Monday, June 11, 2012

Parippu Vada (Lentil/Dal Fritters)

It has been raining lately in TX....such a great relief in the midst of scorching summer...i guess I can't stop complaining about the bad weather here at our place...its getting worse day by day..while a major chunk of summer is stilling waiting out there for us...
any ways, no point in lets enjoy the blissful rainy days we get as a surprise and enjoy these li'l treats :)

Parippu vada is my all time favorite snack...I would rather say, the to go dad gets this for me almost every other day if I am home...its like this...parippu vada for me, pazham pori for my li'l sis :)

you get the first glimpse of  yummy snack like this in a polythene cover...

open it, you find the yumm vadas...actually instead of the parchment paper, you have the greasy plantain leaf...

there you go....attack :)

You'll need:

Chana Dal (Split Bengal gram) : 2 cups
Green chillies: 2-3 nos, finely chopped
Onion: 1 no, medium sized, thinly diced
Ginger: 1-2 tsp ( I grate a small piece of ginger into the batter)
Curry leaves: a few sprigs
Asafoetida: a pinch
Salt: as per taste
Oil: Enough for deep frying

How to make:

Soak dal in water for 2-3 hrs. Drain the water completely. Grind the dal in the mixer coarsely.
Do not make it a fine paste. To this add sliced chillies, onion , ginger, asafetida, curry leaves and enough salt.
Make small balls of these mixture and flatten each in your palm to small rounds.
Heat oil in a pan and deep fry 3-4 of them at a time, cooking for 2-3 min on each side on med-high flame or until the vadas turn golden brown and crispy.
Drain on a paper towel and enjoy with  a hot cup of tea

Friday, May 25, 2012

Strawberry Banana smoothie

Smoothies...yummm... i always love it any time of the year...and especially in the scrotching summer....refreshing...
is it summer yet? i doubt...but is already darn hot here in TX....hows it at your end? 
whoever  I speak to these days,be it some friend from up north...or someone from back home in India...everybody is complaining about the warm weather...i don't know whats up with weather this year..its extremely hot so li'l one is stuck indoors almost for the whole day....dying to go out and play in the sand box, ride the slide n the swing...but have to wait until the end of the day to take a peek outside :( 
same with me too...
smoothies like this help us keep our cool on these days...

and what better fruit to use in the summer other than strawberry...these days you find  plenty of  locally grown berries in the farmer's and delicious ones...good to munch on as such and also can we whipped into a quick smoothie....sometimes we switch our evening tea with a cool chilled smoothie....very relaxing after a long sunny day...

You'll need:

Strawberries: 6-7 nos, stems removed and coarsely chopped
Banana: 1, sliced
Yogurt: 1/2 cup
Milk: 1/2 cup
Sugar: 1 tbsp

Blend strawberries and banana with the milk and sugar until smooth and at the end add the yogurt and loads of ice and blend for another 30 secs...
I like mine slightly chunky....small bites of berries when you take a sip...oh, my!! heavenly..enjoy the summer :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

perfect straw cup for ur li'l one


have you ever wondered which sippy cup is good for ur li'l one?? i have....and also have spent quite a lot of time in the kids aisle,  juggling 2-3 cups in my hands reading the manual and comparing the pros and cons of each...
recently bought this one for my li'l one whose is almost two...(actually she is 18 months old....but i like to say it as almost two...which gives me a slight relief as the arrival date of our second bundle of joy looms near..)
i was not sure if she is ready for the cup with a straw, so was using the regular sippy cup with a soft spout.but I found her struggling to sip a mouthful of water from it....and at the end she drank very less water.
this one with a straw helps toddlers drink water easily and also has a slider which closes and keeps the straw clean.
you can also toss it into your hand bag on the go...need not fear about spills too :)
somehow i felt it perfect for my thought of sharing with u moms out there....just a thought :)
give it a try....ur li'l one might like it too

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rava ladoo..sweet semolina balls

its time for something sweet...generally i am not a sweet person....i mean literally and also when it comes to food ;) but recently I have a craving for something sweet once in a while... otherwise also i enjoy a small piece of dessert(be it anything) after my food...but just a small piece..even a candy would do...i guess these days my sweet tooth is popping up every now and then :)
this ladoo is a very simple one...even simpler when I accidently brought home a can of sweetened grated coconut from the Indian store...i usually buy canned coconut milk.this one was sitting next to it in the aisle.

