Monday, March 31, 2014

Simple Paneer Curry

North Indian curries(except dals), generally have an elaborate procedure compared to South Indian curries. I don’t know if it is just my perspective as an amateur or others feel the same way too. There is sauteing, blanching, grinding, adding last minute ingredients... basically, you need to be in front of the stove all the time!! And more often than not these curries tend to shrink after they are done. I am never able to gauge how much to make when someone is coming over. And you can never do last minute changes in the quantity. 

South Indian rasams and sambars, on the other hand, are easy and predictable that way. You can always add water and curry powder in the end to increase the volume instantly without compromising too much on the taste or vegetable to gravy ratio. 

So generally, whenever I have guests over, I limit my North Indian cooking to only channa dal, or regular dals. But there was always this penchant to cook some elegant north Indian curry. 

Then I came across this curry. It is everything I dreamed of :)
It is elegant, healthy, tasty and more importantly very quick to make.

Instead of using heavy cream for thickening, it uses carrots! CARROTS! what an ingenious idea! it gives both color and thickness. This curry doesn’t leave you with a heavy feeling like other creamy(albeit tasty) curries do. 

Pardon my picture :) will upload a better picture ASAP

As the blogger points out, this gravy could be used as a base for other vegetable curries too. 

Do try!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Singapore - as I saw and a Recipe - Peanut Chutney

We recently returned from our vacation to India. On the way back, we stopped over at Singapore for 4 days.

The trip was hectic, nevertheless amusing. 

Merlion @Sentosa

It’s amazing how in Singapore, they’ve maintained cleanliness and order with so many people in such a small place. The public transportation is state of the art. Whoever has planned it has thought it out from all angles. Buses, trains, taxis all very well connected and so user friendly! 

Perfection Indeed! 

No doubt this place is catered to tourists. But then again, as an outsider one can appreciate the way city’s growth is kept under control with highly priced real estate, high tariff for car owners, and so many dos and don'ts - which clearly are giving results, but I doubt if one would really appreciate it the same way living inside the country. When we spoke to couple of localites, they didn’t seem as happy and content we thought they would be. I wonder if I’d ever complain if I had to live here!

Marina Bay

Marina Bay

The highlight of our trip, I must say, was the fresh fruit juice we were drinking everywhere. Oh the sweetness, my goodness! with no added sugar! We literally survived on them during the day, only to keep our stomach empty to gobble up the oh-so-delicious South Indian thali at an Indian restaurant(Ananda Bhavan) in Little India area. 

South Indian thali @Ananda Bhavan

The attractions were all so very people friendly. Like, we went to a River Safari  which had covered walkway throughout the zoo!! I mean, it would have been such a tiring walk in the hot sun otherwise.. but to have a covered walkway, with fans, with aptly placed restaurants which served fresh fruits and juices.. they really have gone out of their way to make people feel comfortable. Truly admirable!
*standing ovation*

Walkway @River Safari

Check out these gigantic fans at the train stations. 

@ a train station

To summarize, Singapore is a good place with good food and more importantly a means to a good appetite - with all the walking around one needs to do. 
All in all, a good trip! 

Coming to the recipe - 

Peanut Chutney is a delicious accompaniment for dosa/idli. I ate it at my  friend Roopa’s place and instantly fell in love with it. My other friend Lalitha, who also has a wonderful food blog, has a slightly different version of this chutney. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Masala Shavige uppittu/ Masala Semiya Bath

Masala shavige bath is a nice alternative for regular shavige uppittu. No rice, reduced oil, mild masala taste, healthy crunch of the vegetables will make it a healthy indulgence. Increase the fat content and you got yourself an extraordinary potluck recipe. 
Try it, you’ll fall in love with it. 

My cousin Archana gave me this recipe. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mangalore Buns

Until now, every New Year, I felt like it was only yesterday that I was wishing everybody for the previous New Year, and another year is here already. But this year, it didn’t feel so. It felt like a looooong year. It made me wonder why. Then I had an aha-moment. 

