Monday, July 27, 2009

easy brownie...eggless and low fat.



brownies are such a loving and adorable treat that i have yet to see a person who denies a brownie.......my husband loves brownies of all color , size and shape and is super delighted to have it with vanilla ice cream....it is quite understandable that this one dessert recipe is a regular at my place.........and i make it in many ways .....initially when i first learnt to make brownies i would stick to the standard recipe using dark cooking chocolate ( i have that recipe in my drafts n have been postponing it for no apparent reason)....but now i try brownies with almost any thing chocolaty.......cocoa powder is a common replacement for dark chocolate but this time i made it with cadbury's drinking chocolate ( ran out of dark chocolate and cocoa powder both)........the reason for such adjustable recipes of brownie is that arvind can demand them anytime n i try n make it without a trip to the store....and secondly whenever some guests arrive for evening tea on short notice it is the easier thing to prepare for me...............we have a tradition to serve mithai to guests in India and i generally don't keep any store bought mithai at home .....this time i had suji ka laddo ( recipe coming later) and thought that a brownie will be a better option since the guests had young kids ( the kids liked it very much and the mother ended up asking for the recipe) ...he he...


also i find that the brownies made with dark chocolate are very fatty as they have higher amount of fat in the form of not only cocoa butter, some trans fats too.............when you replace dark chocolate with cocoa powder the fat content of brownie becomes considerably low....works very well for me because the intense flavor of chocolate is still there, just it becomes a bit drier...no problem with me.........so it's like the more fatty the brownie is , it is more gooyi , soft and sinful...heavenly in fact......as you replace it with cocoa powder it becomes a little dry and crumbly......tastes as good as the original one though.........after all, the choice is your's..........i think something which you like so much and is so fatty.....you should be able to adjust a little with the texture at least, if not the taste..........right!!


One more thing i want to tell about a recipe of brownie......many of my friends who have had my brownies, have been asking for the recipe for a long time.....and i tell you that at one such discussion of sharing the recipe i used to tell them that i'll start writing a blog wher i'll write down the recipe for you guys..........it took me this long even after starting my blog, to post this recipe....i am almost on a guilt pang now..........so it was the recipe of brownies , asked again n again , when i started thinking of blogging about food.....( people used to ask me recipes of almost everything i made though )..........so here it is.........



the brownie at last........it takes less time to make than reading my crap above...he he.........

ingredients

all purpose flour 1/3 cup
drinking chocolate 1/2 cup ( or cocoa powder which i use normally)
soda bicarb 1/4 tsp
baking powder 1/2 tsp
butter 1/4 cup
thick curds 1/2 cup ( i used curdled soy milk cuz i always have it due to mithi)
sugar 1/2 cup
coffee 1 heaped tsp brewed in 2 tbsp of hot water
procedure

mix together the first four ingredients with a fork or by sifting them together......

soften the butter and mix the remaining four ingredients by whisking them together......

now slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients little by little and keep whisking...i use a fork mostly...or a wire whisker...

the batter should be of thick ribbon consistency , that is , when you drop a ladle full of batter from above the bowl, it should fall like a thick ribbon...

pour in a suitable baking dish....i used a borosil loaf dish as i find it easier to make slices.....you can use a shallow dish to get thin sqaure pieces of brownie....

if you want nuts in your brownie.....add them just before pouring the batter into the baking dish...in that case a shallow dish is better as the nuts drown in the loaf dish....n you find them only in the bottom...

microwave for 4-5 minutes........

you have to make approximation with the timing according to the amount of batter.........my tip for making cake or brownie in the microwave is..........watch the sides of the cake rising first as it starts cooking from the sides........slowly when the center rises and the central most point rises...watch it...as soon as it comes up n gets firm , wait for 5 secs and stop.......your cake is done.........nice tip na!!

wait for 2 minutes before taking out from the microwave...you can insert a toothpick to test if it's done...

cool and cut into pieces to serve.....it crumbles when sliced while it is hot....so be careful.

enjoy..

