly Paneer kept coming back to me, so I made it one evening. Only change I did was to add red bell peppers instead of green ones, as I didn't get the green ones that week.
And the outcome: DH and myself, ate in complete silence!!! It was sooooo tasty and finger-licking-delicious (in our case, fork-licking!) Thanks Kanchan, I am passing to you my DH's thanks too :)

See you all soon! Till then, Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging!

A tale of my trouble!

First of all, a million "Sorry" buddies, for not catching up with any of your posts of late. I would like to give the due credit to none other than my own "Laptop"...Argggghhhhh.... Somehow my laptop has gotten an idea that it is a 6 months old baby and it is craaaaaaawwwwwliiiiiing! (I feel even babies nowadays are faster!) Every single page/blog takes nearly 20 minutes to load, and if I start punching in the comments, that is another 20 minutes! I sometimes feel like throwing the laptop out of my balcony and happily wait for someone to take it away! :(

Talking in techincal terms, my CPU usage always shows 100% and the process "svchost.exe" seems to be culprit! No virus, all probes run clean!! I have already tried so many fixes but nothing seem to help. So any techies out there, if you have faced such issue and had a fix, please let me know!

Even this post, I am typing from the notepad, as that seems to be the only application not affected by the "god-knows-what" issue! So please bear with me for a while (a while can be a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks!) and I shall try to be back as soon as possible. However I'll try to post whenever my laptop permits me to do so!

Take care buddies and see you all soon! Till then, Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging!

Mutter Paneer, T&T Snakegourd Poriyal/Kura

It took me some time to realise "Less is More"! If you are wondering what I am talking about, it is about the number of columns I was considering in my new template! Though my older one wasn't that bad, I wanted a change. I strongly follow the mantra "Variety is the spice of Life" (although there are exceptions ;) ) Hope you like this new look; please do let me know if there is room for any improvisation!

Coming to our recipe for today, Mutter Paneer is one of those favorite dishes we like to order when eating out. I hadn't considered making it at home, but then one fine day I was bored with the usual Paneer Butter Masala and wanted some different side for the rotis. Hence presenting you the yummy "Mutter Paneer"..

Mutter Paneer
Indian Cottage cheese and Green Peas cooked in rich creamy gravy
Serves 2

What we need:
Paneer - 150 g, cut into 1" inch cubes
Green Peas - 1 cup, frozen/fresh
Onion, big - 1
Tomato, big - 1
Tomato puree - 2 tbsp.
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tbsp.
Kasoori Methi (Dry fenugreek leaves) - 4 to 5 tsp., crushed
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp.
Coriander powder - 1 tsp.
Cumin powder - 1 tsp.
Garam Masala - a pinch
Cumin - 1 tsp.
Salt - according to taste
Heavy cream - 3 to 4 tbsp.
Butter/Ghee - 1 tbsp.
Water - as needed

How to do:
1. Blanch the Onions (i.e. boil them as whole in water for 10 minutes with vetical slits) and grind them to a smooth paste. Chop the tomatoes finely. If you are using fresh green peas, cook/microwave them till they are soft.
2. Heat ghee or butter in a pan and fry the paneer cubes till they start to turn brown. Drain and keep them in warm water.
3. In the remaining ghee/butter, add the cumin seeds. Whey they crackle, add the ground onion paste, followed by ginger-garlic paste and salt.
4. Fry till the mixture turns brown and the raw smell of garlic starts to leave.
5. Now add the tomato, tomato puree (diluted with little water). Fry till the oil starts to separate.
6. Stir in all the dry powders except garam masala and half of the Kasoori Methi and give a good mix.
7. Now add green peas and half a cup of water. Bring to a boil, and add the paneer pieces.
8. Sprinkle the remaining Kasoori Methi, garam masala and add the heavy cream. Mix well and remove from stove top after a minute.

Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve with roti, naan or parathas.

I add chopped tomato to give a texture; you can also omit it and increase the tomato puree.
Be generous when adding cream, it gives a really good taste and texture.
For added spicy tasty, add some chopped green chillies in step 3.

