26 February, 2007

Akki Rotti with Coriander Chutney

Akki Rotti is one of my favourite breakfast/brunch items. It’s a power house of nutrition and flavours. There are many recipes and methods of making akki rotties and this is my all time favourite recipe from my Amma. This recipe comes to my rescue when all I can think of is having some delicious and tasty food without spending too much time in kitchen. It is not just simple and easy to prepare but tastes really good with or without any side dish. You can make it spicy or mild, with or without vegetables. But after many pros and cons, trials and tests I have figured out my Amma’s recipe as a winner:)

Akki Rotti with Coriander Chutney

Akki Rotti
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Serves: 3-5
3 cups Rice Flour
1 large Onion, finely chopped
1 Carrot, finely grated
2-3 Green Chillies, finely chopped
¼ bunch Dill, finely chopped
¼ bunch Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
½ cup Grated Coconut (optional)
1 tbsp Channa Dal
½ tbsp Urad Dal
½ tbsp Mustard
½ tbsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Curry Leaves, chopped
2-3 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

Akki Rotti

Take oil in kadai and add channa dal, urad dal, mustard and jeera.
Add chopped curry leaves, onion and green chillies when mustard stars spluttering.
Sauté them till onions turn transluscent.
To this add grated carrot and sauté it for a minute.
Pour 2 cups of hot water and add salt to it.
Now add rice flour, grated coconut, chopped dill, coriander leaves and mix well.
Keep mixing the mixture till dough comes together. Make sure that the dough is moist enough.
Turn off the gas and keep the dough to cool for about 5-10 minutes.
Using little water make large lemon sized balls.
Take butter paper or plastic sheet and apply little oil on the surface.
Keep the dough ball in the centre and press it flat using finger tips to ½ cm thickness. I usually cover the sheet with another plastic sheet or butter paper and press them using wide plate, where as my mother use plantain/banana leaves.
Heat the pan and carefully transfer the rotti.
Cook both the sides till they turn golden yellow by applying little oil or ghee if desired.
Serve hot with Coconut Chutney or Sambar or Badane/Eggplant Ennegai of your choice.

Akki Rotti with Coriander Chutney

I served Akki Rotties with Coriander Chuteny. Here is the recipe.

Coriander-Coconut Chutney
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: -
Serves: 4-5
¾ cup Coconut, grated
1-2 Green Chillies
½ cup Coriander Leaves
½ marble sized Tamarind
¼ inch Ginger
Salt to taste

Coriander Chutney

Grind all the ingredients to smooth paste using warm water.

Akki Rotti with Coriander Chutney

25 February, 2007

Cream of Corn Soup

Other day I was chatting with my lovely cousin who is staying in US. She is a fabulous cook with many healthy and nutritious recipes in her kitty. After we finish with our usual chit-chat, we share some interesting recipes which we have had tried and found quite good:) I was lucky again (as most of the times;) and got this awesome soup recipe from her. When she said she was hooked to this soup I was bit sceptical about it. Thats mainly because the only soup I am really hooked is tomato soup, which I can consume in gallons without complaining. Although I love soups, no other soups have come close to tomato soup. And boy!!! Was I wrong this time. I am quite happy that my soup theory proved wrong:) It was all she mentioned and now like her even I and K are hooked to this delicious hot bowl of soup. So this is a call to all soup lovers out there to give it a shot as I am sure you will love it as much as we do.

Cream of Corn Soup

Cream of Corn Soup
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time:15-20 mins
Serves: 2-3
1 can of Cream of Corn
2 cups of Water/ Vegetable Stock
2 cubes of Vegetable Stock (omit if you are using vegetable stock)
1 tbsp Soya Sauce
1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp Corn flour (adjust according to required consistency)
½ cup Carrot, diced into small pieces
½ cup French Beans, chopped
½ cup Cabbage, chopped finely
½ cup Green Peas, cooked or frozen
½ cup Celery, diced (optional)
Salt and Pepper Powder to taste

Cream of Corn Soup

For Garnishing:
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped and kept in vinegar for 1-2 hours
Shredded Cabbage

Cream of Corn Soup

Pour 2 cups of water into heavy bottomed pan and add veg stock cubes to them.
To this add cream of corn and mix well.
In a mean while, microwave all the vegetables for 2-4 minutes so that they retain their crunchiness.
Add these vegetables to the pan with soya sauce and vinegar.
Take ¼ cup of water and dissolve corn flour in it.
Add this to soup and keep stirring so that no lumps are formed.
Cook in medium flame for another minute and then add salt and pepper according to your taste.
Serve hot garnished with shredded cabbage and chillies in vinegar with any bread or bun.

