Sunday, March 30, 2014

10 Minute Kurma

Choose any one of the following ingredients depending on what kurma you want to make
(Potato - 2 / Soya Chunks - 2 cups / Paneer cubes - 2 cups / Mixed Vegetables - 1.5 cup / Chikpeas - 1 cup / Eggs - 6 (Hard Boiled))
Red Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
Corriander Powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cilantro - for garnish
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tblsp

List I
Fried Onions (store bought) - 1/2 cup
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
Tomato - 2

List II
Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Poppy seeds (kus kus) - 1 tsp
Cashew nuts - 5

Mixed Vegetable Kurma
Preparation steps
1. First of all prepare the vegetable/egg that you want to make the kurma with.
For any kind of vegetable kurma like potato kurma, corn kurma, green peas (pattani) kurma, cauliflower kurma, tomato (thakkali) kurma, knolkhol kurma, mullangi (radish)kurma, mushroom kurma, carrot kurma or mixed vegetable kurma.
- par boil the vegetables with some salt.
For soya kurma - soak the soya chunks in salted water for 10 minutes.
For paneer kurma - fry the paneer cubes or leave it as such.
For chikpea (kadalai) kurma - soak it overnight and pressure cook it for 2 whistles.
For egg kurma - hard boil the eggs.
2. Grind all the ingredients under 'List I' and keep it aside.
3. Similarly, grind the ingredients under 'List II' and set aside.

1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan/kadai and add the ground paste of 'Lst I'.
2. Saute for 2 minutes on medium high flame.
3. Add the dry spice powders and the prepared vegetable of your choice.
(For egg kurma, add the hard boiled eggs while serving)
4. Next add the ground paste of 'list II', about 2 cups of water and required salt.
5. Boil this for about 7 minutes till everything is cooked and oil separates.
6. Garnish with cilantro and serve with pulao, chappatti or dosa.



How to make Peanut Chikki

Peanuts - 1 cup (roasted)
Sugar/Jaggery/Brown sugar - 3/4 cup
Cardomon Powder - 1/4 tsp

1. Melt the sugar/brown sugar in a non-stick pan till it turns honey brown in color.
2. Crush the peanuts and add it to the melted sugar with a pinch of cardomon powder.
3. Put this mixture immediately into a greased plate or tray.
4. Spread it to the desired thickness using a rolling pin.
5. Immedietly cut it with a greased knife.
6. After it cools, separate the pieces and store in air tight containers.

- You can make the same chikkis with sesame seeds, cashews and other nuts too.

How to cook Kaadai Biryani

Basmati rice - 2 cups
Quail (Kaadai) - 4 (each kaadai cut into 4-5 pieces)
Onion - 1 large/2 small (chopped)
Tomato - 2 (finely chopped or crushed)
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - ¼ cup (finely chopped)
Mint leaves - ¼ cup (finely chopped)
Green chillies - 5 no's (finely chopped)
Oil -3 tblsp
Ghee - 3 tblsp
Water-Coconut milk mixture - 3 cups ( 1/2 cup coconut milk diluted with remaining water)
Salt - to taste
Whole Garam Masala - 1 Bay leaf, 2 Cinnamon sticks, 1 Star Anise, 5 Cloves, 3 Cardamom

For Marination
Salt - 1 tsp
Yoghurt - 2 tblsp
Lemon juice - 1 tblsp
Ginger garlic paste -1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 3 tsp
Chilli Powder - 3 tsp
Fennel Powder - 2 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Pepper powder - ½ tsp
(Bachelors and beginners can use 2 tblsp yogurt, 1 tblsp lemon juice and 3 tblsp of store bought biryani masala instead of all the above individual spice powders.)

Preparation Steps
1. Wash the quail thoroughly. It will have lot of hair that you need to pluck. Cut each into maximum 5 pieces. Since the kaadai is bony and smaller than chicken, you need to cut it into big pieces.
2. Marinate using all ingredients from "For marination" and let it rest in the refrigerator for about half an hour.
3. Rinse the rice, soak it for 15-30 minutes, drain all water from it and keep aside.
4. I like to roast the rice with some ghee till a nice aroma comes. This prevents the rice from sticking to each other. You can skip this step if you don't have time.

1. In a heavy deep vessel/ pressure cooker heat oil and ghee together. Once it gets heated up, add the whole garam masala. You can grind the garam masala and add it if you do not like whole masala coming in your mouth.
2. Add the onions and chopped green chillies.
3. When onions turn slightly brown, add the ginger garlic paste, chopped coriander and mint leaves. Fry for few minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes and sauté. The tomatoes will first become pulpy and then all the juices will dry up.
5. At this stage add the marinated quail (kaadai) along with all the marination mixture. Sauté everything for 5-10 minutes.
After this step, you can proceed in any one of the following ways depending on the vessel you are using:-

Cooking in a pressure cooker
6. Add the coconut milk and water mixture and required salt. Bring it to a boil. Add the soaked rice, check for all seasoning and adjust if needed.
7. After it boils, reduce the flame to simmer, cover the pressure cooker and put the whistle.
8. Cook for about 20-30 minutes. (You may not get any whistle as the flame is very low. Just switch off after 20-30 minutes and the biryani will be done. If you increase the flame, there are chances that the bottom might get burned.)