You'll need:

Rava/Semolina: 1 cup
Sugar: 1 cup
Warm Milk: 5-6 tsp
Grated coconut: 1/3 cup
Cashew nuts: 10 nos
Raisins: 10 nos
Cardamom pwdr: a pinch
Ghee: 2 tbsp

Note: If you are using the canned sweetened grated coconut like me, use 1/3 of a can and you can omit the sugar as the coconut is already sweetened.

How to make:

Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a pan and first roast the cashew nuts and then the raisins.Drain them from oil and set aside.
Add rest of the ghee and roast the rava on low flame till you get a nice aroma.
Mix grated coconut and sugar in a bowl. To this add roasted rava, followed by cashew and raisins.
Mix well and add a pinch of cardamom pwdr. To this mixture, add a few tsps of warm milk, just enough to bind everything together.
Gather small balls of size of a lemon from the mixture, just by rolling it in your palm.
Add a few tsps more of milk if its not firming up good.
Rava ladoo is ready...yumm...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lime/Lemon pickle

My mom makes a lots of pickles and jams.there is this one corner shelf in our kitchen cabinet where she puts them neatly bottled and dated. The wonderful aroma you get when you open that shelf is mind blowing...
Mostly it will have a few pickle bottles from my grandma too...she is a great cook and always packs us a few bottles of her specialties, every time we visit her.

So, no wonder I have a small shelf in my kitchen with pickles, jams and fruit preserves...i get it from my mom...and she gets it from her mom....its in the blood...can't help it :)
I started having  this habit rather unknowingly or out of necessity, i mean as a last resort that saves me from throwing slightly over ripened when I had some extra pear which no one was eating, i made pear jam...a few seeded oranges in the fruit basket, which no body wanted to munch on...bcoz its pitted, then it turned into orange marmalade...and so on

But I had never tried my hand on lime pickle before...I like mango pickles a lot...but every time i make biriyani, i would love to have lime pickle with it..but tried a few store bought ones, which were not only bad, but gave us bad heart burn too...i guess its the preservatives in them...
my aunt makes a sweet and sour lime pickle which is the best one to have with biriyani...even my mom got the recipe from her sis and mastered it...thats my next attempt in pickle making for sure ;)

this one is a simple easy to make version, which is now my new favorite :) my dad will love it too...i know...he eats a lots of pickle these days (not good for his health) my mom has almost stopped making them these days...
last time i got home, there were hardly 2-3 bottles in the corner shelf...which is so much not like her...

Recipe is adapted from here
she has a lot of yummy recipes in there, especially naadan kerala ones....God's own country delicacies :)

You'll need:

Yellow/Green Lime: 12 nos
Garlic: 12 cloves, finely chopped
Whole dried red chilli: 5 nos
Chili powder: 4 tbsp
Turmeric Powder: 1tbsp
Asafoetida: 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seed powder: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seed: 1 tsp
Gingely oil: 1/4 cup
Vinegar: 2 tsp
Curry leaves: a few sprigs
Salt: as required

How to make:

Wash the lemons and dry them well with a paper towel.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and put the whole washed lemon into it.(The original recipe calls for cooking the lemon in water for a few min)..But i have seen mom doing it this way..follow which ever method you like..
Stir the lemons in the pan for abt 5 min and drain them on a paper towel.
Once cooled, slice each lime into 8 pieces.
Add salt and mix well. Transfer it into a air tight bottle or jar and keep for 10 days, shaking the jar once in a while.
When ready to make the pickle, heat oil in the pan and add mustard seed and let it splutter. Add curry leaves and red chilis.
Add the chopped garlic and saute till its golden brown in color.
Reduce the flame to medium-low and add chili powder, fenugreek seed pwdr, turmeric pwdr and asafoetida pwdr and mix well and saute on low flame for a few seconds.
Add the lime slices along with the water and cook for a few min.
Allow it to cool and add 2 tbsps of vinegar. Add salt as per taste.
Once cooled, transfer to an air tight container or jar and store it in cool place.
Lime pickle is ready :)..don't forget it next time you make biriyani :)
I have it with everything these days....finger licking good :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

baby booties for ur li'l ones...