This year I was relatively free! Not physically. I was going on trips, socializing, meeting up with friends quite often and everything. But mentally, I wasn’t occupied(or preoccupied) with anything. I was free!
The thing is, my daughter started full time school in the beginning of the year. Since then, I was planning on doing so much for myself during the year... but nothing happened. Absolutely nothing!! Not that I didn’t try. But there were absolutely no results for whatever little effort I put! After getting frustrated, disappointed, irritated for the whole year, I’m finally beginning to accept that may be the timing is just not right! But God, why give me the illusion that everything is under my control when really, it’s not! 

So anyways, what I am trying to say here with all this is - whenever your wishes are fulfilled, or you are busy doing things that you want ->you are happy ->your years seem shorter. Whenever your wishes are not fulfilled-> or you are busy with the things that you don't want to do -> you feel sad and years seem longer!! 
This was my ‘aha’ moment :)

I know it’s rather late to be wishing for New Year, but still a very Happy and Prosperous New Year to everybody!!! Happy Makara Sankranthi!! May your years seem shorter!!! :D

Coming to the recipe - 

Mangalore Buns is a like a sweet poori made with maida flour. A savory version of this batter would be used for Goli Baje/ Mangalore bajji. It is mostly popular in coastal Karnataka region. 

It is served with Vegetable Korma in hotels; it tastes great just like that too. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Seemebadnekayi Kootu/ Chayote Kootu

I really like vegetable and dal combo in a kootu. Especially when the dal is not all the way cooked. And especially-especially when the vegetable is something which I like, like Seemebadnekayi(Chayote). I like the mild sour taste of Chayote.. It goes well in saagu, bisi bele bath - basically any mixed vegetable dish, or in any dish that requires a mild sour taste without the use of any lemon/tamarind - like kootus and majjige hulis.

Turn the spice up a notch and enjoy this kootu with some hot rice and some coconut oil/ghee in this cold weather.

It’s a great side dish for chapathi as well.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Godi Dose/Wheat Dosa - an easy alternative for those who cannot make chapathis

are your chapathi making skills below average?
are you embarrassed to serve them to your guests?
does your chapathi dry up like papad once it comes in contact with air?

fear not! godi dose is here!

My chapathi making skills are questionable. Not getting a round shape is the least of my problems. For some reason, my chapathis come out unbelievably dry... like say, if you threw my chapathi in the air, it would fly without flapping or folding like a frisbee :)

I know, I’m exaggerating! I kid.. It’s not so bad(...anymore :) ). Friends, family, all have come to my rescue - there is considerable improvement, but still it’s not quite there yet. And when it does, its going to be an eureka moment for me!

Until then, try this godi dose, or as my daughter calls it - chapathi dose. 

It’s a soft alternative to chapathis. It tastes the same, but has a soft texture, and takes less than half the time you would take to make chapathis.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Benne Biscuit/ Butter Cookies

It was time of the season again for the function at my daughter’s school. Again, I signed up for dessert for the potluck. After gaining confidence from last time, I decided to bake “benne biscuit” this time.. 

More than that, there was another reason why I wanted to try this particular recipe. I soooo wanted to put it up here for such a long time now. I was just looking for an excuse to make it. You see, this was the first thing I ever baked! I was not even into browsing through food blogs then... this was the recipe that got me hooked onto food blogs(and eventually onto cooking, for that matter).. this is a very special recipe to me. If at all I receive any award for food blogging, I would mention "this is how it all started..." in my thank you speech - that kinda special :D 

Benne bisuit has always been my favorite bakery item. This one doesn’t exactly taste like the ones available in India. This recipe uses ghee. Apparently, they use dalda in India to get that soft, powdery texture.
These cookies taste more like butter cookies. They have a crunch in them.

The procedure is fairly easy and it is a great item to take for a potluck.