Thursday, April 30, 2009

Not So Perfect Hamantashen

Hamentash or Hamentashen(en for plural) is a pastry/cookie in Jewish Cuisine with a three cornered or triangle shape.It is usually eaten during the Jewish Festival of Purim.Purim represents the victory of Jewish people from the evil plotting of Haman.The pastry's three cornered shape is achieved by folding the dough over a filling in the centre .The filling can be anything from fruits,nuts,preserves etc.The pastry is supposed to represent the hat of Haman,the villain of Purim.

For this month's Taste & Create by Nicole,I was partnered with wonderful Stef of CupcakeProject.As the blog name suggests there are wonderful and artisan cupcakes and I had bookmarked some as well.But suddenly I stumbled upon the Hamentashen recipe she had made from a Jewish cookbook.She had given stepwise instructions and pictures and the recipe seemed too easy,but me being me ,the cookies does not look perfect.Well theres always a next time.

All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Baking Powder: 1 tsp
Sugar: 2 and 2/3 tbsp (I used 3 tbsp)
Salt :a pinch

Unsalted Butter: 1/4 cup softened

Egg: 1
Ener G Egg: 1 made from blending 1.5 tsp of Ener G Egg replacer powder and 2 tbsp of warm water.

Filling: fruit preserve : I used pineapple jam
Can also use your choice of filling


In a bowl,sift together flour,salt,sugar and baking powder.Add in softened buter and Egg and combine to obtain a cookie dough.

If using Ener G egg make sure you add atleast 2 tbsp of additional water as the dough can be dry.I added 2.5 tbsp of water.The dough will still be a bit sticky and crumbly. Roll it out on lighlty floured surface to atleast 1/4 inch thickness,though this is optional.The hamentashen cookies can be made thick or thin as per choice.
Using cookie cutter of 3" diameter cut out dough circles.Take a circle,put a dollop of filling on the centre and fold the edges over the filling.

The dough with a first fold looks like

You can moisten the edges with water so that they will stick together during baking.Place on a lined or greased cookie sheet.

A finished cookie looks like..

Do so with other dough circles and bake the cookies in a preheated oven at 400F for 10+ minutes until the sides start browning.Start checking from 8 minutes onwards.

As per Stef,the cookies will be crisp and crunchy,but I went for a bit lower temperature and baked these for 10 minutes and got a bit cakey or soft cookie.My first batch was a disaster as the folds opened during baking and though the taste was there,the shape was not there.Second batch came out much better than expected.The folds become better after practice,atleast in my case.So Stef, thanks for the keeper recipe and Nicole,thanks for allowing me to post about this today as I could not do so earlier.
Do checkout Stef's step by step pics and also the Purim story video.

Black Eyed Pea Patties with Chili Sauce

This is Tried and Tasted Recipe from Lisa's blog.I have known Lisa through here Soup event and always admired all the recipes.I wanted to try something other than soups from Lisa.I have never worked with bean in patties and was interested in these especially when they were under the label African.These are served with Pilipili or sauce made with red bellpepper and chillies.Lisa adapted these from World Vegetarian Classic by Celia Brown.I have modified Lisa's recipe as I halved it and made it eggless.Here it is mostly in Lisa's own words.


Black Eyes Peas: 1/2 cup presoaked and cooked
Onion: 1 small, finely chopped
Fresh green chilies:1-2, finely chopped
Sea salt: 1-2 tsp as per taste
All Purpose Flour: 1/4 cup(reduce to half if using eggs ie 2 tbsp APF and 1 egg)
Baking Powder: 1 tsp
Warm Water: 1 tbsp+

Oil for frying

PiliPili Sauce:
Red Bell Peppers:2 seeded and quartered
Green Chillies: 1-2 roughly chopped
Sea salt: a pinch
Garlic: 1 clove
Lemon juice: 1 small lemon

Soak the beans in water overnight and clean and cook in a pressurecooker.You can also cook in a pot and this will take around 40 minutes. Drain and transfer to a food processor. Blend to obtain a thick paste.Add chopped green chillies,onion,baking powder and little flour and little warm water to obtain a thicker paste.If eggs are ok,you can reduce the flour to half and add eggs. Else you can also use anyother egg replacer of choice.

