Monday, November 30, 2009

Pav Bhaji with Moong Bean Sprouts

I started making pav bhaji after coming to belgium just because of the beautiful soft buns that we get over here. These buns , lightly toasted with butter and scooped into this gravy is a mouthful of delight and is simply irrestible. Hence this dish started making its way into my kitchen atleast twice a month, especially during those lazy weekend mornings when we get up late and decide to have a brunch. Since I make it quite often I decided to make it healthy and filling by adding sprouted moong dhal. This bhaji was delicious and it completely wipes away the guilt of having white bread and butter.

I soak and sprout the dhal on thursday so its ready for saturday morning.

1 cup sprouted moong dhal
2 medium potatoes , peeled and cubed
1 medium onion chopped
2 medium tomatoes chopped finely
1 carrots peeled and chopped
1/4 cup of peas
1/4 cup of chopped beans
1/4 cup chopped cauliflower
2tblsp of ginger -garlic paste.
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
1/4 tsp garam masala pwd
1 tblsp pav bhaji masala
1 tsp chilli pwd
2 tsp coriander pwd
1 tsp lemon/lime juice
salt and turmeric as required


Add a Tblsp of oil in a pressure cooker.
Add the chopped onions and fry till translucent.
Now add the ginger-garlic paste and fry well.
To this add the chopped tomatoes, salt , chilli pwd, coriander pwd, pav bhaji masala and fry till oil leaves the sides.
Now add all the vegetables and the sprouts, give a good stir.
Close and pressure cook till 3 whistles.
After it is cooled open the cooker, add chopped coriander, and give it a boil for 2 mins without the lid. Add a tsp of lemon juice and stir well.

Alternatly you can also pressure cook the vegetables forst and then add to the masala, mix and boil for 10 mins.
The choice and number of vegetables is completly upto the individual taste.
If you dont have pav bhaji masala, substitute it with 1/2 tsp jeera powder+ 1/2 tsp chat masala powder+1/4 tsp of garam masala powder.

Sending this over to Meeta's for the Monthly Mingle where this months theme is "Brunch".

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My First Chocolate Cake

For an ardent chocolate cake lover like me it took me this long to bake one. I like plain chocolate cake with simple icing , not those which are loaded with layers of cream. So I usually satisfy my craving by settling on the store bought mixes. But this time I decided to give it a go and tried out the recipe from Pusiva's culinary studio. I did'nt like the strong bitter flavour of the cocoa powder that I get here, so used chopped cooking chocolate instead. The cake turned out to be moist and perfect, exactly the way I like it.

We had the cake with some whipped cream, but next time I will make a single layer of chocolate Ganache.

Recipe Adapted from Pusiva's culinary studio.
1 1/4 cup plain flour
50gms of cooking chocolate.
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp hot water
1 tsp instant cofee powder or granules
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup water

Melt the chocolate by double boiling method and allow it to cool.
Mix the coffee poder in the hot water and allow it to cool.
Grease and prepare the cake pan
Seive the flour , baking powder and soda together.(if you are using cocoa powder, include that here)
Beat the buttr and sugar until light and fluffy.Add the egg and beat well for a min.
Now add the cooled chocolate, cofee mixture, vanilla essence , beat for approxately 2 - 3 min.
Add the flour little by little alternatly with water, finally ending with the flour mixture.
Give it a gentle stir by hand until all the flour dissolves. Do not beat while adding the flour.
Pour the mixture on to the prepared pan and bake in an 175C oven for 40 - 45 mins.

If your cake is browing quickly throw in a sheet of foil over the top of the pan after 20 mins of baking.
I baked the cake twice with and without the coffee powder , it tasted great. So the coffee powder is completly optional.

Having baked my first Chocolate cake I have gained confidence to try out so many different versions of chocolate cake out there with diffrent Icing. So you can expect few more posts on chocolate cakes from me in the future.

