Monday, September 22, 2008

Moving Hiatus!



Hey Peeps. Writing this post surrounded by boxes, or stuff in piles that should be in boxes...... i'm procastrinating. We're moving on from upstate NY to the pacific Northwest. It literally is moving from one corner of the country/continent to the other. Its bitter sweet. I'm leaving behind friends from the past 7 years, a city I grew to love and know like the back of my hand and worst of all my entire family all of whom live within 6 hours of driving distance. Yes, we are excited about our big city move, our new jobs, a new exciting life, warmer weather etc etc but I like my cozy well and am not a big fan of changes. Anyway if I can leave India and move across to another country moving to a new city should be super easy. Plus i've already booked my tickets back to the east coast to visit home during Christmas...yaaaay...i'll get to meet everyone in a couple of months. So what this essentially means is that my kitchen is closed...or in the process of being closed so cooking anything worth posting is down to a halt. We are driving cross country, thought this a good enough opportunity to see the country as we head west and God knows when we'll be able to take such a trip again. So I'm guessing i'm not going to be able to post much for the month of October. I might post food I eat along the way: hey thats a good idea:tasty travels. Well we'll see how that works out. Anyway my fellow bloggers, blogging buddies, my regular visitors or a newbie to my blog:pleeeease don't forget me. I'll be back in a month's time , from a new kitchen and with some new recipes. See you soon.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

American Chopsuey




Oh how I miss Indian Chinese food! Those road side vendors with their red carts and hot manchow soup with crispy noodles followed by fried rice and manchurian...yum yum. Those days of roadside eating are far gone. Last visit to India proved beyond doubt that I no longer harbored the immunity that I had 7 years back. So now we just go to nice chinese restaurants and eat there...sooo sad..i like the whole roadside feel. My sister had two standard things she always ordered. She NEVER ever changed, much to my mom's annoyance. It was always sweet corn chicken soup, chicken lollipops and american chopsuey. She didn't want to try anything else ever! So couple of nights back I thought of that and started smiling to myself, remembering our childhood days with our parents, piling into our beat up Fiat and driving to Kamling for chinese food. That Fiat would break down often, right in the middle of traffic and then mamma and my sister and I would be pushing that thing till it started. Building up an appetitie my dad would say, and we would huff at him since he got to sit inside and drive while we pushed!! So in memory of those beautiful days I made american chopsuey. One thing with this dish though, you can't omit the egg on top...thats what makes it complete. Here's my recipe.

Ingredients (Serves 2-4)

Two packets egg hakka noodles
one pod garlic crushed
One inch piece ginger crushed
One large onion diced
One large tomato diced
One green pepper diced
Cooked chicken pieces (optional)
3-4 cups chicken/vegetable broth
4 tsp tsp soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
2-3 tblsp maggi hot and sweet chilli sauce (optional: for heat add chilly powder if you omit)
1/2 cup tomato ketchup (add more as needed for sweetness)
2 tsp sugar
2 heaped teaspoons cornstarch
Oil
salt to taste
Eggs (1-2 per person)

Method

Break noodles and deep fry in oil till golden brown. Drain on paper towels to get rid of excess oil. Alternatively, break noodles onto a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and bake at 400 degrees stirring often till browned and crispy all over. Remove and set aside. Heat oil in a pot. Add onions and fry till transparent. Add ginger, garlic, tomatoes, green peppers and chicken. Stir fry for 5 minutes. Add soy sauce, vinegar, tomato ketchup and maggi sauce. add broth, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil. Add cornstarch to cold water and stir to forma smooth paste. Add to boiling broth stirring as you add. Lower heat and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile cook and egg sunny side up in a frying pan. Add noodles to a bowl. Add a generous portion of sauce on top. Place fried egg on it and serve immediately. Yummy yum yum.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dal Dhokli




Who doesn't love one dish meals huh? Unlike regular Indian meals with 4-5 components one pot dishes make a busy day so much easier. I'd heard about this Gujarati dish. Aai (MIL) and my sis make it a lot but I had never tried it myself. It was a rainy evening yesterday so I felt like making something comforting AND that was not too much work. This was an ideal choice. It spicy,slightly sweet and tangy. Dal is the lentil soup while dhoklis are pieces of dough cooked in the lentils. I guess one can use old leftover chapati dough and left over dal as well. I serve it with chopped tomatoes, onions and crushed potato chips...mmmmmmm. I hope you like this.

Ingredients

For the Dal

1 cup toor dal/lentils
1 tsp red chilly powder
2 tsp dhania jeera powder/corriander-cumin powder
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 tblsp grated jaggery (optional if you don't want a sweeter side to it)
1 tblsp lime juice
salt to taste

Tempering
1 tsp cumin seeds
1tsp mustard seeds
2-3 dry red chillies

Dhokli

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp red chilly powder
a pinch of ajwain/carom seeds
salt to taste
water to knead dough
1 tblsp oil

Garnishes

1 cup potato chips, crushed
1 large tomato chopped
1 onion chopped
1 bunch cilantro leaves
lime juice


Method

Add spices to flour and knead with water. In the end add oil and form a smooth dough. Keep aside covered.