T&T - Snakegourd/Podalangai Poriyal/Kura from Rak's kitchen and Prathiba's blog

Snake-gourd or podalangai falls under the not-so-interesting category for DH. He doesn't fuss, but from his consumption, it will be evident that he doesn't prefer it either. So I was determined to make him like this vegetable. So when Raji and Prathiba posted two different varieties of the same poriyal, I decided to give both a try.

Raji's version:
I add either coconut or onion but not both. So Raji's version was new to me. Adding some dal to the vegetable made it all the more healthy and tasty. It was a welcome change for the usual Poriyal I make and both of us loved it! Thanks Raji dear, for sharing it!

Prathiba's version:
Adding coconut wasn't new, but grinding them along with green chillies and then adding them was something that caught my attention in Prathiba's kura. Turmeric powder altered the boring smell of the vegetable and coconut-green chilli mix enhanced the taste many folds, and made the kura utterly yummy. So thanks Prathy, we both enjoyed every bit of it!
So that's all for now folks! See you all soon! Till then, Happy Cooking, happy Eating and Happy Blogging!

Chole Tikki

Call it a liking, obsession or craving? Or what else? Every time I make this Chole Tikki, as I finish off the last bit from my bowl, I start wishing that I could have made some more! And the following week, I make it again! ;)

I had this long time before when I was in Chennai, really loved it and then had completely lost any idea how it tastes like. About a month or two before, during our sunday-evening-tea-meet with our sweet friends-couple V & V (who stay just a floor above us), they had prepared Chole Tikki for the snack. I fell head-over-heels in love with it! (Is this love at second sight, no.. second-taste??!) Then as the tale goes, "Prince and princess lived happily ever after"... I am making this yummy delight based on the recipe given by V, at every possible chance! (V dear, I hope I did justice to your recipe!)
So here it goes!

Chole Tikki
Garbanzo bean or Chana cooked with spices and served with potato patty, yoghurt and spices
Serves 2

What we need:
For Chole Masala:
Kabuli Chana / Garbanzo beans / Konda Kadalai - 2 cups White variety
Onion, medium sized - 1, finely chopped
Tomato, medium sized - 1, finely chopped
Green chillies - 2 or 3, minced
Garlic - 1 pod, crushed
Ginger - 1 inch, finely grated
Chana Masala powder - 3 tbsp
Red Chilli powder - 1 tsp. Optional
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt - according to taste
Water - as needed
Oil - 2 tbsp.
Cumin (Jeera) - 1 tbsp.

This one is slightly different from the regular Chole I make for rotis. Please click here for the simpler version.

For potato tikkis
Potato, medium sized - 2
Cumin - 1 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Coriander - 2 tsp Optional

To Garnish:
Chat Masala - 1.5 tbsp for each serving (Everest, MDH brands taste great)
Green chutney - 1 tbsp for each serving Click here for the recipe
Yoghurt / Thick Curd - 2 tbsp for each serving
Onions - finely chopped
Coriander - finely chopped

How to do:
Preparing Chole Masala:
1. Heat oil and crackle the cumin seeds.
2. Add the onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic and salt. Saute till the onions turn soft and then add the tomatoes.
3. Stir in the chana masala powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and mix well.
4. When oil starts to separate, add the cooked Chana / Chole with little water (in which it was cooked) and mix well.
5. Let it boil on medium flame for 10 to 15 minutes;then sprinkle some garam masala, garnish with coriander and remove from the stove top.

Preparing potato tikki:
This tikki is not the usual Aloo Tikki we do. I like to keep this one very simple because Chole already has enough spices. And this way, it saves some time too!

Boil, peel and mash the potatoes. Add some salt, coriander, cumin and mix well. Make into small balls, pat them and shallow fry till they turn golden brown on both sides. Drain on a kitchen towel and set aside.

In the serving bowls, arrange the potato tikki's one per bowl. Pour 2 to 3 ladles of Chole masala over them.
Spread (don't mix) Yoghurt over this.
Drop a dollop of Green chutney over this.
Sprinkle the Chat Masala, chopped onion, chopped coriander and serve. Mix well as you relish it!