Sunday, July 26, 2009

recipe of kadhi pakodi ; the way it is made in my home



this is one of my favorite foods and whenever i make it, i make it enough to last for the next day too.....not only that , just after making the kadhi i get myself a big bowl full of this delicious creamy treat and relax........i love the khatta teekha swad( hot n sour taste) with just a hint of aromatic masalas and i can have it with rice or roti both...traditionally kadhi is paired with plain boiled rice but i like it with plain chapatis too.......and even like a soup.....

the most interesting part is that this recipe is made using the very sour...about to go rancid curds...which is lying in your fridge for a fortnight or so.....but if you want to make it n don't have sour curds, you can just keep the curds overnight out of your fridge , mixed with a little salt and you get it perfect to make kadhi in the morning....most families relish this treat for lunch...( as sour curds should not be eaten in the night according to Ayurveda...it is said to aggravate arthritis if consumed after evening).......

this recipe was lying in my drafts for a long time now and i am posting it today for a blogger friend Pamella Timms of eat and dust who was talking about using the leftovers and i suggested kadhi for any surplus sour curds in the fridge....she asked for the recipe n i am quick this time...he he........just because i had the recipe in the drafts already.........



it is a simple recipe, though you need to be accurate with the steps.... and i make it without the use of garlic or onions.....but it is rich in flavors of the masalas used in tadka......i try to make it low on fat n skip the first tadka ......but the pakodas made for the kadhi are deep fried and obviously soak oil...to reduce fat from the pakodas, you can reduce the quantity of pakodas used in kadhi....your choice, but i recommend that you go with this recipe first if you are making it for the first time n then make your own adjustments...

ingredients for the pakodas
besan or chickpea flour 1/2 cup
thymol or ajwain seeds 1/2 tsp or a bit more
turmeric powder 1 tsp
soda bicarb a pinch

to make pakodas
....mix all the ingredients( no salt is being added here as when you cook the pakoras with kadhi , they soak salt from that) and adding water ...a little at a time....make a batter by whisking it vigorously....it should look like a cake batter..

now with a spoon or with you trustworthy fingers drop about 15 ml of the batter into hot oil to deep fry....i just collect a small portion of the batter with my fingers neatly n drop it in the hot oil....many pakodas can be fried in one batch ...like this..



the pakodas swell double their size while frying n make a dumbbell shape...like in the picture....turn them to fry on all sides....drain and keep aside....

i use mustard oil to fry the pakodas but you can use any oil of your choice..

also i make some extra pakodas everytime and keep them in the freezer for future use...next time when you make kadhi you have ready pakoras n the kadhi becomes easy n quick.....nice tip...ehh..


ingredients for the kadhi..

besan or chickpea flour 1/2 cup
sour curds ( sour buttermilk is considered the best for kadhi) 2 cups
when you have thick curds , just dilute it with water and whisk to make a smooth homogeneous buttermilk
water 2 cups or more if you want thin kadhi
salt to taste
turmeric powder 1 tsp
bay leaves 2 nos.



to make kadhi

in traditional method , a tadka is done at this step but i skip that.....( will come to that after this)

just mix everything together , except the bay leaf , using a hand mixer or a whisk to make a thin solution and pour in a thick bottomed pan and start cooking on medium flame........drop in the bay leaves and keep stiring the mixture till it get a good boil....

lower the heat and cook till it reduces a bit......it is called kadhi because of this step......kadhna in hindi means cooking a liquid to reduce the quantity and make it thick....like kadhna of milk results in rabdi and finally the khoya.......so kadhna is like cooking to reduce....

for the tadka before boiling the kadhi...a little mustard oil is heated, a little cumin seeds and bay leaves are thrown in ...and turmeric powder is thrown in to the hot oil after this ..now immediately about a cup of water is poured into the pan...when the water starts boiling , then the solution of besan, curds and water is poured into the pan and cooked further to reduce........as i skip this step , i see that the final tadka covers up for it and that way it tastes better.....