I love to crochet...may be because thats what I have been doing in my free time since my teen mom taught all three of us to crochet...she used to give us crochet assignments for summer vacations or for any free time we had in hand :) it was fun and a moment of ultimate pride when you look at the final product you have sewn together :)
We usually crochet doilies, place mats, lace trims for table cloth edges and so on....the easy ones...
My dad's family tree is really a big one...every summer vacation we used to have a new born at our grandma's place.and we used to make these cute li'l baby booties for the li'l ones :)

this one is a cute bootie I made for my li'l bundle of joy....she is a winter baby :) so we did use it a lot..soft and cuddly..and pretty in pink too

The pattern is from here

its a simple pattern, easy to follow for a beginner too :)

I have made these a couple of times earlier too for my friends' li'l ones...use pink or blue yarn if you know beforehand if its gonna be a girl or boy...or else use a muti colored yarn ;)
a perfect gift for a loved one's baby shower...adding a personal touch

I love her blog.She has a wonderful etsy shop too with all her beautiful creations and crochet patterns.
she has shared a few patterns in her blog too..easy ones for crochet lovers like me..

Note: Use cotton yarn, if its gonna be for a summer baby....but then you will have to tweak the pattern a bit to  get the right sized bootie...stitches made with cotton yarn will be smaller than ones made with wool.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vazhakka Pulissery/Moru Curry(Raw plantain in Yogurt gravy)

Growing up, there were only a few handful dishes I knew to make...and I were only good at those ones...unlike my sis, who was ready to take risks and tried (and always succeeded) new recipes and dishes...jotting down recipes from every cookery shows we watched together...this pulissery is something I were good at making.....time after time...something I used to be very proud of in those days :)

This curry is something we make in our place at least once a daal curry...very simple one, if you have enough yogurt and coconut handy, which is always found in our fridge....has got good shelf life too

You'll need:

Raw plantain: 2 no:s (peeled and diced into small pieces)
Yogurt: 1 cup
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp

For grinding:

Green chilli: 2-3 nos
Jeera: 1/2 tsp
Grated coconut: 1/2 cup

For tempering:
Oil: 2tsps
Mustard seed: 1/2 tsp
Dry red chili: 2-3 nos
Asafetida: a pinch
Curry leaves: a few sprigs

How to make:
Cook the plantain pieces with turmeric powder, salt and 1/2 cup water in a pressure cooker.
Grind the ingredients mentioned above into a very fine paste, adding just enough water.
Now this is a very important tip to prevent the pulissery from curdling...Cook the ground paste on low flame for about 3-4 min, stirring it in between. Now add the cooked plantain pieces to it.
Beat the yogurt well with a spoon or give it a stir in the blender for a min to make it thin.
Add the beaten curd to the already cooking mixture and let it boil on medium-low flame.
For tempering, add 2 tsps of oil in a pan and let the mustard seeds splutter.
Add red chillies, curry leaves and at last add a pinch of asafetida.
Yummy pulissery is ready...a sour curry to go with rice and subzi(vegetable)

Note: You can use any kind of vegetable you like instead of raw plantain. Winter melon is the best alternative if you are planning to keep this for a couple of days in the fridge.Plantain gets hard on day two, where as winter melon stays soft. Can use cucumber too...

