Thursday, June 30, 2011

Announcing "Serve It" Series.. Serve It-Grilled

'Serve It' is a series of event focusing on cooking techniques started by my dear friend Denny of Oh Taste N See and me. After a grand success of the Serve It - Chilled last month at Denny's, the event is happening here this month. The round up of the last month's Serve It event can be checked out here.

This month's theme is Serve It - Grilled. According to wiki, Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above or below and usually involves quite a lot of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking the food. It is the oldest form of cooking known to man, i.e. cooking food on direct fire which adds a kind of natural smoky flavor. 
In the US, grilling is a fun-time activity to celebrate summer. Unlike India and other tropical countries, most part of the US, UK and Europe have continental climates. So in summer the people would almost wait to get out to the beach or the park and get grilling.

So don your aprons, and Grill your way this summer.
Here are the guidelines for sending the entries to the event.
1. Send in any entry that is grilled or barbequed or tandoored. 
2. Anything grilled - meat, fruits, vegetables, sandwiches, kebabs on a barbeque grill/grill pan and anything which could be cooked on a tandoor - roti, naans are accepted.
3. Both Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian entries are allowed although no Beef/Pork/Alcohol please.
4. New entries are appreciated, however if you are sending archived entries, please repost and update with the logo and link to the announcement page. Any number of new entries are welcome, but a maximum of 5 entries from archive please.
5. Please link back to this announcement page.
6. Usage of logo is appreciated as it helps spread the word.
7. Send your entries to serveit.series[at]gmail[dot]com with Subject: Serve it – Grilled, with the following details:
Your Name:
Blog name:
Recipe name:
Recipe URL:
Picture URL:
8. Non-bloggers are also welcome to send your entries, just send in your recipes with a picture attached to the above email id
9. Last date for sending your entries is July 31, 2011 (local time wherever you are). Late entries are not accepted. The roundup will be posted in the first week of August.

Expecting super hot grilled entries from you.. For any questions email us in the above email id.
p.s. The roundup for Healing Foods - Banana event will be posted on or before Jul 7th.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tomato Sambar for Idli/Dosa | Side Dish for Idli Dosa

This Tomato sambar is an easy-to-make and a perfect side dish for idli and dosa. Always a staple side dish at our home this is a simple sambar which can be done in less than 30 minutes. Made using the freshest ingredients, it is an all-time favorite. This also makes an excellent combo for parotta.
Tomato - 1 - chopped fine
Onions - Chopped - 1 cup
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Salt - to taste
Make a paste:
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Roasted gram dhal/pottukadalai - 2 tbsp
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon - 1" piece
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp or 3/4 tsp (based on spice level)
Coriander seeds  - 1/2 tsp
Tomatoes - 2
Grind together the ingredients under 'Make a Paste' in a blender/mixie. No need to add any water as the juice in the tomatoes would be enough to give the consistency. Heat oil in a wide pan, and add the mustard seeds to splutter. Throw the curry leaves in, followed by the chopped onions. Fry until the onions turns translucent and add the chopped tomatoes and fry until mushy. Now add the ground paste and 3 cups of water. Add salt and allow it to boil until the raw smell of the gram dhal disappears. Serve hot with steamed idlis or crispy dosas.
Tip: You may ignore adding the chopped tomatoes while frying and add it while grinding the masala.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Banana Walnut Bread

My DH loves Banana Nut bread, which we get from our local bakery. It is one of the few sweets that he likes very much, quoting he is not much of a sweet-tooth person. I was planning to bake one for him and was searching for a really soft, bakery-style banana nut quick-bread recipe. I was very happy when I made this best, moist and melt-in-the-mouth bread.

Adapted from here
All purpose flour/Maida - 2 cups
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Walnuts - toasted and chopped - 1/2 cup
Butter - 1/2 cup or 1 stick - softened (room temperature)
Sugar - 1 cup
Light brown sugar - 1/4 cup (can replace with regular sugar if desired)
Eggs - 2 (room temperature)
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Ripe Bananas - 3 large -  approx 1 cup - mashed
Buttermilk - 1 cup

Preheat the oven to 325 F/160 C. Grease a 9"x5" loaf pan. Place the walnuts in a baking sheet and toast for 10 mins. Allow it to cool and chop coarsely. Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt with a sieve or whisk. Cream sugar, brown sugar and butter until the sugar melts. Add the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition. Add mashed bananas, vanilla and mix well. Add flour and buttermilk alternatively mixing well after each addition. Do not overmix. Add the chopped nuts and fold with a spatula. Pour the mixture to the loaf pan and bake for 1 hr 15 mins to 1 hr 20 mins. Every oven is different so keep an eye after 1 hr. Cool in a wire rack when done. Slice up and enjoy for breakfast or a quick snack with tea.

Sending this to Healing Foods - Banana event by Siri hosted by me for this month and to Bookmarked Recipes - Every Tuesday event by Aipi & Priya.

Also sending this to Nivedita's Celebrate Sweets event..

