Sunday, January 31, 2010

Appetizer At It's Best

This weekend like any other has been quite hectic with activities and parties. Had couple of birthdays to attend and wrapped up the weekend with kids play date. Saturday night had a chance to catch with few girl friends and boy it was fun, the end result of too much fun on Saturday night resulted in waking up with sharp headache Sunday morning which continued through out the day .

Had invited few of my younger kids classmates for a play date, I tell you with the little one I never actually take time to set up play dates, I remember how many play dates we had with Kid1. Kid2 practically cried and threw tantrums until he had his friends over.

Now if you know me, you would know how passionate I am about gardening, Its fruiting season for Guava and this year we had Guava fruit in abundance, I mean it literally . My tree variety does not grow big fruit instead they grow about the size of a ping-pong ball or little bigger, but mind you they are very big on taste. My home grown Guava's taste super sweet and remind me of Guava's back home.

So served these fruit cut into pieces along with red chili powder mixed with salt as one of the appetizer for my kids play date. Lets just say parents and kids alike love it.

Its almost Monday and I am already feeling the blues !!

Mocktail - Reposting


Re posting a mocktail for this saturday night, I am looking forward to an evening with friends.
Click here for Mocktail and Corn chat recipes

Friday, January 29, 2010

TGIF


(Rose from my garden in summer)

So glad that it's the weekend, this week seems to have been a very long week for me. I am in total blank about what to write today, all I can say is TGIF !! .

Have a nice weekend everyone !!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Corriander Chutney / Kottimera Pachadi

Corriander Chutney / Kottimera Pachadi


Coriander leaves as much as they are used as garnish makes excellent chutney. There are many versions of coriander chutney some mild and used as dipping sauces for appetizers like samosa’s or pakoda’s, some versions used as base for sandwich my favorite and today’s version very south Indian version usually eaten with rice. This chutney when stored in airtight jar lasts for a week.
Again this chutney can be made with many variations; coriander leaves are very forgiving and also usually overpower spices.

Sometimes I feel it’s a crime to cook vegetables and greens till they loose they color and shape but that’s the only way I learnt, though I now try to make them adunte or crunchy.
Ingredients
2 bunches of fresh coriander cleaned and chopped finely
2 garlic cloves
About ½ a cup of tamarind pulp
2 tbsp dhania seeds (coriander seeds)
2 tbsp jeera (cumin)
2 tbsp sesame seeds
4-5 red chilies (adjust according to taste)
Pinch of hing (optional)
Salt according to taste
2-3 tbsp of oil
Process
1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan, add dhania, jeera, sesame seeds, red chilies and pinch of hing.
2. Sauté it till it releases a nice aroma approx – 2~3 minutes
3. Remove above from heat and keep aside
4. In the same pan add about 2 tbsp of oil, add peeled garlic and chopped coriander and sauté for about 3~4 minutes
5. Now grind coriander mixture and dry roasted ingredients with tamarind pulp and salt.
6. Remove from grinder and adjust salt according to taste.

Tastes extremely well with rice and roti’s and will last for about a week in an airtight container.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Phir Mile Sur Mera Thumhara

I remember the wave of emotions I felt when I first saw Mile Sur Mera Thumhara on our good old doordarshan ages ago while still in school, it seemed so magical, so powerful it invoked patriotism and a proud feeling. Now few decades later watched the jazzed up version, though its done well must say I don't feel the same kind of emotion. Newer version seems so commercialized,bollywoodish, I mean come on isn't there a better representation of India besides Bacchan clan and Khan clan, what happened to all the pioneers like creators of Infosys, who literally changed the face of India, original version had true spirit but never the less India is changing rapidly and so new version captures that changing India I guess.










More on new Phir mile from my favorite humor blog

What is your choice old is gold or to the new beginings ?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Turnip Sabji/ Radish Fry With Coconut

Radish Sabji

Turnip sabji is a new dish new that I tried last week, I realized that few years cooking you get so much into your comfort zone that its hard to try new vegetables and if you have kids who are picky eaters this process of cooking new vegetables becomes even rare, I tend to stick with safe choices ie vegetables that I am sure kids would eat, also with the given weather its hard to find any vegetables, most available are root vegetables.

Turnip are pretty flavorless bulbs, I mean they do have a distinct pungent smell but no distinct taste, though they seem very hard to cut , they cook fairly quick.

Cooked turnips pretty south Indian way with coconut and green chilies.

