Sunday, August 6, 2017

Whole Black Urad Idli with Onion Sambhar

Idli by itself is healthy and melt in the mouth but this recipe takes the healthy a notch higher. I made this batter using whole urad dal so we get the extra fiber. The color obviously is not white but a beautiful grey.

For this you will need -

1/2 cup - Whole black Urad Dal
1 Cup - Idli Rava

Method -
Soak the whole urad dal for 6-8 hours in normal temperature water. If the water is too cold it will take longer to absorb the water and soften. Then grind it to a fine paste with water. To this mix the idli rava and give it a very good mix. Mix for at least 5 minutes to incorporate as much air as possible. The consistency of the batter must be like a thick smoothie. Enough water to allow the batter rise but not too much to disturb the fermentation process.

Leave the mixed batter in a warm spot for 8-10 hours. The batter should rise nicely. Now, you can pour the batter into idli moulds and steam. Tastes best with piping hot onion sambhar and a dollop of butter.

For the onion sambhar -

1 Onion - Sliced
1 Tomato - Cubed
1/2 cup  - Toor Dal soaked for 30 minutes
1 tspn - Mustard Seeds
1 tspn - Asfoetida
2-3 tspns -  Sambhar Powder
1 sprig - Curry Leaves
1 tspn - Turmeric Powder
1 tspn - Roasted Fenugreek Powder
1 tspn - Tamarind Extract
1 tspn - Jaggery
2 - Dry Red Chilies
Salt as per your taste
3 tspn - Ghee

Method -

Pressure cook the dal and keep aside. In the meantime, in a thick bottomed vessel, heat ghee, add mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter. Now add the red chilies, curry leaves and asfoetida. To this add the sliced onions and fry till they are translucent. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, salt and sambhar powder. Fry for a minute. Add the cooked dal, mix well. Add the tamarind extract and enough water to get the consistency you like. This sambhar must be a bit thin so it can be poured on to the idlis. Give it a good boil, for about 4 - 5 minutes. Finally add fenugreek powder and jaggery and mix well.

Alternately, you can season the sambhar in the end by heating ghee and adding mustard seeds, a couple of red chilies, few curry leaves and asfoetida. And adding this on top. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Mysore Pak

The quintessential sweet for all occasions. A melt in your mouth delicacy from Mysore, this sweet is made with just three ingredients. But it is only an experienced cook who can get the consistency just right. A minute delayed in taking it off the flame and it will be hard as a stone and a minute early will end up sticky and gooey.

Practice and be patient and once you learn to make this, you will be deemed the best cook in the family!

For this you will need -

1 cup - Gram Flour (Besan)
2 cups - Pure Ghee (melted)
1 3/4 cup - Sugar

A plate that is greased with ghee on to which you will transfer the mysore pak to cool.

Method -

Take a thick bottomed kadai and roast (no oil/ghee added) the gram flour on low heat till it emanates a beautiful aroma. For one cup, it should take about 3-4 minutes. Once done, transfer this to a bowl.

In a deep bottom pan, take the ghee and keep on low flame.

In the same kadai, take the sugar and just enough water to just submerge the sugar. Heat and bring to a syrup consistency. An easy way to check if the consistency is right is take some water in a shallow dish and pour a drop of the syrup in it. It should remain as a syrup and not dissolve away. Or another way is take a drop (once you blow and cool) between your thumb and index fingers and when you separate them there should be a thread of sugar between your fingers.

At this point, add the roasted gram flour and keep stirring ensuring no lumps are formed. A few small lumps are inevitable and benign :) Keep stirring for about 4-5 minutes. Now start adding the hot ghee, one ladle at a time and keep stirring. So the ghee will get incorporated into the flour mixture. Keep adding and keep stirring till all the ghee is incorporated. If a little bit of ghee is left and you think you have added enough, let it remain. Once all the required ghee is added, keep stirring and after a few minutes it will start to bubble and froth and leave the sides of the kadai. At this point, transfer it to the greased plate. You will have a window of about 2-3 minutes.

Once on to the plate, just pat the entire plate on the floor/ kitchen platform to flatten the burfi. After a minute, cut them into desired shapes, ensure you cut it when it is hot else you won't be able to :)

Once cool, eat and enjoy!

