Sunday, January 1, 2012

Fiery Tomato Chutney ( தக்காளி சட்னி )

 Most South Indian dishes are complemented with some kind of a side dish that enhances its taste. Idlis and Dosas are not the same without the accompanying chutneys. Here is a spicy version of tomato chutney that you can try out. This would serve 2-3 people.

  1. Roma tomatoes-2
  2. medium sized onion-1
  3. mustard seeds-1 tsp
  4. cracked urad daal-1 tsp
  5. asafoetida powder-1 pinch
  6. red chillies-2-3
  7. ginger chopped-1 inch
  8. coconut milk (optional)-1-2 tblsp
  9. curry leaves 2-3
  10. chopped cilantro-2 tblsp
  11. Salt to taste 

  1. Slice the onions and tomatoes longitudinally and keep them aside, do not dice them.
  2. In a pan heat some oil, once hot add the mustard seeds
  3. When the mustard seeds start to splutter add urad daal, red chillies and wait for the daal to change colour.
  4. Now add asafoetida, curry leaves and stir for a minute. 
  5. Add onions and 1/2 tsp of salt mix them and cook until the onions are transluscent.
  6. Add the ginger and stir for a couple of minutes. 
  7. Add the sliced tomatoes and salt to taste. Keep cooking until the tomatoes are cooked and the water evaporates. 
  8. Once this is done, turn off the stove and let the pan cool off for a few minutes. 
  9. Once the mixture is cooled, grind it and make a paste by adding coconut milk.
  10. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves. Spicy tomato chutney ready!

  1. Adding salt to cooking onions would help it release the water from the onions hence helping it to cook better. Sadd some salt and wait for a couple of minutes before you add the other ingredients. 
  2. Instead of coconut milk, you could add some water.
  3. If you do not have a spicy tongue, you can avoid the chillies. But you'll be missing something delicious!

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

     Instant oatmeal is low in saturated fat and even lower in cholesterol. It is a very good source of calcium, iron, manganese, vitamin B6, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, vitamin B12 and I could go on. Of all the flavors that Quaker oats produces, I find the regular and old fashioned one particularly difficult to consume. May be because the taste is a bit too bland? but I've managed to find interesting ways to dish them! Apart from mixing milk and nuts before cooking it and having it as a breakfast cereal, baking oatmeal raisin cookies paves way to a tasty way for a quick and delicious snack. So I collect all the old fashioned oats packets and when I have a good amount I bake cookies.

    1. Softened Butter 1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons, softened
    2. Brown sugar -3/4  cup
    3. White sugar- 1/2  cup 
    4. Eggs-2 (optional)
    5. Vanilla essence=1 tsp
    6. All-purpose flour- 1-1/2  cups
    7. Baking soda- 1  tsp
    8. Ground cinnamon- 1  tsp
    9. Salt-1/2  tsp (optional)
    10. Quaker Oats-3  cups (the old fashioned variety)
    11. Raisins-1  cup
        1. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars using a medium or low speed food mixer until a creamy mixture is obtained. 
        2. Add eggs and vanilla. Ensure that each egg is followed by a gentle and thorough mix before you add another one. 
        3. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon powder and salt to the mixture and continue to beat it. 
        4. Add oats and raisins and mix well. Ensure that the food mixer does not beat the raisins too hard that they start to break into pieces.
        5. Place many a tablespoon full of dough on ungreased cookie sheets and bake in the oven at 350F for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Don't keep it in for too long, or they will start to get too hard. 
        6. Once done, Remove the cookie rack and cool them for 5-10 minutes before you gorge on them. Bon appetit!

        Oatmeal Bars- A variation
        1. Instead of dropping a spoonful of dough in cookie shapes, you could smother the entire dough to take the shape of the cookie tray. Let it bake in the over for around 30-35 minutes or until light golden brown. Take it out of the oven once done and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Then, cut them into bars. Voila! oatmeal bars are ready to be eaten.
        2. You can also substitute the raisins with any kind of nut for a crunchy snack. Let me know how you liked them.

