Sunday, February 22, 2009

Plain Dosa and Coconut Chutney

Coconut Chutney

Ingredients (Makes approx. 16 servings)

Coconut - 1 small
Fresh Coriander Leaves - 1-2 handful
Roasted Chana Dal (Bengal Gram Lentil) - 3 tbsp
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Green chilli - 2-3, as per taste
Tamarind Concentrate - 1 tsp

Easiest recipe ever - Get all these ingredients into the grinder and go vroom-vroom-vroom till it is a fine paste. Refrigerate and enjoy till it lasts! :)

Devour this chutney with plain dosa, rava dosa and even with puri/paratha. I learnt to enjoy puri with chutney and aloo curry while at my PG place in Bangalore - Thanks, Aunty - you were the best!

Plain Dosa

Ingredients (Makes approx. 16 servings)

Urad dal - 2 cups
Flat Chiwda - 1/2 cup
Methi seeds - 1 tbsp
Rice flour - 3 cups
Canola oil/Butter/Ghee - for garnish on the dosa

Soak cleaned urad dal with methi seeds and flat chiwda overnight. Hot water fastens the process too.
Grind the soaked chiwda in the morning and keep aside. Try to keep it in a warm place (maybe close to the stove) for the ground mixture to ferment. After fermentation, the mixture is raised and fluffy.
About an hour or so before making the dosa, soak the rice flour in some water such that it is slightly runny in consistency.
Add 1:4 ratio of urad dal ground mixture:rice flour mixture and mix well with salt as per taste.
While the tawa is cold or slightly warm, dump a ladle of the ural dal-rice mixture and using concentric circles, spread it out inside-out. Try to avoid lumps in certain places - uneven mixture means you need to take extra care that the lump gets cooked too!
I usually leave it on for 2 mins or so in medium heat so that a brown golden color develops on one side.
Turn it the other side and cook for half a minute or so. Some people just cook on one side.
Dab a little butter (yumm!) and serve with potato filling, chopped onion, chopped green chilli and some sambar/coconut chutney.

A garlic-dry chilli paste can be ground and applied to the dosa as well. I believe adding this paste is a Mysore dosa speciality.

Being a Oriya girl, it has taken me a lot of experiment, trial and tribulation to finally come to a dosa recipe that I like and is kinda similar to the ones we get at restaurants!!! Have never been so proud of myself! :)

I am eagerly waiting to get done with my thesis proposal and make my long long long overdue India trip! Enjoy the winter while it lasts! :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Vegeterian Thali - A Veggie fun-fare

Last year when my parents were here with me, during Ganesh Chaturthi, my mom had prepared a veggie fun-fare for us. I still remember how tasty it was and that was when I started getting more into veggie food. Prior to that, veggie food was a side-dish in my house and it usually consisted of the regular stuff such as paneeeeeeeeeeer and potatoeeeeeeeeeee :)

I have been meaning to post this since last September but I have not been that regular in posting since then :( School and office-work take precendence and I am also trying to make time for some exercising as well. I realize exercising and blogging are a few of the fun things I do for myself. About exercising, I have not been that organized, but am trying to amend that..Amen!

The veg thali consisted of masala pulao with cholley masala, bhendi bhaja, white mushroom gravy and hot mango pickles. Will post recipes for some of these items shortly. Watch out!

This mango pickle is very distinct and unique to Orissa - it's sweet! Yes, it is sweet - I know a pickle being sweet is akin to blasphemy to some of you out there :) This one is made from Amba-Sada (not sure how this is made from Mango..should find out. Literal translation is rotten mangoes but trust me, that's not what it is!) and I think it came from the Sambalpur district of Orissa. No India trip is complete for us without us coming back with 2 bottles of this pickle! :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kadai Paneer - Gravy version

Over the weekend, our eating schedule goes haywire. We just let it go as it goes. Since the week goes through with planned meals, we let the weekend takes it's own course. Sometimes we have a heavy brunch followed by a light lunch. Or a light breakfast followed by eating out. Or cook up something special and spend the rest of the day watching a movie or two over HBO (too lazy to go to the theater mostly). For me, this is the best way to catch up on movies considering we have almost stopped renting movies - no time to pick, watch and return movies in time - what with the DVDs coming with scratches due to which I don't remember the last time I watched the entire movie uninterrupted on a DVD ?!?

The way I keep moving from one topic to the other, you would think that I suffer from ADD (attention deficit disorder)..No, I don't suffer from it. I just need to blog more often, what say?

Coming back to weekend meals, one such weekend when I decided to treat the two of us was when I decided to make Kadai Paneer. I have two versions of Kadai Paneer - a gravy version and a dry sauted version. The one I am posting today is the gravy version and is a complete meal by itself. Loved it - the flavor is very distinct from anything I have had before. Here is the recipe from my kitchen to yours! :)

Ingredients (Serves 3)
  • Paneer - Small cubes, about 8oz or 30 cubes (Tip from Paneer Mata :p - I usually get the big slab of Nanak Paneer and cut it into small pieces as per the requirements of the dish. Also, Nanak Paneer is available as pre-chopped small cubes - that is very convenient and a time-saver when in hurry)
  • Onion-Ginger-Garlic-Green Chilli ground paste - 12 tbsp (Tip from Masala Mata :p - 2 onion, 6 garlic clove, 1 inch ginger, 2-3 green chilli. Always keep this paste handy - another time saver and helps avoid redundant work chopping-grinding everytime you need this generic paste)
  • Cinnamom stick - 1
  • Sugar - a pinch or 1/4 tsp
  • Dry Bay leaf - 2 leaves
  • Tomato Paste - 2 tbsp
  • Heavy Cream - 1 tbsp
  • Kadai Masala - 1 tbsp
  • Kasoori Methi - 1 tsp, crushed
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Canola oil - 1 tbsp
  • Toasted cashewnuts for garnish

Cooking Process:
  • Heat canola oil.
  • As the oil sizzles, add dry Bay leaf, Cinnamom stick and a pinch (or 1/4 tsp) of Sugar.
  • Add the onion-ginger-garlic-green chilli ground paste and let it continue cooking.
  • When the paste is half-done, add the tomato paste with a tbsp of water and mix well with the rest of the mixture. If the masala is sticking to the sides of the pan, add a tbsp or two of water instead of adding extra oil. Tip - This is a neat trick to reduce the oil used in the cooking. No Oil Mata here - did not like the sound of this :p.
  • After 3-4 minutes, add salt, turmeric powder, kadai masala.
  • When the oil separates, add the cubed paneer pieces (you don't need to fry it separately).
  • When the paneer is well coated with the masala in about 3-5 minutes, add the heavy cream and let the dish simmer for sometime for all the flavors to develop.
  • Crush the kasoori methi in your palm and mix it in the gravy about 5 mins before you stop cooking. Thanks, Maa, for introducing me to Kasoori Methi - otherwise I was doomed in the land of Garam Masala. :)
  • Just before serving, garnish the curry with cashewnuts toasted in butter.
Enjoy this with Naan, Paratha or Maida Chakuli as we did on a lazy weekend. Maida Chakuli recipe was posted earlier by me here.