Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pamonha - Sweet Brazilian Tamales

Tamales are are Latin American/Spanish patholi/adas. Ok, thats simply putting it. Being a Konkani from Kerala, I am used to (have grown up with ) patholi or ada or ela ada . These are sweet or savoury rice flour morsels where the batter is put on a banana leaves or even turmeric leaves and steamed till done. Tamales are morsels made with masa (cornmeal) dough and along with veggies or meat and steamed in corn husks or in certain cases banana leaves as well. Pamonhas are brazilian tamales where corn is grated,mixed with sweetner and milk and steamed/boiled in corn husks. These are usually associated with Festas Juninas celebrations there. As usual I have used the recipe from here and I can't say I have succeeded in creating perfect pamonha,but tasty they were.

Fresh Ears of Corn : 3
Sugar: 2 bsp + as per taste
Salt: a pinch

Cold milk: 2 tbsp

Corn husks : for steaming

Gently remove the corn husks and keep aside. Make sure they are not torn as they have to hold the corn batter.

Grate the corn cobs in a big bowl. Sieve this extract to remove the solid particles. I did not do this and texture of my pamonha is grainy. But it never affects the taste.

To the sieved juice,add sugar and a pinch of salt.Mix well till sugar dissolves.Add in milk and mix well.

Now take trim the husks into rectangles. Using the original recipe words,
"Using a corn cob as a mold, wrap the cob in at at least four husks, remove the cob, and tie one end of the package of husks securely with kitchen twine. Carefully fill each package with the liquid corn mixture, then tie the other end of the package with twine tightly."

Now I did not use the corn cob as a mold,but simply tied the twine at one end using three husks.Then I put two-three tbsp of batter into it and closed it by tying the other ends together. The collage looks like this

 Steam the wrappers in a pressure cooker in medium heat for 30 minutes to 1 hour adding sufficient water and placing the wrappers in an appropriate vessel or else you can also place the wrappers in boiling water directly and simmer for 1 hour.Serve as a snack or dessert.
The estimate gives 8-10 pamonhas and is enough for atleast 4 people. Mine were not thick ones as shown in the original,but thinner.This again goes to AWED:Brazil at Saras's,an event by DK.


BTW,the pics are not that good. I am a bit busy in the mornings and whatever cooking -international experiments for me or blog cooking for my family- is done after 6 or 7 in the evening. So we had these pamonhas as dessert yesterday and the clicks were taken hurriedly. This recipe is by the best Pamonheira of Brazil. But whether I lived upto the standards set by her,I am not sure.Do try the pamonhas. You can also see the video tutorial here as well.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Acarajé - Black Eyed Pea Fritters from Brazil

These are simple fritters that are original from the state Bahia, from Northeast Brazil.The cuisine of that region is mainly a mix of African,Indian and Portuguese.These fritters are an excellent example of African influence on Brazil cuisine.It was taken to Brazil by the Nigerian slaves who went there and it is a popular street food in Brazil,Nigeria and Ghana.If you remember correctly I had earlier made black eyed pea fritters that were from Africa.Acarajé (ah-kara-JEH) are similar and I adapted it from here. Though they are fritters only, the way they are made is a bit time consuming and tests your patience.
Black Eyed Peas: 1 cup
Onion: 1 small size quartered
Garlic: 1-2 small cloves
Salt : as per taste

Peanut Oil: for deep frying

Soak black eyed peas for atleast 24 hours to soften it. Wash in several waters stirring with your fingers so that as much skin can be removed as possible.I soaked for almost 3 days and washed 20-25 times.But still only could remove the skin of 3/4th of peas and the remaining were there in the batter and can be seen in the pics as black spots.

After removing the skin,grind the peas in a blender adding,onion,garlic and salt in batches if needed. I didnot add water while grinding. The water in the wet peas will facilitate this along with the salt added. You are supposed to have a smooth batter,but few beans(peas) did escape until I found them while frying. :(

Pour the batter in a bowl and with an electric beater or wooden spoon,beat the batter so that it incorporates air and increases in volume.The aeration is supposed to make the final fritter feel light.

