Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pav Bhaji

There was a time when I wasn't at all into cooking. I mean I did manage to make the daily fare, but anything that involved elaborate cooking steps was something I completely stayed away from. We would eat out very often, but then, there is no substitute to home cooked food, is there? Luckily, some of my friends were excellent cooks, but rather than be inspired by them to cook, I was shameless enough to ask them to cook whatever I fancied.

When we moved cities and those friends were miles away, I realised that either I had to make do with restaurant food or well, start cooking myself. So one such day, when I was really craving a friend's pav bhaji, I called her for the recipe and she pointed me to Nupur's blog. Not only did I discover great pav bhaji, but through her blog, I stumbled into the wonderful world of food blogs.
Somehow, the food blogs ignited the passion for cooking in me, and there was no looking back...in fact, here I am writing my own blog!!



Pav Bhaji

Translated, it sounds as mundane as bread and vegetables. But anyone who has eaten it would aver that Pav Bhaji is anything but mundane. The (arguably) most popular of street foods today has had very humble beginnings. This melange of vegetables actually started off as a quick fix lunch for textile mill workers in Mumbai who had a very short lunch break and therefore (leftover) vegetables, dressed up in some spices and wrapped in some bread seemed to fit the bill of a filling yet nutritious lunch.

Slowly, it made its way to people's hearts and the phenomenon called "pav bhaji" was born.

Ingredients:

(adapted from Nupur's Pav Bhaji recipe , this makes enough for about 4-6 people)

Ginger and garlic paste - 1 tsp each
Green bell pepper - 1, julienned
Tomato - 5-6 (or enough to make about 2 cups of puree)
Tomato paste - 2 tbsps
Potato - 2
Cauliflower - about 10 -12 large florets
Carrot - 1
Green peas - 1/2 cup

Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pav bhaji masala - 2 - 4 tsps
Red chilli powder - 1.5 tsp (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)
Cumin powder, coriander powder, chaat masala - 1/2 tsp each
Oil - 1.5 tbsp
Butter - 50 gms (gasp)
salt - to taste
sugar - 2 tsps

for garnishing

onion - 1, finely chopped
corainder leaves - 2 tbsps, finely chopped
lemon wedges

Method:

pre-preparation

Puree the tomatoes in the mixie, add some salt, 1 tsp sugar and red chilli powder and bring to a boil. Simmer for a further 5 mins.
Boil and mash the potatoes.
Steam the cauliflower and the carrots and pulse in the mixie to get a chunky puree. Alternatively, mash them by hand.
Thaw the peas (if using frozen), boil them if using fresh ones. I normally add a bit of sugar while cooking peas, makes them really sweet.

Once you are done with the pre-preparation, making the pav bhaji is really really simple!

making the pav bhaji:

Heat oil, and fry the ginger garlic paste till fragrant. Next, add the bell pepper and stir fry for 2 mins.
Add the tomato puree and the tomato paste and cook till it no longer tastes raw. Now, add all the dry masalas, salt and sugar and and let cook for about a minute.

Time to add all the mashed vegetables and give those arms a good workout - stir the mixture till you get a homogenous mess of absolute aromatic delight!
Add water depending on how thin you want the bhaji to be. Taste and adjust the masalas as per your taste and spice tolerance level.

Add the lemon juice, some chopped coriander leaves and half the butter and cook the bhaji for a further 10 -15 mins.

I normally rest my bhaji for about half an hour, before re-heating it and serving piping hot - resting the bhaji allows the flavours to really integrate themselves into the bhaji.

Garnish the bhaji with the chopped onions and coriander and serve with pav ( haven't been able to source these in Singapore) and so I use burger buns. Slice the buns into two, apply some butter and light toast them on a flat pan.

Don't talk. Eat.

Sending this to:

FIC: Orange hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen, an event started by - well someone whose very name spells orange - Sunshinemom

JFI: Cauliflower hosted by Mythreyee of Paajaka Recipes, the branchild of Indira of Mahanandi.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fusilli in Sundried Tomato Pesto



I simply love sun-dried tomatoes. The first time I ever had them was on a pizza and ever since I've been absolutely hooked onto them. I've used them in pizzas, salads, savoury muffins, scrambled eggs - and yes, even in daals. They add a tangy and rich flavour to food and can transform food from bland to flavourful.

