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Posts Tagged ‘Breakfasts’

Poha upma was introduced to me in Mumbai when I went to my sister-in -law’s house in 1998. It was one super easy dish I learnt from my s-i-l as a beginner in kitchen. If you do the tadka right and garnish right , there is no failing.  🙂

Here is the dish which is great to whip up quickly in a busy morning.  I have used brown rice flakes as a healthier alternative.

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Ingredients :

Brown rice flakes / sigappu arisi aval / brown poha  – 4 cups after soaking

Onion – Big size – 1 number

Cooked potato – 2 numbers

Tadka ingredients as seen in picture

Soak the poha after washing it thoroughly for 10- 15 minutes. Drain the excess water .

Cook potato in a cooker with salt needed  and dice it. Heat oil in a pan, throw in mustard, urad dall, gram dall, chili, ginger  and curry leaves. Add onions and when they turn translucent , add potato dices , salt and poha , give a gentle stir and turn off the heat. Cover it for 5 minutes .  Add some asafoetida and garnish with finely chopped coriander /cilantro .

I have added onion to my taste, if you like to add more, please do and increase chillies proportionally. We can also add crushed roasted peanuts for crunchy texture , more veggies for a wholesome meal . Those who like tangy sweet twist , can top it with sugar sprinkle and lime juice squirts. The choices , as you see,  are many , define the dish as you want , it is the fun that is all it  matters . 🙂

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Have a great time cooking!

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As every weekend comes by, I start with a desire to bake something , then get distracted with other handful of hobbies (hehe..) and look forward to another weekend all over once again .

Last weekend was something different, our neighborhood Nilgris got renovated and restocked with fresh ingredients. We came across chocolate chips and baking chocolate bars. There started the desire to bake  some muffins to stock for breakfasts.

It was Sunday morning and I wanted to surprise the kids. Followed this recipe with mild modifications.

Ingredients:

Maida /All purpose flour – 2 cups

Sugar – 1/2 cup

Key brand baking powder – 3 teaspoons

Salt – 1/2 teaspoon

Milk – 1/2 cup

Fresh curd  – 1/4 cup

Sunflower oil – 1/3 cup

Egg- 1

Semisweet chocolate chips – 3/4 cup

Vanilla extract -1 teaspoon

Preheat the oven to 210 degree celsius.

Mix all wet ingredients well  and  add in flour and rest of the dry ingredients (Hold the chocolate chips ), beat until the batter is smooth and without lumps.

Stir  in the chocolate chips.

Line your cupcake molds with oil/ butter, fill it upto 2/3. Place it in a baking tray / metal plate , place them on a rack so they are in the middle of the oven to ensure even baking.

Bake for 20 plus minutes, know the doneness by poking in middle of the cups.

I was  so enthused to bake, that I forgot that I ran out of cupcake molds, so stainless silver tumblers came to the rescue 🙂

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The muffins were warm and welcoming , that it did not last past 10AM, so, when you plan to make these lil muffins, expect them to  magically disappear.

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Just as assured as sun rises every day in the east..there are few rituals of every one which do not change over time.  For us it is ‘Pongal’  being the first meal of the week.  It is an equation that does not need any proof :  Sunday AM= pongal 🙂

Pongal is a rich and healthy food . It is a famous breakfast served in marriages.  With no further ado..lets see the ingredients list.

Ingredients:

1. Rice- 1 cup

2. Moong dall- 1/2 cup

3.Grated ginger- 1 1/2 tsp

4.Peppercorn- 10-15 numbers

5. Cumin seeds- 1 1/2 tsp

6. Ghee – 1 tbsp

7. Asafoetida – few pinches

8.curry leaves

9.Cashews – 10 nos

10. Water- 4 1/2 cups

By the time , you gather these …I like to show case my handmade gift for one of our friends. It is  a  crystal tree.

Back to the cook show ……..