With an appropriate scoop or spoon or ladle or hand, scoop up handful of batter and deep fry in hot peanut oil,in batches till golden brown.Make sure the oil is on medium-high heat as the insides have to to be cooked as well.Again,those familiar with vada will know how to go about with black eyed peas vadas er fritters.

This is usually served stuffed with or along with shrimp,shrimp sauce or stew or in my case with simple tomato sauce.This delectable fritters are off to AWED:Brazil at Sara's,an event by DK.

The acarajés were used as in places of Worship of the Candomblé religion in Brazil and thus can be described as the Food of Gods. The fritters are delish and truly fit for Gods and also Foodie Gods who read this. :)

I was making tomato -onion salad and thought onions will look nice when stuffed inside.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Pecan Pie Cookies

I love baking cookies.They appear less problematic to me compared to breads and muffins.Okay the ingredients may be the same,but something is definitely different with me while baking them.With each cookie, I feel I am becoming confident of baking whereas I always hit a low when a bread/cake/muffin flops -to be honest, when the dish is inside the oven,if you check my pressure,you can see that its way too high. But these days, I feel I have not been posting much cookies,so when I saw the delectable pecan pie cookies in the blog NoReasonNeeded for the event Taste & Create,by Nicole,I tried them at once and was very happy I baked it. They were delicious. Only changes were as usual egg replaced with egg replacer.


All Purpose Flour: 2 cups
Baking Powder: 1 tsp

Butter: softened: 3/4 cup
Brown Sugar: 1 cup firmly packed
Egg : 1 or Ener G Egg: 1 (1.5 packed tsp mixed with 2 tbsp of water )
Vanilla: 1 tsp

Pecans: chopped 1 cup
Whipping Cream: 1/4 cup
Brown Sugar: 1/2 cup

In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking powder and kep aside. In a big bowl, beat/mix together all the other items of butter,sugar,egg and vanilla till creamy. Beating at a low speed,add flour and mix well to obtain a dough. You may have to add 2-4 tbsp of water to get the correct cconsistency especially if using EnerG.

Shape the dough into small balls by pinching small pieces and place them onto ungreased (I used lined for easier cleaning purposes) 2 inches apart. With the help of a teaspoon,make a small indentation in the middle of the cookie. This also expands of flattens the cookie ball a bit. You can also use your thumb to make the indentation.Make sure the cookie does not get broken into two,just a hole for inserting the filling is enough.

Mix together all the ingredients for filling in a bowl. Place each teaspooon of filling in the hole/indentation on each cookie.

Bake the cookies in a preheated oven at 350 F for 8-12 minutes until the sides are slightly browned.

 Mine took exactly 12 minutes,though as per the original source, hers took only 8 minutes.I first thought the size of cookies must have affected the baking time as small cookies may be cooked faster.But the next batch with smaller cookies also took 12 minutes.Better check the oven after 8 minutes to make sure the cookies do not burn.Take out the cookies,let them remain for a minute in the cookie sheet after which place the cookies on a wire rack to cool completely which firms them up.

You can see that the pecan filling has bubbled up and had got cooked as well.One bite and you are in heaven.!These are crunchy cookies with a slightly soft nd chewy centre.Do try the excellent cookies.Thanks for the recipe NRN. The recipe is originally from Land O' Lakes Butter site.The estimate gives you 2 dozen cookies atleast depending on the size.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fettucine Salad with Roasted Pumpkin &Cilantro Pumpkin Seed Pesto

This is a simple Pasta/noodle salad that I tried.I had roasted pumpkin with me and wanted to do a noodle/pasta soup.Obviosuly for NCR:Noodles.After racking my brains (and also my friend cum neighbour's) settled for a simple pesto dressing for pasta/noodles which I made with pumpkin seeds. There is not much of a recipe just few ingredients thrown together and everything was done under 40 minutes - okay roasting took most of the time -else under 15 minutes.