V's tip: Sprinkle some broken potato chips or broken puri or sev to add some crunchiness!
Sending this to "My Legume Love Affair #22" started by Susan and hosted this month @ Ruchika Cooks

T&T Paruppu Thogaiyal from Anupama's blog:

I love all type of thogaiyals. That's why when my dear friend Anupama posted this simple and delicious Paruppu Thogaiyal, I bookmarked it. Believe me, I have already made it 3 times! It is unbelievably simple, yet uncomprisingly tasty! As she has suggested, it tasted heaven with Garlic rasam (the recipe will come soon!) Thanks Anu dear, I really enjoyed it!

PS: I have been trying many recipes from each of your blogs, and relishing every bit of it. I'll start posting each one of them along with my posts from now on (and of course, link it back to you!) Thanks buddies, for spreading the love for good food! :)

See you all soon! Till then, Happy Cooking, Happy Eating and Happy Blogging!

Quick Reposts

I am always a 11th hour person. I start my assignments only a day before submission date and start studying for the exams just a day before. But somehow always I manage to finish it and stay out of trouble. So here I am, again on the last minute archiving my recipes for the events (with deadline today!)

Sending in the following recipes to "Think Spice: Think Turmeric" hosted this month by Sudeshna, originally started by Sunita.

Lemon Rasam
Mor Kozhambu

These Paneer recipes are finding their way to JFI:Paneer @ The Spice who loved me, hosted by Trupti, originally started by Indira of Mahanandi.

Palak Paneer
Paneer Pulav

Paneer Butter Masala

Happy cooking and happy Blogging!

Bye for now!

Rösti - A Switzerland Speciality

As promised in my previous post, Presenting you the Switzerland's very own "Rösti". Generally pronounced as "Rose-tee", the actual pronunciation would be "Roesh-ti" where you have to twist your tongue a bit when you pronounce 'o' and 'e'. Before going to the recipe, a few facts on Rösti (Ok you know I love to talk, even when blogging! ;) )

Potatoes, we all know, is one of the most versatile vegetable (or rather root) that has a special place in every other cuisine over the world. Switzerland is not far behind in honoring this yummy tuber ecstasy (as I call it!). Fresh potatoes are hand-picked by the farmers and used to make the delicious Rösti for the entire family. It is generally compared with "Hashbrown" but I beg to differ because both of them are different and tasty in their own way.

Ideally Rösti is a complete meal by itself; you can have it with a sauce of your choice. I prefer to have it as such for lunch without any accompaniment, it tastes wonderful! It is usually served in a plate or in the pan itself, in which it is cooked.

The recipe for Rösti also varies based on each Kanton. For 26 Kantons in Switzerland, you can find over 30 different recipes! First time I had Rösti in an Albis restaurant, I could not finish the entire portion because it was loaded with cheese and fat and I had to skip eating for next 2 days! ;) The idea of making it at home was nagging me since long, as I can have a control over the amount of butter I use. Now the time has come! And the best part was the first attempt itself turned out so good!

Since this is a speciality from Switzerland Cuisine, Rösti finds its way to EC's WYF: Speciality Food event.

Makes 1 portion

What we need:
Potatoes - 3, medium sized
Butter - 3 tbsp.
Salt - according to taste
Pepper powder - according to taste

How to do:
1. Boil the potatoes in their skin. Cool them and peel the skin.
It would be better if you can boil them the previous night and let them cool. Potatoes must be firm and cooked and should not get mashed.
2. Use the bigger side of your grater and grate the potatoes into thin strips.
When using the grater, use only forward motion to grate the potatoes. i.e, Go from up to down, start again from the upper part without retracing. This way the strips don't break.
3. Season them with salt and pepper and give a gentle mix with a fork or slotted spoon taking care not to break them.
4. Melt the butter in the pan. Once the butter gets melted, swirl the pan so that it gets coated with butter all over including the rim.
5. Transfer the grated potatoes to the pan and let them sit for 3 to 4 minutes.
6. Now, pat them all together to make a pan cake shape and increase the heat to medium-high.
7. After about 4 to 5 minutes, (this is when the lower part starts to turn golden brown) cover the pan with a plate.
8. Hold the plate and reverse the pan. Transer the entire stuff to the plate. Now you will see that the bottom part is nice golden brown.