In a large non-stick pan, heat a shallow pool of oil over medium heat. When hot, drop in heaped tablespoons of the batter and fry until golden on each side.

To make the chili sauce, put the peppers in a pot of boiling water and cook until they are soft 8-10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a food processor, along with the chillies, salt, garlic and lemon juice. Process until well combined. Serve with the bean patties.

I loved the patties though I must say the pic has not come closer to the original.The combo of red pepper sauce and black eyed patties was new to me and I enjoyed it Thanks to Lisa.

Obviously a warm plate of patties with pilipili is on way to Aparna of MyDiverseKitchen for Tried &Tasted:Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen , an event by Zlamushka of SpicyKitchen.

Another plate of these excellent starters is on way to MLLA: Tenth Helping :Starters & Desserts an even by Susan the well seasoned cook and currently hosted by Glamah-rous Coco Cooks

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thai Red Curry

This is a simple curry from Thailand which uses red curry paste,cocnut milk and fish sauce(soy sauce for vegan version).Compared to the green curry,this curry uses fresh/dry red chillies and other roasted ingredients along with optional shrimp paste.I referred several sites and especially based my curry paste from here.I made a simple curry using the paste referencing Tarla Dalals red curry and whatever vegetables I had.

Red Curry Paste: gives 1/2 cup
Dry Red Chillies: 2-3 can also use fresh red chillies
Garlic: 2+ cloves depending on taste
Lemon Grass: 1 stem
Coriander: 1 small bunch especially the stems and very little or no leaves
Roasted Coriander seeds: 2 tsp
Shallots/Onion: 1/4 cup chopped or 1 small onion
PepperCorns: 1 tsp
Kaffir Lime/Lemon zest: 1 tbsp

Red Curry:
Red Curry Paste: almost 1/2 cup
Coconut milk: 1 cup +
Cornflour:1 tbsp (optional)
Thai Eggplants( green long eggplants): 1 big chopped into rounds/cubed
Baby Corn: 1/4 cup + chopped
Carrot : 1 small chopped

Fresh Basil Leaves: 15
Soy Sauce:1 tsp

Red Curry Paste:
Chop the chillies,lemongrass,coriander and onion/shallot and if needed deseed the chillies.I did not.Place all the ingredients in the blender/processor and blend into a paste.The colour of the paste will be red or reddish green depending on the chillies and also the amount of coriander .Make sure you use the stems rather than leaves of the coriander.You can use Kashmiri Red Chillies which will give more red colour though the heat will be less.

Red Curry:
Mix cornflour in coconut milk and keep aside.You can use thick or thin milk or tinned milk.You can avoid the cornflour as well as it is used for quick thickening.

Heat oil in a pan and add the paste.Saute for a few minutes till the raw smell disappears.Add the coconut milk,basil leaves,soy sauce and the cubed veggies.Mix well and let it simmer (on low fire) till the vegetables are tender.Check for taste and add the salt.Boil for 1-2 minutes and not more till the required consistency is reached.Cornflour if used quickly thickens the curry.I did not and I got a semi thick gravy.
Serve with rice or noodles.

I found the curry only medium hot may be because I used less paste(I always start with 2 tbsp and then add more) or maybe due the chillies or the thick coconut milk or may I am used to the spicy Indian curries.It is a nice change from the Indian curries and a healthy one as well.I had used the basil and soysauce combination the first time and was surprised that it was good.