Fettucine/ Choice of  Noodles :for 2 persons atleast

Pumpkin: 1 cup peeled, pith,fibre & seeds removed and cubed
Salt& Pepper : to taste

Pesto dressing:
Cilantro: a small bunch
Pumpkin seeds: handful Toasted
Garlic: 1-2 cloves
Parmesan Chese
Olive oil
White Vinegar: 1-2 tsp or as per taste

Pumpkin Seeds: toasted for garnish
Cook the noodles as per instructions.

Place the pumpkin cubes in a lind baking sheet, adding salt and pepper and drizzling with olive oil/spray. You can optionally spice it up with choice of spices suitable to the dish.Place the sheet in a preheated oven at 400F for   25-30 minutes or until they brown and turn crisp.

Blend the ingredients of dressing together to obtain a pesto.

Toss together the noodles,pumpkin cubes and pesto together to get a flavourful refreshing salad.Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

The salad was hearty and though I thought pumpkin may stick out as a sore thumb,it was good and mingled well. Atleast thats what I felt.Next time I may marinate the pumpkin pieces in pesto and roast.Also zucchini goes well in the salad instead/inaddition to pumpkin and makes it more colourful.It was a hearty meal for me and the salad goes straight to NCR:Noodles as well,this time at Tinned Tomatoes.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Msakaet al Bathinjan - Eggplant Casserole

This is a simple dish from Lebanon made using fried eggplants and chickpeas.I have adapted the recipe from here.Normally the eggplants are deepfried and then mixed into a thick gravy of tomatoes,garlic,chilli and onion to which dried mint has been added.I have pan fried the eggplants and also used tomato puree instead of peeled tomatoes and have obtained a hearty thick comforting dish which goes well with breads.

Eggplant: 1 medium size sliced into rounds or half rounds as I did

Chickpeas: 1/4 cup soaked and cooked till done.

Tomatoes: 2 big, blanched,peeled and sliced or Tomato puree
Onion: chopped 1 medium
Garlic: 2-3 cloves  roasted /grilled/deep fried in oil - I used fresh garlic cloves.
Sugar: a pinch
Fresh Green chilli: 1-2 as per taste

Garlic: 1-2 cloves crushed along with little salt
Dried mint: 2 tsp or as per taste

Salt: as per taste

Presoak chickpeas and cook in the pressure cooker or stovetop till done.Keep aside.You can also use canned chickpeas.Cut the eggplant into bite size pieces -circles/half circles- and apply salt and keep aside for atleast 15 minutes.They will gove out moisture /bitterness as it is also known. Prepare a grill/oven /pan for grilling/roasting/panfrying them applying oil/spray.I pan fried them till they turned brown and cooked on both the sides.

Heat oil in a thick pan (casserole) ,add chopped onions and saute until transparent and soft.Stir in garlic and saute until it gets aromatic and starts turning brown. The recipe calls for garlic that is already fried in oil to be added to the onion and sauteed.Since we are already planning to sautee it,I did not think there is any need to previously fry the garlic in oil.So I have added chopped fresh garlic to the soft onions and cooked till brown.

Add in tomatoes/puree,slit green chillies,salt,dash of sugar and chicpeas along with aa little of the water in which they are cooked.If using the canned chicpeas,adjust the salt accordingly.Bring to a boil,reduce and let it cook for a few minutes,until the raw smell of tomatoes disappear.Add in the eggplant pieces and cook covered for about 10 minutes, until the eggplant absorbs the flavours.Add in crushed garlic cloves and dried mint as a garnish and cook for 2 more minutes.

Serve as a side dish preferably cold,but I enjoyed it warm as it goes well with rotis/breads/rice.

