Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jihva For Ingredients - Rice



Indira of Mahanandi started Jihva for ingredients in May 2006. Since then it has been one of the most popular events in the blog sphere. Every month one of the Indian Ingredient is celebrated with great enthusiasm by the food blogger's community . I am very honored to host this event and thank Indira for giving me this opportunity. I also thank Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi for having helped me out in designing the beautiful logo with red, brown and white rice.

Jihva for ingredients, for the month of September is the staple food of India -RICE. In Sanskrit rice is called as "Vrihi".

Rice is grown in many regions across India. It is the principal crop grown in India, and the country ranks second only to China in world rice production. Much of the crop is used to feed the domestic population, as rice is the dietary staple for many Indians.

The below picture shows the 'paddy fields'


Rice has potential in a wide range of food categories. Besides having nutritional and medicinal benefits, the by-products of rice are equally important and beneficial.
Rice By-Products

  • Rice Husks
  • Rice Bran
  • Broken Rice
  • Rice Flour
  • Rice Milk
  • Rice Pudding
  • Rice Starch
  • Rice Straw
  • Rice used in Beverage Making
  • Rice Paper
  • Rice Glue
  • Rice Cakes
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Rice Soy Milk
  • Red Yeast Rice
  • Rice based food products
For more good information on rice please click Here.

For this event all you have to do is prepare recipes out of Rice , may it be like Biryani, Pulao, Variety rice, Fried rice or you can also use the derivatives of rice like the rice batter, rice noodles, rice papers, cream of rice, puffed rice, flattened rice(rice flakes) . Use any kind of rice like long grain, short grain, Basmati rice, Brown rice, Rosemetta, Sona Masuri, Wild rice, Black rice. You can also make creamy desserts items like rice pudding, rice dumplings(modak in Hindi) and so on. Put your imaginations to work and get creative.

  1. Prepare a dish with "Rice" as the main ingredient, and post it on your blog in the month of August. The choice of recipe is not restricted to Indian cuisine. You can send in multiple entries too.
  2. Please send me an e-mail with your Name, a Picture of the dish, perma-link of The Recipe, and Name of your blog to Sharmikomal@gmail.com. Please use “JFI” to denote the subject matter.
  3. If you are a non-blogger, please send your recipe and picture with your e-mail.
  4. The deadline for this event is September 1, 2007. The round-up will be posted by September 3rd.
  5. Please feel free to use the Logo

I look forward to your creative contributions.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Punjabi Thali




Punjab, the land of five rivers is known as the breadbasket of India. Punjabi culture is one of the oldest and richest cultures in world history.
This is the majestic Golden Temple, which I am still waiting to visit.

The Golden Temple, located in Amritsar in the state of Punjab, India is the most sacred shrine of Sikhism. Sikh devotees, for whom the Temple is a symbol of freedom and spiritual independence, come to the Temple from all over the world to enjoy its environs and offer their prayers. The official name of the Temple is Harmandir Sahib which means literally "the Temple of God" -- from Hari: God and Mandir: temple.

Baisakhi is a major festival of Sikhs and is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm and gaiety the festival falls on April 13th or April 14th and marks the beginning of the solar year. People of North India, particularly Punjab thank God for good harvest. Visit to Gurudwaras, Baisakhi processions and traditional performances are the highlights of the day.

Punjabi cuisine can be non-vegetarian or completely vegetarian. One of the main features of Punjabi cuisine is its diverse range of dishes.
A typical Punjabi meal with consists of roti, daal, yogurt and curried vegetable. Many Punjabi eat rice very infrequently and only on special occasions. Punjabi meals usually have lot of onion, tomatoes, cumin, turmeric, mustard, garlic, ginger cooked in pure cow ghee(clarified butter). Milk is a very important part of Punjabi food in its many form such as yogurt (dahi), lassi, paneer, makhan (white butter) and ghee.
In rural India, Punjabi food is mostly served at "Dhaba". Dhaba is a usually self-service roadside food joint that is frequented by truck drivers and travelers. But now that dhaba food has become so popular around the world, that even big restaurants serve dhaba food.