A warm bowl of this vegan curry travels to Its a Vegan World:Thai an event started by Vaishali of HolyCow and currently hosted by Priya of Akshayapaatram

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Baked Apple for Emma

Emma by Jane Austen tells you about the life of Emma - a clever, rich, spoilt girl and the way she deals with life.Simply speaking,the story full of parties,balls etc in England starts with Emma hating Knightley but ends up being engaged to him .Now to give it a filmi twist,Knightley is her Didi ka Devar.Before you start thinking about the film,lets think how food comes to play in this.

I have read only abridged version which mentioned no food and when I searched for a bit elaborate version the first thing that appeared was the term apples-baked apples,tarts,apple harvest, apple season etc.Baked apple seemed to be the chosen dish of the story and so I went ahead with it,but used the microwave.

Apple: atleast 1 big
Cinnamon powder
Ginger powder
Walnuts: handful
Salt: very small pinch

Mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl.

Cut the stem of the apple and core the apple keeping the bottom intact.Refer Elise's Baked Apple recipe for directions.

Spoon the filling into the apple.You can fill 3/4th of the apple.

Keep the apple in a microwave safe bowl and add in around 1/4 cup of water into the bowl such that the end of the apple is immersed in water.

Microwave on 100% power for 2 minutes.

The water will start bubbling and the apple will get cooked and the juices may start flowing out of the apple and sometimes filling may get pushed out if the apple is filled completely.

Remove from the oven. Let it cool for few minutes and then remove slowly from the water bath.

Serve warm cutting into wedges/halves or as such(if small) along with your choice of accompaniments like ice cream, maple syrup, whipped cream ,jam etc or as such.

You can use as many apples as you like though the cooking time increases with each addition.I tried only 1 apple first and it came out in 2 minutes.You can use your choice of filling as well.

So Emma this is for you and also your creator Jane Austen but I am sure you may not have thought of such an inventionespecially living in Georgian England.Now Lets see what other bookclub members made for Jane Austen and her heroines

Simran made Tropical Fruit Tart for Emma
Rachel also Chose Emma and made Apple Tart
Aparna has send Crumpets for Emma
Aquadaze presents Butter Cake inspired by Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spicy Tomato Cheese Soup

Tomato is always one of my favourite in soups and I try different variations/versions in this.You can have thick tomato soups or light simple versions .There are several ways in which you can prepare tomato based soups and even there are classic soups in each cuisine as well.For a quickie version,you can even make a simple soup from the marinara sauce and use leftoverveggies to obtain a thick tomato vegetable soup or you can make chunky versions as well.

This is a simple Tomato soup that I found in a magazine.Its a spicy soup that combines redchillies,cinnamon, carrot and also cheese along with tomato.

Tomato: 3 big or almost 2+ cups chopped
Carrot: 1 cup peeled and chopped
Shredded Cheddar Cheese: as needed

Red Chillies:1-2
Cinnamon: 1 inch piece
Ginger: 1 small piece
Garlic: 1-2 cloves

Water/Veg Broth: 2 cups+


Chop tomatoes into quarters or even halves.Peel and cube the carrots as well.Pressure cook the tomatoes,carrots ,ginger,garlic,cinnamon piece and whole red chillies together adding water or vegetable broth(or water+broth combo).You can add the liquid just enough for cooking if using a pressure cooker or more if using a soup pot.It may require almost 40 minutes in a soup pot.

Once the cooked mixture is cooled,puree in a blender.Strain if interested to remove the tomato seeds and spice bits if remaining.I did not strain.

Add salt,more stock/water/combo (1 cup+)and let it simmer for few minutes till the flavours blend.Then add shredded cheddar cheese and let it simmer for a few more minutes till the cheese blends in or until the desired thickness is reached.

I went for a thin soup and simmered only for a few minutes after adding the cheese.The amount of cheese depends on your taste.You can use any other processed cheese apart from cheddar.

Check the salt and spiciness and then serve in cups or bowls adding more shredded cheese along with optional pepper.

The soup is definitely spicy without the pepper and is perfect for chilly evenings or for me anytime anyseason.