Th dish was simple and doable and the combo of eggplant-chickpeas is hearty.The dish can be garlicky but the dried mint refreshes the mouth.Adjust the chilli,mint and garlic according to taste.Normally I am vary of making such dishes where there is only one spice/herb - green chilli in this case along with heavy other items like eggplants,chickpeas,tomatoes etc as I feel the spice will be inadequate to spice it up entirely.Even in North Indian dishes for a combo like this,we use coriander powder,garam masala ,cumin powder, chilli powder etc inaddition to green chillies. So here I added 2 medium sized green chillies and was surprised to find that they are sufficient. The dish is spicy just by using chillies.Also I have not tasted/seen the original,but mine turned out almost 'gravyless' or very thick me.Do adjust the amount of water to get a gravy of your preferance.

The dish is my humble contribution to MM:Taste of Lebanon at Dirty Kitchen Secrets, an event by Meeta.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Basil Flatbread with Grilled Tomatoes & Cottage Cheese

This is a simple flatbread recipe which is enhanced with basil.I am not that great fan of certain fresh herbs,but with basil I am floored.I love the aroma of fresh basil and wish I could grow some.(Ok I do not have a green thumb).Normally I use basil for making granitas and other pasta dishes and even soups and have frozen it as well following Kalyn's recipe whose link was sent to me by Aparna.But recently I found myself saddled with extra bunch of fresh basil once and I tried this excellent flatbread recipe from Epicurious.This incorporates basil in the breaddough and also uses basily olive oil to grill the flatbread and in general wonderful.I halved the recipe and went for medium size flatbreads and they were over as soon as they came off the grill. I served them with savoury grilled tomatoes and cottage cheese(paneer) and these were perfect.


Warm Water: 1/3 cup
Instant Yeast: 1 tsp
Sugar: a pinch

All Purpose Flour: 2/3 cup + 1 & 1/2cup + more for dusting
Water: room Temp: 2/3 cup

Olive Oil: 2 tsp
Salt: 1 tsp

Fresh Basil: 3 tbsp or more as per taste


Basil Oil:
Blanch 1.5 packed cups of fresh basil in hot water for a minute.Dry it on paper towels and blend it in a mixer adding 3/4 cup of olive oil to get a smooth puree.Season with salt and pepper and dark green basil oil is ready. You can use the remining oil for making mashed potatoes or as a salad dressing or whatever way you like.This quantity gies you 3/4 cup of oil and you can adjust the total amount but make sure the ratio of the leaves to olive oil (2:1) remains the same.The blanching in water is supposed to prevent the oil from looking muddy or dirtyish.

Grilled Tomatoes:
Slice the tomatoes into thick rounds.Season it with chilliflakes,salt and/or other choice of spices that go well with tomatoes.Let it sit for atleast 10 minutes while the grill is beaing heated up.

When the grill is ready,spray little oil - veg or olive- on it and place the slices.Let it cook for 1-2 minutes after which turn it over and you can see nice grill marks on the slices.Keep aside and keep warm.

Cottage Cheese/Paneer/Tofu:
I simply crumbled paneer with hands into a bowl.Season it as per choice -little or no salt works fine as the rest of the items are seasoned.If the tomatoes have left behind some juice,simply add little of that to paneer as well.

Basil FlatBread:

In a bowl,mix together yeast,sugar and warm water and let it foam for atleat 10 minutes.To this add in 2/3 cup of flour and 1/3 cup room temperature water and mix well and let it rest covered for 20 minutes.

Add in salt and olive oil to this mix and add the 1&1/2 cups of flour and remaining water to the oil-yeast mix  alternately in 3 batches (1/2 cup apf each). This results in a very sticky dough /mass. Fold in thinly chiffonaded fresh basil and put the herbed sticky mass onto a floured surface and knead to form a smooth pliable dough adding more flour if needed.It took me 1-2 tbsp extra flour to get a pliable dough.Do add flour in tbsps till you get a smooth dough.