        Monday, November 7, 2011

        Chocolate Chip Cookies

        I like to be my niece's favorite aunt, and one of the reasons why she thinks this is 'cause of the chocolate chip cookies that she loves so much! Of course, there are reasons other than food that I lure here towards me with :) but I dish these out to my little darling whenever I can. Here goes:

        • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
        • 3/4 cup brown sugar
        • 1 cup butter, softened
        • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
        • 1 teaspoon baking soda
        • 1/2 tsp salt
        • 1 cup nuts coarsely chopped (optional)
        • 2 cups (12 ounces) semi sweet chocolate chips

        1. Mix sugars butters and egg in a large bowl, throw in the flour, baking soda and salt. The dough will a little stiff as you mix. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chip. 
        2. Cover the baking pan with cookie sheet and drop dough tablespoonfuls onto the pan. 
        3. Preheat the over to 375F and bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until light brown. Once done, remove the cookies and cool them on a wire rack.
        1. If you are using self rising floor, you do not need to use baking powder. 
        2. Using an ice cream scoop makes the job of arranging the dough on the pan less messy.
        3. If you think these cookies are not tasty enough, throw in half a cup of semi sweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, milk chocolate chips and butterscotch chips instead of the 2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips. The cookies would taste even more incredible!

        Monday, October 17, 2011

        Mutton Korma ( மட்டன் குருமா)

         Mutton Korma can be mixed with rice or used as a side dish for rotis, dosas or idlis. A south Indian, spicy version of the korma is found in this post. For the audience, this is K's version of the korma :)


        1/2 kg (2 pounds) Mutton
        1 tsp Cumin powder
        1 tsp Fennel Powder
        1/2 tsp Coriander powder
        1/2 tsp Chill powder

        1/2 tsp turmeric powder
        2 tbsp plain yogurt

        1/2 tsp salt
        1/2 inch ginger shredded
        1 garlic clove shredded
        1 black cardamom
        2 reg cardamoms

         Tomato Paste
        2 tomatoes
        1/2 tsp coriander powder
        1/2 tsp cumin seeds
        1 tsp cumin powder
        2 tsp fennel Powder
        2 tbsp coconut gratings
        1 tsp poppy seeds
        1 small cinnamon stick

        3 cups of chicken stock
        1/2 tomato- Finely diced
        Chill powder to taste
        salt to taste
        2 tsp poppy seeds
        1Cinnamon stick
        2 cloves
        1 star anise
        1 inch ginger shredded
        2 cloves of garlic
        1 or 2 green chillies

        Directions to cook
        Marinate the mutton pieces overnight with 1tsp fennel powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp chilly powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tbsp yogurt, 1 black cardamom, 1 clove of garlic diced, 1 inch of ginger.

        Heat a pan over the stove and drizzle some oil in it
        Once the oil is heated, shallow fry the mutton pieces to give it that sear on its surface.
        Once there is a crisp layer formed on the surface of the mutton pieces, pressure cook them with some chicken stock for upto three whistles.
        While the mutton is getting pressure cooked, in the same pan used to fry the mutton add one cinnamon stick crushed, one black cardamom crushed and 2 cloves and saute till it starts to splutter.

        Now add the onions, some salt and saute it until the onions are golden brown
        Now add the green chillies, 1 inch ginger shredded and 2 garlic cloves minced.
        Now add the diced 1/2 tomato and 2 tsp of poppy seeds and stir to cook

        In a food processor make a paste out of the tomato paste ingredients. The paste should not be too watery. Now add this paste to the pan's contents and continue to saute for 3 or 4 mins.


        Once the mutton is pressure cooked, add the cooker's contents to the mixture in the pan. If you want the korma to be more spicy add more chilly powder and let it cook in low heat for 30 minutes. 
        When the korma is done, add some curry leaves and stop the cooking process.

        Slow cooking the mutton would give it a better taste
        Shallow frying the mutton would give it that crispness
        You can replace chicken stock with water for pressure cooking. 

        Friday, October 7, 2011

        Garlic Rasam (பூண்டு ரசம்)

        Rasam mixed with rice is a very popular South Indian dish that goes well with most vegetables at the side. A variant of rasam, made with garlic, is especially good for digestion.