Method:

Measure out the dall and rice. Wash the rice. In a pressure cooker, dry roast a little bit the dall. When you feel the raw smell is gone, add water,  rice and needed salt and cook till a whistle.

Alternatively, you can cook in any vessel covered till all water is well absorbed and the rice is well cooked.

To do the tadka, heat the ghee (for diet conscious ..use mixture of oil and ghee), sputter the peppercorns, cumin and ginger and curry leaves. Dash the asfoetida  after the turning off the stove. Add cashews if you want to make it extra rich.  Mix this to the rice and serve warm with sambhar or chutney.

The key is to slightly roast the dall and cook the rice really well. Enjoy (y)our first meal of the week!

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Banana muffins

Have you ever had the joy of  acheiving that you had dreamt for  a long time? I read here that the ‘user experience pleasures’ are of thirteen types and I experienced today two such types of pleasures – triumphant  (The joy you experience  when you win ) and accomplished (The joy you get by accomplishing or acheiving something).

I had been dreaming of baking muffins from scratch for a long time and this show on Food network TV made my dream come true. I modified a little in the sweetener and added almonds on top so as to pack it easily  for my daughter’s lunch, but it didn’t last that long.

I was so enthusiaistic to post this earlier than the dishes in my ‘waiting list’  but then Maheswari of ‘Beyond the usual’  has started hosting a new blog event  called AFAM  (A Fruit A Month)  giving me better reason to post it immediately. Maheswari has chosen the fabulous banana for this month which is said to be one of the mukkani (meaning three  fruits in tamil. Banana, Mango and jackfruit are the three fruits served in a traditional festival meal in Tamil Nadu and  so called mukkani in short). So, here is my entry for the fruit mela !

Recipe: 

All purpose flour- 3 cups

Baking soda – 1 tsp

Salt – 1 tsp

Baking powder – 1/2 tsp

Ground cinnamon -1/2 tsp

Ground nutmeg – 1/2 tsp

Mix in these dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Sugar -1 cup

Honey- 1 cup

Vegetable oil -1 cup 

Large eggs – 3 number

Vanilla extract – 1 tbsp

Peeled and coarsely mashed ripe bananas- 4 number  

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the banana. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Pour the batter in the greased muffin cups to 3/4th of the height. Sprinkle chopped almonds on top. Bake the muffins on the middle rack for about 25 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the centre of a muffin. It should come out without any crumbles .

Banana muffins

Enjoy the warm banana muffins!

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Steaming idlis and ‘my’ kari kuzhambhu

I was preserving one of my mom’s best dish  for the new year . Oh ,what a pity, my modem went wrong on the new year day , just 10 days after its warranty period.  Can you imagine? I  spent 9 full days without browsing the blogs .  mmm mm ….. That was good in a way. I could look at my daily routines in a different way.

Coming to the treasured recipe , this kurma (but we call it kuzhambhu) is perfect for Idlis. My brothers call it ‘duplicate kari kuzhambhu’, as it  is much spicy and the taste immitates mutton kurma. (They eat meat.)  For a vegetarian  like  me , it is like a feast to have it with steaming idlis.

Idly:

Though, almost every one of  the Indian bloggers has posted this, I feel it is good to share my  mom’s secret for a ‘malli poo idly’. Yes, my daughter used to describe my mom’s idly this way , meaning it is as soft and white as jasmine flower.

Ingredients:

Idly rice- 4 and 1/2 cups

Urad dall- 1 cup

Fenugreek seeds- 1 tsp

Method:

Wash the rice twice and soak it with fenugreek seeds  for 2-3 hours. 

Wash the dall twice and soak it separartely for half an hour to one hour.

Grind the dall first. Add minimum water and sprinkle ice cold water for better frothing. The right consistency of the batterThe grinder should run for atleast 30 min. Take the dall out and grind the rice next. When the rice is little coarse, add enough salt , unload and mix well with your hands. Make sure the batter has the right consistency  before fermenting. If you pour the batter from your hands, it should run down smoothly and slowly. After a thorough mixing, let it stand for 10- 12 hours. The batter would have risen good if it was in right consistency and  had the right amount of salt.