Keep the dough in a oiled bowl,turning once to coat,covered in a warm area until it doubles in volume-atleast 45 minutes.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface gently punching it down. Divide into small pieces and shape each piece into a smooth ball.Place the dough balls in a greased baking sheet,covered and let them rest for 20 minutes or until doubled.

Take out each ball and roll it out into a medium thick round.Prepare the grill -gas or electric. I used gas top grill.Brush the flatbread with basil oil and place the oiled side on the grill.Grill until the bottom turns golden brown.Brush the top with basil oil and turn to cook that side as well.You can see nice grill marks on it.

Serve it rolled up with Grilled tomatoes  and crumbled paneer, topped with more basil oil as preferred.
The texture of the bread is same as naan with the added freshness of basil.

This is supposed to be the popular starter of a Kansas Restaurant.You can divide the bread into smaller pieces,top each piece with tomato slice and paneer and basil oil and serve as a hearty starter.You can also make the bread and tomatoes previously and at the time of serving,cut the bread into small triangles,top it with a tomato slice,and fresh grated mozzarella/cheddar/whatever you like and warm it in the microwave till the cheese starts to melt.

Except for cheese,this is completely vegan.Hopefully Zorra will like it for WBD 2010.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brigadeiros - Chocolate Candy from Brazil

These are delectable snack/dessert made using condensed milk and cocoa powder.They are also known as "Negrinho" or Blackie in some parts of Brazil. The condensed milk is cooked in butter along with cocoa powder and the result is rolled in chocolate sprinkles (vermicelli or jimmies as they are also known) to get a dark brown truffle like sweet or laddoos as we can also say. This said the work is definitely tiring and I hope I have made justice to the recipe I adapted from here. Do watch the accompanying video before you attempt a brigadeiro.

Unsalted Butter: 2 tbsp + more for greasing

Condensed Milk: 1 can ( 14 oz)

Cocoa Powder: 2 tbsp
Water: 2-4 tbsp (for mixing the cocoa powder)

Chocolate sprinkles: for rolling (I also used coconut gratings and coloured sprinkles)

On medium-low heat, melt butter in a thick bottomed pan. As soon it is melted,add in condensed milk.Also add in coco powder mixed with water.Cocoa powder takes time to dissolve in condensed milk and may form lumps.So to better avoid the lump,add the coco powder to  little water,mix/stir well so that no lumps are there and add this mix to the condensed milk and stir well to get a brown thick liquid.

Keeping the heat on med-low (I used the lowest possible heat),using a wooden spoon start stirring the mix preferably in a circular fashion and from the sides for about 20-40 minutes. We have to cook the condensed milk + cocoa and the water has to evaporate.If we leave the mix alone,then the mix may burn.So keep on stirring and cook as the mix gets thicker and thicker (reduces in volume).

Lovely aroma may permeat the kitchen but the mix or brigadeiros are ready when  (using the words of the original recipe)
  • You divide it in half with the spoon and it stays parted for a few seconds 

  • You scoop some  mix with the wooden spoon, turn the spoon upside down, and it holds there for an instant before falling back into the pan

Once ready put the contents of the pan (brigadeiro mix) onto a plate and let it chill in the fridge for atleast 30 minutes till it cools enough for us to handle and firms up. This is like a fudge I felt.

Take it out and scoop enough mix onto your palms which are already greased with butter and roll into small ball.

Then roll the ball into chocolate sprinkles and cover it completely.I also used coloured ones and coconut gratings as well.Place it in small cupcake liner/cup.

Repeat the process with the remaining mix to make about 1-2 dozen  brigadeiros. Place the brigadeiros  in fridge for 15-30 minutes for them to firm up.I had only bigger muffin liners so I did not use them and served the brigaderios as small balls only.