now is the time for the tempering or the tadka....take off from heat and proceed for the tadka ........the tadka is the taste maker of kadhi and it should be done only in ghee...


ingredients for the tadka

ghee 2 tbsp or more if you wish
asafoetida a pinch
cumin seeds 1 tsp
chhoti rai or small variety of mustard grains 1 tsp
fenugreek seeds 1/2 tsp
cinnamon stick 2 inch long
black cardamom crushed 1 no.
green cardamom 2 no.
cloves 4 nos.
star anise 1 no.
red chilly powder 2 tsp or as much you like

to prepare the tadka
heat the ghee in a tadka pan or in a deep small pan ...throw in the asafoetida first , when it starts dancing in the ghee throw in all the other tadka masala except red chilly powder and let them splutter and get aromatic....take care not to burn them.....

now put off the heat and throw in the chilly powder ...wait till the chilly powder immerses in the ghee...you may need to toss n turn a bit ....now pour this tadka over the cooked kadhi........
cover the kadhi immediately after the tadka as to help all the flavors to infuse into the kadhi.....after a couple of minutes stir the kadhi n serve hot with plain boiled rice........this is how it looks after mixing the tadka..



in the north of India most people do not need even a side dish with their kadhi chawal...but i suggest some bhujia like this one or patato fries and papad with it.....yummy...

there are many versions of kadhi like sindhi, punjabi etc. and made with tomatoes or other veggies too......i make many of them and will post them in the future but this one remains my all time favorite .....

enjoy...

Friday, July 17, 2009

paneer safeda | white paneer curry in a cashewnut gravy



Paneer is the only special treat for vegetarians or one of the few protein rich foods for them. At least it is perceived like this here in India. And a whole lot of paneer recipes are made in Indian homes, mostly because it blends well with all types of flavors, just like eggs and potatoes.  But strangely enough I have not posted many recipes of paneer here although I keep cooking with paneer quite often due to the ease of cooking a quick curry it provides. But when I made this safeda paneer or paneer safeda, which is actually paneer in a white gravy, I could not stop myself from posting it here almost immediately, well that is within 5 days after making it. Can't get quicker than this :-)

Paneer safeda is made in many versions using different types of nuts for their subtle flavors and the taste differs in each of those versions. This recipe is a simple and quick one, like all my recipes which is good for everyday cooking and the flavors are so exotic that it is fit for a formal dinner as a main course dish. Actually last time when I made this dish for a large family get together of 20 people I choose this dish because a few extended family members did not eat garlic and onion. And I had to cook a no fuss recipe because there were many more dishes to be taken care of for a 7 course meal for 20. No need to tell that this dish became the talking point at the table. Simple delicate flavours and rich tasting curry. Many of them asked for the recipe and when I told how simple it is, they were surprised.

This paneer safeda is a Jain recipe (without onion and garlic) but a few other versions make use of onions and a bit of garlic too. Some call it Doodhiya paneer or Chandni paneer with minimal variations like using chopped almonds and saffron as a garnish or finely chopped green chillies and minced ginger as a garnish.

We prefer paneer safeda in it's pure white form. Just like this one.


As I mentioned, paneer safeda is a special recipe meant for formal dinners, more because it is a bit rich tasting due to the use of nut paste. Also because it presents delicately flavored aroma of spices that is appreciated well in most Banaras homes. And paneer safeda goes well with butter naan or roomali roti, more reason to be erved for such north Indian meals.