There is another sweet n sour version of this called Mampazha pulissery which uses ripe mangoes...which is the ultimate pulisseri on earth...that too the one my grandma makes with the farm fresh mangoes from her backyard....finger licking good :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lemony steamed corn/Masala butter corn

Masala butter corrn....that is what we call it back home in India...remember the butter corn you get in those little stalls outside the shopping malls...where you  pay a fortune for a small paper cup of  steamed corn ..i mean it used to be 25 bucks for a cup long time ago.....i'm sure it would have gone up by now...but still its worth it, when you are all in the mood to laze around in a mall,on a weekend.... mostly window shopping or checking out new trends...ending up buying something silly and cheap :)
gone are those days...oh! used to be so much fun...nothing to worry about....carefree spinsterhood days....these steamed corn always takes me back to those good days in Bangalore...very easy snack...can be used as a side too...or as a salad for the healthy eaters out there.
You'll need:
Corn: 1 can, washed and drained ( instead you can use a packet of frozen corn or fresh corn too)
Butter: 1 tbsp
Italian seasoning-2 tsp (Or use chat masala powder)
Lemon juice: 1-2 tbsp
Salt: to taste
Pepper: as required

How to make:
Steam the washed corn for about 15 min.
In a bowl mix butter, lemon juice and the seasoning.Toss in the steamed corn and mix well till the corn gets coated with the seasoning mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Butter corn is ready...You can vary the seasoning to your taste. Spice it up by adding a pinch of cayenne pepper...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

what makes you happy?

watching elmo dance around makes my li'l one happy!!
knowing that we are having chicken for dinner, makes my hubby happy!!
getting a chance to stretch my legs and read a book makes me happy!!

what makes you happy?

my hubby's concern: J Lo is dating a teenager!!
my concern: what do I do with the couple of over ripened bananas in the fridge?
my li'l one's concern: how do i get to play the baby channel every time I click on the TV remote( even though I am just 18 months old)
what is yours?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cornflake mixture---an easy munch on Indian snack

I love crunchy munchy snacks...especially this mixture....its a must buy for every time I hit the Indian grocery store....back home in Kerala, we get this corn flake mixture in 'Honest' bakery...fresh and yummy...i can easily gobble down a packet in a few mins :)
I still remember those days when my dad used to buy these mixture and roasted peanuts very religiously from 'Honest' (well, he buys it now a days too...), I eat it right from the packet and there goes my sweet mother cribbing about the pimples that used to pop up on my face the very next day....thanks to my oily skin....

see this, even my li'l one loves to pick the corn flakes from it...mommy's girl :)

very easy to put together....

You'll need:

Corn flakes: 3 cups
Roasted nuts: 1 cup (mostly shelled peanuts and cashew nuts)
Golden raisins: 1/4 cup
Chili powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder" 1/3 tsp
Salt: to taste
Sugar: 1/2 tsp
Lime juice: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: a few sprigs

Note: You can vary it by adding any kind of nuts or dry fruits of your almonds, pistachios, dried   cranberreis, dried apricot etc...

How to make:

Heat oil in a pan and toss in the raisin and nuts.Add the curry leaves and stir for a min or two.
Reduce the heat to low, and add the chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and sugar.
Carefully mix in the tsp of lime juice, for it will make the oil splatter.
Now slowly fold in the cornflakes in batches and let it stand on low flame for about 3-4 min, until the cornflakes gets coated well with the spice mixture.
Let it cool and store in an airtight container....and start munching :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Banana nut muffin...with a crunchy topping

what do you do with those over ripened bananas? I'm always out of options when i think of getting rid of the over ripened bananas...i like my banana just more less...even my li'l one enjoys hers the same way...usually we buy only a few at time, so that we don't have to worry about the over ripened ones...
was looking for ideas to use them, and happened to see this muffin recipe...which actually called for these over ripened you go :)

and the crunchy added bliss to the muffins...i have had these crunchy toppings in the store bought ones n have always wondered what they are...and here it is...a crowd pleaser...