Wash and soak lentils for half an hour. Pressure cook lentils. To cooked lentils add water to form a soupy consistency and add all spices. Bring to a boil. Adjust spices, salt and tanginess as needed. Roll out dough into a thin circle using dry flour to dust. Cut the rolled out dough into squares or triangles. Alternatively you can also just tear off pieces of the rolled out dough. I like cutting it to form nicely uniform pieces.

When the lentils are boiling well, add each piece one by one into the dal. The dough will cook in the boiling dal. Heat oil in a small pot. Add cumin, mustard seeds and red chillies to it. Once seeds sputter add to cooking dal. Stir and cover and keep on low heat. Meanwhile chop the tomato, onion and cilantro.

Mix together. Pour out lentils with "dhoklis". Add chopped tomato-onion mixture on top. Add crushed potato chips on top and slurp away!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sabudana Khichdi/Tapioca Pearls



Today I woke up with this strong craving for sabudana khichdi. In college we used to visit the street vendor right outside our building for this afternoon snack. If you're a Maharashtrian or a Konkani you must definitely know of this dish.In my home it was known as sabudana usli/usal. It’s a snack food made out of tapioca pearls and peanuts. Nits and I both love this and I make it as a meal rather than a snack. Soaking of the sabudana (tapioca) is often said to be an art. I learnt it one way and this method has always worked so I always make it the exact same way. I have heard horror stories of sabudana turning into a giant congealed mass. Most often this happens due to bad soaking techniques and sometimes due to bad tapioca also. This is how I make it.

Ingredients (serves 2)

3 cups sabudana/tapioca pearls
1 ½ cups coarsely ground roasted peanuts
3 medium potatoes chopped and cooked
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 green chillies
salt to taste
2 tsp sugar
lime juice (optional)


Method

Wash tapioca really well. Then soak in just 1 cm of water for 30 minutes, drain out water and keep aside covered for 2-4 hrs. The tapioca will turn larger and softer. Heat oil in a pot. Add cumin seeds, green chillies. Then add potatoes and fry for a minute or two. Add tapioca and ground peanuts. Mix well. Add salt, sugar and lemon juice. Mix, cover and cook for about 5 -10 minutes. Taste to add more sugar/salt /lemon juice as per your liking. Serve hot garnished with chopped cilantro leaves.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Palak Aaloo/ Spinach and Potato




I'm trying to incorporate all these various greens into my diet and with a husband with absolutely no liking for leafy greens I have to come up with tastier options. This spinach recipe is really easy and tasty. It only turns out good with fresh spinach although sometimes I have mixed fresh and frozen together. Hope you like this one.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

2 bunches of spinach leaves, wash, dry and coarsely chop
2 red potatoes, diced with skin on
One large tomato chopped
One pod garlic crushed
Cumin seeds
Green chilly-1or2
Salt to taste
a dash of lime juice

Method

Heat oil in a pot. Add cumin seeds, green chilly and garlic. The add potatoes and fry for about 5 minutes. Add spinach and tomato. Mix well. Add salt and lime juice. Cover and cook on medium low heat. Greens will drastically reduce in volume. Keep stirring occasionally. Greens will release water. When spinach and potatoes are cooked uncover and dry out most of the water.
Serve hot with any kind of bread.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Modaks (rice dumplings with sweet coconut filling)




Happy Ganesh Chaturthi everyone! Modaks (ukali che modak aka steamed modaks) are traditionally made in every Maharashtrian home on Ganesh Chaturthi. In konkani homes we make deep fried modaks. However you make it, these are delicious and so intimately connected to this day. I got up at 6 this morning to make modaks. I am so proud of myself! ha ha! When my mom-in law visited we made modaks just for fun. She is an expert so I took a video of her making them . I think if you see the technique of making the modaks its much easier than trying to struggle with written directions. I hope this video helps with that so do see it if you've never made these before.


Ingredients (Makes 10)

Rice flour 2 cups
Water 2 1/2 cups
1 tsp salt
Oil 1 tbslp and more for making modaks

Filling

2 cups grated unsweetened coconut (can use frozen)
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 cup jaggery
1 tsp ground cardamom
a pinch of nutmeg

Method

Roast poppy seeds. Keep aside. Add jaggery, coconut and cardamom to a pan and roast till the jaggery melts and incorporates into the mixture. Add poppy seeds and nutmeg and cook till the mixture dries up. Let mixture cool.
Boil the water with salt and oil. Take off heat. Add rice flour to it slowly and stir after each addition to form a nice dough. Return to low heat and cook covered for about 5 minutes. Take off heat. Using a cup greased with oil knead the flour mixture while its hot. Divide the dough into balls. Form a cylinder with each ball. The make a central dent in the top of the cylinder and knead your way into the center to form a wide cup. Place filling in the center of the cup. Pinch edges together about 3-4 times around the modak and then bring the pleats in together to close the dumpling. Pinch off excess dough. (See video for exact method)

video

Boil water in a large pot. Line steamer with parchment paper and grease it with oil. Place a steamer on top of boiling water pot. Place modaks in the steamer and steam covered for 5 to 7 minutes. Serve hot.