Don't worry if the shape disintegrates a bit now; it is usual. After putting it back to the pan, you can pat them again to bring back to shape. Grated potatoes are usually sticky and will happily sit together when patted!
9. Now slide the potatoes gently back to the pan and let this side cook for another 5 to 6 minutes on medium-high.
10. If you desire you can do the flipping again using the plate. Or else slide the Rösti to the plate and get ready to serve!!
1. You can use raw potatoes (by just peeling and not boiling them). They have a completely different taste.
2. You can also use butter with herbs (what we call here Krauterbutter), add onions, apples and fresh herbs like parsley, basil, thyme.
3. Those who eat non-veg, can add diced bacon to the mixture.
4. If you would like to incorporate cheese, transfer the cooked Rösti to the baking dish, top with grated cheese and bake it for 4 to 5 minutes before serving.
5. For Berner style Rösti, add a tbsp of milk, in Step 9 and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Readymade Rösti from the Supermarkets come really handy in many times; I use it to make any recipe that calls for mashed potatoes like Bonda's, tikkis etc.

Wanna try some?

Have a wonderful weekend. See you all soon with another interesting post! Till then, happy cooking and happy Blogging! :)

Aloo Paratha, Some Milestones and Awards

I am extremely happy today for various reasons!!

My visitors count has crossed 1000...

My post count crossed 50... That's relatively small compared to some of our super bloggers..But still...

I have successfully completed my first year at Zurich!!! Yeah that's a milestone for me! Ask my DH how much scene I created as soon as I landed an year before. Even I was doubtful if I'll stay here for 3 months. But it took only 3 days for me to fall in love with this beautiful city. Now unless the immigration throws me out, I am not gonna go away from here ;)

Above all, I have passed my first level Deutsch certification exam with 1st grade!!!!

Yay, with so many reasons for celebration, I must actually post a recipe for a sweet or dessert. But why in the world am I posting the same, beaten-round-the-bush ALOO PARATHA???? Because it's my favorite, your favorite and most of our favorite! (Actual reason for such a simple recipe is I didnt have anything else in my drafts. But I promise, my next post will be an exciting Swiss speciality. Keep guessing!)

So over to our recipe without much rambling...

Aloo Paratha
Indian Wheat bread stuffed with Potato Masala
What we need:Atta / Wheat flour
Oil - a tbsp
Salt - to taste

For Stuffing:
Potato,medium sized - 2
Cumin (Jeera) - a tbsp
Chilli powder - a tsp
Salt - according to taste
Amchur powder - a tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Fresh Coriander, chopped - a few tbsp

Butter - to top

How to do:
1. Mix wheat flour with salt. Slowly incorporate the oil and water and knead to a pliable dough. It should not be too hard nor to soft. Cover tightly and set aside for half an hour.

Mom's tip: The more you knead the dough, more soft and easy it becomes to roll. This way it also puffs up well. I usually think of somebody/something I don't like, and show all my anger on the dough..Ahem ;)

2. Boil, peel and mash the potatoes. Mix in salt, cumin seeds, chilli powder, amchur powder, asafoetida, coriander and make it into small rounds of golf-ball size.
3. Divide the dough into equal parts. Dust with a little flour and roll into a small disc.
4. Keep in the potato ball in the center, pull up all the sides and pinch to close it. It will resemble a modak or kozhukattai, as in step 4 in the pic below.

5. Press gently on the top, dust again with flour, and roll into thick discs. Don't overdo, otherwise potato may start peeking out. Rolling it on the same side you closed the filling without flipping will help.
6. Cook the Parathas in a hot tava, flipping each side occasionally for 4 to 5 minutes each or till the sides turn golden brown.
Serve with pickle, yoghurt. Drop a generous dollop of Butter over each paratha before serving!