Serve as an anytime snack without thinking about the calories :)

Need I say about the taste ! Condensed milk laddoos rolled in coconut gratings are my favourite and this one with chocolate is AWESOME. You can instead of cocoa powder add drinking chocolate powder as well but it will be overtly sweet.Only tiring thing is you have to sweat for atleast 20 minutes in front of the stove,but the result is EXCELLENT.

Since coconut laddoos were my childhood favourite I also rolled these in fresh grated coconut and also in coloured sprinkles just to add some colour.traditionally only chocolate sprinkles are used.

Do make your own Brigadeiro as I have finished almost all but few precious saved ones are for Sara who is hosting AWED:Brazil,an event by DK

The brigadeiro were so named after Brigadier Eduardo Gomes who was a Presidential candidate in the 40s. It is said that his wife would make this candy resembling truffles during fund raising events. Also since it was wartime,the fruits and nuts were rarely available and Nestle had just introduced its condensed milk to Brazil. Do learn about it in Wiki, munching on a brigadeiro and listening/watching to Vengaboyz -Brazil .

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vegan Mexican Feast from Chef InYou

I love Mexican cuisine  and am always entusiastic to try different spicy and excellent dishes.While in US, we used to frequent Baja Fresh Mexican Grill and I still miss it. Ofcourse we stuck to the vegetarian menu there  and though limited certain good choices available.I have never been to Chipotle and when I saw the Chipotle style Cilantro Lime rice I wanted to prepare it.And I did make it along with DK's Vegan Frijoles Refritos and Pico de Gallo. An awesome feast and here it is.

Cilantro Lime Rice:


Long Grain Rice /Basmati: 1 cup rinsed lightly in cold water
Oil: 1-2 tsp or butter for non vegan versions
Sugar: a pinch (optional)
Limes: 1 big or 1-2 small
Salt: as per taste

Cilantro: chopped: 3 tbsp+

Rinse rice in cold water and optionally soak in water for atleast 10 minutes.This prevents the rice from getting mushy.
Heat oil in a heavy pan and add the drained rice and optionally sugar.Stir well until the rice gets coated with oil/butter.Add in the lime juice and salt and enough water needed to cook the rice.

Cook the rice until all the water has been absorbed and your preferred consistency has reached.Stir it well and mix in chopped cilantro.Do the taste check and adjust the salt,cilantro and lime juice.Remove from heat,give it a nice fluff and let it sit for a few minutes with the lid on.

Serve with refried beans or Frijoles Refritos.

Refried Beans:
I am fascinated by refried beans and the term refried used to intrigue me at first.Then I tried refried beans from another blog for an event and loved it.So while trying out the cilantro lime rice,I also tried DK's Vegan refried beans as well.I had used red kidney beans instead of pinto beans though

Red Kidney beans: 1/2 cup

Oil: 1tbsp +
BayLeaf: 1/2 tsp + or 1 bayleaf
Red onion: 1 medium size finely chopped
Garlic:1-2 cloves finely chopped/minced
Jalapeno chillies/Green Chillies: 1-2 chopped/slit as needed

Tomato:1 medium size chopped

Salt: as per taste

Presoak and cook the beans until tender or almost mushy.We will be mashing up the beans so its better we cook them till mushy.I cook them in a pressure cooker and stovetop works out to 40 minutes or more.

Heat oil in a heavy pan,add in bayleaf,chopped onion,garlic crushed/minced and slit chillies alongwith little salt and saute until the onions turn soft.

Add in chopped tomatoes and saute until soft .Add in the cooked beans after keeping aside the water in which they were cooked.mix well and with a ladle or potato masher,mash the entire mix together to the required or fine consistency.Adjust salt and serve with Cilantro Lime Rice and salsa

Pico de Gallo: 
I suppose DK had made  pico de gallo the authentic way which is much longer than the one I tried here. I wanted to try it when she posted the recipe and this obviously was great with the rice and beans. 

