Blogofyum

Food, Recipes…..garnished with memories

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Quick Creamy Mango Pasta

I’m back! Oh how much I love saying these words. It makes me feel like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not that I was away from the blogging world or anything, but this is my 25th post and I have spent anticipating about it since my 10th post! https://blogofyum.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/minty-melon-salad/.

That surely calls for a round of applause. Yay!

Thank you very much.  🙂 Here’s to the next 100 posts! Cheers!

There is something in the air of Bangalore and I am growing restless with every single day. I am as restless as a school kid waiting for the summer break! I blame it on the relentless, almost suffocating Bangalore heat.  All I want right now is a vacation. All I am yearning for is a carefree long summer vacation somewhere in Italy, enjoying pasta made in true Italian style, marathon chatting topped with oodles of laughter with my girlies. There’s a voice inside my head which is saying “Yeah baby! Dream on!”.

What else can a restless girl with no real vacation anywhere in the sight  do on these endless summers but to play around in her kitchen and gorge on some juicy sweet mangoes?!

I do not have years of experience in the field of cooking and blogging, but over the years I have enjoyed being an instinctive cook.  There are days when some flavors just pop into your mind. The best thing to do then is to head straight into the kitchen and stir up the things, just like I did. It may turn out to be something totally disastrous or something that blows off your mind (in a good way). You’ll have to take that chance.

My quick creamy mango pasta is a result of my dream Italian vacation and something that made that dream sweeter-Mangoes. The minute I thought about putting pasta and mangoes together, a voice in my head said “You must be joking”. Finally after the yeses and the nos I decided to go with it and boy oh boy- What a refreshingly different, quick and tasty dish!

Few things about the dish:

It tastes best when served cool.

It is also not one of the healthy pasta recipes. But here’s what I feel. When you make something healthy, you tend to eat more, as you know its great for you and you can have as much as you want. On the contrary when you make something that is  little high on calories, you are conscious and you will not overeat.

Ok! Whatever! This IS good food! 😀

It took me about 10 minutes to stir up this bowl of pure delight.

CREAMY MANGO PASTA–RECIPE

Makes one medium sized bowl

1 cup boiled pasta (elbow, shell, farfalle)

3 tsps plain cheese spread

1 tsp fresh cream

1 tsp hung curd

2 tsps mango pulp

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp mixed herbs

Salt to taste

In a bowl add the cheese spread, cream, hung curd, mango pulp, ground pepper and herbs. Give it a good mix. Make sure that every ingredient is at room temperature.

Now add boiled pasta to the cheese mixture and mix well.

Refrigerate it for about 10 minutes and serve.

Note:

You can add fresh herbs like oregano, basil or parsley instead of dried ones.

More to come… 🙂

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Carrot and Poppy Seed Flat Bread

It’s such a happy Friday!

The weather is awesome. Some really beautiful flowers are blooming in my garden. Here’s one.

I re-started my work out regime (you must be wondering how many times?! :D)

I had something sweet for my breakfast! yay!

Yet another recipe from my grandmother’s kitchen. You know there’s always a certain amount of pressure when you cook your grandmother’s recipe. After eating something for 567 times, the taste, flavor, texture everything is registered in your brain and anything even 0.1%  less than the desired will just not do!

Traditionally, this recipe is called ‘Garghi’ and the main ingredient is pumpkin. In order to relieve myself of the ‘pressure’ and subject to the availability I used carrots and they just turned out to be perfect! I had it for my breakfast. Nothing in this world can stop you from having it for lunch/snack or dinner, because that’s what I did.  😉

Yes! They are fried, but take my word, they do not absorb oil.  If you want to cook them like chapatis, please do, and let me know how do they taste. 🙂

CARROT AND POPPY SEED FLAT BREAD-RECIPE

2 Carrots- medium size, cut into chunks and boiled till soft.

1/2 cup jaggery/palm sugar

1/4 cup Semolina

1 cup wheat flour

2 tsp of grated nutmeg

2 tsp ghee/melted butter

2-3 tsp poppy seeds

Boil the carrots till soft and blend it into a fine puree. In a pan simmer the carrot puree and jaggery. Once the jaggery melts, turn the burner off and add semolina. Add some nutmeg and give it a mix and allow the mixture to cool down.

Add the wheat flour to the carrot-jaggery mix and knead the dough. The consistency  should be same as the chapati dough.

Divide the dough into smaller balls and flatten them on a butter paper. Do not use the rolling pin. Once the dough is flattened, press some poppy seeds and deep fry.

