Monday, March 15, 2010

channa chaat(chickpea salad) with sweet date chutney

I am making sprouts these days for breakfast atleast 4 times a week. First I started out with simple mixing of sprouts, onion, tomatoes, chaat masala, salt and coriander leaves. Then the taste became a bit monotonous, so started looking for some variety. Came across this recipe for sweet chutney in Tarla Dalal's "fun food for kids" cookbook. Adding this chutney to the sprouts gave it a tangy and sweet taste which we just relished.
As we do not like to eat the sprouts uncooked, I generally pressure cook it without adding any water and switch off the stove immediately after one whistle. To make the sprouts, I soak the bean overnight. The next day, I tie them in a cloth for a day or 2. (depending upon the type of bean). Once I get the sprouts, I either use it right away or refrigerate for a later use.

Here are the recipes for channa chat and sweet chutney
Ingredients to make channa chat that servers 4 adults for breakfast 

Channa/chickpeas sprouts: 2 cups(Any other sprout can be used) Onion: 2 medium sized, chopped Tomato: 3 medium size, chopped into small pieces Sweet chutney: 1/2 cup(recipe is below) Chaat masala: 1 tsp(I did not have this, so I added black salt) Salt to taste Coriander for garnishing

1. Mix all the ingredients and serve. For this recipe, I did not add onions, even then it tasted too good. I am just loving this sweet chutney.
Ingredients to make 1/2 cup of sweet chutney

Dates: 1/2 cup(deseeded and chopped) Tamarind: 1 tbsp Cumin Powder: 1/2 tsp(Dry roast the cumin seeds and powder) Chilli powder: 1/4 tsp Water: 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup Salt to taste

1. Heat 1/4 cup water in a pan, add dates and tamarind and cook for 5 minutes.(If it becomes too thick more water can be added) 2. Allow to cool. 3. Blend in a blender and strain. 4. Add chilli powder, cumin seed powder and salt. 5. Mix well and use as required
This is my entry to Healthy Inpsirations Event-Salads event hosted by Usha.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Vegan marble cake with non dairy cream frosting

This is the best vegan cake I have made so far. Its very moist and soft with the perfect combination of vanilla and chocolate flavours and above all it looks good too. :-) Preparation wise too its very simple, its just a plain vanilla and chocolate cake, but mixing them both gives it a rich, unique taste. I made this cake last weekend and did a non dairy cream frosting. Special thanks to Suma who posted in her blog about the availability of non dairy whipping cream in Fatima Bakery. I got the recipe for Marble cake from here and did not make any changes to it other than decreasing the quantity to half. Also I used 1 3/4 cups of milk for the whole batter and added around 2 to 3 tbsp of extra milk to the chocolate batter. Also to get the marble effect, I followed a slightly different technique that I saw somewhere.
Here is the recipe.
Ingredients to make the marble cake

Soy milk: 1 3/4 cups + 3 tbsp for chocolate batter(I used plain unsweetened. The original called for 2 cups) Apple cider vinegar: 1 tbsp Granulated sugar: 1 1/3 cups(I felt it was a bit less, but with the cream frosting it was perfect) Vegatable Oil: 1/2 cup(I used sunflower refined oil) Vanilla essence: 1/2 tbsp All-purpose flour: 2 cups Baking soda: 1 tsp Baking powder: 1 tsp Salt: 1/2 tsp Chocolate extract: 1/2 tbsp(optional) Almond extract: 1/2 tsp Cocoa powder: 1/4 cup Black cocoa powder: 1/6 cup(I did not add this)

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degree C. 2. Grease and flour the cake pan. I lined the bottom of the pan with butter paper. 3. Mix milk and vinegar together and allow to curdle for a couple of minutes. 4. Whisk the milk mixture, oil, sugar, and vanilla together until well blended.(I did this with an electric blender) 5. Sift flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. 6. Add flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time to the wet mixture. 7. Stir until everything is just incorporated. Do not overmix. 8. Split the mixture in half – one for the vanilla part and the other for chocolate. 9. In one half of the mixture mix in the chocolate and almond extracts, followed by sifting in the cocoa powder. 10. Mix until everything is just blended. 11. Pour a ladle full of vanilla batter and chocolate batter alternately in a criss cross fashion across the pan. Repeat the same for the rest of the batter. 12. Using a knife, swirl the batter a bit to give a nice marble effect. 13. Bake for around 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Enjoy the cake with or without frosting
For the frosting, I whipped a cup of non dairy cream along with some icing sugar, till soft peaks formed. I then kept it in the freezer for some time(around 15 to minutes) till reached the right consistency. Applied it on the cake and topped with some sliced strawberries. After doing all this too, I faced some problem with the consistencey of the cream. I should have removed the cream from the freezer a bit late.  I also cut the cake into two layers and frosted. One cup of cream was too much for this cake. The rest of the cream, I used for the delicious strawberry fruit fool which I would post later.
This is my entry to Priya's Hearts For St.Valentine's Day event.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kichdi(Bengali style) and aloo bhaja

Khichdi was the only food I used to eat in the hostel mess during my engineering days in West Bengal, Durgapur precisely..Unfortunately they served it only once in a year on Saraswathi puja's day. The combination of kichdi and aloo fry used to be so tasty that I would go and stand near the mess door much before they started serving.

