Thursday, July 24, 2014

Raw Mango Poha (Flattened Rice)



Summer isn't over here though almost it is. Yes. It is always hot. Another advantage is that you get mangoes - both ripe and raw, though some of the varieties are gone. I specifically like the varieties Kallamai or Kallamani which is great to eat raw. Many of you would have eaten it sliced with salt and chilli powder near beach or near special attractions during summertime. It is like you can't have enough................everyone would agree having these sliced, raw mangoes sprinkled with salt and chilli powder  along with friends and family during the leisure summer. Street vendors selling these during the season is not a rare sight. Always there would be people buzzing around them to buy these and munch. It is such a great and healthy snack.  I don't go out of the school or college to buy these but I have seen some of my friends do that, just sneak out to buy and enjoy this with the whole gang. You know....with one small piece of mango, easily you can go down the memory lane and agree with a broad smile on your face..........nostalgia. Even today we all in our family enjoy this wonderful snack. An awesome and cherished time that everybody needs to enjoy.

Pic source: web


Pic source: web

Coming back to the variety of mango Kallamai -  it is great to make thokku (cooked, shredded mango pickle), instant mango pickle or mango rice (with the raw ones). As for making mango rice any raw mango would suffice, may be with a little sourness too. But I specifically love this one. Its taste is like you can't explain - the taste is both simple and complex blend according to me. Sometimes I feel energetic when it is a very hot day, but I had to cook (got a couple of hungry pings from my special food critics at home....). So for a quick fix, I made this using aval (poha or flattened rice) instead of rice. Sumptuous.....and tasty. Keeping things simple and tasty is really easy though the heat is going to take a toll on you.



Ingredients:

Raw mango - 3/4 cup, peeled and shredded
Salt
Water
Poha - 2 cups (thick variety)
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Peanuts or cashews- 15 to 20
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/8 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Green chilli - 2, chopped fine
Split urad dhal - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Channa dhal - 1/4 tsp
Red chillies - 2
Sesame oil - 3 tsp

Method:





Wash and soak poha for 5 -7 min. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan, add red chillies, green chilli, peanuts and mustard seeds. When it splutters add channa dhal, split urad dhal, asafoetida, curry leaves and turmeric.













Fry for minute and add the shredded mango. Saute till it till the mangoes are cooked. Add salt, chilli powder and continue stirring and cooking for a min.







Squeeze out the excess water from poha and add it to the mango mixture. Stir slowly till the poha and mango are mixed well, taking care not to mush the poha (when it is soaked well, drain and keep. Do not oversoak). 

















Garnish with cilantro, if you like. You may need time to grate the mango alone. Or else in 10 -15 min, a wonderful bowl of spicy mango poha is ready in front of you promising a hungry tummy for a satisfying meal. It serves 4 people well.


Enjoy!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Nutella Cookies

Have you ever put the spoon or spreader you used to take and spread nutella on your bread straight to the sink?...............well.........I CAN'T. I have to lick it completely clean. (my kids too join me. So it is some special quality time that you spend with your kids!). It is a never ending love story. Every time you take nutella out of the jar, it has to be licked clean and neat. It is just awesome. Enjoying the rich, sweet, creamy chocolatey, hazelnuts - the flavors jumping around in your tongue and making your brain active  - it is impossible to express it in words. It is as if your are in heaven. It is addictive. Nutella lovers will just agree with me. If you haven't tried it, my sincere suggestion is PLEASE TRY IT.  When you crave for something sweet or when you feel a little sad, trust me all you need is a spoon (or more, if you love nutella like me) of nutella. (I am editing this post...guess what!..... I am doing this, eating a nutella sandwich cookies......just spread a little nutella between two nutella cookies - DOUBLE HEAVEN!)



I am a great NUTELLA lover. It is everything to me. I love it in any form..........smoothies, cakes, cookies, brownies, icecream....I make these quite often in my home. Bread and nutella is my favorite or even just a spoon of it is enough. I love to have it anytime of the day. Do you know that it's a great late night snack too?



I made these special cookies for a special friend of mine. Made and kept it ready when she came to visit me. She too loves nutella like me. She is a great fan of my nutella goodies. So another chance to make and enjoy it together.



Ingredients:

Nutella - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/3 cup
APF / Maida - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Flax seed powder - 1 tbsp
Milk - 3 tbsp
Butter - 1 stick (works good with 2 tbsp too)
Vanilla - 1 tsp

Method:

Cream butter and sugar. Add milk to flax seed powder and let it rest for 5 min. Mix all purpose flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and keep ready.