And the first time I ever made this pesto (based on a recipe I found here), I was in culinary heaven. Nutty, tangy and very aromatic, this pesto is something I have made over and over again and yet have never tired of it.

And add a little cream cheese to it and you have a delectable dip or a sandwich spread. Ummm, it is so delicious that writing about it is making me crave for some right now!

Fusilli in Sun-dried Tomato Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:

Italian basil 1 1/2 cups
sun dried tomatoes 1/2 cup + 2 tbsps
walnuts 1/3 cup
garlic 2 cloves
red wine 1 tbsp
balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp
olive oil - 2 tbsps
sugar - 1 tsp
red chilli flakes, pepper powder - as per your spice tolerance level
salt - to taste

Method:

If you are using sun-dried tomatoes that are not packed in oil, you will need to re-hydrate them. Either soak them in boiling water for about 30 mins, or cover them with olive oil and refrigerate overnight.

Before making the pesto, drain the sun - dried tomatoes by placing them on a kitchen towel. Chop them up. Reserve the oil (or the water), I used this oil in place of the olive oil.

Tear the basil leaves with your hands - smell your fingers, don't they smell lovely - and add the other ingredients (except for the seasonings) in a food processor and blend in short bursts. You want the pesto to be a little gritty.

Transfer to a bowl and add the red chilli flakes, pepper powder, salt and sugar.

Cook the pasta as per the package instructions. Drain the pasta, but reserve a bit - about 2 tbsps - of the cooking liquid - I added a vegetable stock cube while cooking the pasta, makes the pasta a lot tastier. Mix some pesto in this cooking liquid and toss the pasta in the pesto. Add any veggies you want - I had only some carrots and bell pepper on hand - and digg in!

Sending this to Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Theresa and Its a vegan world:Italian hosted by Vaishali.

Oops, I think age is catching up with me...this is also for Lets Go Nuts: walnuts and pecans hosted by me.



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pecan Butter Cake with Caramelised Butter Frosting

Flashback to 14th Feb 2008.

While we - my daughter, a friend and I - were waiting for the lift at the lobby in our condo, we saw a flower delivery guy with a huge bouquet at the security counter.

Me (laughing): Some lucky babe is getting some very very expensive roses today!

My friend: Well these could be for you!

Me: Nah, no way, Terradaze knows I don't care too much for Valentine's Day.



Well, by now, you would have guessed that the roses were indeed for yours truly. Imagine how terrible I felt that I hadn't bought/made anything for the husband!

So this year, I baked him this cake.



Pecan Butter Cake

Ingredients:

unsalted butter 125 gms
caster sugar 1/2 cup
raw sugar 1/4 cup (use an additional 2 tbsps if you are not planning to use any frosting at all)
eggs 2, lightly beaten
pecans, ground 3/4 cup
self raising flour 1 1/2 cups
salt 1/4 tsp
milk 1/2 cup
vanilla essence 1 tsp


Method:


Sift the flour and salt together 2 times. Ensure that all the rest of your ingredients are at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C for 10 mins. Grease and line a 8 inch cake tin.


Cream butter and both sugars till light and fluffy. I know this is a very vague term, light and fluffy. I cream butter and sugar till it becomes a very light cream colour. And when you drop a small pearl sized ball in a bowl of water, it should float on top. That is when you know that it is "light and fluffy."


Add the eggs, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the essence and beat until combined.


Now add the ground pecans. Next, add the flour and the milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour, until the batter is smooth.


Bake for 30 -35 mins, mine got done in 30 mins.



Caramelised Butter Frosting: (recipe from Shuna Fish Lydon)



for the caramel syrup (the original quantities are different, this is what I used)


sugar 12 tbsps
water 3 tbsps + 6 tbsps


In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush.

Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber. When color is achieved, very carefully pour in the 6 tbsps of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.


for the frosting:


unsalted butter 12 tablespoons
Icing sugar, sifted, 453 gms
heavy cream 4-6 tbsps
vanilla extract 2 tsps
caramel syrup 2-4 tsps
kosher or sea salt to taste


Cook butter until brown.and pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool. I waited until the butter solidified again.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Cool the cake and top with the frosting.


Verdict:

First of all the frosting. Eversince I saw the November 2008 Daring Bakers Challenge, I knew I would make the cake and the frosting sometime. Nuts and caramel go well together and so I decided to pair the Pecan Butter Cake with this frosting.