Sending this to ABC series - B for Banana event by Ramya.

Sending this to Srivalli's Kid's Delight hosted by Nupur of UK-Rasoi, for the month of April 2012.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Spinach Dhal - Simple and hearty quickie | Indian Curry Recipes

Who says Fast foods are not healthy? Ok, here I do not mean the fast foods we get in a restaurant chains with empty carbs or deep fried foods. I mean a simple and quick dhal which can also be very healthy. This spinach dhal is rich in protein, calcium and iron. So here is a tasty and wholesome meal ready in under 30 minutes. 
Serves: 3-4
Moong dhal - 1/2 cup
Baby Spinach - 2 handfuls
Onion - chopped - 1/2 cup
Tomato - chopped - 2 tbsp
Dry Red chillies - 3
Garlic - 5 to 6 cloves
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves -  a few
Wash  and soak the moong dhal for 5 minutes. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and fry the cumin seeds. Add the broken red chillies, curry leaves followed by onions and garlic. Saute until the onions are soft and add the tomatoes. Add a pinch of salt and saute in high heat until the tomatoes turn mushy. Add the spinach leaves and salt and allow it to wilt. Add the soaked moong dhal and 2 cups of water. Pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles. Serve hot with steamed rice or roti. 
Sending this to Dish it out-Spinach & Garlic event by Vardhini, Cook it Healthy - Proteinicious event by Sobha of Good Food and to Nithu's Quick & Easy Recipe Mela.
Also sending this hearty dhal to MLLA#36 event by Susan.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins (Eggless)

Are you searching for a healthy and tasty oatmeal muffin which is eggless, butter-less, and low in sugar? Here it is. I wanted to make something different for breakfast, but didn't really want to miss my regular oatmeal. So I whipped up this quick and easy muffins with my instant flavored oatmeal packets at hand. The whole batch was ready in 30 mins, this includes the preparation and baking time. This muffin is comparatively healthier than the regular muffins and definitely would not add on to your muffin top. Taken with a glass of Orange juice and fresh fruits it makes a complete and satisfying breakfast.

For 6 regular muffins
Wheat flour/Atta flour - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1-1/2 tsp 
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Instant Oatmeal - Apple Cinnamon flavor - 2 packets - approx - 3/4 cup
Canola oil - 2 tbsp
Light brown sugar - 2 tbsp (firmly packed)
1 tbsp flax seed meal + 3 tbsp water (replace with 1 egg if using)
Milk - 1/2 cup (room temperature)
Preheat the oven to 375F/190 C. Mix the wheat flour, baking powder, oatmeal and salt well with a sieve or whisk. In a small bowl, mix the flax seed meal and water and set aside for 5 minutes. Add milk to flax meal mixture. Whisk oil and sugar together and add the milk mixture. Add the sieved in flour-oatmeal mixture slowly. Whisk until it is just mixed and do not over-mix. Pour into the lined muffin pans (until three-fourth) and fill in any empty muffin cups half-way with water. Reduce the oven's temperature to 350 F/175 C and bake for 18-20 mins until done. Serve warm or store in an air-tight box for a couple of days.
Tip: You could use 1 egg in the place of the flaxseed meal. Since I was trying to replace my breakfast oatmeal I did some healthy replacements. I used flaxseed meal because it has half the amount of calories in one egg and 8% of daily requirement of dietary fiber, most important for breakfast. I used oil for butter for it is low in saturated fat than butter. You could use skim milk instead of regular milk. I used the one with 2% milk fat.
If using unflavored oatmeal increase sugar to 4 tbsp.

Sending these super-easy light muffins to WWC-Spelt/Oats for Breakfast event by Sanjeeta guest hosted by Heather of Girlichef and to Nithu's Quick & Easy Recipe Mela and also to Let's Cook - Break Time Snacks event by Radhika.

Pictures1-2new June logo

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Baked Banana Blossom Fritters / Baked Vazhaipoo Vadais | Indian Appetizers

I believe many of you would be like me when it comes to deep fried foods. Would love deep fried foods but reluctant to fry even occasionally due to the fat content and calories in it. I had always been finding ways to replace deep frying whenever possible. I used to oven roast potatoes, cauliflower, bitter gourd and even bell peppers. This time I wanted to bake the all-time favorite vadas but didn't want to compromise on the taste though. I was actually keeping my fingers crossed until the vadas were ready and I tasted one. I was really happy that the taste was exactly the same and even more happier when my DH gave a thumbs up. It was a super-crispy, tasty yet low calorie indulgence. I made this vadas little bite sized to enable faster cooking in the oven.

