Monday, May 30, 2011

Bottlegourd in coconut gravy / Suraikkai Paal Kootu | Indian Curry Recipes

Kootu is a gravy based side dish made with vegetables with or without lentils. In south-Indian cooking, it can be tamarind based or coconut based. While adding tamarind gives warmth and tartness, adding coconut to any gravy gives it a unique rich taste. This method of paal kootu with coconut is my personal favorite whose taste I got hooked to when I was working in Chennai and staying at my family friend's house as a paying guest. She is an excellent cook and her food is the best next only to home food. Coming home to a hot and tasty meal, after a tiring day's work is heaven. Oh, how I miss those days... Now for the Suraikai pal kootu.

Bottle gourd - 1 medium sized - peeled and cubed ~ 2 cups
Chana dhal / Split Chick peas - 1/4 cup
Milk - 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
To grind:
Coconut - 3 tbsp
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Green chilli - 1 big
To Temper:
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Broken Red Chilli - 2 
Cook chana dhal in 3/4 cups of water with a dash of salt until soft when pressed but still hold its shape. I pressure cooked it for one whistle. Make a smooth paste of the ingredients under 'To grind' with a little water. In a medium pan, cover and cook bottle gourd with 1/2 cup of water, turmeric powder and salt about 5 to 7 mins. When it is soft, add the ground paste and cooked chana dhal. Allow it to boil until the raw smell of the paste disappears, about 5 mins. Add milk and heat it through. Transfer to a serving bowl. For tempering, heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds, urad dhal, chillies and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds pops, remove from heat and pour it over the kootu. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Carrot Kheer - Celebrating 100th post

Today I am very happy to draft my 100th post in Krithi's Kitchen. I am super-excited and would like to thank all my readers and fellow bloggers for the support. I also want to thank my DH (my constructive critic), family and friends for giving inputs and feedbacks on my journey so far. As in any tradition, a celebration calls for something sweet. I made Carrot kheer to celebrate!
I tasted this kheer after a long time at our friend Anu's house during Boston trip. She was more than happy to share the recipe.
Carrot - 4 medium sized - approx chopped 1 cup
Milk (fat free or reduced fat) - 4 cups
Sugar - 1/2 cup or to taste
Water - 1/4 cup

Pressure cook the chopped carrots with water and just a pinch of salt for 3 whistles. If cooking on stove top, cover and cook until the carrots are very soft. Allow it to cool and puree the cooked carrots in a blender. Boil the milk and allow to cool to room temperature. Mix the pureed carrots, milk and sugar. Pop it in the fridge until time of serve. Garnish with finely grated carrots and Serve it Chilled.
Tip: You may cook and add almonds or pistachios if desired. Make sure you cut the carrots and not grate it. Grated carrots may not puree well (grandma's tip). You can add a tad bit of salt while cooking carrots. This brings out the sweetness well.

This is my first entry to our event Serve It - Chilled happening at Denny's Oh Taste N See for this month.
Also sending to the following events, Kid's Delight - Summer Cooler event by PJ and Srivalli, Only - Coolers and Mocktails event by Pari and Nayna, Summer Coolers event by Sukanya, Show me your Summer Cooler event by Divya.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yardlong beans curry / Paithangai kari

I do not remember eating long beans at my home when I was a kid. I am not sure if it was not made or if it was I who didn't eat. I was a picky eater (back then). But I do remember eating from our friend Denny's lunch box in college whenever she brings this curry. Her mom is a great cook and whenever she prepares this curry and Sundal kulambu, Denny would have to swap her lunch with ours. We all used to finish hers in a wink. Those are good old memories. As soon as I saw the recipe for the long beans at her blog, I bought some on my grocery shopping and immediately tried it. I have tried this curry for a couple of times now and loved it every time. It is a perfect and tasty combo for rice as well as roti.
Yard long beans / Payathangai - 1/2 kg - 1 lb - cut into 1/2" pieces
Onions - chopped - 1 cup
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves -  a few
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Make a paste:
Grated coconut - fresh/frozen - 2 tbsp
Tomato - 1 - cubed
Garlic - 2 cloves
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 3/4 tsp (I reduced this by 1/4 tsp, since I used lesser coconut)
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Grind the ingredients under 'Make a Paste' to a smooth paste adding little or no water. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Now add the beans and fry until it is soft and cooked, about 7-10 mins. Add salt, ground paste and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook for 5 mins. Remove the lid and cook uncovered for another 5 mins until the raw smell disappears and the desired thickness is achieved. 
Tip: I usually cut and freeze vegetables which has shorter life. In this case, I washed the beans in running water and left it to air dry for 30 mins. I then chopped it into 1/2" pieces and placed it in a ziploc bag and stored in the freezer. Green beans, bottle gourd, winter melon and few other vegetables can also be stored in this way in a ziploc bag or freezer safe box.