And oh boy, was it delicious! The lovely flavour of the caramel blended so very nicely with the nutty flavour of the cake. It was absolutely awesome. And though several DBs had mentioned that the frosting was too sweet, since this cake per se is not very sweet, I didn't have any complaints on the sweetness. In fact, the next time I make this, I will most certainly slice the cake into two and sandwich them with the frosting.


And now the cake:


Singapore weather can be quite unforgiving. The hot and humid weather here leads to mold and fungus in almost everything, if not stored properly. So I end up putting a lot of things in the fridge.


The only problem with putting cakes into the fridge is that you can't eat it straight out of the fridge. You have to let it rest outside for about 10 mins before you can dig in. No problems there, unless you are like me who can't wait to eat the cake.


And this is where this cake scores. Thanks to the pecans, it stays soft and moist even when it is left in the fridge. Just grab a slice and eat!


Sending this cake to Bindiya's My Favourite Things Event - Love is in the air, Notyet100's Create with Luv for Luv and Let's Go Nuts: Walnuts and Pecans hosted here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Baingan ka Raita (Eggplant Salad)

Few vegetables inspire such diametrically opposite emotions as eggplant. People either love them or hate them. It is the same in our house. The husband doesn't like eggplant (he will eat it, but at every bite remind everyone how he doesn't like it) while I love eggplant.

But with this baingan ka raita, it is an entirely different story. Love and sharing be damned, we are very likely to fight over who'll have the last spoon! Try it, the most ardent of eggplant haters will take second and third helpings of this one.



Baingan ka raita

Ingredients

Eggplant - 2 (preferably the long thin ones)
Yoghurt - 250 gms
Rock salt
Sugar
Oil for deep frying, plus some more for tempering
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Garlic - 2 cloves, thinly sliced
Curry leaves - 7
Hing/Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Red chillies - 2

Method:

Cut the eggplant into thin round slices - think wafers. Deep fry till crisp and set aside.

Add salt and sugar to the yoghurt - this has to be on the sweeter side and whisk it together. Just before serving, place the fried eggplant on top of the yoghurt.

Heat oil reserved for the tempering - I use about one and half tbsp. Add the garlic to the oil and cook till the garlic is nicely browned. Next add the mustard seeds, followed by the curry leaves, red chillies and finally, the asafoetida. Pour the tempering on top of the fried eggplant. Squeeze lemon juice on top, mix and serve.

While you can fry the eggplants in advance and mix the yoghurt with salt and sugar ahead of time, do ensure that you place the eggplants on the yoghurt and make the tempering just before serving - else the eggplants will go all soft and mushy - the crispy eggplants with the cold yoghurt is the essence of this raita.

And now lets talk about the deep frying bit - I've done all possible things with the eggplant for this one - roasted on a pan, grilled them, shallow fried them. All of these are fine and don't affect the taste too much. But if presentation is what you are seeking, especially when entertaining, then deep fried is the way to go.


This is a very versatile raita and goes very well with just about anything. I love to have this as a side when I make rajma or chhole or biryani.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Chicken in oyster sauce and Red - the end

As a result of all the visions she kept having over all these years, Arva had become obssessed with Chinese food. She kept going to every Chinese restaurant she could find, kept cooking Chinese food and had an enviable collection of chopsticks - all in the hope that something would trigger a recall - but until now, nothing had worked. All that had happened was that she could whip an excellent Chinese meal at the drop of a hat.



Chicken in oyster sauce

Ingredients:

Boneless chicken - 500 gms, cut into cubes
Onions - 2 , cut into cubes and separate the slices
ginger and garlic, 1 tbsp each, finely minced
Bell pepper - 1.5 (I used a mix of red, yellow and green for a better look), cut into cubes
Mushrooms - 6, sliced
spring onion, for garnish
oil - 1.5 tbsp

for the marinade:

oyster sauce - 1 tbsp
soy sauce - 1 tsp
red wine vinegar or grape flavoured vinegar - 1 tbsp

for the sauce:

(these are approximate measures, since I eye -balled these)

oyster sauce - 3 tbsps
soy sauce - 1 tbsp
red wine vinegar - 1 tbsp
brown sugar - 1 tsp
red chilli flakes - 1/2 tsp (or as per your spice tolerance level)
cornflour - 1 tsp, dissolved in a little water

Method:

Whisk the marinade together and add to the chicken. Let the chicken marinate for about half an hour.
Heat oil and stir fry the ginger, garlic and half the onion on high flame for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken and cook till done. Set aside.