Now it is award time again. Thanks everybody for your unstinted support! Your every visit, comment and award are the constant sources of motivation to me!

my Kitchen (Selvi) has passed on to me:

My dear buddies Priya and Jeyashri made my day with:

Aruna gave me this award, which I'd like to pass on to: Sarah Naveen, Asha, Akal's sappadu, Ambika, Nithya, Sushma, Anupama, Meeso, Babli, Indu a.k.a Kitchen Queen, Lata Raja, Kanchan, Sandhya, Sangeetha, Prasu, Sree, Vidya and Lakshmi, Sree Vidya and Sh... (Buddy, what's your real name?)

Plese accept it dearies!

See you all soon! Till then, Enjoy life, happy cooking and happy Blogging! :)

Chutney Upma

If you are wondering if it is a typo as the title says "Chutney Upma" rather than "Upma and Chutney".. NO, it is not! When I say "Chutney Upma", it is upma made with chutney as base! Now without saying, you must have understood that this is one of my so-called kitchen experiments during the mid-morning crisis* that resulted as a delicious breakfast /tiffin item worthy enough to be blogged about.

Mid-morning crisis - A recurring phenomenon that occurs during weekends and holidays, when you sleep late and wake up ravenous and not knowing what to eat to appease your giant-hunger! ;)

Green Chutney is not new to us; it is a multi-purpose chutney that can used as dips for samosas, toppings for chaat, spread for sandwiches, marinade for tikkas, base for pulavs and what not!! Here is one more use of this delicious chutney.

Since this recipe is something I accidentally found, (I am sure I haven't seen or heard of it before!) this delicious Chutney Upma finds its way to Sanjana's Create for a Chilli Chopper. Sanjana's KO Rasoi is a great blog with a wonderful collection of recipes, so don't miss it!

Green Chutney

What we need:
Fresh Coriander leaves - a bunch, cleaned
Fresh Mint leaves - a handful (almost equal or 3/4th of the coriander leaves), cleaned
Ginger - 1" inch, deskinned
Green Chillies - 2 or 3, according to your spice tolerance
Cumin (Jeera_ - 1 tbsp.
Oil - 1 tsp.
Lemon juice - a few drops
Salt - a pinch
Asafoetida - 1 tsp.
Garlic - 1 pod Optional

How to do:
Grind together all the ingredients to a fine paste with very little or no water. Add a pinch of salt if you are planning to store it for sometime. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate.

If you have sharp eyes, you probably noticed the red pieces sticking out the chutney. Since I ran out of green chillies, I just cheated the system by using red chillies (not the dry ones, though!)
I mix a tbsp or 2 Yoghurt or thick curd to use it as a dip or chutney.

Chutney Upma
Serves 2
What we need:Vermicelli / Semiya - 2 cups
Green Chutney - 5 to 6 tbsp.
Oil / Ghee - 1 tbsp.
Cumin (Jeera) - 1 tsp. Optional
Salt - according to taste
Water - 3 cups
Chopped Onions - To garnish

How to do:
1. Roast the vermicelli or Semiya till it turns light brown and set aside. If you are using roasted vermicelli, proceed to Step 2.
2. Heat oil or ghee and add the Cumin. This is also optional since our chutney has enough Jeera.
3. When they start to sputter, add the green chutney and reduce the flame. Fry it for about a minute or 2.
4. When the raw smell starts to leave, add water and salt. Remember our chutney has a little salt, so adjust accordingly.
5. When water starts boiling, add the roasted vermicilli or semiya, cover and cook until the Semiya is done.
Transfer to the serving plate, garnish with chopped onions and serve with a cup of curd!

Rajma Masala from Nithya's blog
Last night for dinner, I tried the Spicy Rajma Masala from Nithya's 4th Sense Samayal. Check out Nithya's blog (I am sure most of you would have, she is pretty famous!); she has a mouth-watering collection of recipes with excellent presentations!