Raagi Halbai

This is a traditional authentic sweet from Karnataka. It is made with just three ingredients and a lot of patience. A healthy and scrumptious dessert I think it is!

For this you will need -

1 cup - Jaggery (powdered or broken into small pieces)
1.5 - 2 cups - Coconut Milk
4 - 5 tablespoons - Raagi flour
Optional -
Pinch of cardamom powder (I didn't add this)
2 teaspoons - Ghee

A plate smeared with ghee (on to which the ragi halbai will be poured to set)

Method -

I recommend using a non stick kadai or a thick bottomed vessel.

Heat the jaggery with about 1/4 cup of water to form a syrup. In the meantime, mix the raagi flour with the coconut milk little by little ensuring no lumps are formed. Once the jaggery has all melted, strain it if you think the jaggery has impurities. I didn't have to strain it.
Reduce the flame and mix the coconut milk, raagi flour mixture to the jaggery syrup and mix well. On a medium high flame, keep stirring this mixture till it thickens. After about 10 minutes, the whole mixture will develop a beautiful shine and it will glisten, stir for another 5 minutes. It is important to continuously stir or else you will end up with a lumpy yucky mass. At this point if you wet your fingers and touch the mass, it shouldn't stick to your fingers. This means raagi halbai is ready. The mixture will also begin to form like a dough and not stick to the kadai any more. At this point you can add the cardamom powder and the two spoons of ghee. Give it a final mix and pour the semi fluid mixture on to the greased plate. Allow to cool and cut into desired shapes!

Serve chilled.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Bombay Sandwich

I just got a panini press and am super excited! Before anything fancy, I had to make the good ol' scrumptious Bombay sandwich. It's so simple and perfect for a cold winter-y day or a wet rainy day.

For this you will need

Green Chutney ingredients -
10-12 twigs - Cilantro
8-10 twigs - Mint (Leaves Only)
1-2 - Green Chilies (Depending on your spice level)
A pinch of Chat Masala
A pinch of Salt
1/4 juice of a Lemon

1/4 - Boiled Potatoes
1/4 - Sliced or chopped Red Onion
1/4 - Sliced Tomatoes
1 tbspn - Salted/Unsalted Butter
A pinch of Cumin Powder
A pinch of Chat Masala
2 Slices Whole Wheat Bread

Method -

Butter both the slices of the bread. Spread a spoonful of green chutney on one slice. Top with boiled potatoes, onion and tomato. Put cumin and chat powder. Cover with second slice and apply a little butter on the top as well. Heat on the grill for a minute. Serve with ketchup!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Flan or Caramel Custard

A delectable and sinfully sweet dessert just for all you sweet people out there. I have always wanted to make custard at home and this is the second time I made it. Successful on both attempts! It is not as difficult as generally said, as long as you are careful with mixing the warm milk and the eggs. This time I made in the Instant Pot (pressure cooker). You can also bake it in the oven but is a bit more complex then.

For this you will need -

2 Cups - Whole Milk
1 Tbspn - Vanilla Essence or 1 Vanilla Pod
4 Eggs
2/3 Cups - Sugar

1/2 Cup - Sugar for making the caramel

Method -

Heat the milk on medium heat with the vanilla. Bring it to just boil state that is small bubbles start to form along the edge. Take off the stove and keep aside. Then take the 1/2 cup sugar in a non stick pan and heat on medium to high heat. You can add one tablespoon of water if you like but the sugar will caramelize faster without the water. DO NOT STIR but make sure it doesn't burn by stirring the entire pan. Keep stirring till you get a beautiful golden color. This should take about 5 - 7 minutes. As soon as this is done, switch off the gas and pour the caramel into the vessel in which you plan to make the flan. This is crucial as the caramel will start to thicken pretty fast. I used a glass circular bowl. Once you pour the caramel, turn the bowl to coat the caramel along the sides as well. Let it cool.

In another medium sized bowl, beat the eggs and the sugar (2/3 cups) till you get yellow ribbon like consistency. Now add the warm milk to the eggs slowly. First a small trickle so the eggs don't cook and then a more steady pour. Once you pour all the milk, mix well and pour the custard into the caramel coated bowl.