While the chicken is cooking, mix the ingredients for the sauce together.

In the same pan, add a little bit of oil and stir fry the mushrooms, followed by the remaining onions and the bell peppers. Cook for a minute - you want the onions and the peppers to retain their crunch. Add the cooked chicken and stir for a half a minute. Make a well in the middle of the pan and add the sauce. Cook till sauce starts to bubble and thickens. Since all the sauces contain salt, taste at this point and then add salt, if needed. Garnish with spring onions and serve hot with rice.

Red - the end (continued from part 1 and part 2)

The abortion was scheduled a week hence. It was an agonising time for Arva. The visions kept recurring, yet she felt unable to share it with Raghav. Though he was extremely caring, Arva knew he was actually very unhappy with her decision and this was causing a considerable strain in their relations.


For just a few moments, she was actually tempted to go ahead with the pregnancy, just for his sake. But those were fleeting thoughts and here she was now in the OT. Arva looked around her as the doctors and nurses buzzed about in the procedure room, their movements so well co-ordinated and seamless. "This is it," she thought. "There's is no going back now..." Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud clanging noise - one of the instrument trays had fallen to the floor.

And then it came back to her. The memory came gushing out as if someone had opened the floodgates.

They were at a Chinese restaurant. Arva, all of 8 at that time, had encountered chopsticks for the first time and was absolutely intrigued at the prospect of eating with them. Her excitement was, however, somewhat dampened though by her normally gregarious older sister who appeared extremely anxious about something. "Here didi, from me to you, with love. The pretty waitress in red let me keep these," she said to her sister, handing her the chopsticks, hoping to humour her.

That night, she was woken up by the sound of muffled sobs. Curiously, she walked to the source of the sound - the bathroom. Curiosity quickly turned to horror when she saw her sister in the bathtub, curled up in pain, her pyjamas completely stained in blood, the bloody chopstick in her hand clanging as it fell to the floor. "Mama," Arva had screamed.

Lying here in the hospital, as the long suppressed memory returned and the horror of her sister's actions and the reason for all those visions now became clear to her, Arva saw the doctor moving in to start the procedure.

One year later....

She was returning to her desk after a year. So much had happened in the last one year, so much that she had to share with her colleagues. "My my, look at you Arva! You are looking absolutely gorgeous. Who would say that you had a baby just few months ago,"gushed Divya.

The end.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thai Green Mango Salad and Red - part 2

"Divya, can you order a spicy green mango salad for me please," she replied. The sweet and sour salad was just what she needed to satiate her hunger and more so, her craving for something really tasty!

Thai green mango salad





Ingredients:
Thai green mango - 2, shredded
Shallots - 1, sliced
Green/red chilli - 2
Roasted peanuts, pounded coarsely - 2 tbsp
Coriander, finely chopped - 1 tbsp

for the dressing

honey - 1 tbsp
lime juice - 1 tsp
soy sauce - 1/4 tsp
thai fish sauce - 1.5 tsp (else, use vegetarian fish sauce)

Method:

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
Mix the mangoes, onions, chillies and peanut powder and let chill in the fridge.

Toss these in the dressing just before serving. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve. Simple and delicious!!

I don't always get thai green mangoes, in which case I substitute those with sprouts and granny smith green apples - and it tastes just as good.

Red - part 2 (part 1 here)

"But I don't want to have the baby Raghav. Not now. And nothing you do or say is going to make me change my mind." Finally, very reluctantly, Raghav, anguished as he was at her decision, had given in. That night, for the first time since their marriage 4 years ago, Raghav and she had slept in separate bedrooms.

But sleep eluded her and as she tossed restlessly, the vision returned to haunt her again, after a long time. It was the same vision as always. Of a Chinese restaurant, food being served by waitresses dressed in red. An anxious young girl. And chopsticks clanging to the floor. Red floor. Blood stained floor. And someone screaming, calling out "mama."

Though she had had this vision for many years, in fact since her pre-teen years, she could feel a chill run down her spine. For long, she had thought that it had something to do with her future, but of late, she was increasingly convinced that it had everything to do with her past. She knew this was some old memory straining to come out. Like a caged bird restlessly trying to flutter out of its cage.

But what memory was it? Try as she did, she was never able to recall anything beyond what she saw - a Chinese restaurant, waitresses in red and the chopsticks falling on the red floor, followed by the crying child.