Tomatoes: 1-2 big or 2 + cups chopped

Red onions: 1 medium finely chopped
Garlic: 1 small clove finely chopped/minced/crushed
Jalapeno/Green chillies:1 finely chopped or slit
Cilantro: few tbsps finely chopped

Salt: as per taste
Sugar: a pinch
Lime juice: few tbsp or 1 small lime

Chop tomatoes and place them in a colander placed on top of a bowl.Let it sit for about 45 minutes and the juice that will be collected in the bowl can be discarded or used for something else.

After about 20 minutes,add in finely chopped onions,minced garlic,chopped chillies and cilantro and give it a light toss for the flavours to mix well.

After the required waiting time of 45 minutes,shake the colander to drain off the juice if any and then put the contents of the colander to a bowl.

Add in salt,sugar and lime juice and toss everything and serve as a filling for tacos or a side salad with cilantro lime rice and refried beans.

Do enjoy the simple feast which is hearty and filling and a plate obviously goes to Priya who is hosting   T & T : Chef In You, an event by Lakshmi

Monday, October 11, 2010

Peanut Salad - Verkadalai Sundal

Peanuts is something I try to avoid.But its a favourite of my family. I always think of trying something with peanuts but by the time I find a recipe,they have reached the expiration.So this time I bought peanuts,the first recipe I tried was dear DK's Peanut Sundal. It was a hit and yeah I see it becoming a regular feature in my house.

Peanuts: 1 cup
Turmeric Powder: a pinch

Oil: 1-2 tsp
Mustard: 1 tsp
Urad Dal /Split Black Gram: 1 tsp
Dried Red Chillies: 1-2 broken into pieces
Hing /Asafoetida: a pinch
CurryLeaves: few fresh ones

Coconut: handful

Salt: to taste

Soak peanuts in water for 1 hour.This lets them cook faster.Add turmeric and salt and cook them in a pressure cooker for 1-2 whistles or until soft.You can do it in stovetop also and it takes around 30 minutes.

Drain the peanuts and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add in mustard seeds.When it splutters,add in black gram,redchillies and hing.Make sure to add the hing last as we donot want it to burn which can put us off the dish.Let the black gram turn brown and then add hing.Immediately add in peanuts,coconut and curryleaves and stir gently until well combined for one or two minutes more.Adjust the salt and serve as a side salad or snack.

Sundals are usually made during Navratri and are a part of Tamil or South Indian Festive culture where Golu/Kolu dolls are displayed at home and lentils are prepared as Nivedhyam to Gods.These are made of dried lentils and rich in proeins and are filling and are perfect for the festival fasting that some people undergo during the navratri/dussera.

Well do check up DKs site for variety sundal recipes.Meanwhile my humble sundal goes to T&T:ChefInYou at Priya's an event by Lakshmi.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tomato Basil Drop Biscuits

These are simple American Biscuits - not cookies as such - which I tried out recently when I had extra basil with me.Normally what happens is I may get few recipes from cooking sites and some ingredients would not be there or vice versa.So I was left with a bunch of fresh basil which I thought I would turn into breads or something similar and then I came across the drop biscuits recipe in TasteofHome. They can be quickly made and I made them spicier with the addition of chilli flakes.

All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Baking Powder: 1.5 tsp
Pepper/chilli flakes: 1/4 tsp or as per taste
Salt: 1/2 tsp

Vegetable Shortening/Vanaspati:  3 tbsp cold

Oil: 1-2 tsp
Onion: 1 small or chopped 3-4 tbsp
Tomatoes: 1 medium or 1/2 cup chopped
Chilli flakes: 1/4 tsp or as per taste (optional)

Fresh basil: 2 tbsp + finely chopped/chiffonaded

Milk: 1/3 cup .

Heat oil in a pan and add chopped onions.Saute until transparent and add tomatoes,salt and optional chilli flakes.Let it cook for a few minutes but before the tomatoes start giving out water.Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil.Keep aside to cool.