More to come… 🙂

Usali- Spicy Whole Moth Beans

Last week when I decided to share some of my grandmother’s recipes with you, I have been transported back to my grandmother’s place by the memories. Feels like I am on a time machine! Most of my fondest memories from childhood are related to food. I used to accompany my grandfather to buy the weekly dose of vegetables, and while he would be busy in the higgle-haggle, I would be busy imagining what my grandmother would be cooking for lunch! My childhood was spiced with kulfi, ice-golas (or chuskis as we called it), and ambrosial sugar cane juice. Each outing or a visit to a market was strategically dotted with one or the other of these inducements.

While growing up eating out meant just one thing- Indulging in street food. The  idea of going to the restaurants was reserved only for some special occasions. The importance of occasion preceded over the food in this case. The pressure of using forks and spoons made eating an exercise in mechanical dexterity rather than the epicurean enjoyment. And the meals were never complete without someone commenting as to how home cooked food was so much better in any case!

The street food was somewhere in between the comfortable order of home and the pretense of restaurants. The person who prepared these delicious treats on the streets was no less than a magician, who did some abra-ka-dabra with the ingredients and put them together in a completely new way.

Having spent most of my summers in a small town (which has now become a city) in North Karnataka, the kind of street food that I was exposed to other than the normal chats etc, were usal pav and poha. I have always believed that one cannot replicate the street food at home. Whenever I used to have a craving for something, I used to tell my grandmother (with the hope that we could go out and eat), but in next few hours, my demand would be taken care of. How? By cooking the desired food at home! Sigh! 😀 When I told my grandmother about sharing some of her recipes on my blog, she gave me a lot of recipes and I have decided that I will share all of them, sooner or later.

Usali is a very commonly prepared in every household in North Karnataka. It’s spicy, nutritious and gives a push to your creativity. I’ll explain how. You can team Usali with chapati, use it as a sauce for bhel puri, have it with poha (avalakki or beaten rice)/warm toasted bread or just with some finely chopped up tomatoes, onions and green chilies. If you want to explore the whacky side of yours-try using usali as a topping for your nachos or chips.

I have used only whole moth beans (madike kaalu). You can use mixed beans (green gram, black chickpeas and green peas) if you wish to. Soak the beans in water over night, drain the water next day and cover the beans with muslin cloth and keep it in warm place. Basically the beans need to sprout. Once they start to sprout you can refrigerate them, and use  whenever you want.

If you ask any body from North Karnataka/Maharashtra for the recipe of Usali, you will find more than ten versions of it. Its just playing with different spices and flavors.

WHOLE MOTH BEAN USALI-RECIPE

Ingredients

For the paste

1 star anise

3 tsp cumin seeds

3 tsp coriander seeds

1-2 red chilies

2 sticks of cinnamon

1 large (2 medium) tomatoes-finely chopped

1 small onion- finely chopped

1 tsp oil

For the Usali

2 cups whole moth bean- sprouted and pressure cooked for about 10 minutes

1 large onion-finely chopped

4-5 Green chilies

1/2 cup peanuts- soaked and boiled.

2-3 tsp fresh green coriander-finely chopped

1 tsp oil

1/2 cup water

salt-as per taste

In a pan heat some oil and roast the onions till they are golden brown. Roast the tomatoes as well.  Dry roast all the spices and blend them along with the onions and tomatoes into a fine paste.

Heat some oil in a pan, add the chopped onions and stir till they turn translucent. Add the spice-onion-tomato paste and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the sprouts, with about half a cup of water and cook for another 10 minutes on a low flame. Add salt and finally, chopped coriander.

Serve hot.

More to come… 🙂

Sabudaana Thalipeeth (Sago and Potato Pancakes)

If there is one person who has a tremendous influence on my cooking, it has to be my grandmother.  She is a thorough perfectionist and I think my love  for cooking comes from her.   After spending the major part of my growing years with her, I realized that to cook for almost 50 years (my grandparents celebrated their 51 years on marriage just a week ago), with love and deriving immense amount of happiness by feeding people requires passion-for food, cooking and everything related to it.    Festivals, Birthdays, Sundays, Unannounced visits- Be it any occasion, she makes deliciously wholesome food.There are people who cook because they ‘have’ to and there are people who cook because they ‘want’ to. My grandmother belongs to the latter.

With times changing, she has developed a taste for continental cuisine too. Unlike a typical orthodox brahmin grandmother, she does not find noodles- worm like, in fact she relishes on Maggi! 🙂  She loves cheese, pizza, pasta and you’ll always find a bar of chocolate in her purse. 🙂  Our phone conversations these days basically revolve around food and groom hunting 😛 (No prizes for guessing for whom ). Talk about the pressures of being the eldest grand-daughter!  Sigh! Ok! Let me stop cribbing and get back to business.