This time I served it with thin whole wheat chapatis which complemented the dish very well. Note that this recipe is certainly rich because it uses cashew nuts, but it is not a fatty paneer curry which gives you those guilt pangs after a cozy dinner. The amount of cashews per serving is very low, that is about cashews and the amount of fat (I used fresh cream as a cooking medium) is also low, that is 1/2 tbsp of fresh cream per serving. Yeah I calculated the amounts carefully this time and now you know how a rich gravy can be healthy too. Read on...

ingredients..
( serves 4)
paneer 250 gm
cashews 20 nos.
fresh cream (I used fresh malai from whole milk) 2 tbsp
salt to taste

masala made in to a paste
black pepper corns 20 nos. (white peppercorns are better but i didn't have)
green cardamom 3 nos.
black cardamom 1 no.
cinnamon stick 1 inch long
cloves 5 nos.
fresh ginger root 1 inch piece
bay leaf 2 nos. ( scissor cut into fine shreds)

all these ingredients are to be made into a paste with some water in a spice grinder .

procedure..

Cube the paneer into rectangular pieces and keep aside.

Make a fine paste of cashews with some water and keep aside. Cashews can be soaked for a few hours for making fine paste but do it instantly most of the times. You just have to run the grinder for a few more minutes if you are grinding dry cashews along with the spices.

Now pour the fresh cream into the pan (I used a steel kadhai) and filter the masala paste right into the kadhai. Place a sieve on top of the kadhai and pour the masala paste into it and let all the masala extract pour into the kadhai. Reserve the masala  solids to flavor some daal etc., I usually make some sabut masoor daal too with this curry and the same masala gets used in the daal. Sometimes I add the masala solids to kali daal or chane ki daal.

Coming back to the white gravy, now keep the kadhai on flame and let the mixture come to a soft boil.



Now pour in the cashew paste and let it simmer again. It just takes 5-6 minutes....


I took all these pictures because this is an unconventional way of making a gravy and I wanted the procedure to be more clear....

Now add salt and the paneer pieces and let it simmer again, just for 2 minutes more. Cover the kadhai, put off the flame and let it rest for 5 minutes so that the flavors get seeped in..


Serve hot with any kind of flat bread....we did not have any side dish this time as it was meant to be a light but special dinner It truly was so. You would agree when you try this paneer safeda at home.


Enjoy the curry that is often called Chandni subzi or Chandni paneer, doodhiya paneer. Most common name known in Banaras is paneer safeda.

If you don't filter the masala paste for this curry its not a problem. Only that the curry will not be as white and smooth as the picture above. I cooked paneer safeda again sometime back for a dinner and there was quite a lot of leftover curry. This time I did not filter the masala paste and the curry was a bit grainy and a little darker as seen in the picture below. But that taste was unmistakably the same.


Incidentally I cooked sabut masoor ki daal too even though there was no masala solids after filtration. Some foods become such an inseparable pairing in families that they keep repeating together always.
I hope you would like paneer safeda the way we do. Try it and let me know.

Cheers.



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

kaale chane ki ghugni



this kaale chane ki ghugni is a traditional recipe which is made as a prasad on the eighth day of navaratri that is ashtami.....along with this kaale chane , puri and halwa is the usual prasad that day ....these things are served to little girls as they are considered devi or goddess Durga and are called kanjka......i have been doing this ritual for many years and it is a very good feeling to see all those girls and thier little brothers too , enjoying the meal together....it becomes a small picnic for children that day.......next time when i make the whole prasad on ashtami i'll post it here as it makes a great combo by itself..


other wise this kaale chane ki ghugni is more like chana masala made with small black chickpeas...without using any garlic or onions in it.....we like it with roti, paratha or even with plain boiled rice accompanied with a bowl of plain curds......

the recipe is simple........

soak 250 gm of chickpeas overnight.

next morning make a paste of an inch piece of ginger, 4-5 whole red chillies , 1tsp each of coriander, cumin and black peppercorns and keep aside.

heat a tbsp of ghee in a pressure cooker , throw in a tsp of cumin seeds ...let it splutter and then pour in the above paste and salt to taste ...cover n cook till ghee separates.

now dunk in all the chickpeas into the cooker with about half a cup of water and pressure cook til 3 whistles.

let the pressure release...sprinkle a tsp of amchoor powder , mix well and cook till dry ...if some water is left.

