Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lachedar Paratha

This New Year, like everyone else, I made a few resolutions..The "Two Times" resolution(s) among other resolutions --
  • Will do justice to the Gym-membership by visiting the Gym at-least twice a week
  • Will bond with my Yoga-mat at-least twice a week
  • Will blog post at-least twice a week
  • Will blog-hop and see what everyone else is cooking at-least twice a week
  • Will eat meat at-least twice a week
  • Will call my friends and family at-least twice a week
etc etc.. The list goes on..
25 days later, I am yet to incorporate them in my lifestyle. What I have concluded is that its so easy to make up the list..But to follow it, its entirely a different thing. I guess I need to go to a boot camp to get disciplined. :(
 Over the weekend, I dragged myself to the supermarket to get some ground meat. I made a scrumptious "African" dish with the meat + greens and made these lovely parathas to eat it with.
It also tastes good with Simple Vegetable Kurma, Channa Masala, Flambeed Orange Peppers or Maharashtrian "Sugar and Spice" Eggplants N Potatoes.
  • 1-3/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour ( I use "Aashirvaad" Atta from Indian, Atta: Ground Whole Wheat grains)
  • 1 Cup Warm Water + a few more tbsp, as required
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil 
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil +  1 Tbsp Butter (liquid) mixture
  • 1/8 Cup Whole Wheat Flour, for dredging and filling
  • In a  wide bowl, add the flour, salt, sugar, 1 Tbsp Olive Oil and a cup of warm water.
  • Knead the dough, sprinkling water as needed and form a soft dough. Let the dough rest in a warm spot for an hour.
  • Knead the dough again and divide it into 8-10 even-sized balls. Flatten the balls into discs and set it aside.
  • Roll the dough into a thin circle. Add a tsp of oil-butter mixture in the center. Add 1/2 Tsp of flour on the top.Make a paste out of the flour and oil-butter mixture.
  • Smear the paste all over the circle evenly. Roll the dough, jelly-roll style into a tight rope. Afterward, roll the rope back and forth to lengthen it until its about the thickness of a cigar.
  • Form the rope into a tight coil( like shown in the picture) and arrange it on a plate. Repeat the same for all the other discs. Smear any leftover oil-butter mixture on the top of the coiled discs.Cover with a  cling wrap. Refrigerate the discs for at-least 2-3 hours.
  • Roll the coiled discs, dredging with flour until its approximately about the thickness of a Nickel.
  • Repeat the above steps for the remaining coiled discs.
  • Warm a Griddle/Tava. Dip a paper towel in oil and smear the Griddle/Tava. Add the rolled-out paratha and cook for 15-20 secs.
  • Flip and cook for another 15-20 seconds. Flip it once more and cook until there are light-medium brown spots all over the parathas.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Red Matta Rice Pancakes "Sponge Dosa"

This is not your everyday pancake. It neither comes from a box nor can be made at the drop of the hat. Why? Cause it is made from "fermented rice batter". So the groundwork for the batter needs to be done at-least a day ahead.
So how does one ferment this batter? Start off by washing the rice and shelled "whole black gram"(Urad dhal). Now soak rice, black gram with a bit of fenugreek seeds in water for at-least 6-8 hours.Drain the water, but do not discard. Save it for use when grinding. FYI, the black gram and fenugreek seeds are added to the batter to draw the wild yeast from air which will ferment the batter.Scroll down for the entire procedure. MIL and mom are experts at making this. But I manage to mess it up every time I make it! At my hubby's insistence I made this last weekend after modifying this recipe. This is normally eaten with any hot chutney - Fiery Tomato Chutney or any of this Four season chutney.

  • 1-1/2 Cups Red Matta Rice (Red Bhutanese Rice may be used instead)
  • Option1=> (3/4 Cup Red Rice Flakes "Aval/Poha" + 1 Cup Sour Buttermilk)  Or Option2 => ( 1/2 Cup Flakes + 1/4 Cup Sago +  1/2 Cup Grated Coconut)
  • 4 Tbsp shelled Whole Black Gram
  • 3/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/8 Tsp Baking Soda
  • Wash the Red Rice and Whole Black gram. Soak the washed red rice and whole black gram along with fenugreek seeds in water for 7-8 hours.
  • Soak the rice flakes in the sour buttermilk for 3-4 hours if using Option1 or soak the flakes and sago separately in little water for 3-4 hours if using Option2
  • Drain the rice-gram-seed mixture. Don't discard the water. Use a portion(read "Very little) of it to grind the mixture to a very thick batter.
  • Grind the rice flakes to a smooth paste like consistency using the saved water.[ Do the same "if using" option2 along with the grated coconut].
  • Mix the rice-batter and flake-paste together in a  high rimmed vessel. [Fermenting causes the batter to swell].
  • Stir in the salt and baking soda with a ladle or a clean hand.
  • Leave it in a warm spot(~ 80F) and let the batter ferment overnight. In colder places, its better to preheat the oven to 200F,warm the oven for 5-10 minutes, switch it off and place the batter inside the oven 5 minutes later.Make sure the oven isn't too hot. else the batter might get cooked. That is a disaster. If the batter is doubled in volume then it is fermented.
  • Spoon a ladle-full of fermented batter over a hot oil-greased griddle.Spread it gently but don't overdo it.A nice thick pancake is what is desired!
  • Add a little oil along the rim, cover it and let it cook for a minute in a low-medium flame.
  • Flip it, cook the other side for half a minute more.
Makes 10-12 Pancakes/Sponge Dosa


Friday, January 14, 2011

Boiled Fruit Cake

I have always wondered why fruit cake gets the bad rap..there seems to be even a tradition where this fruit cake gets passed around from family to family. Unlike many, I genuinely like fruit cake with the omission of pecans.