A spicy hot cuppa is on the way to NoCroutonsRequired:BirthDay Edition hosted this time by BirthDay Girl Holler of TinnedTomatoes and the theme is Tomatoes.The soup is perfect starter along with other items in the BirthDay menu:

Spicy Tomato Cheese Soup with
Peppery Feta Shortbread
Crushed Potatoes
Tibetan Momos
Tofu & Vegetable Sate

Main Course:
ChickPeas and Vegetable Rice along with Raitha
Pasta E Ceci with Easy EggplantBake
Black Bean Rice with Tofu &Zucchini skewers
Simple Peas Pulao with Moroccan Chickpeas Stew

Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Bread
Cinnamon Cake
Chocolate Truffles

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOLLER,Please make your choice and start the Party with a spicy hot Tomato Cheese Soup.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chickpeas and Vegetable Rice

This is a simple rice dish that includes the goodness of vegetables,legumes,rice and herbs.This is wholesome and easy to prepare. You can increase the veggies and chickpeas than the rice if you prefer that way. It uses only bayleaf as a spice and makes excellent use of mint,but again it depends on taste and can be increased or decreased.


Chickpeas: 1/2 cup presoaked and cooked till soft
Mixed Vegetables: almost 1 cup chopped
Rice:1/2 cup + (long or short grain or even instant or polished as per choice)

Onion: 1 small chopped long and thin
Garlic: 1-2 cloves

Mint:1-2 tbsp chopped
Lemon juice

Chop all the vegetables into small cubes and keep aside.You can use whatever vegetables you like.I even included leeks.Slice onions into long and thin pieces and finely chop/crush/mince garlic.Wash rice and keep aside.Pressure cook the soaked dried chickpeas till soft.

Heat little oil in a pan/kadai.Add bayleaf,onions and garlic and saute till raw smell disappears and the onions are transparent.Add the vegetables and quickly saute for 2-3 minutes.Add the rice,salt and water needed to cook the rice.Bring to boil,reduce heat,add chickpeas,chopped mint,lemon juice. Mix well and let it cook till done.

Serve hot with raita or sauce or anyother choice of accompaniments.

This being a wholesome lunch dish and also kid friendly a warm bowl is off to Srivalli's MM:Wholesome Lunches,an event originally by Meeta.

This simple one pot meal is off to Single Serving Meals by Sahaja

Another warm bowl travels to CFK:Rice an event by Sharmi of Neivedyam and currently hosted by Trupti of RecipeCenter.

Small Break:I am atpresent on a much needed vacation and will not be able to blog/blog hop as quickly and regularly as I like.One or two of my posts for certain events will be scheduled. So kindly bear with me.Hopefully will be back within two weeks

Monday, April 6, 2009

T&T:TastyPalettes A Delicious Round Up

Last month was delicious with Tasty Palettes.I expected and received several delicious entriesSeveral taste testers showed the admiration for dear Suganya ,some cooking more than one which definitely is a great way to show how much they enjoyed the food.Without any delay lets see who all entered the party and what they brought along.

The entries are in random order.So lets start the party with the creator herself-
Zlamushka presents her tasty plate- Vegan lemon poppyseed cookies,

Simple,light yet flavourful and healthy vegetable oats upma,

Delicious appetizer of eggplant bake, and also goes -with- anything tomato pesto with walnuts.

Then comes Rekha of Plantainleaf with carrot muffins which in her words require no changes and are perfect in measurement.
We have EC of SimpleIndian Food with spicy hot Punjabi Aloo

Poornima of TastyTreats with Baked sweet potato fries-healthy and delicious evening snack
and also chocolate chews -cookie shaped brownies for crazy chocoholics(like me)

Divya Kudua of Easycooking was happily lost among the delicious pictures and admiringly baked banana muffins which she made eggless and added choco chips.
Trupti of Recipecenter also made the delicious banana muffins which she made eggless and added almonds.