Now add the flaxed egg, vanilla, Nutella and mix well. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade.



Slowly add the flour-baking powder mix, couple of spoons at a time, mixing thoroughly so lumps are there. Once you mix everything, you will get a smooth ball of cookie dough. Make sure to eat a few bites. It is always fun to do that with kids. I enjoyed that and they in turn helped me make the cookies and eat them too.

Make balls of small lemon size approx. 1 to 11/2 tbsp of dough. Line a baking tray with parchment and arrange these balls 2 in. apart. Slightly pat it flat and bake for 9 -10 min for a soft chewy cookie.



They spread a little when baking. Just watch how the cookie looks - when it crackles on top and edges are beginning to set, it is perfect to take them out of the oven. Cool on a wire rack. 



They were nutellicious just right out of the oven - warm cookies...............YUM!











Tips:


  1. This recipe was my first nutella cookies and it was a hit. Now-a-days, I have made them with 4 tbsp or 2 tbsp butter instead of 1 stick (8 tbsp). The cookies are equally delicious with reduced butter. When you add less butter, you can add 1 or 2 tbsp milk to make the dough. That works for me.
  2. Also for a crunchy cookie, let it bake for 1 more min. - awesome, yummy cookies ready to be had with milk.
  3. I like this cookie without salt. If you like you can sprinkle a little on top too.
  4. Also chocolate chips and nuts are a great choice to add. They add more yumminess to your cookie bite.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Beans Biriyani



Biriyani......well it is tasty and crowd pleasing. You have a potluck or invited a friend over, then this dish is a must. It is sumptuous, flavorful and you can enjoy the event a little relaxed..............no worries. Yes. Just a biriyani, which you can eat with a store bought chips and a simple raita helps you enjoy your day with friends and family easily. Everybody is going to be happy and satisfied even with one yummy biriyani.

Letting it cook in steam is a key to make a good biriyani. You can suit your way of leaving it in steam to cook....I make biriyani in a couple of ways and this is one such way....only in this method I add yogurt. We all love this one. You can taste the yogurt and spices which are very subtle yet strong enough to give a specific taste. You got to make and taste this style biriyani to savor it.

I took a very long time to post this....(almost 3 weeks or so.... sorry, been busy). I made this with the fresh local beans varieties from my vacation. I bought two varieties. They were almost similar in color after you peel but one was more shaped like a kidney bean and the other a little bit round in shape. You can substitute with a mix of veggies which is fantastic. The rice, flavor of the beans, yogurt and the spices..........tastes like heaven. Coming to the recipe.....




Ingredients:

Beans - 1 + 1 cup (used 1 cup of both the varieties)
Basmati rice - 11/2 cups
Onion - 1/2 cup
Ginger - garlic paste - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Water
Salt



To Season:

Oil - 2tsp
Green chilli - 4, slit
Bay leaf -1
Star anise-1
Cinnamon - 1 in. stick
Cardamom - 2
Cloves - 2


To Grind:

Coriander powder - 1 
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Black pepper - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Yogurt plain - 1cup
Cilantro - 1/4 cup



Method:

Wash and soak the rice for 15-20 min. Grind the yogurt, cilantro, black pepper, cumin and coriander powders to a smooth paste.

Heat a pot on a medium flame. Add oil and the seasonings. Fry for a minute and then add the ginger garlic paste, onion and green chillies. Cook till onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, beans, coriander powder and 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook for 5 -7 minutes. 




Add the rice, fry for a couple of minutes. Add the ground yogurt paste, water, salt and mix.



Cover and cook for 10 - 12 minutes. Next is the step to steam the mix. Keep a flat pan on a medium to low flame, put the covered pot of biriyani on top of the pan and leave it to cook in its steam for another 10 min. Switch of the flame. The nice aroma is going to be all around your home inviting everybody to join you for the meal. You can let the pot rest for another couple of minutes just like that. Open, fluff and enjoy!



Tips:

As said, you can use your favorite veggie mix or fresh fava beans. You can use all the coriander powder with the things to ground with yogurt too. It also tastes the same ( I have made in both the ways many times).
You can cover the pot with dough to steam or keep inside oven on a tray of water or even steam in a pressure cooker - choose your favorite and convenient method for steaming.