So why do fruit cakes have a tarnished reputation? Is it the overwhelming smell of spices or the saturation of fruit peels or its dry texture? Whatever the answer may be, I am of the opinion that if a moderate amount of the "much maligned" spices and peels are used and if the ingredients are given a TLC then they should turn out wonderful. So I tested out my theory on New year's eve. Yeah, baked one as a dessert for New year's lunch and believe it or not, I had to save a chunk from my family to take a picture for this blog post. The fruit cake wasn't dry or cloyed with "bleh" ingredients..In fact it turned out to be a well-respected cake that can be made all year round. FYI, This Boiled fruit cake recipe doesn't have alcohol and doesn't involve a lengthy process. The base recipe was from Joy Of Baking and the glaze was a poor adaptation of Katie Lee's Buttermilk Glaze. Most of you know I am not much of a glaze/Icing fan.

  • 3 Cups King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Stick(8 Tbsp) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 Cup Candied and Chopped Mixed Peel
  • 1-1/8 Cups Craisins + Golden Raisins + Dark Raisins mixture
  • 2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Cups Hot Water
  • 3/4 Tsp Ground Cinnamon 
  • 1 Tsp All-Spice
  • 1-1/4 Tsp Ground Ginger
  • 3 Large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
For the Glaze:(I halved the amount to cut a few calories. Recipe by Celeb Chef & Author Katie Lee)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Grease a 10" Bundt pan with a little butter and dust with little flour. Set aside.
    • Mix the hot water, sugar, butter, ground spices and craisins-raisins mixture.
    • Now put the pan on the stove and bring to a boil for five minutes. Switch off the stove and cool it for at-least 15 minutes. It should be lukewarm.
    • Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together.
    • Add the flour mixture to the lukewarm sugar-dry fruit mixture in small batches and incorporate.
    • Add the lightly beaten eggs, vanilla extract to the above mixture and stir in the chopped candied peel.
    • Pour the mixture into the prepared bundt pan.
    • Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    • Invert it to a cooling rack/plate and cool completely.Cover and store for at-least a day prior to serving.
    • Glazing the cake(entirely optional): In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients and bring to a low boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved(2-3 minutes). Prick the cake with a toothpick on the top and pour over the cake. Collect drippings and spoon over the cake again.
    • Cut and serve.

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    Happy New Year MMXI, Best of 2010 and Lucky Foods to eat on New Year's Day

    I wish all my loyal readers a Happy and Prosperous MMXI. 

    My facebook buddy BNV sent me a thoughtful, touching wish and I am passing this along to you all -
    May you have 
    Enough happiness to keep you smiling.
    Enough trials to keep you strong.
    Enough sorrow to keep you human.
    Enough hope to keep you thoughtful.
    Enough failure to keep you humble. 

    Enough success to keep you eager.
    Enough friends to give you comfort.
    Enough faith and courage in yourself to banish depression.
    Enough wealth to meet your daily needs.
    Enough determination to make each day a better day than yesterday.
    Have a wonderful year ahead. :-)

    While I am definitely looking forward to all that is in store for 2011, I fondly look back and remember a few of my favorite recipes from the 190+ recipes I have posted. Hope you try a few of my favorites..

    But before that I want to tell you guys that I kicked off 2011 on the right foot by toasting the New Year with fizzed-up POM juice(POM juice + bubbly) since Pomegranate is associated with prosperity.
    My breakfast menu will definitely feature Hoppin John, a dish with Black-eyed Peas for good luck/good fortune.I will eat at-least 365 beans, one for every day of the year. And yes there will be plenty of greens, like spinach and collards, the color of money.** Wink** **Wink**

     Here is a Southern Saying on eating a dish of Hoppin' John on New Year's Day -
                Eat poor that day, eat rich the rest of the year. 
                Rice for riches and peas for peace.
    For more on the history check here.

    Now we move on to "Top Thirty Recipes of 2010", a few of my favorites that has repeatedly graced my table and warmed my heart.

    In no particular 'course' or 'order' -
    1. Baked OrangeMarmalade-Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
    2. Baghare Bhaingan - Teeny Tiny Masala Stuffed Eggplants
    3. My Fabulous "Turkey" MeatLoaf
    4. Chocolate and Bread Pudding
    5. Sweet Potato Stuffed Puran Poli
    6. Maharashtrian Sugar And Spice Stuffed Eggplants
    7. Herbed Vegan Fried Rice
    8. Tuscan Pot Pie
    9. Puff Pastry Pillows
    10. Turkish Tabbouleh
    11. South Indian Dhal Fritters
    12. Fast Fusion Pizza
    13. Celere Root Remoulade
    14. Minty Mixed Vegetable Pilaf
    15. Fresh Fruit and Yogurt Filled French Crepes
    16. SoudZouKakia--Greek Style Smyrna Sausages
    17. Stepped-Up Oatmeal with Fresh Fruits, Dates And Honey
    18. Skillet "Mutter Paneer"
    19. Puff Pastry Spinach And Cheese Swirls
    20. Steamed Sweet Rice Dumplings "Kozhukattai/Modaks"
    21. Fenugreek Flatbread "Methi Roti"
    22. Mixed Fruit Kesari
    23. Potato Croquettes With Apricot, Prune And Tamarind Chutney
    24. String Hoppers
    25. Fiery Tomato Chutney
    26. Hard Boiled Fried Egg
    27. Malaysian Lacey Bread "Roti Jala"
    28. Stuffed Deep Fried Italian Peppers
    29. Stuffed and Shallow-Fried Okra
    30. Turkish Milk and Flour Pudding "Muhallebi"
     Enjoy and look forward to more recipes this year.