Ingredients

3 medium sized turnips
1/2 cup grated coconut
few sprigs of coriander

For seasoning
1 tbsp jeera/cumin seeds
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tbsp mustard seeds
4-5 green chilies
10- 15 curry leaves
2-3 tbsp of oil.

Process
1. Peel turnip and cut them into cubes of about an inch.
2. In a pan heat 2 tbsp oil, when hot add all the ingredients for seasoning, when mustard starts to splutter add cubes turnips.
3. Add grated coconut and salt and toss till turnips cubes are covered.
4. Cooked covered for about 8 minutes.
5. Check for doneness, sprinkle generous corriander leaves.



Goes well with hot rice and roti's

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy 60th Republic Day

India celebrates its 60th Republic day today.


Salutations to all the unsung hero's from past and present .

Jana Gana Mana rendered by Rabindra Nath Tagore to Gandhiji.

Jana Gana Mana rendered by all famous singers of India.

Jana Gana Mana rendered by kids .

No matter what age, kind of voice, gender of who renders it, it brings immense pride and joy to me !!

Happy 60th Republic Day !!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Corn Masala/Curried Corn

Corn Masala/Curried Corn

This is my moms trade mark dish and my favorite too. I love curried corn and I make this quite a few time in summer when corn is abundant and tastes sweet. Unlike Indian corns, corns here taste extremely sweet and are very soft which makes it even tastier.
Ingredients
4-5 corns cut into about 3 inch
2 onions
about 2 inches long ginger slice
4-5 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp besan/senaga pindi
2 tbsp garam masala/ dhania powder (optional)
salt according to taste
For seasoning
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp jeera /cumin
2 tbsp urad dal
4-5 red chilies
10-15 curry leaves
a pinch of hing
Process
1. Boil corn in salt water either in a pressure cooker or microwave.
2. Heat pan add oil when hot, add all the ingredients for seasoning.
3. In a food processor add onion, ginger and garlic and chop roughly, don't make it too fine. It should be roughly chopped.
4. To the heated pan add the above paste and saute till the raw smell of onion is gone , takes about 3-4 minutes add garam masala if you wish.
5. Now add boiled corn and about 1-2 cups of water and allow to boil for about 6-8 minutes.
6. add besan to few table spoons of water and make it into a fine paste, add the above paste to boiling corn.
7. Check salt and adjust accordingly.
8. Allow to boil in simmer for another 8 -10 minutes with lid closed .
Remove from heat and serve.
Trust me try it once and I am sure you will love it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Village Idiot

Now how about a blog where any Indian movie can be described in few hand drawn pictures in a comic form and to the point.

I love Indian movie comic review blog called http://www.thevigilidiot.com/
So well summarized, seriously I watch movie only after I see the review on this blog. I love it go check it out and let me know what you think.

Village Idiot can be found @http://www.thevigilidiot.com/
Follow on twitter @ http://twitter.com/sahilriz

Friday, January 22, 2010

Finally Weekend Is Here

Finally weekend is here, well today turned out to be much much better than yesterday, had a lovely dinner with extended family, growing up staying with cousins for the weekend was something we really looked forward too and I am so glad my kids have their cousins staying close by, so kids are having fun sleepover.
Friday afternoons we at work have maintained a tradition of going out for lunch and today's lunch was Pizza and that too desi pizza at Tasty Indian Pizza. Lovely lovely pizza with very desi flavors, even the garlic bread had cumin powder, though it sounds weird trust me they are delicious.
If in bay area this is a must try. Check out their unique menu named after yester year hit movies and yes latest addition to their menu is 3 Idiots.


Ordered Sholay pizza, pizza with choley and comes dressed with mint sauce. Light and tasty and now if you like your spicy just mention "gabbar eshtyle"

Address for Desi Pizza http://www.tastyindianpizza.com/

528 Lawrence expressway

Sunny vale,CA,94086

Enjoy your weekend






Thursday, January 21, 2010

Feeling The Blues

I guess it has to do with the weather, rainy and cold. Just like to curl up in my goosedown and don't even want to step out. Don't you agree some days everything seems to go wrong, took me 45+ minutes to go to work in the morning ,kid forgot to take his lunch had to go to school to drop it, had to rush for an appointment during lunch break , went to a store did shopping only to realize that I forgot my wallet, I tell you day was jinxed, So glad its come to an end and yes its the weekend. This week seemed to have lasted forever.
Something to add color to my post, pic from my last trip to India.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Dose Of Super Cuteness and Creativity

Today would like to introduce blogger and talented baker Bakerella to my readers through my blog, I have been following her blog since quite a long time. Her creations make me drool and stare in awe. Few of her creations from her blog.Her creations be it cupcakes or cakes on a stick are very unique and fun.
seriously can it get any cuter than these.