So here is the Menu

  • Gobi Paranthas (Indian bread stuffed with spiced cauliflower)
  • Pindi Chana (Chick Peas cooked with onion-tomato sauce and a special touch of Indian spices)
  • Jeera Mutter Pulao (Basmati rice cooked along with peas, cumin and spices)
  • Paneer Mutter Malai ( Home made Indian cheese cubes cooked in cashew-milk cream sauce)
  • Halwa(Sweet delicacy made of semolina, wheat flour, clarified butter, milk and sugar)
  • Kakdi-piyaz da raita (Cucumber-onion mixed with yogurt and seasoned with spice)
  • Lassi Patiala (Chilled butter milk pampered with Indian spices)
  • Achar (Punjabi pickle)
  • Punjabi Papad (Dried Lentil chips)

I enjoyed making this Punjabi Thali a lot because we go to restaurants craving for such food. When we got to eat all this at home, it was a great party!!

Gobi Paranthas


3 cups plain white flour
1/2 tsp salt
warm water to make dough
2tsp oil

Filling

1 cup finely grated cauliflower
2tsp grated ginger
1 tsp chopped green chillies
fresh chopped cilantro or paste
ajwain (carom seeds)
cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt
1-2tbsp oil



Preparation

Prepare a soft dough combining salt, warm water, oil and flour. Set aside. In a pan add oil and cumin seeds. When the cumin and carom seeds starts spluttering, add ginger and chillies. After the ginger and chillies get fried, add grated cauliflower, turmeric, salt and saute well. The water from the cauliflower should get evaporated. I added cilantro paste instead of chopped one. That is why the filling looks green. The filling is done. Once it cools down, it is filled in to the dough, rolled into paranthas and fried till done on the griddle, just as you make your usual parathas.



Please visit my dear friend Kajal's blog to see the step wise pictures on how to make paranthas .



Pindi Chana


Ingredients

2 cup kabuli chana (white chick peas) soaked overnight
1 tea bag
1 large tomato chopped
1 large finely chopped onion
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. ginger grated
3 green chillies chopped
1/2 tsp.each cumin seeds
1tsp Punjabi chole masala
1 tsp. red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Pomegranate powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1 star Anise (chakra phool in Hindi)
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/3 tsp asafoetida
4-5 tbsp.thick tamarind extract
3-4 tbsp. oil
Salt to taste
for Garnish
1 small onion sliced into rings
Cilantro chopped
whole green chillies

Preparation

Pressure cook the chick pea along with one tea bag and 2tsp salt, for not more than 3 whistles. Keep the chickpea aside after discarding the tea bag and water. I did not discard the water instead, I added it to the wheat flour to make dough for Paranthas. This way it becomes a healthy Parantha.

In a deep bottomed pan add oil, once it heats up add cumin, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves. Once you see them splutter, add ginger, garlic paste, green chillies, chopped onions and fry well till onion turns translucent.

To the same add finely chopped tomatoes, turmeric, all the other masala powders and cook well to see the oil separate from the tomato puree. Now add the cooked chick peas. It is a semi dry spicy chana. Once the chana gets well coated with all the masalas add the tamarind extract and mix gently. Keep on low heat for about 5 minutes and remove. Garnish with onion rings, chillies and cilantro. This Pindi Chana can be eaten as it is or can be combined with rotis or Naans.





Jeera Mutter Pulao (cumin-peas pulao)


Ingredients

2 cups Basmati rice (long grain rice)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 star Anise (chakra phool in hindi)
Salt
41/2 cups water
4-5 tbsp oil or ghee(clarified butter)


Preparation

Wash the rice and drain the water and keep aside. You have to do this when you are ready with all the ingredients for the next step. The rice should not remain that way for more than 5-8 minutes.

In a heavy bottom and non-stick cookware, add oil on medium heat. When the oil heats up add cumin and allow it to splutter. Add bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon and star anise to the oil. Once the aroma is out in the air, add the peas and rice. Stir gently so that each grain of rice gets coated with oil. It should be just on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Now add water and salt. Give it a gentle stir and cover the vessel with lid. once the water boils on medium high flame, reduce the heat to low and leave it to cook until the rice is done. This is stovetop method. you can do it with a rice cooker too by transferring all the ingredients once they are coated with oil and water is added. "Jeera Mutter Pulao is ready"!!!!