serve hot with parathas for a sunday brunch.....raw onion salad makes a good accompaniment with it...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

paneer kulche in whole wheat



kulcha is a flat bread made in the north of India especially in Punjab and i have seen that is made in parts of Pakistan and even in the middle eastern countries where the form and names are slightly changed..........

plain kulche is normally accompanied with chhole or a rich gravy curry , but when they are made stuffed with potatoes or paneer they can be good with plain curds or a raita with green salads on thr side........sometimes i make it stuffed with beets...see the recipe here..........and this time it is a simple paneer stuffed one.........


to make the kulacha base ..........you need 2 cups of whole wheat flour ( to make about 10 kulchas)...2 tbsp of fresh yeast or a pack of dry active yeast, 2 tbsp of sugar, 1 tsp of salt, a cup of whole milk or soy milk ( i use soy milk)

to proceed dissolve yeast into half a cup of warm water with sugar and leave it in a warm place.............like in a preheated warm oven or on the side of gas stove where something else is cooking.........when the mixture becomes frothy which takes about 15 minutes, mix with flour, salt and enough milk to make a smooth pliable dough.........at this step any flavoring spice or herb can be added to the flour like black pepper powder, cumin seeds, coriander leaves or fenugreek leaves......,,keep the dough covered in a warm place again and let it rise to double it's volume...takes about half an hour.........now punch the dough and make portions like you make to prepare stuffed parathas......stuff the paneer mixture generously inside each flattened portion and keep covered for 10 -15 minutes....this will allow the balls to increase in size again.

now roll each ball with a rolling pin to make the kulchas and roast on a flat bottomed griddle
( tawa) , on low flame to allow better cooking and no spotting of the kulcha.......cook both sides till lightly pink in color........butter or ghee has to be smeared after it is done...
alternatively, the kulchas can be grilled in an oven at 180 degree C for about 5-6 minutes each....it is convenient to make it on tawa when making large numbers of kulchas.


to make the paneer stuffing..........you need 400 gm paneer, one boiled potato, a cup of chopped onions, chopped green chillies to taste and salt and pepper to taste.........

mash the paneer and mix with all the other ingredients to make a stuffing...this is a low fat preparation and no frying is done either in the stuffing or in the kulcha base ...so you can enjoy it without guilt........

the pictures do not do justice to the recipe i know ...but they taste yummy and my husband can have them for breakfast, lunch or dinner......even as snacks........

Sunday, July 5, 2009

pabda fish fry / mackerel fry



I got to eat this fish in Calcutta for the first time , and that was the first time i was eating any fish for that matter.......i liked the fish so much that started eating and cooking fish too..........this is a simple fry recipe which a favorite of my husband and i make this with muscular fish too ( big sized rohu fillets mostly).....



ingredients
( for 3 medium sized fish weighing about 700 gms)

garlic cloves 6-7 nos.
whole red chillies 10-12 nos. ( to taste)
amchoor powder or dry mango powder 2 tbsp
salt to taste

procedure

grind all these together in a spice grinder with just a tbsp of water .

make gashes in the fish as desired.

rub on the paste on the skin of fish and keep in the fridge for 1 hr.


heat 2 tbsp of oil in a cast iron pan( any thick , flat bottomed pan) and place the fish in it.

let it fry till one side is brown ( takes about 5 minutes), turn gently as the fish is very tender and fry on the other side similarly.

remove gently from the pan and serve hot with daal chawal, khichri or as an appetizer especially when you make it with small fish or smaller fillets.


for me it is good by itself with some green salad on the side.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

mango chhunda


this is the most uncomplicated recipe of a yummy preserve.......raw mango slivers preserved in sugar syrup.....small quantity can be made in a microwave within minutes, including chopping n cleaning.........yes it is so uncomplicated.