Cake on a stick now that true creativity, check out her blog for step by step picture instructions.
Inspiration for your next pool party
Garfield never looked so much cuter.Hope you find your next birthday party inspiration from Bakerella.
Bakerella can be found at http://www.bakerella.com/
All photo credits courtesy bakerella.com

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Spicy Toasted Chick Peas - Chaana Jor Gharam

Spicy Toasted Chick Peas - Chaana Jor Gharam

Thanks to living in bay area we enjoy all the perks of celebrating festivals, never miss India. In fact I think we are much more into celebrating festivals traditionally than compared to India. This weekend went to a friend’s place who celebrated Sanrkanthi in a true traditional way with Bommalakoluvu and best part she had gobbama (though created with play dough) and the ladies danced around and sang. I don’t think I have ever done this growing up. It truly reminded me of home.

Offering soaked chickpeas is a tradition along with Haldi and Kumkum. I was in a baking phase this weekend and decided to toast chickpeas in the oven end result was channa jor gharam. Spicy, crunchy and tasty toasted chickpeas.

Super simple

Ingredients

1 cup soaked chickpeas (preferably overnight)

½ tbsp cumin powder

½ tbsp red chili powder

½ chaat masala

Few drops of olive oil or Pam

Salt according to taste

Process

1. Pre heat oven to 425 degrees.

2.In a non-stick baking pan, add chick peas and spray with pam or few drop of olive oil till all the chickpeas are well coated.

2. Add cumin,chili, chaat masala and salt and toss till all the chick peas are coated and covered well.
3. Bake them in the oven for 15 minutes, turning them once in the middle.
4. Allow to cool down and relish with a hot cup of tea.

These taste really crunchy and you can mix in any other flavors/spices of your choice.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Best Dessert Ever and Guilt Free- Can This Be True ?

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Raw Cane Sugar/ Jaggery




Well desserts don’t always have to involve sugar and butter, and fat free desserts don’t always have to tasty cardboardy. I am very a cautious eater when it comes to eating desserts, learnt it that you really don’t have to eat cakes, chocolates, jalebi’s or ice creams to satisfy your sweet cravings. If you look around we have tons of healthy options like fruits, several combination of fruits and citrus, fruits with aged balsamic vinegar, grilled fruits topped with raw cane sugar or jaggery. All these are as tasty and satisfying as other sugar delights mentioned above.

Now coming to today’s dessert instead of fruit I used sweet potatoes my newest favorite. Seriously it’s loaded with fiber, Vitamin A&C, iron and calcium and low on fat.


A little time taking, but hey I wouldn’t mind waiting for the end result.

So here goes bakes Sweet Potatoes/Yam with Raw cane sugar or Jaggery in pictures.

Ingredients

6 Sweet potatoes

3 tbsp raw sugar

Aluminum foil to wrap them.

1.Pre heat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Clean sweet potatoes and wipe them dry, Cut in half length wise.


3. Place sweet potatoes in aluminum foil cut side up, drizzle or rather rub cut side with olive oil or you can use pam to spray the surface. 4. Now sprinkle raw cane sugar or jaggery over the sweet potatoes.
5. Wrap them in aluminium foil and place them in a tray on the lower rack of the oven.
6. Allow them to bake for about 30 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and serve hot.
You can add butter when giving to kids since it makes it even more creamy. Seriously I love the taste and happy that its guilt free.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Creamy Roasted Garlic And Broccoli Soup

Creamy Roasted Garlic And Broccoli Soup

Today was the kind of weather that called for a warm spicy and comfy soup, would have been super be nice if it was served on the bed. Wanted to make something quick and this is my standard process for making any soups, vegetables vary but process remains the same. I use seasonal vegetables like squash, tomatoes, cauliflower etc. Today its broccoli right from the freezer.

Process for roasting Garlic

Garlic when roasted has very sweet taste and does not seem that pungent. Roasted garlic can be used in other dishes like pasta or mixed /added to butter and top sourdough bread, nothing beats the taste.