You'll need:
For the muffin:
All purpose flour: 1 1/2 cups
Baking Soda: 1 1/2 tsps
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Nutmeg powder: 1/8 tsp
Over ripened bananas: 4 nos
Chopped and roasted walnut or pecan: 1 cup
White sugar: 1/2 cup
Egg: 1 large
Vanilla extract: 1/2 tsp
Butter: 1/2 cup (1 stick, softened)
Milk: 1/4 cup

For the topping:
All purpose flour: 2 tbsp
Cinnamon powder: 1/8 tsp
Butter: 1 tbsp
Brown sugar: 1/3 cup

How to make:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper muffin cups or grease with butter.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg powder.
In a small bowl, mash two bananas with a fork, so that they still have a texture.Set it aside.
In another bowl, mash the remaining two bananas along with the sugar using an electric mixer.
Add butter, milk, egg and vanilla extract and beat it together until its completely incorporated, scraping down the sides using a spatula as and when needed.
Add the dry ingredients mixture to this in batches and mix just until its well incorporated.
Fold in the chopped nuts and the reserved mashed bananas to this.
For the topping, in a small bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon powder and sugar. Cut in the butter to this mixture, until it resembles coarse corn meal.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups using an ice cream scoop. Sprinkle the top of muffins with the prepared topping.
Bake in the middle rack of the oven for about 18-20 min ,until the muffins turn golden brown or when the tester inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
Let the muffin tray cool on the wire rack for a few minutes, before you indulge yourself in those delicious yummy muffins...
Serve it hot...the best way to enjoy them, enjoy a few crunchy crumbs on the top first....and then dive into the muffin...yummm

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fluffy Flaky breakfast biscuits...

Warm fresh biscuits for breakfast, I love them..I guess I started liking it after having the breakfast sandwiches we get on warm biscuits in Dunkin Donuts...yummm
Okay, to be candid, I was not sure i could bake biscuits at home...its like the sugar glazed donuts from Dunkin Donuts...I don't think I will be ever able to make such soft and spongy ones at home...wait a  never know.....i might some day...oh!! how optimistic (not at all like me :)
Okay, go ahead and give this a try....I am sure you will be happy with the results...We started our new year with these fluffy home made biscuits for breakfast...

You'll need:

All purpose flour: 2 1/2 cups
Baking powder: 2 tsp
Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1 1/2 tsp
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Butter: 1/2 cup (chilled)
Buttermilk: 1 cup (chilled)

How to make:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients, ie; all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the sugar.
Cut in the cold butter with a fork into the dry ingredients and mix it together...(there will be small chunks of butter, which is totally okay)
Pour the buttermilk and mix using a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together.
Now knead using your hands for a couple of times. The dough should be sticky.
Turn the dough on to a  floured surface and knead it just until it dough comes together.
Roll the dough using a rolling pin  to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut out rounds using a biscuit cutter and place them on the baking sheet. (At this point you can brush the top of each with some melted gives the golden crust on top)
Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 min, or until it gets the golden crust on top.

Serve hot out of the oven....a perfect breakfast as such... good for sandwiches too...
sausage egg n cheese on a buiscuit, anybody....I am in :)
You'll have a good one :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Date-Nut Bread... Welcome 2012!!

A very prosperous new year, 2012 to all of you :)
Winter has set in...that marks the beginning of baking time in our place...may be because I have more time in hand this time of the year, bcoz its cold outside and we tend to stay indoors with our li'l one :)
I don't know, may be another excuse to bake..I love to bake....not that all my attempts has always been a success...but still I love to bake...
hope you'll had wonderful new year's day celebrations....ours was a low key affair this time....watching ball drop slouched on the sofa, wishing everyone a happy new year, afternoon mass and a lunch buffet....

This date nut bread is something I baked for the first time...I had bookmarked it here

A good bread to munch on as an evening snack...
Here is the recipe

You'll need:
All-purpose flour: 1 1/2 cups
chopped dates: 2 1/2 cups
Butter: 1/4 cup
Boiling water: 1 1/2 cups
Brown sugar: 1/2 cup
Egg: 1 no
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Baking soda: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Chopped almonds: 1 cup

How to make it:
Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
In a bowl, mix butter and dates. Pour boiling water into this and break up the clumps, if any. Let this cool down for a while.
Mix in the sugar and egg until well blended.
Add the flour mixture into the date mixture, and mix well.
Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 50 min or until a wooden pick inserted comes out clean :)

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