Thursday, September 29, 2011

Qalye Kadu - Chunky Zucchini Dip from Iran

If you can't pronounce that name of the dip don't look at me coz I can't say it too.This is again a dip/puree/spread adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian and the recipe source is Niloofar Haeri.This is  a nice way of using up zucchini or courgette and is mildly spiced side or even works out as a sandwich spread.

Olive Oil: 1-2 tbsp

Onion: 1 medium size (4 tbsp) finely chopped
Garlic: 1 -2 small cloves minced
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp +/-

Zucchini: about 2 + cups peeled and  diced into small piecs
Salt: as per taste

Tomato Puree: 1 -2 tsp
Cumin Powder: 1/2 tsp +/ -
Cayenne Pepper: 1 pinch or as per taste
Pepper: as per taste

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium high. Add in finely chopped onion and garlic and stir fry till the onions are soft and transparent. Reduce to a simmer while cooking so that they do not brown. Add in the turmeric powder and stir so that the onions turn yellowy. Remove one third of the onions and keep aside to be mixed later.

To the remaining onions, add diced zucchini and salt and allow it to sweat on medium heat. Once they start releasing water ,reduce to simmer, cover and let it get cooked till soft.

Remove the cover, add in the powdered cumin,cayenne pepper,black pepper and tomato puree and mix well. With a masher or hand/immersion  blender try to mash the mix chunkily while continuing cook for another minute or so. Fold int he remaining onions and mix well.

Serve as a spread or dip with veggies/chips either warm or room temp or even chilled. I prefer warm/room temp.

The quantity is very less and is sufficient for 1 person alone. So double or triple the recipe as you prefer as the recipe is spot on. The crunch of the zucchini and onions and also the thickness given by the mashed onions along with the comforting spices makes it a hearty dip/spread.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kanika from Odisha

Orissa/Odisha reminds me of coast line,beaches,the patachitra paintings,Odissi dance and formost Puri Jagannath Temple . The temple is a famous pilgrimage centre in India and is also known for varieties of the prasad or the offerings as well. For the bloghop today, I have been paired with Mugdha who is from Orissa and her blog has some wonderful authentic or traditional Oriya dishes. I have chosen Kanika which is traditionally a spiced sweet pulao that is offered to the Lord and this one is a caramel version of it.

Basmati Rice: 1/2  cup
Water: 1 cup + as needed to cook the rice

Clarified Butter/ Ghee: 2 tbsp
Sugar: 1-2 tsp  (for caramelizing) + 3 tbsp + as needed for taste
Cashews/Raisins: handful
Cloves ,Cardamom: 2-3 pieces

Heat ghee in a deep pan and add in around 2 tsp (or more as needed to get a deep brown colour) of sugar and let it caramelize an turn to a rich brown syrup. Add in the cashews and raisins and let them start to turn brown and raisins get pumped up. Add in the spices and  stir fry till a nice aroma emanates for another minute or so. Add in the washed  and drained rice and mix well till the rice gets coated with the syrup for another 1-2 minutes. 

Add in the water and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer,cover and let it cook till almost done. Once the rice is three fourth cooked, add in remaining 3 tbsp or more of sugar as per taste and then let it cook till completely done.  The entire cooking can be done in a pressure cooker as a one pot meal as depicted in the original recipe.

Serve in dessert bowls garnished with more nuts or dried rose petals or whatever you like.

Delectable sweet rice and a nice twist to the original traditional dish.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cheesy Herbed Potato Salad

I love spuds and this fact has been vouched for in several other spud posts as well. So we will directly go into the recipe of this creamy cheesy salad which I had adapted from this potato goat cheese salad from Food and Wine site and made using feta.

Potatoes: 2-3 big well scrubbed

ExtraVirgin Olive Oil: 4 tbsp +
Red Wine Vinegar: 4 tbsp + (same quantity as EVOO)
Salt & Pepper: per taste

Feta : crumbled 1/4 cup+

Garlic: 1 small clove: minced
Oregano: dried: 1 tsp or as per taste OR Fresh: few tbsp chopped
Fresh Basil: 1/4 cup + chiffonaded + more for garnish
Black Olives: few chopped into rings

Cook the potatoes till fork tender in salted boiling water. Drain,cool and peel and cut them into bite sized pieces or small triangles onto a serving bowl.