I am sending this healthy curry to Bookmarked recipes - Every Tuesday event by Aipi and Priya.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Broccoli and Cheese Soup | Soup Recipes

I have tasted Broccoli and cheese soup only twice so far. The first time I tasted it with much reluctance doubting it to be too cheesy. But it was very tasty and not too cheesy. Since I love broccoli, I enjoyed the tiny pieces of it in the soup. Now I had wanted to recreate the soup very much and was successful in my first attempt. It was a simple process with few easy ingredients and would be ready in under 20 minutes in a microwave. Paired with some bread it makes a wholesome meal in itself. One of the main ingredient, cheese (reduced fat) when used in moderation is an excellent source of protein and calcium. Also broccoli is rich in calcium and milk is rich in Vitamin D which helps in better calcium absorption by the body.

I used standard measurements
Serves - 2
Broccoli Florets - 1 cup
Milk - 3 cups
Grated Sharp Cheddar cheese - little less than 1 cup
Olive oil - 2 tbsp (can use butter instead)
All-purpose flour - 2 tbsp
Onion - chopped fine - 2 tbsp
Garlic - 1 clove - finely minced
Salt - 1/4 tsp or to taste
Fresh ground pepper - 1/4 tsp or to taste

My microwave(MW) is of a 900w power.
Cut the broccoli florets into bite sized pieces and add 1/4 cup of water and cook in a medium MW proof bowl for about 4 mins stirring once in between. When done mash with a fork or a hand blender. I just pulsed in the blender for a couple of seconds. Take another big MW proof bowl and add the olive oil and heat for 30 secs. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for 2 to 3 mins stirring once every one minute. The onions would turn soft and translucent by now. Now add the flour and mix well. Pour the milk and stir well so that there are no lumps. Cook for 4 mins stirring once every minute. Now add the cheese, mix well and cook for 3 mins. When done add the mashed broccoli and mix well. Heat further for a minute. Serve hot with bread.

Sending this to MEC-Calcium rich food event by Srivalli and Lakshmi and to Hearth & Soup Blog Hop #49.
Hearth and Soul Hop at Sunshine and Smile

Sending this to Srivalli's Soups and Salads Mela

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Announcing "Serve It" Series - Serve It Chilled

I and Denny of Oh Taste N See are college friends and have shared the common interest of food blogging. Denny was one of the motivators for me to start a food blog. I was always inspired by her comprehensive knowledge of world-cuisine. If you have not checked out her site, do check out Oh Taste N See now and guess what she has blogged about 300+ recipes. We had an idea of starting an event for a while now. Well, things got little delayed but we have successfully initiated our new event, given that she is celebrating her first anniversary of food blogging this month.

We are delighted to announce the "Serve It" series, which is going to be a theme-based event for every month. This month the theme is "Serve It - Chilled" and is happening at her space. Do check out the event guidelines at her event announcement page. We hope to receive grand support from you all with your super-cool chilled entries.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dum Aloo / Potatoes in Yogurt based gravy | Indian Curry Recipes

I believe quite a few many of us have a list of dishes to try which we have either bookmarked in browser or our mind. We would totally forget about it until we see it again in some other place like another blog or magazines. My bookmarked list is growing and I would want to try everything soon. Dum Aloo was one such dish which is in my "To Do" list. My "To Do" list is something in addition to the bookmarked list :). The other day i saw this beautiful baby potatoes in the market and can't resist but pick them up, since I was planning to make Dum Aloo for a long time now. Dum Aloo literally means Steam cooked  Potato where in the potatoes are cooked with the gravy in a covered pan.

