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!