21 February, 2007

Tondekai/Tindora-Tender Cashew Nuts Palya

Palyas in Karnataka are dry vegetable subjis which are served as side dish. Usually palyas can be made using any vegetables of your choice. They are very simple to cook with minimum ingredients and spices. There is one palya which has always been my favourite dish. It is usually made and served for special occasions. The main ingredients here are Tender Cashew Nuts and Tondekai (Tindora). The sweetness of tender cashews with crunchy tondekai makes this palya special.
Sometime back when I was chatting with my mother she told me she has prepared this palya. First thing which came to my mind was how she managed to get tender cashews in this time of the year as they are available from April in my native. Then she told me how to make this palya which will equally taste as good as tender cashew-tondekai palya which I am now going to share with you all. It was really great experience for us who always thought there was no way we can get hold of tender cashews in any super market, be canned or otherwise. So without taking much of your time, let’s start cooking :)

Tondekai/Tindora-Cashew Nuts Palya

1 cup Cashew Nuts
1 pack Tondekai/Tindora, cut vertically (all you lucky people can use fresh ones…booo;)
2 tsp Urad Dal
1 tsp Mustard
1-2 Dry Red Chillies
A Pinch of Turmeric
Few curry Leaves
1 tbsp Fresh Grated Coconut
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
Tondekai/Tindora-Cashew Nuts Palya
First soak cashew nuts in hot water for ½ to ¾ hours till they become tender. (If you have tender cashew nuts then omit this step)
Heat oil in a pan and add urad dal, dry red chillies, mustard and curry leaves.
When mustard starts spluttering, add tondekai and mix well.
Add very little water and close the lid and cook till tondekai is just tender. (Don’t cook for long time as they will lose their crunchiness)
Drain excess water from cashew nuts and add them to pan with pinch of turmeric powder and salt to taste.
Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Garnish with grated coconut and serve hot with rice or poories.

Tondekai/Tindora-Cashew Nuts Palya

Variations and Tips:
You can add a tsp of Jaggary to it if you like it little sweet.
Although the above recipe is authentic way of making Tondekai-Tender Cashew Nut Palya, you can always try making it spicy by adding little onion and tomato with little Garam Masala and Coriander Powder to add little twist.

Some Facts about Cashew Nuts:
The delightful cashew nut is loved by everybody. Cashews are a product loved by the wealthy nations and provided for by the poor nations. It is closely related to the Mango and Pistachio plants.

Cashews are found growing on cashew trees or "bushes" near the equator. Kerala State (India) Cashew Association is now the largest exporter of cashews in the world.

When is a nut not a nut?
When it's a seed, like a cashew. The tasty cashew grows at the bottom of an edible, pear-like fruit. The precious kernel is encased in a honey-combed protective shell. Because this natural barrier must be removed before their rich flavour can be appreciated, cashews are the only nut marketed exclusively without their shells -- roasted with salt, unsalted for use in cooking, or, as delicious Fisher honey-roasted cashews, perfect for snacking.

(Source: http://www.thenutfactory.com)

Tondekai/Tindora-Cashew Nuts Palya

19 February, 2007

Raspberry and Apricot Tarts

There is something about rusticity in food which always attracts me, like rustic charm of puff pastry and I'm a total devotee of it:) The pre-rolled puff pastry in my freezer which thaws out so swiftly is one of my favourites. You may have to pay little for the privilege of having your own pastry rolled for you. But I'm not complaining as long as it has the perfect thickness for making tarts or pies of all shapes and sizes with all kind of fillings whether sweet or savoury.

This weekend when we got a big packet of raspberries from weekend farmer’s market, which were the best one I had it in years. They were juicy, sweet with a hint of tanginess. Although I got them for making crumble I ended up stuffing in puff pastry which was perfect for our lazy Sunday. They were crunchy with sticky-syrupy fillings. And best thing is they require very less preparation time. This is my entry for Trupti’s Little Chef’s in Kitchen (err… am I late?).