In a big bowl,mix together flour,salt,pepper/chilli flakes and baking powder.Add in cold shortening cut into cubes or pieces and mix well.Pinch and fluff the mix until the mix resembles bread crumbs or turns coarse.

Stir  in the tomato mixture and then add milk little by little until just combined.I needed only 4 tbsp of milk though the recipe(halved) mentioned 5 tbsp. You will get a sticky thick dough like mass.

Drop by tablespoonfuls 1-2 ' inches apart onto a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake for 400F/200 C for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.Take out and cool in wire racks.Serve warm.


These  are perfect and hearty snacks especially during tea time.

These are not cookies but bread line biscuits and you can see the interiors well.They are a bit chewy but as said filling snacks.The combo of basil and tomato is classic and this recipe brings out the taste very well.Instead of basil you can also go for coriander and use your choice of spices.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Simple Sindhi Lunch

This is a simple Sindhi lunch I tried from Alka's SindhiRasoi.I had split green mung dal with me and made her Saayi Dal and also her gastronomic delight Took Patata. I love potatoes and it is always a staple but this double deep frying was new to me.I am not sure I have perfected the art of making took patata but heartily enjoyed both the dishes along with plain boiled rice.

Saayi Dal

Split green mung dal: 1/2 cup
Tomatoes :2  chopped

Green Chillies: 2 +/- chopped/slit
Ginger: 1 inch piece chopped
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Salt: as per taste
Water: as needed to cook the dal

Oil/Ghee:1- 2 tsp
Garlic: 2-3 small cloves
CurryLeaves: few
Cumin: 1/2 tsp +

Wash and soak dal in water for about 30 minutes.You can remove the skin if you like else.I left it like that.

Cook the dal in the pressure cooker adding turmeric,ginger,greenchillies,tomato,salt  and enough water to cook the dal.Water should be same level as dal in the vessel.

Let it cool a bit and then with a masher/ladle /mathni/churner whisk everything together. Adjust the salt and add the seasoning.

Seasoning: Heat oil/ghee and add the crushed garlic,curryleaves and cumin in that order.When the cumin sizzles premove from heat and pour over the hot dal.

Serve with rice and tookpatata.


Took Patata :
These are Sindhi double fried potatoes and are gastronomers delight.I love potatoes and these take the taste to a different level.But only pulling back factor is the double frying involved :(. I have tried the recipe as given but mine doesn't look as good as Alka's, but the taste was unmatched.

Potatoes: 4 medium size
Salt: as per taste
Oil: for deep frying

Chilli Powder:
Turmeric Powder
Coriander Powder
Dry mango powder (Amchur)

Peel and cut potatoes into 4 pieces.Slit them in criss- cross pattern,not so deep.Add Salt to potatoes, and keep aside for 2- 4 minutes as mentioned in the original recipe or immerse them in salted water.After soetime squeeze them out of water and heat oil in a pan and gently slide the pieces in oil

Fry on high heat for few seconds, lower the heat and put a lid over the pan.If needed put a heavy weight on the lid of the pan.Cook until done - a few minutes only- and remove from oil onto a paper towel.

Gently flatten these within palm of your hands when they are still warm but touchable. You can see the slits opening up like a flower.You can also press these against the sides of a plate/flat surface. Skip this step if you are not comfortable with it or else you may end up mashing the slice and end up with a gooey mess.

Drop the pieces again in hot oil, frying on high heat, until golden brown and drain on paper towels.

Put the potatoes back to pan and add the spice powders and mix well for a few seconds till the powders lose the raw smell and the potato absorbs the flavours.Adjust the salt and seasonings and serve warm without thinking about the calories it may add on you.!!!

The lunch was perfect and hearty and a plate goes to T&T:SindhiRasoi at Ria's Collection, an event by Lakshmi.Thanks Alka for the wonderful and authentic and very hearty comforting recipes.

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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