Mix again well and pour in the idly molds and steam cook for 15 minutes. To check the doneness, just touch the idlis and they should not stick to your hands. Take out  the molds from the stand and let it cool a while. Dip a spoon in water and use it to unmold the idlis. Hot and soft idlis are  ready to be served with chutney, sambhar or kurma.

 

Please note :

* The ratio for rice and urad dall varies with the variety we use.

* Also it is true that if it is an aged dall and rice , it yeilds more batter.

* My mom has the conventional idli steamer, in which she covers the mold plates with a wet white cotton cloth instead of greasing with oil. It is my belief that it is the cloth that  gives the ultra softness to the  idlis.

* You can  store this batter even for a week in the refrigerator, but always bring the batter to the room temperature  before steaming for better results.

* The consistency and salt are the key factors for a  perfect idli. If  the batter is watery,  the idli will not rise on steaming, on the other hand, if it is thick, the idli will be hard. 

* You can store  the cooked idlis in the refrigerator. When  needed, steam it again in the cooker for hot and refreshed idlis. To reheat the idlis in the microwave oven,  simply wet the idlis in running water, place them as a layer on a microwavable  plate and cover with a wet paper towel and heat them for a couple of minutes.

* For a different redo of the idlis,  crumble them and do upma . Find here a lemony version of idli upma .

Idli batter - gracefully risen

Peppery potato kurma:

Ingredients:

Potato- 2 number

Oil – 1/2 cup

Fennel seeds- 1 tsp

To grind:

Chana dall /Gram dall- 1/4 cup 

Medium sized onion-1 number

Medium sized tomato – 1 number

Cumin seeds- 1 tsp

 

Pepper corns- ½ tsp

 

Ginger- 2 inch  piece

 

Red chilli powder- 2 tsp

 

Coriander powder – 1/8 tsp

 

Turmeric powder- few pinches

 

Method:

 

Finely chop the potato. Take the ingredients in the ‘to grind’ list and grind with little water and make as a coarse paste. Stop stirring when all the oil oozes outHeat oil in a non stick skillet, sputter fennel seeds, add the ground paste, keep stirring continuously  till the raw smells fades away. Once the masala is sauted well and oil oozes out, add the chopped potato and stir slightly. Add  enough water and salt according to taste. You can test the spice level at this point.

 

Transfer the contents to a pressure cooker and cook  till you hear the first whistle. The curry thickens very well after cooking . If it is too thick , dilute with water and bring it  to another boil.

 

Idly and peppery potato kurma

Note: If you hesitate to use the liberal amount of oil asked for, the chana dal will stick (even)  to the (non stick) pan  and get burnt , spoiling the whole taste. Also stirring continously is  as  important  as the oil.

Go ahead and try this, I am sure this will be in your favourite list soon.

Updated on  Jan 21st :

Illustrating the cloth lining method

As Gini  wanted to know, I am  adding a picture to illustrate how to line the idli mold with damp  cotton cloth.

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When I read the word ‘endangered recipes’  in the FAHC announcement, the first dish I thought of  was ‘kali'(களி). Kali is a ball made with ragi -rice mixture and koozh (கூழ்) is the porridge form of it. 

Ragi known as finger millet is considered  the poor man’s diet. In many tamil  cinemas you can hear the hero saying his lover that ‘I will work hard and atleast earn you a  ragi porridge all my life’. (மூட்டை தூக்கியாச்சும் உனக்கு வாழ்க்கை முழுக்க கூழ் ஊத்றேன் kind of dialogues)! The reason for this is that ragi does not require much irrigation and so available for a cheaper price. (Not in US – a pound of ragi is nearly $2 , which is 5 times the price of rice sold here.)