Raspberry and Apricot Tarts

A roll of Puff Pastry
Dry Apricots
Little butter
Raspberry/Apricot Jam for glazing
Icing Sugar

Raspberry and Apricot Tarts

Preheat the oven at level 5.
Thaw the pastry as instructed and roll them on floured surface.
Sprinkle sugar (according to how sweet you want) on the pastry surface and roll them a little.
Cut them into squares using sharp knife.
Grease the cup cake tins and place the pastry sheets giving them desired shapes. If required cut out the excess sheets or leave as it is as it gives the rustic look.
Place 4-5 raspberries, apricot and drizzle more sugar on top and add little unsalted butter on top and bake them for about 15-20 minutes till puff pastries turn brown and crisp.
Cool them little and transfer to serving dish and glaze them with jam.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Raspberry and Apricot Tarts

What is puff pastry?

The key to using puff pastry is knowing what it is and how it works. There are four main ingredients in puff pastry: flour, butter, salt, and water. No leavener. So what makes it rise up so high and fluffy? It's the way these ingredients are combined and their reaction.

Once it comes together is when the true labor begins. The dough is rolled around a thick slab of butter. Through a process of folding, turning, and rolling, the butter is dispersed throughout the dough creating hundreds of very thin layers of dough separated by a film of butter.

Raspberry and Apricot Tarts

The butter layer is what causes the rise. When the pastry is heated, the butter melts and boils, creating steam which lifts the successive layers higher and higher. At the same time, the heat is cooking the flour, hardening it around those minute air pockets, creating the puff. Puff pastry expands 6 to 8 times its pre-baked height. Puff pastry is known as Pâté feuilletée, in France and is used in the making of Napoleons, palmiers, croissants, allumettes, turnovers, en croute dishes, pithiviers, tartes tatain, beef Wellington, bouchées, and vol-au-vents.

(Source: www.homecooking.com)

Raspberry and Apricot Tarts

13 February, 2007

Cooking from Other Blogs and Flower 'n Fruit Photography

I thought it's a high time I posted recipes I tried from other blogs before everyone start thinking I always cook and post my recipes;) These days I have been busy trying and testing recipes from other blogs and trust me I enjoyed it a lot. So here are three dishes I cooked from my blog buddies Asha of Foodie’s Hope and Manjula of Dalitoy. I am also posting “some” pictures I clicked during my India trip.

First is the Onion Pakodas which I made using Asha’s recipe. They were crisp, tasty and everything Asha said. We both enjoyed it a lot. Thank you Ashakka for this recipe. Here is another recipe of Onion Pakoda’s which I have posted earlier in my blog.

Asha's Onion Pakodas

Second dish is also from Asha’s blog. It’s her grandma’s recipe of Beetroot Palya and Grandma's recipe can never go wrong:) Beetroot is our favourite veggie(apart from another dozens of other veggies;). This recipe is a sure keeper for us as we enjoyed it simple rice and yogurt.

Asha's Beetroot Palya

Third recipe of Potato Saung is from Manjula’s blog. Boy!!! If you like tangy and spicy potato curry with very less ingredients and even very little preparation time then I highly recommend this for you. It was so delicious that we cooked it again in a same week. Thank you Manjula for this wonderful recipe.

Manjula's Potato Saung

Today I am posting flowers and fruits and vegetable pictures from my Amma and Atte’s much loved and nurtured garden. You will understand how much they love gardening once you see these snaps.

My good friend Trupti’s blog ”The Spice Who Loved Me” is nominated for best Indian food blog by IndiBloggies with other five beautiful blogs. My good wishes to Trupti and other bloggers who have been nominated. So friends what are you waiting for? Go and start voting for your favourite blog here at Indibloggies Poll.

09 February, 2007

Fresh Strawberries with Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce - 3 in 1 Entry ;)

I and my hubby are fruitoholics. There is no single day when we don’t have at least 6 types of fruits in our fruit basket. We both are totally addicted to fruits and can survive just eating them. When Maheshwari announced her fruit of the month I was overjoyed as she has chosen my favourite juicy, gorgeous Strawberries. What a better fruit for this month of romance and love than red, almost heart shaped strawberries. After drilling my brain and my hubby’s brain for some ultra-special recipe I ended making this. Oh no!!! There is no frying, baking, steaming or cooking involved. I wanted to keep it simple yet delightful. So here is my entry of Fresh Strawberries served with dollop of Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce. This is what I usually serve as desserts when I have very limited time to prepare. And everybody loves having this light dessert after heavy meals. Overall preparation time is just five minutes and I don’t have to say how it tastes.

