SIMPLE CAPSICUM PULAO

                 I make it a point to have rice for lunch....coz i need the energy to run after my 1 1/2 year old daughter!! At home with rice we normally eat sambar or rasam or ..if its non veg....its either a chicken curry or fish curry.   
                 So inspired by sangee vijay's lunch box special I decided to eat healthy and make my task much easier by cooking veggies and rice in 1 dish!......how nice!!! :)



 INGREDIENTS:
1 cup basmathi rice, washed, boiled and drained
2 tbsp Oil
2 elaichis
2 cardamoms
1 small piece cinnamon
1 big onion, sliced thinly
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 big green or red chilli, de seeded and chopped
1 capsicum (any colour), de seeded and chopped into small pieces
a pinch turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder (or as required)
1 tsp corriander powder
salt
a handful of pudina



PROCESS:
  •  Add oil to a wok. When its hot add the elaichi, cardamoms and cinnamon
  • Add onions. Stir til golden brown. Add the chillies and stir
  • Add ginger garlic paste. stir
  • Add the capsicum and stir for a minute
  • add the turmeric, cumin, chilli and corrainder powder and stir\
  • add salt and pudina
  • stir on low heat for a few minutes till all the ingredients come together.
  • add the drained rice and stir.

notes:
  •  tastes good with a simple cucumber and onion raita 

ALMOND BISCOTTI

               Since we are being "healthy" at home for awhile I decided to make these almond biscotti's....Absolutely tasty and guilt- free! My mom loves biscotti's......was thinking of her all the time I baked these......This one's for you amma!! :)

Also sending this recipe to Anjali's event cakes, cookies and desserts





 INGREDIENTS:
1 cup (145 gms) blanched whole almonds
1 tsp ( 5 gms) baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups (260 gms ) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 gms) granulated white sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp almond extract



PROCESS:
  • Preheat oven to 350 deg F (180 deg C)
  • Toast almonds for 8 - 10 mins or until browned or fragrant. cool and chop coarsely
  • Reduce temperature to 300 deg F (150 deg C). Line a baking sheet with wax paper
  • With an electric mixer combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat until blended.(about 30 secs)

  • Gradually add in egg mixture and beat until dough forms, adding almonds halfway through.
  • Add the vanilla and almond essences.
  • On a slightly floured surface roll dough into a log about 14 inches(35 cms) long and 3-4 inches (8-10 cms) wide

  • Transfer log into prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-40 mins or until firm to touch.Log spreads during baking
  • Remove from oven and cool for 10 mins

  • Transfer to cutting board and using a serrated knife, cut log into slices 1/2 inch(1.25 cms) thick on the diagonal
  • Arrange evenly on baking sheet and bake another 10 mins or until slightly browned

  • cool and store in airtight container



notes:
  • I didnt take the measurements( the inches and cms ) into consideration. Just baked it according to my likes.
  • I added a bit more flour to the dough because i couldnt roll out the dough. It was too sticky
  • the biscotti's were crisp but I felt that I should have cut them thinner. Well, there's always a next time.
  • you can even add 1 tbsp of orange or lemon zest to the egg mixture
  • you can substitute hazelnuts or walnuts instead of almonds.


BANANA BREAD

      

              I had a whole lot of bananas which would have ended up in the garbage, if it wasnt for this banana bread!! I dint want to make a cake!....I wanted to make some banana bread...because I had a brand new loaf tin which remained unused!! So...a perfect time....and a perfect recipe......

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup (115 gms) pecan nuts or walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups (230 gms) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 gms) granulated white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs. lightly beaten
1/2 cup(113 gms) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ripe large bananas ( 1 1/2 cups)mashed well
1 tsp vanilla essence



PROCESS:
  • Preheat oven to 300 deg F (180 deg C)
  • Butter and flour the bottoms and sides of a 9*5*3 inch(23*13*8 cms) loaf pan
  • place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 mins or until slightly toasted. Cool and chop coarsely
  • In a large bowl combine flour, sugar baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and nuts. set aside

  • In a medium sized bowl combine mashed bananas,eggs, melted butter and vanilla ess.
  • With a rubber spatula gently fold the wet ingredients into dry ingredients.stir until just combined and the batter is thick and chunky

  • Bake until golden brown ( about 55 to 60 mins)  and an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  • Cool and then cut.

         notes:
  • I ground my own cinnamon and then sieved it.(only because I dint have cinnamon powder at home :) )


enjoy your banana bread with a hot cup of tea!!

CHANNA MASALA /CHOLE MASALA





Today's post is an updated version of my Channa Masala............I've started adding some tamarind to my channa masala and it does wonders to enhance the taste. Some people love having it with a side of freshly sliced raw onions.


This recipe tastes fantastic with hot pooris. I've got a lovely recipe for  pooris  here. Or you can even pair it with chapathis or parathas!..........either way it tastes yum!
             




