Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Just a quick note to say M & I are going off on our holiday! Will be back in my Cozy Little Kitchen soon...until then, Happy Holidays! Hope your days ahead are filled with joy, cheer, love and laughter.

Monday, November 9, 2009

And Thus the Recipe was Born...

Here's one of those recipes that I came up with. A lonely bag of baby carrots in my fridge was the only fresh veggies at hand, so had to build a substantial menu with it :) I also had half a bag of frozen peas and voila! Carrot 'n' Peas Rice was made for lunch! A quick whip of onion and tomato raita, and we were in business.

  • 1 cup basmati rice (washed and drained)
  • 1.5 cups grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/4 tspn saunf (fennel) and jeera (whole cumin)
  • 1 tbspn ghee or oil
  • masala powders, 1/2 tspn each - turmeric, red chilli powder, anardana powder (pomegranate powder) and a pinch of garam masala.
  • 2 cups water
  • salt to taste

  • Heat ghee in a pot and tip in saunf and jeera. Saute for a few seconds.
  • Put in sliced onion and saute till done.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and stir for a few minutes.
  • Now throw in the grated carrot, peas and rice and stir gently until the rice is well coated with everything and turns kind of an opaque white.
  • Pour in 2 cups of water and stir well.
  • Add all the masala powders and salt.
  • Give it a good final stir and cook on medium heat until most of the water is absorbed.
  • Then reduce to a simmer and cook covered until all the water is absorbed.
  • Serve hot with raita.
A handy tip - use a medium grate rather than a fine one. Chunky shreds of carrot, in our experience, suit this recipe better.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Paneer Paratha

Paneer is Indian cottage cheese. I love it's texture and the fact that it is so versatile makes it a popular ingredient in most Indian pantries (well, refrigerator!). It can easily be made at home, although I've never tried it once! I've seen videos of it being made on YouTube and have always wanted to try, but somehow the simpler option of getting a pack from the supermarket always wins the vote. There are tons of recipes with paneer, both savoury and sweet. I thought I'd post this recipe for paneer parathas as we had them for lunch yesterday. A friend of ours had made it for us once long ago and I tried it at home the very next day. It turns out really well and tastes very good. It's a great option when you don't want to make the usual rice 'n' dal or roti 'n' gravy, 'cos all you need to serve it is yogurt and pickle.

Now, the paneer is the star of the recipe. You've got to have the real deal - a block of good firm paneer. Yes, you could substitute it with cottage cheese, but no, you cannot use the cottage cheese spread thingy. This we learnt the hard way at our friends' place the other day. We thought we were smart and could get away with using the cottage cheese spread and I just have three simple words - IT DIDN'T WORK! But I did learn one thing though, we are glad to have such sweet friends who did not fuss and complain about the disastrous looking 'thing' that resulted but tolerantly ate it all. And thank God for small mercies, we were all fine the next morning!

Okay, so I was saying - firm paneer or cottage cheese, if you don't have it, make something else for lunch. Simple :)
Parathas are stuffed unleavened Indian breads.

Here's the recipe -

For the dough -
  • 2 cups wholemeal flour
  • enough water to knead into a soft dough
  • salt to taste
For the filling -
  • 1/2 a block of fresh paneer
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tspn ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander
  • about a 1/4 tspn of - turmeric powder, cumin powder (jeera powder), amchur powder, red chilli powder (use more if you prefer it hot)
  • salt to taste
Method -
  • Make a soft pliable dough with the wholemeal flour. Cover and let rest for about 15 mins.
  • In a large bowl, crumble the block of paneer, add all other ingredients and give it a good mix.
  • Roll out the stuffed parathas as seen in the video.
  • Slap it on to a hot skillet and cook on both sides with a generous smear of ghee.
  • Serve hot with yogurt and pickle.
If you like this and are adventurous for more, try altering the recipe and make the filling with potatoes or cauliflower instead.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thankful you were born!

It was M's birthday yesterday, yay! But poor him, he was working all day :( He had been really busy the whole weekend and so there wasn't anything special planned for his special day. I thought I'd make something sweet to say 'thank you' to God for making him especially for me :) So I made kesaribhath/suji ka halwa/shira. It's really simple, gets done in a jiffy and tastes great. Here's the recipe -

1 cup semolina (rava/sooji)
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk
2 tbspns ghee
1 small banana, chopped
a pinch of cardamom powder
a handful of raw cashews and sultanas

  • Heat about 1/2 a tbspn of ghee in a non-stick wok/pan. Roast cashews and sultanas until the cashews turn a light brown. Remove and keep aside.
  • With the ghee in the wok, tip in the semolina and roast until light brown and toasty.
  • Meanwhile heat the milk on HIGH in a microwave for about a minute. You could even heat it on the stove top.
  • Once the semolina is roasted, turn down the heat to low and pour in the hot milk. Please be very cautious as you do so - apparently the roasted semolina and hot milk are long lost friends who get really excited when they see each other! Jokes apart, the hot steam from the hot milk and the hot wok (wow! that's a lot of 'hot')...so please be careful, don't burn yourself!
  • Keep stirring to avoid lumps. The idea is to cook the semolina in the milk and it happens quite quickly, in about 2 minutes.
  • When the mixture kind of begins to turn dry, add the sugar.
  • As you mix everything, you'll notice that the mixture begins to turn liquid-ey again. Now work quickly and throw in all the other stuff - chopped banana, cashews and sultanas, cardamom powder and the remaining ghee.
  • Stir it for a couple of minutes until it all amalgamates well and turn off the heat.
  • Serve hot!
It's best you stash it in the fridge if you've made lots and reheat it just before serving.
I'd earlier posted a recipe for kesaribhath, but I'd made it with chopped pineapple and it's a slightly different recipe in that I used water instead of milk.

So, no fancy cake or cocktail party snacks for M's special day this year, just a humble and yummy sweet dish, which he thoroughly enjoyed. And that's exactly what I wanted, after all :)


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