Fresh Strawberries with Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

Fresh Strawberries
Vanilla Ice Cream
Few Chocolate Chips or Bars
Fresh Cream/Milk
Mint Leaves for garnishing

Fresh Strawberries with Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

Cut the strawberries to desired shape and arrange them in serving plate/bowl.
Scoop up a dollop of your favourite flavour of ice cream and place it in a plate/bowl.
Heat chocolate bars with little butter in microwave for about 30 seconds.
To this add a spoonful of fresh cream or milk and mix well.
Take a spoonful of chocolate sauce and spread it on ice cream.
Garnish with mint leaves and serve immediately.

Fresh Strawberries with Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

Oh!!! I would like to contribute this for Trupti’s LCIK. Kids can easily make this (of course with mommy’s guidance) and have fun in choosing their favourite ice creams and chocolate sauce. I am sure mommies will need to balance between chocolate sauce + ice cream and fruits though;) Hope they don’t end-up eating more ice cream and chocolate than fruits;)
And as Coffee of Khazana of Recipe says, I am gonna kill 3 birds with single stone now:) This is my contribution for Pooja's this week's theme- Valentine's Day:) Wohoo... I did it;)

Fresh Strawberries with Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

Strawberries Fun Facts:

Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside.
The average strawberry has 200 seeds.
The ancient Romans believed that strawberries alleviated symptoms of melancholy, fainting, all inflammations, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, bad breath, attacks of gout, and diseases of the blood, liver and spleen.
To symbolize perfection and righteousness, medieval stone masons carved strawberry designs on altars and around the tops of pillars in churches and cathedrals.
In parts of Bavaria, country folk still practice the annual rite each spring of tying small baskets of wild strawberries to the horns of their cattle as an offering to elves. They believe that the elves, are passionately fond of strawberries, will help to produce healthy calves and an abundance of milk in return.
Madame Tallien, a prominent figure at the court of the Emperor Napoleon, was famous for bathing in the juice of fresh strawberries. She used 22 pounds per basin. Needless to say, she did not bathe daily.
Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.
There is a museum in Belgium just for strawberries.
Strawberries are a member of the rose family.
Ninety-four percent of US households consume strawberries.
Americans eat 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries each year plus another 1.8 pounds frozen per capita.
Strawberries are low fat, low calorie; high in vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, potassium
Strawberries, as part of a 5 a day fruit & vegetable program, can help reduce the risk of cancer & heart attacks.
In medieval times, strawberries were served at important functions to bring peace & prosperity.
Folk lore states that if you split a double strawberry in half and share it with the opposite sex, you’ll soon fall in love.
In France, Strawberries were thought to be an aphrodisiac. A soup made of strawberries, thinned sour cream, borage, & powered sugar was served to newlyweds.
Over 53 percent of seven to nine-year-olds picked strawberries as their favorite fruit.

(Source: www.londonstrawberryfestival.com)

08 February, 2007

Mango Rice with Cucumber-Mint Raita

Mango… I can say without any hitch or hesitation that mango is my favourite fruit. It’s not just because of its colour and taste. It is one fruit which is connected to my happy childhood memories. My childhood days I have spent almost every summer vacation in my grandma’s home. Every year me and my sister and our cousins would eagerly wait for our holidays and keep our bags ready before our exams. Right next day after our exams our uncle would come and take us to grandma’s place. We all cousins would gather there and play day in and day out. When our elders use to take siesta in hot afternoon we would go to our mango groves and collect basketful of mangoes for my grandma who would cook delicious items using them. The choices are numerous: Pickles, Mambla (made using mango pulp and sun dried), Gojju, Sasame, Papadam, Sambar, Rasam, Raita etc. It’s a never ending list of delicious mango delicacies.

Mango Rice with Cucumber-Mint Raita

Today I am posting the recipe of Mango rice which has been my favourite rice items from mom’s kitchen. My mother usually makes this during Ugadi which is a new year in Hindu calendar. This sweet and tangy rice is very simple to make and takes very little time. You can prepare it using left over rice too. Serve it with any Pickle and Raita or just plain Yogurt of your choice.