it has been almost 2 months since i made this and my mango loaf which i posted here tasted awesome with it...........i serve it with everything and anything, from parathas to matthis....or with multigrain breads or sandwiched between two digestive biscuits......you go by your imagination and you will never fail........to make it more versatile i keep the preserve plain , ie , without any flavoring of spice or red chillies..........spices like saffron and cardamom or crushed fennel seeds , or a mixture of fenugreek, fennel n red chillies can be added in the last stage of cooking when you want it flavored..........i flavor it when needed accordingly........just sprinkle a pinch of required spices with a dash of water and microwave the quantity you need to use immediately..........this way you can get any flavor accordingly or serve it plain with some strongly flavored dish....like you can top a dhaniye wali matthi with a tbsp of plain chhunda....

as i said, the preparation is simple.....just grate the raw mangoes in a box grater.........i chopped it in thin slivers as you see here...


i just wanted the slivers to be separate when cooked ....when you grate the mango the chhunda becomes like a jam when cooked, the choice is your's.........now throw in sugar into the chopped or grated mangoes , you need about 800 gm of sugar for a kilo of mangoes........


mix it well and wait for half an hour, till the mango slivers exude most of their water...like this..



now heat this mixture on low flame and keep stirring ....it takes about 40 minutes or more to get cooked ....to test you have to lift the spatula you are using for stirring ....when the sugar syrup falls in two thin streams, (a third stream is good to get if you want the preserve to be almost dry) it means your chhunda is ready.....this is essential for it's long term preservation ( this is called do taar or teen taar ki chashni in Hindi)..
when you are making a small quantity to be consumed within a few days or to be kept in the fridge , the sugar syrup should fall in a single thin stream..then your chhunda would be watery n thin......make it as you like it....

and i forgot to take a picture of the cooking chhunda.............but here is the ready chhunda....


and here it is with my mango loaf...


yummy treat........with just anything.....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

the foodieblogroll is on.....and there is meetha cheela for you



hi friends.......this blog is my attempt to introduce all of you to the food of the central India, the Uttar Pradesh....i call it Banaras ka khana because i have tasted UP food in Banaras only....have been to other places like Lucknow and other cities of UP for short periods and enjoyed the food there too........Banaras is an ancient city but it presents a beautiful contrast of sorts when you find all world cuisine here....in some restaurants n hotels....just because this place is an international tourist destination......also in this blog i am trying to list other Indian traditional food as well as traditional food of different parts of the world, whenever i try them....the way a Banaras person would enjoy it.....so stay tuned in to sample yummy food from other places too.

after a long wait i am ready to display the foodieblogroll on my blog and i feel delighted.....this way i'd be able to communicate with more and more blogger friends now....

Today i have a healthy traditional whole wheat pancake served with mango chhunda .........it is called meetha cheela and is served as a breakfast or a snack....rolled up nicely it can be a good tiffinn food to be carries for office lunch....see the pic...



the recipe is simple and needs no specific instructions......just take about a cup of whole wheat flour in a large bowl, for 4 cheelas....mix sugar to taste ( i use 2 tbps for this quantity ) and a tbsp of whole fennel seeds...now pour enough milk in it to make a pouring consistency batter....it's so simple and now you are ready to make cheelas or pancakes........just need 2 tsp of ghee per cheela and chhunda as much you like..........

heat a flat griddle or tawa and grease it with a tsp of ghee , pour a ladlefull of the batter on the griddle and spread it like dosa or a thin pancake........let it cook for a while...like this...



pour a tsp of ghee on top and now flip it to be cooked on the other side too....like this....



when cooked it has to be soft and not very crisp....if you want crisp ones the recipe differs....( i'll post that some other time)....take the cooked cheela from the griddle, keep on a plate and spread the mango chhunda evenly on it....( mango chhunda is made with grated raw mangoes and sugar and is something like candied slivers of mango...recipe coming next ).....


now roll this up and serve hot or warm with lassi or hot or chilled milk.........

and tell me if you liked it for the simplicity and the taste ...which is so out of this world with fennel in the pancake combining so well with the sweet n sour chhunda inside the crepe' like cheelas......


Pancakes on Foodista