There is something about street food that induces unconcealed lust. My personal favorite street food is pav-bhaji, vada-pav, sabudana vada, aloo tikki, bhel puri, pani puri and samosa. I think I have included every possible thing available. This is called love for food. So whenever I pass across these stalls selling these greasy, spicy and unhygienic bites of pure delight, I tingle with desire! Of course I must admit that I am affected by the unnecessary modern day fad of hygiene. You know what’s the best thing about street food? It has the ability to harness all that is excitable about food, gathering all the taste notes that chortle with impish delight to give us an experience that is rarely sinful , but most of the times, dirty.  You know street food is like the Pied Piper. It just draws us irresistibly out of our civilized selves.

Having spoken so much about the street food and my sheer love  for  it, I must tell you that it was a total no-no when I was growing up. Thanks to my not-so-good immune system. Back then it was all about home cooked, wholesome, nutritious food which was accompanied by its own set of rules: finishing everything that’s on the plate and only then asking for a second serving, no wastage of food and a token of appreciation for the person who has cooked. Actually the last one wasn’t the part of the ‘rule’, but somehow I think its really important to acknowledge and appreciate, for all the hard work that has gone into cooking.

My grandmother, is aware about our (me and my cousins) love for street food and she always tries to make her own healthy versions of it at home. This recipe is a healthier version of sabudana vada and I must admit tastier too. Sabudana or Sago is basically prepared from the milk of the tapioca root.

The best way to use Sago is to soak it in water (two inch above the Sago)overnight. You’ll find the Sago nicely puffed and soft the next day. The soaking fastens the cooking process. Note that sometimes the Sago you get in supermarkets, dissolves  the minute to you soak them. My advice would be to check with a little amount first and then soak the remaining if it doesn’t dissolve.

This Thalipeeth/Pancake uses very basic ingredients which we use in normal everyday cooking.

One key ingredient in any traditional recipe is patience. Something which I need to learn. In today’s age, we are so used to get things ‘instantly’ that we have probably forgotten the feeling of getting things after waiting for it patiently. While making these pancakes, I was so impatient, that I panicked (read scream) while flipping it onto the other side. Thank god! I had my mom next to me who flipped the pancake for me.  Yes! My little secret is out! I really get worked up, while flipping pancakes and  unmolding cakes. It’s ok! We all have weaknesses.

I have decided to share some more recipes from my grandmother’s kitchen. I dedicate this post and the next three posts to my grandmother- the person who has taught me everything about spice and life! 🙂

SAGO AND POTATO PANCAKES/SABUDANA THALIPEETH- RECIPE

Makes- 8 pancakes

Ingredients

2 cups – Soaked Sago

4 medium sized Potatoes-boiled and mashed

1/2 cup roasted Peanuts

2 tsp Cumin seeds

3-4 Green Chilies

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1tsp red chili powder

2 tsp fresh coriander-chopped

Salt to taste

2-3 tsp oil.

Roast the peanuts, chilies and cumin and grind them to a fine powder.

Mix sago, mashed potatoes, roasted peanut-cumin-green chili mixture, coriander, turmeric, red chili powder and salt. Mixing these ingredients well, is the key to get soft yet crispy pancakes, plus its a really nice work-out for your arms 😛

On a clean butter paper, take some amount of the sago-potato mixture and flatten it. Smear your hands with some oil, to avoid the mixture sticking on to your hands. The thickness of the flattened pancake should be intermediate.

Slowly (patience!) take off the pancake from the butter paper and flip it on the pan. It takes about 5-6 minutes to cook on each side.

Tastes great when eaten hot with a bowl of chilled curd!

More to come… 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee Cardamom Cake (Vegan)

It’s been five months past the new year, and this is pretty much the time when I start to quietly slide aside my new year resolutions.  I am almost on the verge of cementing my old “oh-so-comfortable” habits. One of the resolution was to reduce my coffee intake. Let me tell you, I was successful for considerably long time. In fact, I am not yet back to my old 3 cups a day routine, and I wish not to either. But indulging in coffee once in a while is alright. Isn’t it? Coffee is something that we South Indians take way too seriously!

Initially I was tempted to bake a cake using chocolate and coffee. Bad idea. I mean its totally great, but when chocolate and coffee come together in a cake,  I go weak. It makes me sit on my couch, with a book, a cup of tea and a large piece of cake, and do nothing. I didn’t do it of course! But just the thought of it makes me smile.