Paneer Mutter Malai


Ingredients

1 cup paneer cubes (cottage cheese)
1/2 cup frozen peas
10 Cashew nuts
1/3 cup heavy milk cream
1 cup chopped onions
1/3 cup tomato puree
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
2-3 chopped green chillies
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
2-3 cloves
1 Bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 star Anise (chakra phool in hindi)
1/2 tsp garam masala
2-3 tbsp oil
1/4 cup water
Salt
Cilantro for Garnish


Preparation

In a blender combine cashews and tomato to make a thick silky puree. Keep aside. In a deep bottomed pan heat oil on medium heat, add cumin seeds. While they splutter add cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf. When they start spreading the aroma into your kitchen, add ginger-garlic paste, green chillies and fry. Then add onions and fry till translucent. Add Paneer cubes and peas to fry for 2 minutes. Now, add the cashew-tomato paste, turmeric, salt and garam masala and fold in together all the ingredients.

You can see the oil separating out of the gravy. Add 1/4 cup water as the cashew paste intends to thicken. simmer the heat and add heavy cream. If you are calorie conscious you can also add 1/3 cup of plain whole milk. Leave leave the gravy on medium low heat for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Paneer mutter malai goes great with naan or Jeera pulao.





Halwa

For Sikhs, there is no greater occasion of joy than the full moon day around October-November when Guru Nanak (the founder of Sikhism, and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus.) was born, and Guru Parab, the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh (was the tenth and last of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism). It is a day when they rededicate themselves to unity, brotherhood and equality among all human beings. To symbolize these principles, the festival highlights a community kitchen called the Guru ka Langhar. From this free kitchen, food is served to devotees of all castes and creeds provided they sit together and eat the same food. The meal is simple and compact. After the singing of hymns Karah Parshad is served.


Ingredients

1-cup semolina (Sooji)
¼ cup wheat flour
1cup sugar
1cup ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 cup milk
1tbsp cashews
1tbsp raisins
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
ghee for frying cashew nuts and raisins

Preparation

Karah Prashad can be prepared with either semolina or wheat flour or by mixing both. Karah parshad are made only at Gurdwaras. Read more about Karah Parshad Here.

I followed the Karah Parshad recipe to make a halwa at home. I mixed semolina and wheat flour. In a deep, heavy bottomed pan warm up the clarified butter, add semolina and wheat flour. Fry continuously till the color changes to light brown. Remember the heat should be on medium. Once the mixture is well fried, simmer the heat.
Add sugar and milk and stir continuously so that no lumps are formed. Stir gently until the milk is fully absorbed and the mixture comes to an halwa consistency. The process is just like sooji halwa. Separately fry cashews, raisins and add it to the halwa.

Kakdi-piyaz da raita (cucumber-onion raita)


Ingredients

2 cups thick yogurt
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped onions
finely chopped green chillies(optional)
finely chopped mint leaves (optional)
roasted and powdered cumin powder
salt


Preparation

To the yogurt fold in all the ingredients except cumin powder. Garnish with cumin powder and serve.


Lassi Patiala



Patiala is a city in the Punjab state of India. Lassi is the famous drink of Punjab. Lassi is a traditional Punjabi drink made by blending yogurt with water, salt, and spices until frothy. Traditional lassi is flavored with ground roasted cumin. The Lassi of the Punjab uses a little milk and is topped with a thin layer of malai, a clotted cream, also known as Devonshire cream. Lassis are enjoyed chilled as a hot-weather refreshment.

Ingredients

2 cups fresh chilled yogurt
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. crushed cardamom
8-10 saffron strands
2 drops of vanilla essence
1/2 cup crushed ice
1 tsp. hot milk

Preparation

Soak saffron in 1 tsp.milk for few minutes. Add milk and ice to the yogurt bring it to a thick buttermilk consistency. Add rest of the ingredients to the buttermilk and whip well so that it gets light and frothy. You can also pulse it in the blender just 1-2 times. The lassi is ready when it is light and frothy. Serve it chilled.


Punjabi Papad (dried lentil chips)

Papad is a dried lentil chip studded with Indian spices that comes alive when grilled or deep fried. It is served as an accompaniment to an Indian meal, as a snack and as croutons in soups. Papads are thin wafers made of urad dal(black lentil).

