17 November 2013

Karthigai Special - Appam (Sweet)

Sweet Appams or Appe are quick and easy to prepare and a popular dish for festivals like Navratri and Karthigai Deepam. Here's a jhatpat recipe to try...

Wheat flour - 1 cup
Rice flour - 1/2 cup
Jaggery - 1 cup
Ripe banana - 1 (mashed)
Elaichi powder - 1 tsp

1. Sift together wheat and rice flours. 

2. Dissolve jaggery in plain water, approximately 1 cup, no need to heat. Once it is completely dissolved, strain through a semi-fine sieve so as to remove impurities.

3. Add this to the flours along with the mashed banana. Mix well leaving no lumps. Add sufficient water (only if needed) to make a thick batter of dripping consistency. Add cardamom powder and mix again.

4. Heat oil in a appam pan or a small kadhai. Drop small ladle-fuls of the batter into the appam cups or the kadhai. Fry on a medium flame till golden brown on both sides.

5. Serve warm or store for later. 

12 November 2013

Paneer Dosa (with a twist !)

This weekend I started out to make paneer dosas, by preparing a stuffing mixture and then placing it on the dosa, similar to the masala dosa. But then an idea struck me; what if I mix all the stuffing ingredients in the mixer instead of by hand??
So I added the paneer, some greens and spices to a mixer jar and ground it. I had expected a crumbly mixture, but ended up with a smooth paste !!! Now how to spread this on the dosa??
Aha! I found a way out and this is what I did.....

PANEER DOSA (with a twist)

Ingredients :

Dosa batter - 500 gm
Paneer - 100 gm
Coriander leaves(chopped) - 1 cup
Mint leaves (chopped) - 1/2 cup
Salt - a pinch (as dosa batter will already have some)
Garam masala or tawa fry masala - 1 tsp

Method :

1. Defrost the paneer if it's just taken out from the refrigerator or freezer compartment. (I tend to wash and soak it for a while in plain water for about 10 minutes)

2. Crumble it with your hands and keep aside. In a mixer jar, drop in the chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves and grind them. This will create space to add the rest of the items.

3. Now add the paneer, pinch of salt and the masala powder of your choice. Grind again to get a smooth paste. 

4. Mix the dosa batter well, add the paneer mixture to it and mix again using a wire beater so no lumps are left. Check for salt and adjust as required.

5. Warm a dosa tawa on medium heat. Pour a ladle of batter and spread it to form a thin dosa. Use little oil and let brown on both sides. Serve hot.

Using paneer this way added an unexpected softness to the dosa and improved the taste by leaps and bounds. I used a leftover block of paneer which was slightly sour to taste which actually turned out to be an advantage as it matched the sourness in the dosa batter as well, especially when mixed with the masalas and greens.!!

TIP : If you wish to avoid the masala powder, you can use 1 or 2 green chillies or black pepper instead. You can also add about 2 tbsps shredded fresh coconut to make it taste richer. It's all in the experimentation :)

10 November 2013

Arbi leaves roti

Colocasia or Arbi leaves are an excellent source of vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, and have rich iron content as well.
The most popular use for arbi patta is the 'Patra' widely prepared in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Konkan areas.
Here is an alternative use of the leaves in an Indian bread.

Arbi /Colocasia leavesArbi - Colocasia


Ingredients :

Chopped Arbi leaves - 1/2 cup
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Dhaniya powder - 1 tsp
Jeera powder - 1 tsp
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Haldi - 1/4 tsp
Ragi flour - 1/4 cup
Wheat flour - 1/4 cup
Oil - 1 tbsp + for cooking
Salt to taste

Method :

1. Heat oil in a pan. Add jeera and let crackle.

2. Add the chopped arbi leaves and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add dhaniya-jeera powder, chili powder, salt to taste, haldi and mix well. Cook on a medium flame till the leaves are soft. Sprinkle little water to avoid the masala being burned. Remove and cool.

3. When at room temperature, add ragi and wheat flour to this mixture, along with oil. Mix well and knead into a soft dough using sufficient water.

4. Divide into equal portions and roll out into thick rotis. Cook on a tawa on medium flame using oil till both sides are golden brown.
Serve hot with curd or desired side-dish.

Bajra Aloo Roti

Bajra or Pearl Millet (கம்பு {Kambu} in Tamil), is highly popular in Rajasthani cuisine, however its health benefits make it a part of dishes throughout India. It is known to be high in proteins with a good amount of amino acids. It's rich iron content helps formation of hemoglobin in blood thus preventing anaemia.
It is also gluten free; is a rich source of fibre and helps control blood sugar levels, acidity and cardiovascular problems.

In the following recipe, the normal Bajra roti has a taste twist in the form of boiled and mashed potatoes, which also add volume and softness.


Ingredients : (Makes 4) 

Bajra (Pearl millet) flour - 1 1/2 cups
Boiled and mashed potatoes - 3/4 cup
Ginger-green chilli paste - 1 tsp
Chopped coriander - 4 tsps
Black Pepper pwd - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil / ghee for cooking

Method :

1. Combine potatoes and bajra flour in a bowl with oiled hands and gently mix.

2. Add the ginger-green chilli paste, pepper, dhaniya and salt. Mix all ingredients well and knead into a soft dough. Due to the moisture content in potatoes, it is not usually necessary to add water. Keep dough aside for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile warm the roti tawa or griddle. Divide the dough into 4-5 equal portions. Roll out into a 1" thick roti(pancake) and cook on using oil/ghee till golden brown on both sides. 
Serve hot with curd, raita or desired accompaniment.

8 November 2013

Pudina Paratha

Paratha or Indian flat bread is an excellent accompaniment for Indian side dishes; it tends to make even the simplest dal tastier.
The word "Paratha" is said to be made up of two words : 'Parat' which means layers and 'atta' which means flour. In essence it is a multi-layered flat bread. Paratha comes in various flavours, shapes and fillings, the most popular being Aloo (Potato), Gobi (Cauliflower) and Pudina (Mint).
I share with you few of my favourite time and home-tested paratha recipes.


Ingredients : (Makes 4) 
Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Crushed (fresh) mint leaves - 1 cup
Salt - 1 tsp
Butter - 3 tbsps

Method :           

1.  Sieve flour and salt together into a bowl.

2. Add water little by little and knead into a stiff dough. Keep covered with a wet muslin cloth for 25-30 minutes

3. Take half the crushed mint leaves and dry roast on a tawa, till all moisture evaporates. Once crisp, crush them with your hand so they resemble Kasuri methi. These will be used to sprinkle on the paratha.

4. Mix the remaining fresh leaves with the covered dough and gently knead again. Divide into 4-5 balls.

5. To prepare the paratha, roll out into a thick chapati and apply butter on the surface. Sprinkle some flour and roll the chapati into a cylinder or fold alternately like a fan. Now roll this horizontally into a spiral ball shape and keep aside for 5 minutes. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.

6. Prepare chapatis again with the spiral rolls (if you want more layers you can repeat the process 3-4 times more) and cook on a hot tawa using butter / ghee / oil. Sprinkle the roasted and crushed pudina leaves while the chapati is still uncooked and press lightly with a flat ladle.

7. Cook on both sides till brown. Serve hot with desired accompaniments.