INGREDIENTS:
Oil
chickpeas/channa - 1 cup soaked in water overnight
Onion, chopped - 2
Green chili, slit - 2
tomato, chopped -2
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Tomato puree - 2 tbsps
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
tamarind - 1 tbsp soaked in 1 cup water (extract the juice and keep aside)
Dried methi leaves or fresh coriander leaves - 1 tbsp


for the tadka:
ghee - 1 tbsp
garlic, minced - 1/2 tsp
curry leaves - 6 to 7
ginger, thinly sliced strips - 1/2 inch piece(optional)

PROCESS:
  • Wash the chickpeas and pressure cook them with a tiny bit of salt for about 5 to 6 whistles or until they are soft. Drain and keep aside.
  • Heat some oil in a wok and saute the onions and green chilies till they turn slightly brown.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute.
  • Add the chili powder, garam masala, turmeric, cumin and coriander powder. Stir for a few minutes till nice and fragrant.
  • Next, add the tomato. Saute further. Add a tiny bit of the tamarind water to stop the masala from sticking to the pan. Cover and cook for a few minutes till tomatoes are nice and mushy.
  • next, add the soft chickpeas and mix well. Add salt.
  • Add the rest of the tamarind water and let it simmer. 
  • When the gravy starts to thicken, with the back of your spoon/ladle mash half the chickpeas roughly. This is just to give a nice thick consistency.
  • Add the methi and mix. Add a bit more water if required.
  • when you have reached the desired consistency, make the tadka and pour it in the chickpeas and off the flame.
  • to make the tadka,in a small pan, heat the ghee. add the garlic. After few seconds switch of the flame and add in the curry leaves and ginger. This is the tadka.
  • Now, pour the tadka into the chickpeas masala and cover.


BLUEBERRY AND BANANA SMOOTHIE

            


               I just can't eat blueberries as it is!!....Eating it in desserts is sinful!.......So..a smoothie was perhaps the best option I had...and who doesnt like bananas??!So there you go....you have the best combination in hand!! and choosing a ripe banana (not too ripe) imparts sweetness...so no need for sugar!
              The best healthy way to start your day!


         

INGREDIENTS:
1 Banana, roughly chopped
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
2 tbsp vanilla flavoured yoghurt
4 ice cubes
skimmed milk just enough to blend into the desired consistency (about 1/4 cup )




PROCESS:
  • Put all the ingredients into a blender and whizz adding the milk little by little., till you reach the desired consistency
  • serve chilled



PUMPKIN SOUP

            

                   As you know, pumpkin is loaded with goodness....and what better way to eat it ,,,than a lovely smooth soup!!!!!!!!
                  This recipe can't get any easier..... requires very few ingredients......no effort.....and yet the outcome is delicious....simply filled with favour!

INGREDIENTS:
1 tbsp butter
1 small portion of butternut pumpkin,, chopped into cubes( see picture)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 pods garlic, pressed
1 cup water
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 chicken stock cube
pepper to taste
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
spring onion , to garnish




PROCESS:
  •  Put butter in a pressure cooker and saute the garlic.
  • When it releases its smell, add the onions.
  • When the onions have softened, add the turmeric powder and pepper.
  • Add the pumpkin.Stir. 
  • Add the water and the chicken stock cube.
  • Stir in the coriander leaves.and close the pressure cooker.
  • let it cook for about 2 or 3 whistles or till the pumpkin has cooked.
  • cool and then put it into a blender and puree it.
  • garnish with chopped spring onions. 

note:
  • For those who want to eat this as a meal, can add a few spoons of cooked rice to their soup.
  • vegetarians can also use veg stock instead of chicken stock

AGAR AGAR / JELLY

      

        We are finally in Penang, malaysia. sigh!!!!! Glad all the packing (and half the unpacking ) is over!!
         Today I made some agar  agar for my daughter....which started with her playing with it on her toy tea set...then feeding her baby dolls ......then finally on the floor!! :(
          Well...its an easy dessert to make ...I was so tired but yet wanted to post a recipe...and just couldnt think of anything easier..so here goes............:)
.

INGREDIENTS:
1 handful of agar agar (china grass)
5 cups water
5 tbsp sugar
few drops food colouring
desired moulds

PROCESS:

  1. Soak the china grass in the water for about 10 -15 mins.
  2. Then, put it to boil. Stir regularly and boil till all the china grass has completely dissolved.
  3. Add the sugar and stir till it dissolves
  4. Remove from flame and and add the food colouring.
  5. pour into moulds and refrigerate.
  6. After it has set, invert and take the jelly out from the moulds. If you have trouble just pierce the corners with a knife and then overturn 

note:
You can add more sugar if its not sweet enough.



CHOCOLATE BROWNIES



This is such an easy and quick recipe for chocolate brownies!! The best part is that you don't have to use an electric mixer..( coz I hate washing it later...LOL)
     My house is in a mess!!!!!!!!....cardboard boxes lying everywhere... toys scattered all around.....open suitcases fully stuffed and with no idea how im gonna manage closing them!! Yet...I woke up this morning with a sudden urge to bake something nice and easy..... yes!....it had to be chocolate brownies!
     So put all the chaos aside and baked my famous chocolate brownies......so decided it was the perfect "something" to give all the lovely people i was saying good bye to!!! :)


INGREDIENTS:
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs , lighly beaten
1 1/3 cup plain flour, sifted
1 tsp vanilla ess
1 cup pecans, chopped into tiny bits
salt

PROCESS:
  1. sieve the cocoa powder and baking powder in a large bowl.

     2.Add the oil.stir.
     3.Add the boiling water and stir, the mixture will thicken slightly.
     4.Add the sugar.
     5.Add the eggs
     6.stir in the vanilla essence and salt
     7.slighly toast the pecans in a preheated oven at 180 deg celcius for a few mins.


     8. Add the pecans to the flour
     9. Slowly add the flour mixture to the cocoa mixture.
    10. Stir only till the batter is mixed well
    11. Don't overmix the batter.
    12. Line a square cake tin with wax paper and grease with little butter and dust off with a bit of flour.


    13. pour the batter into the pan and bake in a preheated oven for about 20 mins at 180 deg C. or till an inserted toothpick comes out clean
    14. serve hot with some chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream..... YUM!!!!!!:)




note:
     you can use any type of nuts you like. ..almonds, walnuts are my favourite. For the chocolate lovers, you can use chocolate chips instead of the nuts.
     you can use any pan u like. i would have loved to use the square pan but i couldnt find it in the mess.







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