Serves - 2-3
Baby potatoes - 6-7
Yogurt/Curd - 1/2 cup - smoothened
Milk - 1/2 cup
Onion - chopped finely - 1/2 cup
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 3/4 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Boil 2 litres of water with salt. Prick the potatoes all over with fork and put them in the boiling water. Simmer for 15 mins and drain. I left the skin on, you may peel if you wish. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a non-stick pan and saute the potatoes until all sides turn brown. Drain in a paper towel and prick all over with fork again. This ensures the gravy to seep well through the potatoes. Heat 2 tbsp of oil and saute the chopped onions until soft and transparent. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw smell disappears. 
Now reduce the heat to medium and add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder one-by-one, followed by salt. Saute for 2 mins. Now add the milk and then the yogurt. Make sure you stir continuously while adding milk and yogurt. This would prevent the yogurt and milk from curdling from the acidity of the spices. Add the potatoes and give a gentle mix. Cover and cook for 15 mins or until the potatoes are soft but still holds the shape. Serve hot with rotis or flavored rice.

Sending this the Hearth & Soul Blog Hop #48.
Hearth and Soul Hop at Sunshine and Smile

Monday, May 16, 2011

Coffee flavored Wheat & Almond Biscotti | Cookie Recipes

It was one fine afternoon last week, I was munching some almonds and reading when it stuck that I had never really baked anything with almonds. Oh how wonderful it would be to get some baked goodies with almonds fresh from the oven. I tried googling for some butterless recipes since I ran out of butter and came across these wonderful and flavorful Coffee and roasted almond biscotti at Deeba's Passionate about Baking.
Biscotti is an Italian word, which has its roots from Latin biscoctus, meaning 'twice baked/cooked'. These are biscuits/cakes which are baked twice to ensure longer shelf life. These are quick and easy to make goodies which are perfect for anytime munching or for travel.

Original recipe from here
Wheat flour - 1 cup
AP flour - 3/4 cup
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 1/4 cup (60 ml)
Sugar - 2/3 cup
Eggs - 2 (room temperature)
Instant coffee powder - 2 tbsp
Almond essence - 1 tsp
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Almonds - slightly less than 1 cup

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread the almonds on a non-stick pan and roast in the oven for 10 mins. Roasting the almonds or any nuts for that matter, intensifies its flavor. When done, cool and chop into coarse pieces or pulse for 2 secs in a food processor. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 300 F.
Whisk/sieve together the flours, salt and baking powder. In a big mixing bowl, mix the oil and sugar. Add eggs, coffee powder and essences. Beat with a hand mixer or whisk until well combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing with a whisk everytime until blended. Finally fold in the almonds. Divide the dough into two parts and shape each part into a a log of 12" x 3". My log was rather flat. Have a bowl of water to wet your fingers to shape the log, since the dough will be sticky. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 mins and cool for 10 mins. Carefully transfer the log to a cutting board and cut into 1" pieces. A serrated knife works great for cutting. Repeat for the other log. Return the pieces to the cookie sheet with cut side down.
Reduce the temperature of the oven further to 275 F. Bake the cut biscottis for 8 mins, turn over and bake for another 8 mins. Cool in a wire rack and store in air tight containers.

Note: I have added more wheat flour than all-purpose flour, although you may use purely wheat flour or all purpose flour. It is just mildly sweetened and perfect to compliment the coffee flavor, you may add more sugar if you like it more sweet.
I am sending this to Tried & Tasted event which features Deeba's Passionate about baking guest hosted by Jayasri Ravi of Samayalarai Cooking is divine, original event by Zlamuska and Lakshmi.
I am also sending this to Drive me Nuts event by Anamika of Taste Junction and to Bookmarked recipes - Every Tuesday event by Aipi and Priya.