Versatile Priya of easy and tastyrecipes presents a variety of tasty dishes

Delicous Tomato Bread Soup

Saffron rice with Punjabi okra

Curried eggplant rice
All super comforting dishes which tried and tasted during weekend lunches.Ahh what a weekend that was...

A&N of reluctant chefs cooked up the chilled Cucumber Soup and she tells us she regrets not eating cucumbers before.

Cham brought with her a delicious plate of Curried Eggplant rice- simple and easy with handy ingredients yet bold and flavourful

Yasmeen of Healthnut started with a Chilled Avocado Soup -now a regular in her avocado recipes

Followed by Almond Pate almonds being her favourite.

Then she presented us with a Lentil Fattoush Salad which made a wholesome meal

And a comforting and traditional plate of Venpongal and gosthu which she enjoyed at lunch.

Asha of Foodies hope also brought with her the delicious combo of VenPongal and gosthu -very tasty and traditional Tamilian combo she says

Maya of Konkan world is awed by the variety of cuisine and photography in TastyPalettes.She presents comforting Tried Tasted and Loved Platter of

Palamusu Curry

Pepper Garlic and Cumin Rasam with roasted potatoes.

Arundathi of MyFoodblog presented us with delicious Kadambam Rice -she had heard this before and could not wait to try Suganyas version which she loved

KC of Kitschow brings in a healthy BrownRice bowl.She finds several recipes that fits lent in TastyPalettes.

Lubna of Kitchenflavours enjoyed a delicious meal with spicy Tomato Rice

and rounded it off with a cool watermelon granita

Soma of Ecurry brings us a piping hot bowl of Tomato Bread Soup or Pappa al Pomodoro -perfect all season soup she says

Hema of SalttoTaste presents a piping hot bowl of Kadambam rice as well -she had to grind the ingredients to make podi but the effort was worth it.

Ashwini of Spicy Cuisine presents a delectable side dish of Cabbage Mor Kootu which goes well with rices as well as rotis.

Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen sends us a savoury choice of pancakes for dinner with Cornmeal Pancakes with Fresh Chunky Salsa

Aparna of MyDiverseKitchen went in looking for an unusual dish and here she presents us Almond Pate Crostini

Bhagyashri of TasteBuds sends us Spicy Pepper,Cumin and Garlic Rasam -her first attempt that had a delicious end result thanks to Suganya

Pavani of CooksHideout, a regular visitor to TastyPalettes has tried several dishes and she makes sure she took the pics this time.She sends in a healthy platter of Sweet Ragi Dosa & Lentil Fattoush

Usha of MySpicyKitchen sends us savoury Corn Muffins which she enjoyed for lunch and also dinner.

Susan,the Well Seasoned Cook,sends in MorKali -South Indian savoury riceflour and buttermilk pudding which she enjoyed for breakfast and lunch and whats more, thanks to precise microwave instructions by Suganya,she actually started using the microwave.

Sunshinemom of TongueTicklers was so awed by the beautiful food pics that she was in a dilemma what to try and taste.Her son solved the problem for her and also gave us a delicious Varuthu Araitha Kootu which was enjoyed by the whole family

Madhu of Ruchi sends in Spicy Corn Muffins which are simple yet delicious she says.And whats more she made them eggless too.

Jayasree of KailasKitchen sends us tangy melt in the mouth Lemon Poppyseed cookies which was a bookmarked recipe and obviously a keeper recipe.

And last but not least my personal tasty tour with Suganya enjoying

Tofu Fajitas

Pasta e Ceci

Easy Eggplant Bake


Spicy Dal with roasted vegetables.

Zlamushka says she has "learned from Suganya that complicated looking dishes are so simple and you cannot go wrong with them "and this round up proves exactly that.

I hope I have added all the entries received.Do mail me or comment here if anyones tasty platter on TastyPalettes is missing.Do checkout this months T&T:Lisas Vegetarian Kitchen with the current host Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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