        1. Asafotedia powder- 1 pinch
        2. A few curry leaves -to taste
        3. Garlic Cloves sliced thin- 10-11
        4. Lemon sized tamarind
        5. Red Chillies2-3
        6. Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
        7. Tomatoes chopped 1-2
        8. Turmeric powder 1tsp

          1.  Take the tamarind pulp and make a juice out of it by soaking and squeezing it in water. Keep this aside.
          2. Pour about a tablespoon of ghee in a vessel and heat it over the stove.
          3. Once the ghee is hot, add some mustard seeds to it. 
          4. When the seeds start to splutter, add asafotedia powder, red chillies, garlic cloves and tomatoes. If you are like me and you do not prefer chunks of tomatoes in your food, make a paste out of the tomatoes and add it instead. 
          5. Now let it simmer for a minute before you add the turmeric powder. Stir for a couple of more minutes so the raw smell of the turmeric disappears. 
          6. Add the tamarind juice (without the pulp) and some salt to this mixture. 
          7. Let the rasam simmer in the stove for about 10-15 minutes. Within this time, when you notice that the mixture starts to boil, add some curry leaves to it and turn off the stove. Rasam is ready.

            Key to a tasty rasam is that you don't over cook it. Stop the cooking process once you notice the first boil. 

            Saturday, September 17, 2011

            Rava Kesari (ரவை கேசரி )

            My husband ‘K’, an ardent supporter and encourager of my blogs, has the innate qualities of a top chef. There hasn't been one dish that he has 'hobbied' with which I did not like. Unfortunately, he is the obligated lab rat who has been at the prestigious end of not being spared for any of my culinary experiments :). This post, ladies and gentlemen, is his contribution to my food blog which starts off on a sweet note.

            Rava Kesari is a popular Indian dessert that is made during special occasions. But when it comes to relishing this mouth watering dessert, do not restrict yourself to certain days of the year only.

            1. Rava-1 cup
            2. Sugar 1-2 cups
            3. Water -2 cups
            4. Handful of raisins and chopped nuts
            5. Food coloring -1 or 2 pinch
            6. Ghee (clarified butter) 4-5 tblsp
            7. Cardamom 3-4
            1. In a pan heat 3 tblsps of ghee.
            2. Once hot, add the cardamom, raisins, nuts and saute them until golden brown.
            3. Now gently add the rava and stir it until it turns light brown.
            4. Lower the stove flame and add water.
            5. When the water starts to boil, add sugar in small quantities and ensure you stir after each added portion. 
            6. Add the food coloring and continue to stir gently.  
            7. Once the sugar is melted and mixed well turn off the stove. Rava Kesari is ready.

            The secret to making kesari is to keep stirring it constantly while adding water and sugar so that there are no lumps formed.
            PS- Thank you K for this sweet addition!

            Wednesday, September 7, 2011

            Masala Vada (மசாலா வடை )

            Masala vada is a south Indian snack that is often made on indigenous festivals. It is also a comfort food that can be served as an evening snack.

            1. Channa daal- 2 cups
            2. Finely chopped onion-1
            3. Chopped green chilly-1
            4. Garlic cloves 1-2
            5. Red chilly 1-2
            6. Green chilly 1-2

            Directions to make
            Soak the daal for 30 minutes in water so that it softens up a bit
            Now add the garlic and red chilly in the food processor and grind it
            Drain and add the daal into the processor along with some salt and mix it.
            Add a little bit of water to make a thick paste out of the mixture (this should not be watery)

            Heat some oil in the kada over the stove
            Take the paste out and mix it with the chopped onions, green chillies and 1 tsp of non soaked fresh channa daal
            take a tblsp of the mixture and make a ball out of it, place it in your palm and flatten it out
            Place this flattened ball in the hot oil and deep fry it until crisp brown.
            Masala vada ready!

            If the mixture made is too watery, it would be difficult to make small balls that would stick together.
            If you find it too watery, add some basin and mix it up until you get the right consistency.
            The additional tsp of non soaked daal would give that extra crunchiness in the vada.