1. Cut garlic pod horizontally into two

2. Pre heat oven to 425 degrees

3. Rub olive oil on the cut side of garlic and wrap them completely in aluminum foil

4. Place the foil on the lower rack of the oven for about 20 minutes

1. Turn of the oven after 20 minutes and allow garlic to rest for few more minutes.

2. Once its cool, you can squeeze the garlic and it falls of the skin.

Ingredients for soup

Makes about 3 cups

2 cups frozen broccoli

½ cup milk/cream

½ tbsp curry powder (optional)

1 tbsp fresh ground pepper

3 cloves of roasted garlic

Salt according to taste

Process

1. 1.Pressure cook broccoli in a cooker with salt, alternately cook in microwave with water on high for 5 minutes, make sure to add salt to the water

2. 2.When broccoli is cooked, use blender and blend Broccoli into creamy consistency

3. 3.Add milk and roasted garlic and blend all the ingredients till they turn creamy

4. 4.Add pepper and allow it boil for 4-5 minutes

5.Remove from heat and serve.

Top soup with toasted bread, pine nuts a dollop of fresh cream or butter and serve.

Makes for a comfort food during rainy days.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Dose Of Goodness

A Dose Of Goodness

This week I wanted to share few of my favorite reads, I subscribe to more that 200 sites, each with its own speciality be it travel, technology, food, people, photos and everything under the sun. Some just blow me away with their creativity, wit and sheer love of what they do. Bless those souls who find they calling and passion. Today's site I would like to introduce is http://thingsweforget.blogspot.com/
Simple words and hand drawn picture but ooze with optimism and positivity.
Check them out, below are few of my favorites and yes he has been posting everyday I think since last one year, now talk about passion.






Happy Sunday !!

Friday, January 15, 2010

No Bake Cheese Cake

No Bake Cheesecake
Made this couple of weeks ago when we had friends over, It's one easy dessert to make and you can customize to your choice.

Ingredients.
1 Pack of no bake Jello Cheesecake mix

2 spoons Guava Jelly

Process

1.Mix ingredients according to instructions and serve, you can add lemon zest and lemon juice.

2.Top if with your favorite sauce and garnish with berries .

3.Looks exoctic and simple to make.


Spacing out for today. Looking forward to the longweek end .

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Officially Baptized



So here I am writing my first post from my very own 17 inches MacBook pro my first foray into Apple OS, must admit I am so blown away. Have been playing with this puppy since evening. Few hours working on it made me realize what perfection and attention to details mean. I am in LOVE already.

Well my affair with Apple started with iPod then iPhone and now it is Mac what next black turtle neck tee may be?
Oh did I mention I got a sweet deal on this, which for some freaky reason makes my iMac even super cool.

In Mr. Jobs own words How to live before you die, one inspiring speech.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bowl Full Of Goodness - Roasted Brussel Sprouts With Sea Salts

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.
--- Sir Winston Churchill
Help victims of Haiti generously . Here's how you can help

Brussels sprouts isn't the first vegetable that comes to mind when you think of a healthy snack , usually its carrots or celery that top the list, but trust me once you have learnt to cook this cousin of Cabbage right way they sure would become a favorite. In fact they actually make a complete meal by themselves. With the cold season you hardly find vegetables in farmers market, however this is the season for Brussel sprouts. If you can't find fresh frozen ones work like a charm.
This is the time to take out your fancy salts that you have brought on your impulsive shopping spree, at least that's the way it is for me. Garlic salt, herb flavored salt, Himalayan salt or any sea salt for that matter makes quite a difference in taste.
Ingredients
2 cups of frozen/fresh petite Brussel sprouts
2tbsp Olive oil (substitute Pam or any non stick oil)
1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp Flavored salts ( I used Lemon Garlic sea salt)
Process
1. Boil frozen/fresh Brussel sprouts in salt water for 3-4 minutes
2. Heat pan with 2 tbsp Olive oil
3. When hot add boiled Brussel sprouts
4. Cook covered for 2 minutes
5. Remove cover and stir fry till Brussels turn golden brown color
6. Add salt and fresh ground pepper

Toss and serve warm. Guilt free snack , high on taste and low on calories.
I have done my part for Haiti, please be generous and help !!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sankranti Subhakanshalu - Pulihara

Sankranti Subhakanshalu - Pulihara
Well I am so glad my previous post was liked, it made me all teary and nostalgic and transported me back to my grandparents home. Never the less as everyone would have experienced food is a central part of any festivities, each festival has its own special and unique dishes. Since Pongal is celebrated for three days a sure festive dish is Pulihora or tamarind rice. This is also a typical dish that's offered to god and distributed as Prashadam in South Indian temples. Though it seems really hard to make, it is actually very easy, a little time consuming yes, but wouldn't you for the taste .
So here goes my version
2 cups raw rice (Rice should be cooked in way that grains are separated)
For Tamarind Paste
Pulp of tamarind equaling about a cup
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sugar or jaggery

