Welcome aboard!

Indian cuisine is a riot of colours, flavours, and spices. Every state has its own unique culture- ingrained taste bud. And, to many of us staying within familiar tastes is a sacrosanct act. Of course an occasional trip to a speciality restaurant that serves another fare is ok. But, as a matter of routine ...at home...NO!

One of the benefits of being born to parents who dared an interstate marriage (am talking about India of the 70's) was being able to widen a regional taste bud to accept, experiment and, relish eclectic cuisines :-)

I love food! Be it traditional or fusion, cooking is all about turning out fare that is tasty and healthy.I welcome all lovers of good food to come on aboard and share your kitchen adventures.

If you like what you see, do leave a comment. If you don't, please leave a suggestion to help me make this better.

You can also request for any recipe you want. Just leave a note in a comment box.

Happy cooking!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rava-burghul (bulgar) idlis and a warning note

After obnoxious comments, comments left in strange languages, anonymous comments, here is one, which I feel, takes the cake!

How about something that when one reads sounds perfectly nice and resounds appreciation but if you click on the commenter's profile opens up websites that promote steroids, androgen boosters, brain chemical enhancers to even cedar chests and cabins!

I've never had trouble with anonymous nasties simply because I've disabled the option for anonymity in my comment form.True it also prevents readers who want to leave maybe a genuine comment of appreciation but don't have a registered ID and thereby cuts down on my overall number of comments (and hence 'popularity' as a search engine might view it ;-). But never mind! But of late my blog has been getting comments of the new kind that I mentioned before. It's only through habit that I always click to check a new profile name that comments on my posts. Otherwise it would've been so easy to have allowed these "lovely" comments to be published (easily past moderation) and hence inadvertently promote whatever these sites seek to promote.

Hope fellow bloggers too watch out for these wolves in sheepskins!

Long back, during my preggie days, I posted my Rava and Oats Idli
which I find has turned out to be one of the most popular posts on my blog. Back then someone had commented that I could even try substituting the rava with broken wheat (burghul). Thought it was a good idea but decided to substitute oats with the burghul once in a while. The idlis came out quite good though with a little more bite than the oats-rava combo.

Broken wheat (dhalia/burghul/bulgar/broken wheat) - 1 cup
Rava (semolina/cream of wheat) - 1 cup
Low-fat Curds (yoghurt) - 2 cups
Roasted and skinned peanuts - a handful
Soda bi carb - a pinch
Salt to taste

For tempering
Ginger - 1" piece (peeled and grated)
Green chillies - 3 Nos (finely chopped)
Bengal gram (channa dhal/kadalai paruppu)- 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds (Kaduku/Rai)- 1/2 teaspoon
Indian curry leaves - 2 sprigs

Warm a thick bottomed pan and add in the rava. Dry roast on small flame stirring frequently to ensure even roasting. Brown speckles and an aroma from the rava denote the grains are roasted enough. Spread out on a plate and cool. Transfer to a bowl. Whip the curds with a fork and add to the roasted rava and burghul to form a thick batter. Let stay for about 2 hours.
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan and add the bengal gram. When it starts to turn a light brown , add the mustard and let crackle. Add in the finely grated ginger and chillies. Add the curry leaves. Saute for a minute. Add into the batter along with the roasted peanuts and salt. Blend in the soda bi carb. If the batter has turned too thick because of the rava having swollen up add in a little water. But remember that this batter should be considerably thicker than the ordinary rice idly batter. Pour into into idli moulds and steam for 15-20 minutes.

I served these idlis with fiery mulaku chammanthi (chilli chutney) the recipe of which will soon follow!

PS: Please do not mind the rather dull looking picture. Blame it on bad photography skills, wrong light, and hunger !!

Sending this over to Show me your whole grains event on at Divya's Dil se till April 30th.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pumpkin Punch - tried and tasted

I always bookmark interesting recipes from my blogger buddies' sites but the ones that actually make it to my kitchen are:

a) easy and doable - what's the point of cooking something that is so complicated that by the end you feel you'd rather sleep than put in the extra effort of eating what you've made! hats off to people who are such natural born, passionate cooks!

b) made with readily accessible and ordinary ingredients - not that most exotic grains, veggies and other edible paraphernalia are unavailable in the supermarket aisles at Muscat, but somehow can't bring myself to buy that for example, 'tiny bottle of natural sugar substitute' for an amount that will easily fetch me a generous portion of jaggery (unrefined indian cane sugar), palm jaggery, or demerara.

c) easy on my already zapped system - deep fried, maida (all purpose flour) made, cream filled , ghee (clarified butter) sploshed, meat laden etc etc are terms that scare me!

d) novel - this does not mean out of the world! merely something that I have had, loved but don't know how to make; or, something i'm not aware of and yet appeals to me.

Recently I came across a 'cool-cool' drink on Cynthia's blog that happily fitted into my criteria - the pumpkin punch! I've, however, modified it to suit my taste. The result was totally yum and my husband could hardly believe he was drinking up something that had the humble pumpkin as key ingredient!

Here's my version:

Pumpkin - 200 gms (peeled,cubed, and steam cooked)
Fat free milk - 250 ml (boiled and simmered to evaporate just a little bit)
Cardamom - 1 (powdered)
Vanilla essence - 2-3 drops
Demerara (or plain sugar) - according to taste

I whisked everything together together with an electronic hand blender till the pumpkin pieces were completely pulverized and the liquid took on a creamy,frothy texture. Chill and enjoy!

Here is Cynthia's Pumpkin Punch . Thank you Cynthia!

I so wanted to send this over to Priya's Cooking with seeds - Cardamom seeds event but am late by 2 days. Sending it over anyways! Hope you accept it, Priya.

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