Roasting North Indian Papad's

The papad is held between tongs and roasted evenly over an open gas flame. The whole process should not take more than 30 seconds. Quick and frequent turning is required to prevent burning. As soon as papad has changed color, curled up and become crisp, it is done. This will require some practice with timing the turns and the intensity of the heat as papads burn up so quickly.

Papad out of Microwave

Place a papad in the microwave oven and cook on high for 15 seconds. Stop, flip and cook for 15 more seconds. If your microwave has less power increase the time from 15 seconds to 20 seconds and up to 30 seconds on each side.


I also would like to add one of my previous post to this one. Click on Punjabi Kadi to get this recipe.

This one is contributed to Richa of Asdearassalt who is hosting this month's 'Regional cuisine of India'.




(Source Wiki)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bruschetta



Bruschetta, pronounced as [brus'ket.ta], is an Italian snack or appetizer.It consists of grilled Italian bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables and/or cheese.
(Source-Wiki)
I created my own version of Bruschetta.

Ingredients

Italian bread
extra virgin olive oil
1tsp Italian seasoning (consists of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano and basil)
Salt and pepper



For the topping

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped lettuce
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped mint
3-4 tbsp Mayonnaise

Preparation

Cut the bread as shown in the picture.


Place a grill pan over medium-high heat.Drizzle the bread slices with olive oil. Grill the bread until golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.Sprinkle the bread slices with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

For the topping:
In a medium bowl combine all the given ingredients and gently stir.
To serve, spoon the topping on the bread and serve or place the topping in a bowl and serve with the grilled bread alongside.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Matka Watermelon kulfis and MEME




I had asked my mom to send these lovely cups called "Kullhads" in Hindi, from my kitchen in India. Kullhads are used for serving teas in a traditional way. Why the name Matka Watermelon Kulfis? Matka means a earthen pot. In India ice creams called Kulfis are served in matkas called the Matka kulfi.




I mixed up some straw berry ice cream, watermelon juice and nuts like pistachios and cashews. Put them in the fridge for a while to cool. Serve them chilled. I just used my imaginations and worked this recipe out.



This is my contribution to Bee and Jai's AFAM event. I know I took the least effort in making this recipe but could not come up with anything better.

I think MEME is the toughest post I have ever typed. I thought, thought and thought about myself ever since Nabeela has tagged me. Kept asking myself so many questions.
Life got so busy after marriage and a kid that it has been a long time since I have thought about "ME". Here are the 7 Random Musing.

1. I am the only daughter of my parents. They have given me so much love and pampered me a lot. My mom never ever forced me to do household work. I took life seriously only after marriage. I became more responsible and hard working.
Once my mom puts the left overs into the fridge, I would never eat them again. I used to yell at her saying I wanted fresh cooked food only. Now I realize, how much my mom tolerated me. Now, when I keep left overs in to the fridge and eat them the next day, I realize life teaches everyone a lesson.

2. When I get some free time out of my busy schedule, I would like to put on some face pack, relax, have a bubble bath, pedicure, settle down on the couch with some cute, humorous, romantic movie like "you've got mail", "The wedding Planner" or watch something along with my son like "over the hedge" or “Madagascar”. If I watch a horror movie, that night I make sure all the doors and windows are closed/locked. I chant prayers and sleep that particular night. Ya, I am scared of darkness too. I can never sleep if I am left all alone in my house.

3. The following are some of many things that I miss. Being in India of course. Miss the chitchat and laughter with friends during my college days. The days I spent in my hostel were the happiest. We friends, used to laugh and laugh for hours on silly jokes, making fun of what went on in the class that day. Other things I miss are the food in India, Jasmine flowers while in sari, my mom's hug every morning, a long chat with my dad, going to movies with friends, traditional weddings, meeting cousins and huge family gatherings at my grandmother's place. Sitting with my grandmother in the backyard, we cousins used to eat food, while she makes small balls of rice and gives it to us. Things that make me happy are Flowers. The farmers market I visit has a huge collection of beautiful and colorful flowers. I love watching them. The other things I love are the first rain and the fresh smell of mud, good music, and naughty kids.