Vazhaipoo / Banana blossom - 1 - Cleaned
Chana dhal - 1 small cup - Soaked for 2 hrs

Onion - finely chopped - 1 cup
Garlic - 5 - chopped fine

Cilantro/Coriander leaves - about 7 or 8 twigs
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp

Ginger - 1/2" piece
Red chillies - 3
Turmeric powder - a pinch

Salt - to taste 
Oil - 1-1/2 tbsp

Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and spray with oil. Steam the cleaned banana blossom until soft. You could cook it in a microwave with a little water for 5 to 7 mins. Let cool. Place the soaked chana dhal in a blender/mixie with red chillies, fennel seeds, garam masala, ginger, turmeric powder and salt. Grind to a coarse mixture. Do not add water yet. Add the cooled banana blossom along with water used to steam in the blender and pulse until everything is combined. Transfer the mixture to a big mixing bowl and add the onion, garlic, chopped cilantro and oil. Mix well. Take a tablespoon or two size mixture and make balls. Place over the foil and flatten it. Place all the balls with 1 inch gap between them. Bake in oven for 30 to 40 mins, flipping once in between.
Sending these lovely and healthy baked banana blossom fritters to the following events
Healing Foods - Banana event by Siri, happening here at my blog this month
Herbs & Flowers - Banana Blossom event by PJ, guest hosted by Saffron streaks
Food Palette Series - Purple event by Akheela
Let's Cook - School Break time snacks event by Radhika
MLLA - #36 - event by Susan happening at Served with Love
Kid's Delight - Mini bites event by Srivalli, guest hosted by Champa 

Sending this to ABC series - B for Banana event by Ramya.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cantaloupe Orange Sorbet

Mercury is soaring high and we are finding ways to indulge in something cool all the time. I am finding ways to keep ourselves well hydrated with lots of fresh fruits, juices and lots of water. And adding to the list, sorbet is my recent discovery. It is a healthy way to get all the goodness of fruit sweetened slightly. I did not prepare any simple syrup but just added sugar while pureeing the melon. Also I added orange juice for that slight citrus punch. This recipe does not need an icecream maker. Just a blender works like a charm.

Cantaloupe / Musk Melon - half of a melon - approx 4 cups
Granulated sugar - 3/4 cup (adjust according to the sweetness of the melon)
Orange juice - 1/2 cup

Blend all the ingredients together in a blender. Transfer it to a glass container with a tight fitting lid and pop it in the freezer. After an hour, mix it with a fork and put it again in the freezer. Mix it twice the next hour. Allow it to freeze. Remove from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator before 15 minutes of serving. Scoop the sorbet with a ladle or melon baller for serving. Serve it topped with orange rinds or mint leaves.
Tip: You could replace orange juice with juice of half a lemon. Be experimental by adding mint leaves, it would give a fresh and cool taste and tiny speckles of green. You could also make a simple syrup with sugar and water and add to the fruit puree instead of adding sugar directly.
Sending this to Serve it - Chilled event happening at Denny's Oh Taste N See and also to 'Only' - Icecreams, Pari's event happening at Reva's space and Veggie/Fruit a month - Orange event by Savitha and Priya.

Sending this to Srivalli's Kid's Delight hosted by Nupur of UK-Rasoi, for the month of April 2012.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vegetable Clear Soup with Quinoa | Soup Recipes

Occasionally I would like to have just soups for lunch. But I make sure that the soup is filling and satisfying as much as possible so that I do not feel hungry soon after. I feel the veg clear soup in restaurants are so light and perfect as an appetizer. But to make the veg clear soup as a complete meal, there has to be carbohydates, fat and protein in addition to the goodness of veggies. Quinoa has higher protein content than rice and it provides complete protein, than any other grains. So I am trying to substitute or add quinoa with rice whenever possible.

Serves - 2
Quinoa - cooked - 1 cup
Homemade/Store-bought Vegetable Stock - 4 cups (Click here for home made stock recipe)
Carrots - sliced - 1/2 cup
Cauliflower florets - 1/2 cup
Frozen Peas - 1/2 cup
Broccoli florets- 1/2 cup
Cabbage - julienned - 1/2 cup
Salt & Pepper - to taste
In a wide saucepan, heat 1/2 tsp of oil and saute the vegetables in high heat for about 2 to 3 mins. Reduce the heat to medium and add the vegetable stock and cooked quinoa. Allow it to boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to serve.
For Homemade Vegetable Stock:
Inspired from Vahchef
Vegetable Peels - washed - about a cup
Ginger - sliced - about 2" piece
Garlic cloves - 3 or 4
Green onions - 5 - chopped into 2
Cilantro stems - 10
Cut vegetables - carrot, cauliflower, cabbage (anything you have at hand)
Onions - 1" cubes - 1/2 cup
Pepper corns - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp or to taste
Water - 6 to 8 cups
Boil water in a big pot and add all the ingredients and allow it boil. When it boils over, reduce the heat to the lowest and allow it to cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs uncovered. The stock would have reduced and be full of flavor. Turn off heat and strain all the veggies. Discard the veggies and use the stock. You may store the stock in fridge in a glass container for up-to 2 weeks. Alternatively you can divide into small portions and freeze.
Sending this healthy soup to Light Lunches event by Supriya.

Sending this to Srivalli's Soups and Salads Mela