Sunday, March 20, 2011

Soya kheema gravy

Soya is a protein-rich food which is also a good source of fiber and vitamins. Studies have found that consuming soya actually reduces the chances of coronary heart disease and chronic diseases. And other than food products soya is also used in producing candle wax..interesting isn't it? Even after having all these health benefits soya chunks has been an unwanted guest for my husband. He really hates the soya chunks added in the vegetable biriyani. But I love them since it gives a feeling of having a non-veg biriyani.. :)
I know I would get a 'please no' for an answer if I ask my husband to buy soya chunks. So one day when I got a chance to go alone into the Indian grocery store, I sneaked in some soya chunks. The next day I searched for some recipes with soya chunks, and I saw an interesting one in for soya kheema kurma. It was so impressive that i decided to try it right away. But instead of kurma i did a dry gravy version. I served it as a surprise side with dosa for dinner that night. My husband could not get what the ingredient was, and was taken aback when I revealed that it was his arch enemy 'the soya chunk'. It became one of his favorite recipes since then.

Things you'll need:
Soya chunks - 10-12
Onion - 1
Tomato -1 or Tomato puree - 1 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves) - according to preference
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp

Step 1:
Bring 4 cups of water to boil and add the soya chunks to boiling water. Leave them for couple of minutes without reducing heat. When the soya hunks have doubled in size, switch off the stove and leave the chunks in water for another couple of minutes. Drain the water and rinse the chunks in cold water 5 to 6 times, squeezing water from the chunks after each rinse, until the raw smell of the chunks is gone. (If the raw smell stays on the soya would smell like mud which would ruin the flavor of the dish)

Step 2:
Pulse the chunks in a food processor of mixer grinder 3 to 4 times until the chunks are coarsely ground. The chunks have to look like ground meat (sorry vegans, you have to use your imagination here!!!)

Heat up the oil in a pan, splutter the whole spices, saute the onion, ginger garlic paste and tomato/tomato puree. Add the soya chunks, chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt. Cook until the masalas are cooked and a dry gravy is formed. You can add a little garam masala (optional) for garnishing couple of minutes before switching off the stove.

Even non-vegetarians can try this for a change since t is a protein-rich, low-fat  and nutritious alternative for meat kheema. This can be served as a side for rice, roti or even dosa. This can also be stuffed inside dosa to make kheema dosa

Sunday, March 13, 2011

spinach cheese swirls my style!

I found this recipe at the back of the puff pastry wrapper. The look of this snack was so appealing. So I went on checking the ingredients. Here's the list of the ingredients:

1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup shredded Muenster cheese OR Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 green onion, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 package (about 10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

Now I wanted to make some changes in the recipe..why? to become innovative? to create my own recipe and send it to food network? no...simple..I didn't have all of those listed ingredients lol..

I interchanged the following ingredients with things I found in my pantry:
Grated parmesan cheese --> Shredded mozzarella cheese
Chopped green onions --> chopped green onions and red onions
Garlic powder --> Minced garlic
Frozen spinach --> Bunch of fresh spinach leaves, chopped

The original recipe does not need any cooking prior to baking, but since I was using some fresh ingredients I had to do light the stove for few minutes.

Serves 4-5 people (yields approx. 20 wheels)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and saute the onions, garlic and the spinach. Saute until the spinach is relieved of all its moisture. Allow it to cool.

Unfold the pastry sheet in lightly floured surface (try unfolding the sheet while its half thawed, since the sheet becomes more sticky and difficult to unfold when fully thawed). Slightly roll the sheet to make it even. Spread the spinach mixture, and sprinkle the cheeses.

Carefully roll the pastry sheet like a mat from the longer side of the sheet. Brush the edge of the pastry sheet with egg wash (prepared by mixing the egg and water) to firmly seal the sheet. Now cut the roll into 1/2 inch slices. There will be approx. 20 pieces.

(The spinach cheese swirls are kind of messed up bcoz the pastry sheet thawed completely and became cutting the sheet was a challenge. Spreading the spinach mixture and cutting the sheet, before its completely thawed would help in cutting them in perfect shape.)

Place the swirls in a baking sheet, brush them with the remaining egg wash,  and bake them in the oven for 15-20 mins.
Serve them hot plainly or with ketchup.

Note: Egg wash is optional. It makes the crust more brown and crunchier. Alternately to seal the edges of the pastry sheet paste of flour and water can be used.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Orange pudding

Orange pudding?? interesting isn't it? its my husband's idea. My husband had bought some apples and oranges when our daughter was sick and was not eating well. Her pediatrician had recommended giving her applesauce..OK apples are done, but what am I going to do with the oranges? My daughter does not like fruits or fruit juice..I know if I give her orange juice it will come straight out of her mouth the next second. So my next target was my husband...I can't eat all the oranges alone..So to escape my constant nagging he came up with this idea of using orange juice in kesari or pudding...'whatever, I'll be happy if the oranges don't get wasted'. So I started hunting for recipes..I found couple of recipes with orange juice added, and eventually I came up with a recipe which was a mixture of those. I couldn't remember the URLs of the recipes so I wouldn't be able to give you any references..sorry. Over to the recipe..