As always, I was in an experimental mood. My mother had ordered the monthly grocery requirements and I came across a packet of green cardamom. By the way, I always looks forward to check the groceries. It’s one of my favorite things to do.  I was both excited and apprehensive to use this combination of cardamom and coffee.  Nevertheless I enjoy the feeling of uncertainty. It adds a zing to our rather boring lives.

This cake is special for another reason. It’s vegan. I had not planned to make it one. The availability of ingredients at home, eventually led to it, and the way it has turned out to be, I am super-glad and proud! It’s a perfect breakfast cake. I am having it right now, while working on this post and if you find my ramblings random, trust me, it is the coffee which is talking. 😉

The minute you put this cake in your mouth, the cardamom flavor comes through first and the coffee hits the taste buds later. The texture is smooth and light. If you are in a mood to indulge then have it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

All you need to do now is, head into your kitchen and bake this cake. Like right now!  🙂

 

COFFEE AND CARDAMOM CAKE- RECIPE

1 1/2 cup wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup coffee decoction

2 tsp vinegar

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp freshly ground cardamom

Sieve the wheat flour, baking powder and baking soda. You can repeat the process if you wish to.

In a separate bowl, combine oil, water, coffee decoction, vinegar and sugar and stir it till the sugar dissolves. Now add the wheat flour mixture and give it a good mix. Once the ingredients mix, start to fold the cake batter. This will make the cake light and fluffy.

Grease the tray with some oil or use the parchment paper.

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees for about 6 minutes, and then bake the cake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

 

Note:

1. You can use castor sugar instead of  brown sugar.

2. The baking time varies with respect to the size of the baking dish and quantity of the batter. So keep a check and take the tray off the oven once you do the toothpick test and the toothpick comes out clean.

 

More to come… 🙂

 

 

Kairi Dal/Raw Mango Curry

Romeo and Juliet. Batman and Robin. Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. Marie and Pierre Curie.  Me and Food. Summers and Mangoes. Well, I just had to talk about food and summers. The first four combinations were to exhibit my pseudo intellectualism.  By now you must have realized that I like to do my share of rambling  prologue before we start talking business. Let’s rewind and go back to our school days then. What’s say?

Back then summer holidays meant, just one thing. Visiting your grandmother’s place- A summer, far cry from the vacations today. No “Europe in Ten Days, no coming back home with loaded suitcases and of course! no digital memories. It was all about going back to your “native place”, logging in with emotional headquarters of your extended family, spend the entire two months with your loved ones and celebrate the annual ritual of homecoming.

Thank god! there wasn’t any concept of holidays being productive back then. And what exactly did we do in these two months?! Actually, looking back I realize, that barring the rationed hedonism of “picture” (movie) every week, some exuberant forays of street food, special home-cooked meals and the quintessential, MANGOES!

Curries are an integral part of every Indian household. And summers are the time when you will find some bizarre yet lip-smacking mango recipes.Since this post is all about summers and mangoes, I decided to make a simple raw mango curry.

I used three types of dal/pulses. The green gram (moong dal with the skin), split bengal gram (chana dal) and split red gram (tuvar dal). And like I always say, give some work for your kitchen brain and try different combinations of pulses.

No! This blog is not a time machine. It’s the 2nd of May and not 28th April. I can explain.Its been about two months into food blogging and I realized that I need to improvise. The photograph above (notice the header and the footer) bears a testimony to this feeling. I think I can do better. My next post will have updated photographs, I promise.

I have used burnt garlic tempering for this dal/curry. It gives a very different and rustic flavor to the curry. If you are not a fan of burnt garlic, then you can very well avoid it.

Kairi Dal/ Raw Mango Curry- Recipe

1 cup mixed pulses/dal

1 Large onion, cubed

1 large tomato, cubed

2-3 red chilies

1 tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

For the tempering

1 tsp oil/butter

1 tsp red chili powder

1 tsp cumin powder

5-6 garlic cloves, chopped

Pressure cook the pulses with onions, tomatoes  turmeric powder, chilies and salt for about 15 minutes. For one cup of pulses, add three cups of water.

In a small pan, heat oil and add garlic. After the garlic turns golden brown, add chili powder and cumin powder. Pour the tempering on the dal/curry.

Serve it with hot rice or roti with a lemon wedge and some onions.

Note:

If you are not into spicy stuff, you can avoid either the chili powder or the green chilies.

Happy cooking…

More to come 🙂

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