Needless to say, Rajma masala was delicious and lipsmacking! Only change I did was to saute the onions before grinding them with garlic, because somehow the white onions I get here turn bitter if I grind them without sauting! Thanks Nithya for sharing it with us.

Now time to acknowledge the awards; Babli has passed on to me

Thanks dear; I am honored, as always!! I'd like to pass it on to my newest blogger buddies: chakhlere, Sowmya, Shubha, my Kitchen, Preeti Kashyap, Padhu . Please accept it friends!

See you all soon with another interesting post. Till then, Happy cooking and happy Blogging!

Gulab Jamun ~ ICC October '09

Phew! What a challenge it was!! People like me, who thought Gulab Jamun was the easiest sweet were made to think twice before uttering that again! But regardless of how challenging it was, this was probably my best experience in making sweets. Now after making these Jamuns twice or thrice before getting it perfect, I can assure that I can make best Gulab Jamuns from the scratch! Oh, that was intention of ICC right? :) So here we go on to my maiden venture of ICC of the month, Gulab Jamun initated by Srivalli.

Before going into the recipe, a short story on my first attempt which was a complete disaster. I decided to try out a small quantity and started off with 250 ml milk. It simmered to about 1/2 cup of Khova/Khoya/Mawa. All was fine till here. Now the stupid chef in me woke up and led me through the rest of process. Before I could realise, I had added twice the amount of Maida as to Khova. Needless to say, the result was chunky, elastic balls that could noway qualify for a sweet, let alone Jamun!! ;)

In the second attempt, I donned the role of a sincere student who follow the teacher's instructions to book and went through all of the recipes given by Srivalli. It took me a while to understand the basics, but once I understood the bottom-line, I should say it was surprisingly easy and resulted in proper edible jamuns. I have followed the Yum Blog method here. But it is not Gulab(less) Jamun; I managed to get hold of a bottle of Rose water. So mine is GULAB JAMUN! Gee... :D

Gulab Jamun

The following recipe is from Yum blog.
Makes: around 25 Jamuns

What we need:
Khova – 11/2 cups/ 1 recipe I simmered 8 cups of milk and got around 1.5 cups of Khoya
Maida – 1 cup
Sugar – 3 cups (if you want excess syrup i.e floating jamuns increase by a cup)
Water – 1 cup (increase if you’re increasing sugar)
Cooking Soda – 3 pinches
Cardamom – 4 pods
Saffron leaves – a few I didn't add these
Oil – 1 cup (for deep frying)

Rose water - a few drops

Khova making steps

Method :
1. Combine sugar and water in a flat bottomed broad pan and simmer on a low heat until sugar dissolves. Add cardamom powder and saffron leaves (and a few drops of rose water) and remove from fire.
2. Knead khova, maida and soda and quickly shape into balls.
3. Heat oil on a medium flame. Fry the jamuns till golden brown over a low to medium flame, keeping oil temperature uniform. Oil should not smoke.
4. Drain the jamuns and soak in the warm sugar syrup.

Serve the jamuns after half an hour.

You will achieve correct consistency for jamun syrup when 3 cups of sugar dissolves 1 cup water over low heat.
Only when the syrup is ready, mix the jamun dough. Since the dough has soda, if its kept aside the jamuns will disperse while frying and will not hold well.
Right temperature of oil of utmost importance to get soft jamuns.
Never refrigerate jamuns. Jamuns when refrigerated will shrink and become hard. Jamuns will stay fresh for 4 days when stored in air tight containers.
If you like you can add two drops of rose essence to the syrup to make it Gulab jamun.

For this measurement, I got exactly 25 jamuns, of medium sized balls.

Important notes:
1. We must follow the same order to do the jamuns, i.e sugar syrup must be ready before we fry the balls.
2. Since the balls have soda, they cannot stand for a long time. So they must be fried immediately after rolling.
3. If the oil is not of correct temperature, the balls will be unevenly cooked.
4. Add rose water to the sugar syrup only after the syrup becomes warm. If added when the sugar is boiling, it will turn bitter.