I got the recipe for Kichdi sometime back from one of my Bengali friends at office and prepared it for breakfast. It came out really good and we had it with aloo bhaja. This can be had for both breakfast and lunch. The best part is my son had the kichdi with aloo bhaja without any complaints. Do checkout Venpongal recipe for the South Indian version of this delicious kichdi made of rice and moong dal.
Here is the recipe

Ingredients for the kichdi to serve 4 to 5 adults

Raw Rice: 1 cup Yellow Moong dal: 1/2 cup Masoor dal: 1/2 cup Water: 5 cups Onion: 2 to 3 medium(cut into small pieces) Mustard Seeds: 1/2 tsp Ginger: an inch(skin removed) and grated Green chily: 1 medium sized Red chili powder: 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder: 1 tsp Jeera/cumin seeds powder: 1 tsp Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tsp Mustard oil/Refined Oil: 1 tbsp(I used 1/2 tbsp of each) Dry roasted jeera/cumin seeds: 1/2 tbsp Salt to taste

1. Dry roast moong dal for a minute or 2 and keep aside. Wash rice and keep aside. 2. In a large pan, add oil and fry onion and ginger.( I used the same vessel that I keep inside the cooker) 3. Once it becomes soft, add rice and both the dals and mix well. 4. Add all the four powders and salt and mix well. 5. Keep the flame in medium and stir frequently so that rice does not get stuck at the bottom.(around 5 minutes) 6. Add 5 cups of water and pressure cook till 3 whistles. I like the kichdi to be well cooked, so I generally keep in sim after 3 whistles for 5 minutes and then switch off the stove. 7. Before serving, powder dry roasted jeera(I powdered coarsely with a pestle and mortar) and mix with kichdi. 8. Serve warm with aloo bhaja.
Ingredients to make aloo bhaja/potato wedges

Potato: 4 medium sized(peeled and cut into wedges) Chilli powder: 1/2 tsp or less Salt to taste Vegetable Oil for frying: around 4 tbsp or more if needed
1. Heat oil in a wide mouthed pan. Add potato wedges, as much the pan can hold.
2. Fry well on both sides and drain oil in a paper.
3. Follow the same for the rest of the wedges.
4. Add chilli powder and salt and mix well.
Serve with kichdi

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Avial/Mixed vegetables in coconut gravy

Avial, as we all know is a Kerala speciality dish which we Tamilians also make at home. I got this recipe from my sister. She got it from our aunty who is a great cook. I got these delicious kachaudi-dal and Tomato thokku recipes too from her. I am not sure how authentic this recipe is, but it tasted mouth watering delicous. My sister specifically mentioned that adding curd/yogurt to the avial gives it an unique taste. Since I have stopped using dairy prodcuts in cooking, I did not add it. Looks like, tamarind extract would be a good substitute. I did not add both, still it tasted good. I will try adding tamarind extract the next time.
Ingredients for avial to serve 5 adults

Mixed vegetables: 5 cups(white pumpkin is a must, other than that I added carrot, beans, chayote/chow chow and mochai kottai(don't know its English name). Potato, yellow pumpkin, cluster beans(kothavarangai in tamil), sword beans(avarekkai in tamil) etc are few more vegetables that can be added)I think beetroot and mushy vegetables like okra/ladies finger are not preferred) Coconut Oil: 2 tsp Grated coconut: 1/2 cup Tamarind extract: around 1/4 cup(extract from a tsp of tamarind, I haven't tried this yet) Dried red chilly: 2 to 3 long Jeera/Cumin seeds: 1 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp Curry leaves: 10 to 15 leaves Salt to taste
For seasoning

Coconut oil: 1 tsp Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp Curry leaves: 5 to 10 leaves

1. Clean the vegetables and cut them into 1 to 1 1/2 inch long wedges. 2. Add coconut oil, turmeric powder and curry leaves to the vegatables and mix well. 3. Pressure cook the vegetables(without adding water to the vegetables). Allow just 1 whistle and switch off the stove. Otherwise cook like how we do for idli without putting the "weight". Basically the vegetables should be overcooked. 4. Gring coconut, red chily and jeera in a mixer to a smooth paste(add water if needed) 5. Transfer the vegetables in a pan/kadai and place in the stove on medium heat. If adding tamarind extract, add it now and allow it to cook for around 5 to 10 minutes till the raw smell of tamarind goes away. 6. Add the coconut paste and salt to the vegetables and mix well. Let it cook for 5 to 10 minutes. 7. Remove from heat. 8. For the seasoning, in a small pan add 1 tspof coconut oil. Add mustard when the oil is hot.When the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves. Add this to the avial and mix. 9. Serve with hot rice and papad.