She tried to push the vision to the back of her mind - she had other things on her plate right now. Tomorrow, she thought, she would fix an appointment with the gynae and have everything sorted by the weekend.

However, she couldn't push back the vision or the feeling of dread that seemed to fill her entire being. Her heart hammered and she broke into a sweat. Why were the visions occurring with such an intensity now? And what was it about the Chinese restaurant and the chopsticks? And why couldn't she recollect anything? Or was she wrong - did it portend the future after all?

end of part 2

Monday, February 9, 2009

Red

No, this is not about Click - Red. It is, well, the title of a short story. Short story? In a food blog?

Well....

I have always liked writing stories. Some get torn (deleted) before I show them to anyone, others get shared with family. And for some reason, I want to post them here.

Again, yes, this is a food blog. So - the stories will be interspersed with references to food and yes, there will be recipes linked to the story.

I hope it goes down well with you guys. So fingers crossed and here we go....


Red

The little blue line confirmed her worst fears. The weird food cravings - just last night, she had gobbled down 2 slices of cake, the nausea, the morning sickness...and the delayed period. She didn't need the little blue line to confirm what she'd had suspected all along.

As she lay on the bed staring at that blue line, Arva weighed her options. The baby wasn't part of her plan - she who did everything in her life as per a proper plan - well not at least for the next couple of years. She was doing very well in her job and baby would apply the brakes on her progression, she thought. And yet, in a weird way, she felt happy. Raghav, she knew, would be elated - how she wished he were here to share the moment. Maybe she should have the baby after all.

She had a meeting scheduled with her boss this morning - who would be in a good mood considering the last project she had handled had been praised immensely by the client - no better time to discuss her situation with him!

However, the meeting didn't go off quite as she had planned it. In fact, she had not said anything that she had planned to, on the contrary, she left the meeting feeling quite dazed....She was offered a prestigious project - the one a lot of her colleagues were vying for - literally on a platter. But accepting it meant that she would have to relocate to Kenya for a year. And accomplishing it would catapult her career into an entirely new dimension.

No, there was no way she could have this baby. Not now. No way. She was amazed at how her mind had oscillated from feeling happy about her pregnancy to now being absolutely against having the baby. She had worked very hard to get where she was today in her job and didn't want to throw it all away just when she was starting to reap the benefits of her hard work.

"We are ordering lunch," said Divya, interrupting her thoughts. "You want to order anything?"

But all she could think of was the baby. It all seemed so unfair, she despaired. If only she could have the baby and do the project as well. But she knew that was not going to be possible. It was either the baby or the project, she knew she had to decide and very soon. And Raghav? He, who had been so supportive about her work - she knew how heart-broken he would be at her decision. She would convince him, after all, she was still young, the time for having a baby would come later.

"Lunchhhh," Divya repeated again. "Where are you lost today?"

"Lunch? Yes, pass me the menu please, " she answered. Maybe, she thought, I should order a raw papaya salad. After all, wasn't raw papaya supposed to induce abortions?

"Divya, can you order....


end of part one. Any guesses anyone on what recipe I am going to post?





Friday, February 6, 2009

Fusilli in red bell pepper sauce

Admittedly, it is a bad - very bad - idea to do a post on an empty stomach. Worse still, to do a post on pasta when you are actually having something else for dinner. Gosh..I am actually drooling all over the keyboard!!


I absolutely love pasta. Give it to me anytime, anywhere. I will lick the plate clean and ask for more. Yes, even if it has brocolli in it.


In fact, don't think I know anyone who doesn't like pasta.
Or do I?
Casts an accusing look at the husband - lets call him Terradaze, shall we? Well, Terradaze doesn't care too much for pasta. And that's putting it rather mildly.


So, pasta is not something you'd find me cooking for the two of us. And while I don't quite fancy cooking just for myself, there are times when I will happily spend a lot of time browsing several recipes to cook just one bowl of pasta.





Ingredients:


Red bell pepper - 3
Onion - 1
garlic - 2 large cloves, chopped
cream - 1/3 cup
fat free cheese slices - 2
tobasco sauce or chilli flakes, italian seasoning and salt - to taste
sundried tomatoes - 50 gms
olive oil - 1 tbsp
chicken - 2 drumsticks, boiled and de-boned, optional
black pitted olives - 1 tbsp
grated cheese - for garnish
pasta (preferably fusilli or penne) - 200 gms


Method:

Cut the bell into half, de-seed and coat with a bit of oil. Pre-heat the oven to 175 degC and grill the peppers till the skin is blackened. (Altenatively, insert a skewer and roast over the gas flame).