My experience:
1. I also used a tbsp of melted ghee to roll out smooth, crack-less balls.
2. I did a mistake of heating the oil too much, so some of the balls turned dark brown. For the second batch, I adjusted the oil temperature and got them right.

Hope you all enjoyed this challenge as much as I did!

Happy cooking and happy blogging!

Masala Dosai with Amma's Sambar

Now all of you, say with me...."I LOVE DOSA".....! What?? No? Who was that?? Could there be possibly anyone who doesn't love dosa??? Me and V can have dosa for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack... or even midnight munch!!! ;) I am fairly good at making dosas, thanks to my "Prestige" non-stick dosa-tava, with which making dosa is as effortless as eating it! (No no, I am not a marketing agent for Prestige!!!!)

This Sambar is amma's version. It is not the usual Sambar and I don't know where she got the recipe, but it is an absolutely delicious combo for Dosa and Idli. Try it for yourself and let me know! Now no more talks, only action!!

Masala Dosai

What we need:

For Batter:
Rice - 4 cups
Urad dal - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tbsp.
Salt -as needed
Water - as needed

For Masala:
Potaotes, medium sized - 2, boiled and peeled
Onion, medium sized -1, finely chopped
Green chilli - 1 or 2, minced
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Oil - 1 tbsp.
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp.
Cumin - 1 tsp.
Chana dal - 1 tsp.
Ginger, grated - 1 tbsp.
Salt - as needed
Coriander - for garnishing, optional

How to do:
Preparing the batter:
Wash well and soak rice, urad dal and fenugreek seeds for 5 to 6 hours, preferably overnight. Grind together to a fine smooth paste. Add enough water, salt and dilute to the desired consistency. Leave it overnight for fermentation.

For the Masala:
1. Heat oil and add mustard, followed by cumin, chana dal.
2. When they are done, add the chopped onion, turmeric powder, grated ginger and green chillies. Fry till the onion turn soft.
3. Mash the boiled potatoes to a coarse texture, giving them a rustic shape. Add this to the pan, along with salt and mix well.
4. Remove from the flame, garnish with coriander and let it cool.
Preparing the dosa:
1. Heat the tava or griddle to high. To check the heat, sprinkle some water over the tava. It should sizzle immediately.
2. Now pour a ladle full of batter, and slowly spread it to form the dosa shape. Add a few drops of oil/ ghee around it.
3. After 3 to 4 minutes, (if you want it golden brown, leave it for a minute more), flip to the other side.
4. After the other side is done, flip back again. Take a spoon full of potato masala, keep it on one side of the dosa. Slowly roll the dosa (use another spoon to hold other side) and transfer to the serving plate.
Sambar for Idly / Dosa
What we need:

Shallots / Small Onion - 5 to 7
Tomato, medium sized - 2, chopped
Carrot - 1, diced
Dhania - 2 tbsp.
Red Chilli - 2 or 3, depending on your spice tolerance
Roasted gram / Pottu Kadalai - 3 tbsp.
Tamarind extract - 3 tbsp., extracted from a marble sized ball
Oil - 2 tbsp.
Mustard - 1 tbsp.
Salt- as needed
Water - as needed
Coriander - to garnish
How to do:
1. In a pan, heat a tbsp of oil and roast red chillies and dhania. When they are done, add half of the shallots / small onions.
2. When they start to turn soft, add half the chopped tomato and stir till they pulp.
3. Let this cool and grind them along with the roasted gram.
4. Heat oil again and add mustard. When they start to pop, add the remaining small onions. Fry till the turn soft. Now add the carrots and stir well.
5. When the carrots are done, add the remaining tomato, salt and stir. When the tomatoes turn soft, add the tamarind extract, half a cup of water, followed by the ground masala from step 3.
6. Bring to a boil and remove from the flame. Garnish with chopped coriander.
Serve together the dosa, Sambar and Coconut chutney and relish it as you sing..."I love Dosa" :)
Happy cooking and happy Blogging!!