Using a rice cooker
6. Add the prepared gravy, soaked rice, required salt and the water-coconut milk mixture in the rice cooker. Mix well and adjust any seasoning if needed.
7. Switch on the rice cooker and cook till it is done.

Cooking in an open vessel
6. Add the coconut milk and water mixture to the gravy and bring it to a boil. Add the soaked rice, adjust the seasoning and bring it to a boil again.
7. Cover the pan with a tight lid to prevent the steam from escaping. Reduce the flame to the lowest possible setting and leave it for half an hour.
(You can use an aluminium foil to cover the top of the pan and then put the lid if the lid is not very tight. That way no steam will escape.)

Cooking in convection oven
6. Add the gravy and soaked rice to a oven safe dish along with water and coconut milk mixture and mix well.
7. Cover the dish tightly with an aluminium foil to prevent the steam from escaping. Cook it for 45 minutes in a 350 degree F (180 degree C) oven.

Cooking in Microwave Oven
6. Add the gravy and soaked rice to a microwave safe dish/ micro cooker along with water and coconut milk mixture and mix well.
7. Check for salt, cover the dish and cook it on micro power high for 20 minutes.

Whichever method you follow, your whole house will be filled with the aroma of basmati rice cooking with quail meat. In about an hours time you
will have a very tasty kaadai biryani to enjoy with all your five senses.
Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves, toasted cashew nuts and raisins. Serve with boiled eggs, kaadai fry and raita.

How to make Beetroot Milkshake

The summer is on and everybody wants to chill their tummy. Here is a wonderful and healthy beetroot milk shake. It is said that this root will help in increasing your blood too. Why are you waiting, enjoy this wornderful milk shake.

Beetroot - 1 big (grated)
Milk - 300 ml
Sugar - 4 tsp
Cardamom Powder - a pinch
Whipped cream - (optional)
Ice cream (Optional)

Subja (Basil Seeds) - 1 tsp (soaked in water) *
* image attached below

1. Cook the grated beetroot with 2 cups of water.
2. When it is tender, remove from gas and allow to cool.
3. Blend the same in a mixer/blender nicely.
4. Add the milk, sugar, cardomom powder, whip cream and blend again.
5. Serve chilled with or without ice cream by adding subja.

Here is an image of Basil Seeds (Tukmaria or Subja) before and after soaking in water.

How to make Garlic Pickle

In India, pickles are an integral part of everyday meal. It adds so much flavour instantly to any meal. In olden days, pickle making was an art. People spent days making the perfect spice blend, adding the necessary preservatives and storing it appropriately so that it stays good for many many months with no refrigeration. In the 21st century, there is no house without a refrigerator. As a result making pickle and preserving it has become very simple. You can make instant pickles with almost any vegetable. Here is the recipe for instant garlic pickle. The time consuming process is peeling the garlic. Just buy a pack of peeled garlic and you are in business. You can use this garlic pickle with roti, rice, to flavour gravies or to make sandwiches. So here is the recipe...

Garlic - 1/4 kg (1/2 lb Peeled)
Salt - 2 tsp
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Seeds - 2 tblsp
Fenugreek powder - 1/2 tsp
Mustard powder - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Dry red chillies - 2-3
Gingerly oil - 2 tblsp
Vinegar - 2 tblsp

1. Peel the garlic and keep it ready.
2. Dry roast the fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds and mustard seeds, cool and powder it. This helps to preserve the pickle as well as gives a nice flavor. You can skip the 2 ingredients if you do not intent to keep the pickle for a long time. These days with refrigerators, pickles stay good even with less oil and preservatives.

1. Mix the salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder, the above ground powder in a small bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a pan and pop the mustard seeds. Add the dry red chilies, asafoetida and curry leaves.
3. Add the peeled garlic and saute in low flame for few minutes till it gets a little soft.
4. Add the mixed spice powder and cook on low flame till oil oozes out. Switch off.
5. Once it cools down, add the vinegar.

Store the delicious garlic pickle in a clean, air tight container. It stays good in the refrigerator for upto 2 months.

Serving Suggestion
- This pickle can be used as a side dish with chappatti, variety rice or white rice and some curry.
- This can be used as a spread to make sandwiches and wraps.
- The garlic pickle makes a perfect dip for crackers or baked chips.
- Mix up some pickle with some yogurt and serve as an instant side dish for parathas.

How to Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun is a very popular dessert from India. It is also found in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It is very commonly made during festivals, marriages and other celebrations. Gulab (rose) jamun gets its name from the rose colored jamuns (dumplings) that are soaked in sugar syrup. These sweet dumplings made with milk solids are very light and melts in your mouth right away. It is very simple to make and tastes delicious.