Enjoy !!!
Iam sending this Chocolate Cake over to Cook for Yourself event at Food for 7 stages of life.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spicy Chettinad Chicken Fry / Chettinadu Kozhi Varuval

We have had an overdose of chicken lately for the past few weeks which made me try out some special chicken dishes and thus ended up with this wonderful recipe. I learned this one from a TV show in which some famous Chettinad ladies showcased their family recipes. At that time I wondered how few red chillies can bring spiceness to the dish, but I should warn you, It was really really hot and awesome. I generally try to avoid Chettinad dishes because of the grinding of the spices involved( as I dont have a smaller mixer), and also because of the amount of coconut involved( as I try not to use coconut in our diet). But after trying out this recipe I started searching for chettinad recipes for each and every vegetable that I had in my refrigerator and the whole week was like a chettinad fiesta. In this process I also stumbled upon Solai's chettinad kitchen blog, very nice blog for people who love spicy food with some fabulous recipes.
Here is the recipe for Chettinad Chicken Fry:
Chicken - 1/2 kg
For Marination:
red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
lemon juice - 1sp
For frying
red chillies  - 4-5
cinnamon - 1 inch piece
cloves - 2 nos
fennel seeds/sombhu - 1tsp
chopped garlic - 2 tsp
chopped ginger - 1tsp
1 medium onion finely chopped
few curry leaves
salt to taste
Wash and marinate the chicken pieces with chilli powder , turmeric, ginger garlic paste,salt and lemon juice for atleast 1/2 an hour or overnight.
In wide pan heat few tblsp of oil.
Add cinnamon, cloves, curryleaves, sombhu and redchillies to the hot oil.
Give it a stir for a minute and add the chopped onions, garlic and ginger. Fry till translucent. Now add the marinated chicken pieces, stir well, add 1/2 cup of water and close with a tight lid. Cook in medium flame for 10 mins. Open the lid, stir well , check for salt and cook till the water is absorbed(approx 10 more mins). Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. 

Special Note:-Alternatively you can cook the marinated chicken first by adding them to a pot of boiling water along with cinnamon, cloves for about 6-7 mins.Strain well and reserve the liquid for making soup. Then follow the above process by adding little amount of water. Both method works well.

Some pictures of the Chettinad Chicken Kuzhambhu/Curry and Pepper Rasam that I made on the next day for lunch.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Kodhumai/Wheat Rava/Cracked wheat Uppuma and Coriander-Peanut Chutney

This is a very simple and filling meal which makes its way in to my kichen atleast once a week. Usually I make this uppuma for dinner whenever I make sambhar for lunch, so that I need not put extra effort for making any chutneys.Sambhar and wheat rava uppuma are a classic combo. But yesterday for a change I made this coriander - peanut chutney to go with this delicious uppuma, which equally tasted good.
Change is always good right..

Wheat Rava Uppuma

Wheat rava/cracked wheat - 2 cups
water - 4 cups
1 tsp mustard seeds
1tsp urad dhal
1 tsp channa dhal
1 tsp chopped ginger
2 green chillies, slit
1 medium onion chopped
few curry leaves
Dry roast the Rava in a pan without oil i medium flame for atleast 10 mins
(Do not avoid this step , as it reduces the raw smell of the wheat a lot)
Heat a tblsp of oil in a non stick pan/kadai.
Add the tempering ingredients mustard, urad dhal, channa dhal and curry leaves when the oil is hot.
When the mustard pops add the onion , chillies and ginger, fry till onion turns translucent
Now add the water and salt to taste.Close with a lid and allow it to boil.
When the water is boiling, slowly add the wheat rava and stir well. Reduce the flame to medium , close with a tight lid and cook for 10 mins.
Stir well, reduce the flame to very low, close with a lid and cook for another 10 mins.
Coriander peanut chutney:

1 bunch of coriander leaves
1 handful of mint leaves(optional)
1/2 cup of roasted peanuts
2 green chillies
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
1 garlic pod
Grind all the above ingredients with the required amount of salt
Make the tempering with mustard , urad dhal, curry leaves and pour over the chutney.
Stir well and serve.

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