Things you need:
Sooji (rava) - 1 cup
orange juice 1 cup
milk - 1/2 cup
water - 1 cup
dried mango slices - 3-4
cashews and raisins - for garnishing
cardamom - 1 crushed
sugar - 3/4 cup
ghee - 2 tbsp

Serves 3-4 people

Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a pan and roast the rava until it releases nice aroma. Heat remaining ghee in a pan and saute the cashews, raisins and dried mango slices until the raisins puff up.

Add the orange juice, water, milk and sugar to the nuts and fruits and stir continuously to avoid curdling of milk. Bring it to a boil. Add the crushed cardamom.

Now reduce heat and add the rava slowly by mixing simultaneously, to avoid lump formation. It'll take a couple of minutes for the rava to absorb the liquid and to thicken. Once all the liquid is absorbed switch off the stove and transfer the contents into a serving or storage container.

Serve warm.
Instead of dried mango slices, fresh mango slices, fresh pineapple or dried apricots can be used. In case of using fresh fruit pieces, they should be added just before adding the rava.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

prawn bitter gourd masala

Prawn and bitter gourd?? I can imagine the way your face changes. I was thinking the same way when my husband and suggested this recipe. He said my mother-in-law would make this dish and assured that it would taste really great if cooked in the right way. Honestly I didn't want to try it since I am not a very big fan of bitter gourd, and prawn's my favorite. I didn't want to marry them both and create a disaster family!!. But I couldn't escape for long. One day my husband returned from grocery shopping and I found some bitter gourds in the bag. He said that the bitter gourds were fresh and he was reminded of the frozen prawns we had in the freezer. Yes, Yes I finally tried it,  and to my surprise the recipe came out so well the very first time. I found out there are some tricks to cook bitter gourd to minimize its bitter taste . Here's the recipe..

Things you need:
Bitter gourd - 2
Prawns - 1/2 lb
Onion - 1
Tomato - 1
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Salt - as required
Tamarind - gooseberry size, soaked and extracted
Oil - 1 tbsp

For marinade:
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Salt - as required
Lemon juice -

Serves 2-3 people


Step 1:
Clean and devein the prawns. Marinade the prawns with chilli powder, turmeric, salt and lemon juice. Keep aside for some time. Meanwhile chop the onion and tomato, and thinly slice the bitter gourds. Remove the center pith and seeds from the bitter gourd slices.

Step 2:
Pour little oil in a pan and shallow fry the prawns. Add some more oil in the same pan  and fry the onions until soft. Then add the bitter gourd pieces and fry until the bitter gourd slices turn dark in color and gets firm.

Step 3:
Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt one by one while stirring the mixture for even blending. Add the prawns and close the lid. Allow it to boil.

Add the tamarind extract and cook with lid closed, until the masalas are well done and oil oozes out. You can garnish this with little coriander leaves (optional)

Frozen prawns does not absorb spice easily, hence i have marinaded and shallow fried them. If using fresh prawns you can skip this step and add cleaned prawns directly after adding tomatoes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Baby corn manchurian

Manchurian is my favorite..whether its chicken or cauliflower (gobi) or baby corn, I just love it. I think all who loves chinese food does love manchurian in any form. I have heard about baby corn manchurian but never tried it or had it at any restaurant (they didn't have it in the menu..). Whenever I do gobi manchurian, I would tell to myself "next time i should try baby corn manchurian". Some time ago my husband was in the grocery store and he called me (he calls me at least once to ask any doubt if he goes alone to grocery stores)..and asked me "I find some baby corns u know something to cook with baby corn?". Yes u guessed it right..I said " I do"

And the next day we had egg fried rice and baby corn manchurian for lunch..yummy!!
Before you lose your patience and try to scroll down, here's the recipe...

Things you need:
Baby corns - 10-12 (if smaller add some more)
Onion - 1 cubed
Bell peppers - 2, assorted colors, cubed
Garlic - 1 big clove, minced
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece minced
Scallions - For garnishing
Green chillies - 1 (optional)
Soy sauce - 4 Tbsp
Chilli sauce - 1Tbsp
Tomato sauce - 1 Tbsp
Tomato Ketchup - 1/2 tbsp
Oil - For deep frying

For coating baby corns:
Tomato ketchup - 1Tbsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Corn flour - 1 cup
Salt - 1 tsp

Serves 2-3 people

Blanch the baby corns in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drain them well. Mix the corn flour, chilli powder, salt, ketchup, and 1 tbsp of soy sauce.

Coat each baby corn in the flour mixture and deep fry in batches. The oil should be hot. Since the baby corns are already blanched, it  needs to sit in the oil until the flour coating gets brown. Then remove them and dry them in a paper towel. At this stage the baby corns can be served as a snack or appetizer with chutney or ketchup.

Step 3:
Heat up little oil in a pan, and fry the cubed onions, minced ginger and garlic, and green chillies until the onions turn soft. Add the tomato sauce and the bell peppers. When the peppers are cooked add 3 Tbsp of  soy sauce, chilli sauce and  tomato ketchup and bring it to a boil. Switch off the stove and garnish with chopped scallions.
Note: If you want to increase the quantity of the sauce mix some corn flour (maybe a teaspoon or two ) in little water and add it to the sauce.

Step 4 :
Mix the baby corn to the sauce just minutes before serving, serve the manchurian and get ready for a praise!!