Whisk together the oil and vinegar adding salt and pepper into an emulsion. Drizzle this over the potatoes and stir well to coat.You can add more salt and pepper as needed after the taste test.

Just before serving, add crumbled feta to the potatoes and also toss in finely minced  herbs -fresh basil and fresh/dried oregano and olive rings to this. Serve garnished with fresh basil or more olive rings etc.

A comforting warm salad which is easy to make and very filling.The moment you add feta you can see that it coats everything and makes the salad looks very creamy. You can even have it even as a light lunch if you are a spud lover. The pics were taken in a hurry as I wanted to eat. Now this is not a low fat recipe and obviously you need to work out more once you consume this salad.But thats the spud effect. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pantzarosalata -Greek Style Beetroot Dip

As you know, I like trying out several cuisines. The moment I read about Pantzarosalata -actually came across,nit too much info,I wanted to try it out. Somehow, I could not do so immediately and even during AWED:Greek. Something or other happened and I kept on postponing until I saw a recipe perfect for me in  Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian.

Pantzarosalata is an  easy salad/dip made using boiled beets,olive oil and red wine vinegar. There are several versions and variations available -some with boiled and sliced beets,some having beet greens,some with potatoes,some fully mashed like a dip  etc. It is usually  served in the appetizer or mezze course as a dip/sauce for bread /fritters etc. 

Beet root: 1 big one boiled and then peeled
Walnuts: 3-4 tbsp
 One Day old bread :about 2-3 tbsp
 Boiled and peeled potato : 1 small about 3-4 tbsp (I used a potato)
Garlic: 1 small clove
Olive Oil: 4-6 tbsp
Red Wine Vinegar: 1-2 tbsp
Salt: to taste

Chop the boiled and peeled beet coarsely.In a blender add all the ingredients and blend to a thick smooth puree. Serve as dip with spiced fritters or tortilla/pita chips.

 You can adjust the quantity of oil and vinegar to get your choice of smoothness and the acidity/sourness needed. What I got was a sweet -sour dip which pairs very well for spiced chips/fritters or even meat. The sweetness of beets balances the sourness of the vinegar while giving you the comfort of potato which are used instead of bread in the dip.Or at least thats the way it should be. But I must confess that my family members did not take too  much to this though I loved it. So if your sourness taste buds have to be tickled do try this at least once. I am planning to make this again at least for me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Watermelon & Feta Salad

In my childhood days, summer meant the arrival of watermelons and holidays. Or rather when you see lots of watermelons on the sides of the streets, you knew summer is not far away. Though I preferred the holidays more,the melons meant the expectations towards the hols and also a tension for the approaching annual exams. Even now, the melons are abundant in the summer but they are available throughout the year.Usually I like to have these as  such or occasionally in a soup. However the once I tried the gazpacho and knew that it was palatable, I decided to further experiment and obviously the next recipe was the classic Greek watermelon and feta salad.I was actually vary of trying the combo of fruit and cheese especially melon and feta. But I could not resist trying the recipe from food and wine esp after I saw this pic and it turned out GREAT. All the flavours intact it was irresistable.

Again this is not a traditional recipe of the salad. Hot sauce or even harissa can be added to this,but all those elements have worked together to make this a winner.I have adapted it slightly that I used mint instead of parsley.

Watermelon slices : sliced into thick rectangles: few
Black kalamata Olives: chopped/sliced into rings
Red Onions: finely chopped : almost 1/2 cup +
Feta Cheese: 3-4 tbsp crumbled
Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley/Fresh mint leaves: little or as per liking chopped up + for garnish
(I used mint)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 2-3 tbsp
Lemon Juice: equal qnty as EVOO
Hot sauce: 1/4 -1/2 tsp

Salt & Pepper: as per taste

Whisk together the oil and lemon juice till it emulsifies. Whisk in the hot sauce, salt and pepper.

Arrange the watermelon slices in the serving dish. Top with onions,mint,olive rings and crumbled feta in that order. Drizzle the dressing on top and serve immediately.