Place them in a ziploc bag for about 15-20 mins. Once cool, peel and chop the peppers.

Heat oil and add the garlic and the onion and saute till the onion turns translucent. Add the peppers and saute for about 5 minutes. Blend to a puree. Return to the pan, add the cream, cheese slices, sundried tomatoes, chicken (if using) and the seasonings - the addition of sundried tomatoes gives the sauce a lovely tartness. . Simmer for about 5 - 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente . I normally cook my pasta in chicken/vegetable stock (or by adding a stock cube), it enhances the flavour of the pasta. Toss with the prepared sauce and garnish with black olives and parmesan cheese. I like to chill my pasta for a bit before settling on the sofa and slurping it!


Sending this to Ruth for Presto Pasta Nights.




Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rounding up the Peanuts Part II

Hope you relished Part I of the round up. Here's Part II of the round -up.


(If I have inadvertently missed any of your entries in the round up, please leave me a message, I will pick up the entry from your blog directly).


Accompaniments:

The simplest of vegetables have their taste enhanced with the addition of peanuts as you will discover when you make these:

Supriya of Queen of my kitchen sends an explosion flavours with her Tofu and veggies in peanut ginger sauce!



Priya of Priya's Easy n Tasty Recipes makes a Ridgegourd Peanuts Curry, the way her grandma used to make it .


Shama from Easy2cook recipes sends in this very unique Ladies finger in thick peanut gravy.



Meera of Enjoy Indian Food makes the very yummy quintessential Maharashtrian fasting dish Shendanyachi amti (peanut stew).



You've got to try the hot and spicy Mirchi ka salan from Yasmeen of Health Nut



Srivalli of Cooking 4 all seasons adds a lovely nutty twist in her cauliflower sukhi with peanuts.

Notyet100 of Asankhana makes this Potato peanut bhaji and Dal dhokali .






Hema of Adlak's Kitchen makes Peanut potato crunchy, a crunchy potato treat and Peanut Masala a very different accompaniment to rice/rotis.







Rice/noodles

Its been said that the easiest way of adding nuts to your diet is to simply sprinkle them on food. Hema and Shama lead the way in adding them on rice in these delicious rice dishes:

Shama of Easy2cook recipes sends in these:


Puliyotharia/Tamarind rice


Lemon rice


Sprouted dals multi protein rice


Coconut rice


From Hema of Adlak's Kitchen, we have:


Iyengar's Puliodharai aka tamarind rice


Lemony Lemon - a tangy tasty masala bath





Peanut Cup Rice, a lovely way to spice up good ol' rice!



And while you are here, do check out my entries for the event - Soba Noodles in Orange Peanut Dressing and Jeera Alu with Peanuts.

Hope you have enjoyed going nutty with Peanuts. And don't forget to join me for Let's Go Nuts: Walnuts and Pecans. Looking forward to your entries!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rounding up the Peanuts - Part I

For a long time after I anounced Let's Go Nuts: Peanuts, there were no entries. By the time it was the 20th, I thought I was going to get, well for want of a better analogy, peanuts. Or no peanuts. Believe me, I was considering digging a hole somewhere and burying myself in it!

But then, slowly, the entries started trickling in. And by the end of the month, I had 17 bloggers send me 30 entries!!

I really didn't expect it and thank you all for your whole hearted participation. I will be doing the round-up in 2 parts. Without further ado, here's Part I of the round up.

Snacks/Starters

Peanuts lend themselves beautifully to so many delicious and easy to make munchies all packed with flavour and health. Just check these out:

Sorry Poornima, that I missed your entry to the event. Guys, do take a look at her Sabudana Khichdi, easy to make and undoubtedly tasty!







Hema of Adlak's Kitchen sends in this Peanut Dry Masala.






From Easy Crafts of Simple Indian Food, we have Sabudana Upma.




Priya of Priya's Easy n Tasty Recipes , a quick and easy breakfast dish, Coconut poha , made more delicious with the addition of peanuts.






A popular Andhra street food, Bajji mixture comes in courtesy Andhra Flavors.