For seasoning
20 fresh curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp channa dal
1 tsp teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tbsp urad dal
3-4 tbsp Channa dal
6-8 Red chillis
6 green chilies slit lengthwise
Ginger finely shopped
1/2 tsp asafoetida/hing
5-6 tbsp oil
1 cup roasted peanuts /and /or/cashew nuts
3 tbsps oil
Salt according to taste

Process
1. Allow rice to cool down, when cool to touch add salt, haldi and 2 tbsp oil and mix well.
2. In a pan add remaining oil, when oil is heated add all the ingredients for seasoning (except nuts) and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
3. To this add tamarind pulp and sugar and allow to boil until pulp thickens and looses its raw taste, takes about 5 minutes
4. Add the above mixture to rice and mix well. Add nuts and adjust salt accordingly.

Let it rest and cool down, it tastes best when served at room temperature and even better the next day.
అందరికి మనసుపుర్వక సంక్రాంతి శుభాకాంక్షలు

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Celebrating Sankranti In Pictures

Makara Sankranti Subhakanshalu
Because picture says a thousand words showcasing Sankranti in pictures
Sankranti is a harvest festival celebrated in southern part of India, celebrations are more elaborate in rural parts then in the city.
Unlike other Indian festival this has no association with deities. Its a celebration of labour of love for farmers. Usually celebrated for three days first day Bhogi, second day Sankranti and third day Kanuma in honor of cattle.
India is an agricultural country and farmers and farming is its backbone, weeks of ploughing makes fields ready for sowing.
With hopes and prayers to monsoon god and rains brings life to soil.
A drive through costal andhra or konaseema this is a common site, acres of green till your eyes can gaze. Best sight while travelling in train when you pass by these feilds so green and lush.
Most of farming in India is still done manually and involves lot of sweat and hard work from the farmers.
So Pongal occurs about right this time when crop is ready to be harvested, sight of lush green sugarcane and rice fields are very common.
No matter how much India "shines" still bulluck cart carrying heavy loads is a common site and hence the day of festivity celebrating these overworked creatures.
First day Bhogi celebration start with Bhogi mantalu, bonfire lit early in the morning, its a sight to be experienced on a dawn of cold January winter.
households vie with each other in designing and rolling out muggulu of varied hues and sizes, often stretching from one end of the street to the other
Be it the city or country side Rangoli /muggulu makes homes very inviting.
Traditionally girls make gobbama and place them in the rangoli and pray.
Streets would be lined with colorful rangolis/muggulu seems like mother earth is shining in her best colors.
AYYAGARIKI DANDAM pettu, Ammagariki Dandam pettu," yells the heavily dressed, somewhat-fierce moustache-sporting `gangireddulavadu'. The woman of the house offers grain and cloth to the ox/bull - aptly dressed for the occasion - and the ox nods and bows in acknowledgement of the munificence before moving to the next house. (courtsey Hindu online)Sankaranti is also the time when `Haridasus' make their appearance. Sporting a dhoti and a Tanpura in hand.
The Haridasus goes around houses singing and dancing and collecting grains and alms adding to the colour and noise of the festival.
Sankranti special is sweet rice known as 'Pongal', usually cooked in a new earthenware pot which is placed where the puja is to be performed. Then a delicious concoction of rice, moong dal, jaggery and milk is boiled in the pot on an open fire. According to the ritual, this Pongal rice is allowed to boil and spill over. Once the rice is cooked, it is tempered with cashew nuts and raisins fried in ghee. When the Pongal dish is ready, it is offered to the sun god on a new banana leaf.
This auspicious day people wear new clothes and visit temples and offer their prayers

Best part of Sankranti is flying kites, usually a neighbourhood activity.
Seems like there is color on the earth and the skies.
another ritual is called Bhogi pallu where jujube fruits,flowers,coins and candy are put on infants head by elders for wading away bad and evil and wishing them good health.

The charm of this harvest festival is shopping which starts months before, seen here are little girls in pattu parikini or pattu langa or pavada.


Evening calls for celebration called Bommalakoluvu where dolls are stacked and displayed on decorated steps.
I truly miss Pongal I am fortunate to have experienced all these growing up. Cousins, uncles ,aunts ,grand parents and endless fun all four days not to mention non stop activity of playing cards.

Here is wishing all of you a Happy Pongal.
Hope you have enjoyed sights of Pongal, tomorrow will post taste of Pongal.

Click here for Pongals delicacies on my blog

 
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