An excellent starter this is and much preferred during hot summer months but equally best in other seasons as well. You make it and taste and see how the flavors mingle and play with your taste buds. The sweetness of melon gives way to the heat of the sauce and the tanginess of the olives and then leaves with us the citrus flavours and the freshness of mint. Adjust the quantities as per you need.A super trouper salad.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Carrot Tomato Cooler

I love tomatoes and try to incorporate as many of these in my daily cooking in several forms like rice, soups, pasta sauces, juices, pickles or chutneys, etc. Recently I came across a cooling Carrot Tomato juice in Kaveri's blog -with whom I am paired with this BlogHop Wednesdays , an event by Radhika- and it was quick and easy. This was also perfect for the rising heat these days in Bangalore. 

Tomato: 5
Carrot: 3
Ginger: a medium size piece

Honey: around 2-3 tsp
Lemon Juice: 2 tsp +/-
Salt : a pinch
Pepper: as per taste

Blend together the carrot, tomato and ginger adding little water if needed to get a fine paste. Strain the paste and mix in honey,salt,pepper and lemon juice -as per taste.

Pour into glasses and serve garnished with mint sprigs.

Simple yet warm I must say about this cooler. I actually added more pepper and required salt to get a warm drink perfect for all seasons.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Onion & Olive Fougasse

Fougasse is a flat oven baked bread originally from Provence, France. It usually incorporates,olives,cheeses anchovies etc and is like a rustic tomato-less pizza from France. In that case you can say it is similar to focaccia from Italy,but what distinguishes it from other flatbreads or focaccia is its shape. It is usually shaped into a leaf or tree like structure and the bread looks like awork of art. It is an excellent accompaniment to meals,soup or even as a teatime snack with a simple olive oil dip. I tried my first fougasse with the recipe adapted from Kingarthur Flour site and it turned out GREAT. This is one bread that surely increases your confidence in baking and is that simple to make.


Poolish (Starter)
All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Water: 1/2 cup
Instant Yeast: 1/8 tsp

Starter: all the quantity mentioned above

All PurposeFlour: 1 cup
Whole Wheat Flour: 1 cup
Water: 1/2 cup
Instant Yeast: 2 tsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Olive Oil: 2 tbsp

Onions: 3/4 -1 cup thin and long chopped
Black Olives: almost 1/4 cup chopped
Salt & Pepper /Choice of seasoning :as per taste


Poolish: Combine the ingredients,give a nice stir and let it sit overnight covered with a plastic wrap.Most of the water will be absorbed while stirring,but do not add more. 

Next day morning you can see few small bubbles on the top -a sure sign of yeast working its way.Any change in the texture of the poolish is welcome as it indicates yeast is alive.

Once the poolish/starter is ready,add in two types of flours and water,stir until just-combined,cover and let it rest for around 20 minutes. To this add, yeast,salt and olive oil and knead the dough for about 5 minutes until fairly smooth,but not elastic. Again, you may feel the need to add more water,but do not do so as it will change the texture of the bread -thats what I feel. 

Keep the dough in a lightly greased bowl cover with a plastic wrap and let it rise for about 1.5 hours,gently deflating it and turning once after half time or 45 minutes.

While the dough is rising,saute the onions -chopped long and thin adding little salt until it starts to brown. You can even caramelize the onion or saute as how you want it. Once done,add in the required seasoning and adjust salt and stir in the chopped olives. Let it cool.

Once the dough is ready,knead in the olive-onion mixture.This will definitely make the dough more sticky and it is a tricky process. I had to literally stick the olive -onion mix onto the dough and fold it again and again. This is a part that took the patience out of me. It took a lot of time to finish the process,but the final result was worth it.

Shape the dough into a simple whole oval and place in a lined baking sheet. I actually divided the dough at this stage into 2 halves and worked with one piece at a time. Cover and let the shaped dough rise another 30 minutes.When ready, using a knife or choice of weapon, cut deep diagonal slashes all the way through the dough on both sides, towards the centre of the dough. Take the dough in your hands and you can see the parts separating in the middle.You can refer the videos here and here to get an idea of shaping. First time it may not come correctly but second time you onwards you can create perfect fougasses.You can freeze one half for later use.

Allow the shaped dough to rest again for another 30-45 minutes.Bake the bread in a preheated oven at 200C/400F for about 18-20 minutes or until the top starts to brown. Take out and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before consuming.

Excellent bread for breakfast,snacking and meals.A bit chewy and slightly dense mostly because of the use of wheat flour. Onions and olives make it all the more hearty. The oniony fougasse is going to BBD#43: Onion Breads at Judy's Gross Eats,an event by Zorra

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