Renu of Meri Rasoi whips up this tasty peanut starter!





Sprouts bag, an innovative snack, from Shama of Easy2cook recipes .


From Usha of Veg Inspirations , we have the quick and easy Microwave masala peanuts.





Cham of Spice club also dishes out delicious masala peanuts!





Maya of Konkan world makes this delicious Sabudana Thalipeeth.






Chutneys and podis




Fancy a twist to the normal chutneys? Take a look at the following and you'll never be at a loss for ideas:




From Easy Crafts of Simple Indian Food, Verusenaga (groundnuts) podi , a spicy dry chutney.





Shama from Easy2cook recipes makes this peanut groundnut chutney.





VnV of Veggie Monologues comes up with a tangy and very unique Tomatillo Cilantro Peanut Chutney.

A lovely mixed nut Nutty chutney from Yasmeen of Health Nut.






Supriya of Celebrating Little Things In Life sends in this fiery peanut chutney.



Preety of Preety's Kitchen a very different peanut (moongfali) chutney with onions, ginger and garlic.







Guilt free treats

Guilt free and treats? Is this an oxymoron? Well, feast on these lovely treats....they are tasty and healthy too!

Usha of Veg Inspirations makes this lip smacking and healthy Sugarless Fruit and Nut Fudge.





Yasmeen of Health Nut sends in these unique Sweet Potato Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Peanut Butter cream cheese frosting and Peanut Bites







Coming up in the second round are stir fry vegetables, gravies, rice and noodles. Do come in and check that out as well!!


Monday, February 2, 2009

Announcing Lets Go Nuts: walnuts and pecans

One of the commonest gifts that we received during Diwali were boxes of dry fruits. Sis and I would quickly polish off the raisins, cashewnuts, dates and almonds (in that order), leaving the walnuts behind.
"Eat the walnuts, they are very good for you. They will make your brain grow...can't you see, they even look like the brain" our grandma would say urging us to eat the walnuts.
But we would stubbornly dismiss her."You say walnuts and we say brownies", we'd say to her. After all, with the slightly bitter taste, who wanted to eat them unless they were in them brownies!!

Grandma is long gone, but yes ajji, you were so right about the walnuts being good for our brains.


Our brain cells are composed primarily of fats and to keep them functioning properly, the brain cells need to be continuously replenished mainly with omega 3 fats. Walnuts are rich in Omega 3, in fact they are one of the best sources of omega3fatty acids.

In addition, recent research suggests that walnuts and pecans have a plethora of health benefits:

- the protective fat from walnuts can in fact undo some of the detrimental effects of a diet high in saturated fats. Research has indicated that eating walnuts after a fatty meal help to reduce the sudden onset of harmful inflammation and oxidation in arteries that follows a meal high in saturated fat. But hey, this doesn't imply that one can eat what one wishes so long as you eat walnuts!!

- walnuts alongwith pecan nuts and chestnuts have the highest concentration of anti - oxidants in the nut family and numerous studies have shown that consumption of these nuts lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.

- not only do walnuts and pecans keep the LDL and total cholesterol levels at bay(thereby improving the HDL to LDL ratio), they also significantly increase the arterial elasticity. Moreover, walnuts are effective in reducing levels of certain molecules that contribute to atherosclerosis.
In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently cleared the health claim that "eating 1.5 ounces per day of walnuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease."

- most importantly, walnuts and pecan nuts also contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid, which blocks the metabolic pathways that can lead to cancer. Ellagic acid not only helps protect healthy cells from free radical damage, but also helps detoxify potential cancer-causing substances and helps prevent cancer cells from replicating.

- in addition, walnuts help prevent and control high blood pressure, protect bone health, promote good sleep and prevent gallstones.

- the vitamin E in pecans is believed to be beneficial for intestinial and prostrate health.

This is just a snapshot of the many health benefits of walnuts and pecans, for a more detailed understanding look here and here.

So....just cook with walnuts and pecans between now and Feb. 28 and send them to me at servedwithlove.aquadaze@gmail.com. Don't forget to include:

- your blog name
-the URL of your entry
- a picture of your entry

As before, old posts re-posted linking to this announcement are welcome. And multiple entries? Yes, yes, yes!!

Thank you all for your participation in Let's go nuts: Peanuts. Round up's being posted on Wednesday, Feb.4.

And if any of you would like to host Let's go nuts, do write to me!!





It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!

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