For pressure cooker, pour one or two cups water in the cooker and place the heat proof bowl over a trivet or stand. Cover with aluminium foil to avoid condensation on top. I actually forgot the foil and it was fine but foil will make it safer. Pressure cook for 15 minutes in Instant Pot or 3-4 whistles in a regular pressure cooker. Allow pressure to release naturally and then take the bowl out. Cool on counter for about an hour and then in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours. Remove the custard by running a knife along the side of the bowl and turning it upside down on a plate.

If cooking in an oven, first create a water bath by pouring water in a deep dish into which your custard bowl will fit. Put about an inch or two of water. Place this in a preheated oven at 350 degrees and bake for 40-50 minutes till set. Set meaning the color will turn cream like and the texture will be jiggly :)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Kadai Vegetable

One of my favorite dishes from an Indian restaurant is kadai vegetable. For one, it is filled with the goodness of all kinds of vegetables and the vegetables are crunchy. The sauce is just adequate to coat the veggies and it is tangy and spicy. A perfect dish to eat with rotis or naan.

For this you will need -

1 tablespoon - Oil ( Any odorless)
1 teaspoon - Grated Ginger
1 teaspoon - Grated Garlic
1 No. - Onion (small sized) Cubed
1/2 No. - Green Pepper Cubed
1/2 No. - Yellow Pepper Cubed
8 - 10 Nos - Green Beans (Chopped into inch sized pieces)
1 No.  - Carrot (Chopped into inch sized pieces)
10 -12 No. - Broccoli Florets
1 No. - Potato Cubed
1/2 Cup - Pureed Tomato
1 tablespoon - Ketchup
1 teaspoon - Turmeric Powder
2 teaspoons - Coriander Powder
1 teaspoon - Red Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon - Amchur Powder
1/2 teaspoon - Garam Masala Powder
1/2 teaspoon - Kasuri Methi
Salt as per your taste
A dollop of butter

Method -

Steam the chopped beans, carrot, broccoli and potatoes either in a cooker (one whistle and quick release) or outside with a pinch of salt. In the meantime, put a slit tomato or two in water and boil for 10-12 minutes. Then cover and let it stand for a few minutes. Once cool, grind the tomato without the water into a fine paste. Then, in a kadai (wok), heat oil. Once hot, add the ginger, garlic and onions. Saute for a couple of minutes and add the peppers. Saute for 5 - 10 minutes till the onion and peppers are just cooked, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Now add the tomato puree. Saute a few minutes and add the steamed vegetables. Add the ketchup, turmeric, coriander and chili powders. Saute well on medium to high heat. Add the garam masala and amchur powders too. Reduce heat and cover the veggies. Allow to cook for 5 - 7 minutes. Then turn off the gas and add the kasuri methi. Finally add a dollop of butter on top.


Friday, June 24, 2016


This is another delectable sweet from West Bengal, a vibrant eastern state from India. Sandesh is also made from paneer. The method to make paneer is on this blog post. It is always preferable to make paneer at home for the fresher the cottage cheese the better the texture of your sweets. Of course if by some miracle you have access to real fresh paneer, then go ahead and buy that.

Sandesh is one of the easiest sweets to make and can be presented in very interesting ways. Here's one with rose petals looking so royal!

To make paneer, you will need. -

4 cups  - Whole Milk
2 tblspn - White Vinegar (mixed with 2-3 spoons of water)
Muslin Cloth

Once you have paneer, you will need -

1 cup - Sugar
Rose petals and rose essence (half a teaspoon)/ Saffron infused in milk/ cardamom powder

Method -

Knead the paneer really well for about 15-20 minutes. After kneading for 15 minutes, add sugar little by little and incorporate it into the paneer. You can reduce the quantity of sugar if you think it is too much. After that, take a wok or a wide bottom vessel and on low flame sauté the paneer sugar mixture for 4-5 minutes till the raw smell disappears. You can avoid this like I did when I made with the rose flavor. If you sauté, then sandesh will last longer, else you will have to eat it within a couple of days.

Now add the rose essence or cardamom powder if you are using any of these. Mix well. Make small balls and press flat. For rose sandesh - you add rose essence and garnish with fresh rose petals. For cardamom sandesh - just add the cardamom powder. For saffron sandesh - once you have shaped the sandesh, drizzle the saffron infused milk on each sweet. I did sauté the paneer while making the saffron ones, you can see the difference in the texture.

Serve warm or cold.