4.I am a great shopping freak. I can shop till I drop. Except for Bombay I have shopped in most of the places in India. Bangalore- Commercial Street, Delhi- Karol bagh, New Market- Kolkata, Chennai-T-nagar, Hyderabad-Abids, Koti and many more. I feel shopping is more fun in India, The hustle and bustle, bargaining, taking a break and going to chaat shops, its all so much fun.

5.Something negative about me is I am very pushy when I have to get some job of mine done. I keep pestering my husband, dad, mom or anybody asking them "have they done it"? "When are they going get my job done? Why is it pending for so long!" and so on
But when somebody gets pushy on me, I get annoyed. Ya I know what you guys are thinking.

6. I Love Traveling and learning about new places, people and their culture. The one thing I want to do before I die is visit all the must see places around this world. I also have this capability of grasping and learning a language very quickly. At present learning Spanish along with my Son.

7.The one thing that horrifies me the most is small children begging on streets and common places. It brings tears in my eyes. I feel so helpless sometimes looking at them. It makes me think I wish I were the richest person in this world to end poverty or I wish I had the powers of God. I know that’s a funny thought but that’s how it makes me feel. While in India, I used to visit Mother Teresa's place and other orphanages and contributed what I could.

I Tag the following people for random MEME. If you have been already tagged please ignore.

Wokandspoon

SRA of When my soup came alive

Viji of Vicuisine

Rinku of cooking with rinku.

Chris of Mele cotte

Sailu of Sailu's food

Monday, July 9, 2007

Mint and Curry Leaves Powder



Hey all, ya I am back after a short break. I have got you guys some lovely home made Mint (Pudina) and Curry leaves powder. In the south Indian Kitchen some powders are very mandatory in the pantry like the rasam powder, sambar powder, rice powder, curry leaves powder and many more. My grandmother, mother and Mother-in-law, never purchased store made powders. The recipes for these powders is carefully passed through generations and if any one even whispered about buying them in stores it would be of great disgrace and shame to the family. Now things are slowly changing though.
For the first time I made Pudina (mint) powder which goes great with rice, dosa and idly.


Ingredients

2cups Mint leaves
1-1/3 cups of roasted chana dal (bengal gram dal roasted)
4-5 dried red chillies
2tbsp cumin seeds
dried coconut flakes (optional)
Salt

Preparation

Remove the mint leaves from the stem and wash them. Dry them with the help of a paper towel and keep aside. Slightly roast the roasted gram dal , cumin and red chillies separately in a deep bottomed pan on a medium low heat. Be careful not to burn them. Turn off the stove and to the same pan add the mint leaves and gently roast until there is heat in the pan. This is just to get rid of extra moisture. Don't roast the mint in a very hot pan as they change color and lose the fresh mint fragrance.
Now grind them all together by adding salt, in to a coarse powder and its ready. This powder tastes great when the mint marries hot rice.

Curry leaves powder

Karivepaku podi in Telugu, and karuvepilai podi in Tamil. After coming to US, when ever the curry leaf was separated and discarded from the plate I used to feel it as a great waste. I always dried them, powdered and used it as and when needed.
This is another Aromatic powder relished with rice.

Ingredients

2 cups of fresh curry leaves
1/3 cup bengal gram dal
2tbsp split black gram dal
2tbsp coriander seeds
1tbsp cumin seed
5-6 dried red chillies
Tamarind one lemon size
Salt
Dried coconut flakes (optional)


Preparation

Wash the curry leaves and dry them with a paper towel. In a deep heavy bottomed pan, dry roast all the ingredients separately. The bengal gram should be roasted until it turns red on a medium low heat and continuous tossing. Same with split black gram dal. Coriander and cumin should be roasted until the aroma is out into the kitchen. Dry chillies just for about 2 minutes.
Clean the tamarind. Now dry roast the curry leaves too until they turn crispy. Remember not to burn them.
The curry leaves looks like how it is in the picture after it is roasted.


Combine and grind them all together with salt. Aromatic curry leaf powder is ready to go with rice, dosa or idly. Both the powders are dry roasted and no oil is used. Oil is used only while having them with rice. This way it has a longer Shelf life.

My MEME will be in the next post.