Mango Rice with Cucumber-Mint Raita

2 cups Rice
1 large half ripe Mango, grated
2 medium Onions, finely chopped
2-3 Green Chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp Mint Leaves, finely chopped
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
3 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
3 tbsp Lemon Juice (Adjust acc to taste)
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp sugar (Optional)
1 tbsp Channa Dal
1 tbsp Urad Dal
1 tbsp Mustard
1 Dry Red Chilly
Few Curry Leaves
Pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
Salt to taste
2+1 tbsp Ghee

Mango Rice with Cucumber-Mint Raita

Soak rice in water for half an hour, wash and drain water and keep it aside.
In a pressure cooker heat 2 tbsp of ghee and add washed rice to it.
Mix the rice till every grain is covered with ghee.
Add salt and enough water (4 cups) and close the lid and pressure cook till it’s done.
In a mean while, heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a pan and add channa dal, urad dal, red chilly, mustard, hing and curry leaves.
When mustard starts sputtering, add onion, green chilli and ginger and cook till onions turn translucent.
Add grated mango, mint leaves, coriander leaves, sugar, turmeric powder and sauté it in medium flame for 1-2 minutes.
Turn off the gas and add lemon juice and mix it well with cooked rice. If you are using raw mango then add lemon juice according to taste.
Serve hot with raita and pickle of your choice.

Mango Rice with Cucumber-Mint Raita

I served tangy mango rice with sweet cucumber-mint raita. This is one of my favourite raitas which can be prepared within five minutes. Nothing can beat the refreshing taste of cucumber-mint raita.

Cucumber-Mint Raita

1 Cucumber
1 tsp Mint Paste
2 cups Yogurt
Salt to taste

Mango Rice with Cucumber-Mint Raita

Grate the cucumber and mix it with yogurt, mint paste and salt to taste.
If you like it spicy, add finely chopped green chillies or season it with mustard, urad dal and red chilly.
Chill it before serving.

05 February, 2007

Akki Pundi (Rice Dumplings)

In today’s menu I am going to present authentic, traditional Mangalorean recipe of Akki Pundi (Rice Dumplings). This was the first time I tried making this and boy! They were so simple and easy to cook. There is no frying, rolling and no sweating or swearing ;) Everything went so smoothly and I really-really managed to produce perfect Pundis. Thanks to my MIL who gave me simple yet best recipe to make perfect Akki Pundis. I served them with delicious bowl of onion-potato Sambar, Rave (pronounced as ra-way) which is made from jaggary and onion pakodas (oh!!! It’s difficult to stay away from fried food :) This time I made Onion Pakoda’s using Asha’s recipe and boy, they were yummylicious :) Thank you Ashakka for yummy recipe. And these pakodas are my entry for Coffee’s MBP.

Akki Pundi served with Potato-Onion Sambar and Onion Pakodas

There are different ways of making Akki Pundi’s and this is my MIL’s version. I will post my Amma's version sometime later.

Akki Pundi and Onion Pakoda

2 cups Rice
Salt to taste

Akki Pundi ready for steam cooking

Wash rice and spread it on clean cloth to dry.
Once all the water is dried up, grind the rice without adding water coarsely. Make sure that you don’t grind it to smooth powdery texture. I usually grind the rice grains to khus-khus sized granules.
In a mean while, pour 3 glasses of water and salt to taste in thick bottomed vessel and bring it to boil.
As soon as the water is hot enough add ground rice and keep mixing the mixture making sure that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Cook this mixture over a medium flame, stirring continuously till solid enough to be rolled into balls. (It took me around 8-10 minutes)
Make small lemon-sized balls by wetting your hands in cold water.
Arrange them in a steamer and steam cook for about 15 minutes in medium heat.
Let it cool down a bit before you serve them.
Serve them with any Sambar, Kurma, Honey or Chutneys.

Akki Pundi served with Potato-Onion Sambar and Onion Pakodas

Once you mix the hot water and rice flour you can shift the mixture into microwave bowl and cook it in microwave for about 10 minutes. Make sure that you mix the mixture once in every 3 minutes so that it’s mixed evenly.
You can also cook the Pundi’s in microwave for 8-10 minutes using Microwave Idli Maker.
To make spicy Pundi’s, season mustard, urad dal, broken red chillies and curry leaves. Add this seasoning to the water along with rice in the beginning and then proceed with the next steps.
You can also add ½ cup of freshly gated coconut to the mixture.

Akki Pundi served with Potato-Onion Sambar and Onion Pakodas