I have heard that my grandma used to make this forour farm workers in a large scale. She used a tennis bat shaped wooden tool to make the balls and would use her other hand to shape the steam hot balls. That was a time when rice was considered to be a luxury food for the common man. So, if it is your lucky day, you get rice added in your kali or else it is just the ragi cooked and shaped as balls.(This is called the orumavu kali).

The time changes, the scenes have changed and  now even my mom does not know how to do this kali and everytime my neighbours do it for us, as we (my brothers and I ) love it. Though my mom know not how to make them, she will be always in the tug of war  with my brothers and me  to share the kali. And we purposely preserve a ball for making the ‘piece of heaven ‘ porridge, called koozh in tamil.  I learnt this dish from my husband’s athai (father’s sister)  who taught me a lighter technology  to get the same great taste.

Ragi rice balls/Kezhvaragu kali/ragi mudda :

Ingredients :

Sona masoori rice/ broken raw rice (Noi arisi)- 1 cup

Ragi flour- 1 cup

Salt to taste

 

Ragi flour heaped on cooked rice

Method:

Wash and soak the rice for 1/2 hr. In a large pot, boil about  3 cups of water, add rice and let it cook well. When it is cooked, add ragi flour as a heap with salt and cover with a lid. Let it cook for another 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon stir continuously and vigorously, without letting any lumps to form. When the mix comes together, turn off the heat. Take a stainless silver / nonstick bowl , sprinkle a tablespoon of water (this prevents the kali sticking to the sides ), drop a big scoop of mix into. Swirl it fast to give the ball a good shape.Transfer  to the serving dish. Serve with a dallop of ghee (optional) and keerai (spinach dall – recipe follows..) /inji poondu kuzhambhu / varutha paruppu kuzhambhu.

Ragi rice balls/ kelvaragu kali

Kezhvaragu  koozh:

There are other ways of doing this, yet this is easiest , atleast to me. Soak the ragi balls (cooked as above) in water over night. The balls need to be just covered in water. In the next day morning, using your beautiful hands  homogenise (a great technique we use every day to make rasam )  the balls, adding  yogurt/ buttermilk  and salt according to your taste. Adjust the thickness to that a smoothie. This energy drink could be as such taken, but always we add some attractions  like lemon pickle/ raw pearl onion/ fresh peanuts. As fresh  peanuts were not available, I soaked the dried peanuts overnight and added to the koozh.

Kelvaragu Koozh/ ragi porridge

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Honey wheat bread

I was much inspired by my fellow bloggers Anita, Priya , Monisha, Asha  by their culinary experiments in baking. I have been wanting to indulge  in bread making for long time but never had the time and heart for it. I  found that this is a perfect chance to learn bread making. I must thank Nandita for inspiring me  in the new arena.

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I just love the sweet smell of yeast and always walk real slow near the bakeries and now that I brought the yeasty smell into my kitchen, you would wonder where I slept last night. Ha Ha Ha!

Now to the bread,  I got the recipe here and  made little alterations.

wheat bread slices

Hodgson Mill  active dry yeast  – 1/2  packet ( dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water)

Water-2/3 cup wbb

Olive oil- 1/8  cup

Honey- 1/8  cup

Nonfat dry milk- 1/8 cup

Salt- 3 pinches

Whole wheat flour- 1 cup

All purpose flour- 3/4 cup

Proof the yeast as said in the packet to test whether the yeast is active.  

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of bowl. When dough starts to come together, turn out on a floured surface and knead 5 to 7 minutes or until dough is smooth. Transfer dough to a clean bowl, cover with a damp paper towel and let rise for  about 60 minutes. It would have doubled in volume. Sprinkle flour on work surface. Lightly knead  and shape the dough into a ball. Place it on a lightly greased cookie sheets. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let it for  a second rise, for about 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle sesame seeds (the original recipe called for wheat bran) on top. Bake bread 30 minutes. Let it cool completely before you slice it.

Lesson learnt: Don’t show your hurry in slicing. After all you waited for hours, so wait till it cool down completely.

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