These days gulab jamuns are widely available in cans and in all shops. You can also make gulab jamuns with the instant gulab jamun mix readily available. But why not make it at home when it is so simple to make and requires very few ingredients?. Here I have shared the recipe and tricks to make the perfect Gulab Jamun in your own kitchen.

IngredientsFor the Jamun balls
Milk Powder - 1/2 cup
Maida (All purpose flour) - 2 tsp
Rava (Semolina) - 1 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/4 tsp
Milk - 2 tbsp
Lemon Juice - 1/2 tsp
Ghee or Butter - 1 tbsp

For the Sugar Syrup
Sugar - 1.5 cup
Water - 1.5 cup
Rose Essence (or rose water) - 1 tsp
Cardamom Powder - 1/4 tsp
Lemon Juice - 1 tsp

For making Sugar Syrup
1. Take the sugar and water in a sauce pan. Boil it.
2. Reduce the flame and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the lemon juice, rose essence and cardamom powder to the syrup.
4. Switch off.

For making Jamun Balls
1. In a mixing bowl, take the milk powder, maida, baking soda and rava. Combine it.
2. Add the lemon juice and butter/ghee and mix it well till you get a crumbly flour.
3. Add the milk and mix it. The dough may appear to be very sticky.
4. Let it rest for about 5 minutes. By now most of the moisture is absorbed by the dough.
Tips : If you feel the dough feels dry, add a few drops of milk. The dough should be soft and moist. Only then you will get smooth balls without any cracks.
5. Divide it into equal portions. Make smooth balls with your palms. Make all the balls and keep it covered under a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from getting dried up.
6. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry on medium low heat till it becomes golden brown. It is important that you fry on low heat so that the balls are cooked through.
7. Put the fried jamun balls in the warm sugar syrup. Let it soak for 45 minutes to an hour. Yummy gulob jamun is ready.

Gulab jamun topped with sliced almond

- If you find fresh mawa or khoya, you can make the jamun balls by combining 3/4 cup of khoya with 1/4 cup of maida, 1/4 tsp of baking soda and about 1 tbsp of water.
- Another simple way of making jamun balls is by using readymade Gulab Jamun mix. You just have to follow the package instructions. - If you add sugar while making the dough, the jamun balls will turn almost black in colour while frying. This is yet another famous dish called "Kala Jamun".

Kala Jamun

Serving Suggestions
- The best part about Gulab Jamuns is that it tastes good either served warm or when served cold. During winter, you can serve it warm by microwaving it for few seconds before serving. Otherwise, just refrigerate and serve chilled.
- Some people prefer to have warm gulab jamuns topped with cool vanilla ice cream.
- Some people prefer to have gulab jamuns with lot of sugar syrup while other like it dry. If you prefer to have it dry, remove the jamuns after soaking in the sugar syrup for an hour. Arrange it in a serving dish and top it with sliced nuts to make a beautiful presentation. You can also roll it in sweetened coconut and serve it.

However you serve, make this dessert today and enjoy!!!

Gulab Jamun rolled in coconut powder

How to cook Broccoli Bajji

Broccoli is a plant that resembles cauliflower and belongs to the family which also includes cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, collards and kale . Broccoli has many green coloured fleshy flower heads, on a thick, edible stalk. The entire thing looks like a mini tree.
This food is very low in saturated Fat and cholesterol but a good source of Protein, dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium, Vitamin E, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Selenium and Manganese. Most important, broccoli contains a substance called Isothiocyanates, which fight and help prevent cancer.
Bajjis are traditional south indian dish prepared for special occasions. It is very common in any street fares and sea shores. There are various types of bajjis and making them is less time consuming. You can substitute different vegetables instead of broccoli to get different bajjis like potato bajji, cauliflower bajji, onion bajji, raw banana bajji, mirchi bajji (milagai bajji), appala bajji etc.

Gram flour - 2 cups
Rice flour - 2 tblsp
Red chilly powder - 2 tsp
Baking soda - 1 pinch
Salt – to taste
Broccoli – 2 cups (separated into florets)
Water - 1/2 cup
Oil - 1/4 cup ( for frying)

1. Mix thoroughly gram flour, rice flour, red chilly powder, baking soda and salt to make bajji flour.
2. Add water gradually to avoid lumps and make a smooth paste.
3. Heat oil in kadai. When the oil is hot enough, dump few broccoli florets in the bajji batter.
4. When the florets are completely coated with the batter, put the florets in the oil and deep fry.
5. Drain excess oil in a paper towel. Serve hot with tomato ketchup when the bajjis are crisp.

- Don’t overcrowd the kadai. Fry few florets at a time.
- Broccoli florets can be substituted with other vegetables like cauliflower florets, onion, potato slices, raw banana slices, bread slices etc.