Also linking it up to Flavours of Cuisines - Italian event by Julie.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kasuri Methi Paneer / Hara Paneer Masala | Indian Curry Recipes

It is so surprising that time flies too fast sometimes and we don't have time to  do whatever we were thinking of doing. It applies very well when it comes to sending entries to food blog events. I will be planning to cook for certain events, do so religiously, but organizing and posting for events on time becomes the challenging part. For this month's Herbs & Flowers - Fenugreek leaves is the chosen herb by Mom Chef of What's Cooking. I love buying fresh greens and regularly buy fenugreek leaves on my trip to Indian grocery. This time I made a simple and flavorful methi pulao. No, I do not have a picture of it here because it was so good (yes, it is true) that I did not even have some left for the clicks. So planned to make a dish using kasoori methi and my favorite paneer for the event.
Paneer - cut into 1/2" cubes - 1 cup
Onion - chopped fine - 1/2 cup
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Kasuri Methi - 1/3 cup - crushed
Salt - to taste
Onion - cubed - 1 cup
Oil - 1 tbsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Dry mango powder/Amchur powder - 1 tsp (Can substitute chaat masala - see notes below)
Salt - a pinch
Mix the ingredients for marinade in a bowl and gently coat the paneer cubes with the paste. Set aside for 1 hr (minimum 30 mins). In a medium non-stick pan, heat 1 tsp of oil and saute the cubed onions until it turns pale brown. Let it cool and blend to a fine paste adding little water. In the same pan, heat a tsp of oil and fry the paneer until light brown in medium heat. This may be done in batches. In a wide non-stick pan, heat 2 tsp of oil and saute the chopped onions. When it turns translucent add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a couple of mins. Add the pureed onions with chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt. Fry for about 5 mins. Add 1/2 cup of water and allow the mixture to boil. Splattering at this stage is possible, take precaution. Now add the paneer cubes and crushed kasuri methi, mix well in fold pattern. Allow it to heat for about 3-5 mins and remove from heat. Serve hot with bread/roti/naan.
1. I did not add any tomatoes. You may add pureed tomatoes if desired.
2. If using chaat masala for marinating, reduce the amount of salt, since chaat masala already would have salt in it.
3. Frying the paneer is optional. Marinated paneer can just be added to the gravy directly and cooked. 
Sending this to Herbs & Flowers event by PJ.
I am also sending this and my Honey Brownies to Dish Name Starts with - H event by Akila.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sago Kitchdi / Javvarisi Upma | Upma Recipes

Sago is the starchy extract from tapioca. It is also commonly known as sabudhana/Javvarisi/Saggubiyyam in regional languages of India. These are small, dry white balls (about 2 mm or less) which becomes larger, translucent and soft when soaked and cooked. They are mostly used in preparing sweets like kheer/pudding and also savory dishes like upma or fryums. I first tasted this upma when my MIL made. I loved it very much and brought a packet of sago with me during my recent trip to India. I used the smaller variety of sago which is very tiny and called nylon sago. This recipe for sago upma was in the back of the sago packet. This is one simple recipe, which does not require any chopping (even onions) and is ready within no time.

Pearl Sago - small ones - 2 cups
Moong dhal - 1/2 cup
Green chilli - 3 or 4
Grated Coconut - 2 tbsps
Curry leaves - a few
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Chana dhal / Split chick peas - 1 tsp

Wash and soak sago in water for 1 hr. Drain and set aside. Cook the moong dhal with 2 cups of water with 1/4 tsp of salt until soft but still holds its shape.  Heat oil in a wide bottomed non-stick pan and add mustard seeds. When it pops reduce the heat to medium and add chana dhal and fry until it turns light brown. Add slit green chillis and curry leaves, followed by sago and salt to taste. Mix in cut-fold method until the sago turns shiny and transparent, about 5 to 10 mins. Add the cooked moong dhal, mix well and check for seasoning. Turn the heat off and add the grated coconut. Mix well and serve hot. Garnish with cilantro leaves is desired.

Sending this to Srivalli's Breakfast Mela.