Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 - A Flashback!!

I had been wanting to do this "Best Of" post for every milestone in my blog. But somehow could not get into doing it. Srivalli's post on Best of 2012 event motivated me to look back at 2012 - the year that was. Completing two years of blogging this month I thought this is the best time to do it.

Favorite Post
Nothing was more sweeter and beautiful than my dear blog buddies' lovely gesture for welcoming our bundle of joy Kavin. Little Kavin turned 6 months now and is keeping his mom super busy. 

Favorite Recipe
My favorite recipe this year is Kollu Podi / Horse Gram Spice Powder. This is a aromatic and flavorful podi for idli/dosa with all the yummy goodness which you don't feel guilty at all. Thanks to MIL for the recipe.

Favorite Recipe tried from other blogs
This Orange Olive Oil Eggless cake which I tried from Priya's space received rave reviews. Spongy, Citrus-y and soooo goood..

Top recipes in 2012
This year's popular recipe post is Chana Masala with Home made Chana Masala Powder which is also the all time popular post in my blog.

The second most popular is Vegetable Kurma.

The third one is Pressure Cooker Vegetable Briyani.

Recipes Close to my Heart
Urad dhal Sweet Bonda is a traditional sweet made at our home during festivals and marriages.

Pumpkin Pasties from Harry Potter. I was in cloud nine when I tasted these beauties I made.

Resolutions for 2013
This new year's resolution for me is to blog at-least twice a month. Silly, I know, but spending time on my computer is a luxury nowadays!! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Baked Tofu - Asian Style

Tofu has been our favorite ingredient when it comes to quick snack. There are certain foods which DH is not very fond of. One of them is Tofu. At least I thought so until he actually liked something with tofu. It was when we went to a Thai place near our house before sometime. He did enjoy the vegetables with tofu served with rice. Then I "discovered" why he liked them. It was because it was crispy. And there started my quest for making tofu appealing to him. Fry or bake. Mission accomplished. This time I made a simple marinade and baked the tofu. It tasted almost close to the Organic Tofu which we tasted in Noodles and Company. Also check out my Tofu Golden triangles.

Extra firm tofu - 1 block
Brown sugar - 1/4 cup
Low sodium Soy sauce - 1/4 cup
Garlic - chopped fine - 3 tbsp
Ginger - chopped fine - 2 tbsp
Cilantro / Coriander leaves - chopped fine - 2 tbsp
Crushed Red pepper flakes OR Finely chopped dry red chillies - 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp (based on your spice level)
Sesame oil - 1 tsp
Salt - a tad bit
Press the tofu and remove excess water. Cut into little cubes or fingers. Mix the ingredients for the marinade in a ziploc bag. Add the tofu and mix well. Place it in the refrigerator for 4 hours to 24 hours turning over every couple of hours. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the tofu cubes in a foil lined cookie sheet which is sprayed with oil. Bake for 40-50 mins until crispy on the outside. Brush the remaining marinade over the tofu pieces midway through the baking. Crispy sweet and spicy tofu is done! 
Serve over fried rice, noodles, stir fries or just dig in with a fork like I did.
Linking these up to..
Know your Sweetness - Brown Sugar
Quick and Easy Recipes
Bake Fest #14
SYF & HWS - Ginger event by Anu
Spotlight - Healthy Baking

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pumpkin Pasties from Harry Potter

For all the Harry Potter fans out there... This is for you. Well, not a big fan of Potter? no problem you would love this too. I and DH are big fans of Harry Potter. If it is a boring weekend, not a great weather and nothing good on TV we will make it a "Harry Potter Weekend". We will watch all the eight HP movies back to back. A great way to spend the weekend isn't it? 
Pumpkin pasties are sold in the trolley run by Honeydukes express on the Hogwarts express. In the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry first meets Cho Chang in the train when she buys pumpkin pasties. I have never thought on how it would taste like back then. It was recently when the foodie in me made me to try this lovely delicacy. I did some research and arrived at this recipe. So happy that it turned out awesome in the first attempt. This is a totally egg-less fare (when milk is used to brush the top) and super easy to make. If using home-made pumpkin puree, press out to remove extra water. Hooray, then you would get pumpkin juice, another Hogwarts specialty.
Makes 8-10 pasties
For the Never Fail Pie Crust:
Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine
All purpose flour  - 1 & 1/3 cups
Butter - 8 tbsp (cold, cut into cubes)
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Ice Cold water - 3 to 4 tbsps
For the filling:
Pumpkin puree - 1 cup (canned or home-made)
Light Brown Sugar - 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp
Ground Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
Ground Ginger - 1/4 tsp
Ground Nutmeg - 1/4 tsp
For Brushing:
Egg - 1 slightly beaten and mixed with a tbsp of water or milk as required

Place all the ingredients for the crust in a blender or food processor except the ice water. Pulse for a couple of times until the butter almost disappears. Now add the ice water 1 tbsp at a time and pulse until the dough comes together. Remove the dough and pat to form a solid mass. Wrap in a cling-wrap and pop it into the refrigerator for about 2 to 4 hours.
Mix the ingredients for the filling in a pan in low heat until the sugar melts, just a couple of minutes. Allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Thaw the crust in room temperature for 30 minutes. Flour a board and place the dough on it. Roll into about a 1/8 inch thick. Cut into little rounds with a cookie cutter or any bowl with sharp edge. Roll the cut out dough still more thinner. Place about a tablespoon (or more) of the filling on one half of the rolled dough. Fold over the other half and crimp the edges with your finger or fork. Transfer carefully to the cookie sheet. Make the other pasties similarly. The dough leftover from the cut dough can be made into a ball and rolled over again to be cut. Brush the top of the pasties with egg or milk and bake for 30-40 mins until golden brown on the outside.
Serve warm.
1. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to crumble the butter if you are not using the food processor.
2. The amount of water needed for the dough depends on the humidity in your area. More the humidity, lesser the water. I used about 3.5 tbsps.
3. The sweetness in the filling is just right. You could make it more sweet per your taste buds.
4. Play around with the spices and make the filling spicy if you wish. There are no set rules.
5. This can be made totally egg-free by brushing with milk for browning.
Sending these baked beauties to the following events..
Know your Sweetness - Brown Sugar event by Jags
Serve It - Original Recipes from home event my me and Denny
Kid's Delight - Story Book Special
Merry Christmas Celebrations
Favorite Recipes - Christmas event
Lets Cook - Edible Gifts

Saturday, December 8, 2012

PB & J Cookies / Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies | Cookie Recipes

I had planned to bake some cookies for one of DH's friends. I promised him to make something nice when he left for work in the morning. I hadn't really thought about what I was gonna make until even after I took the eggs and butter out to come to room temperature. I was just browsing over my bookmarks and found these beautiful Peanut Butter Thumbprint cookies which Denny had made a couple months ago. Her pictures were the most important reason which made me try these beauties. It is a very simple process which is not in par with the appreciations I got after the taste test.
Yields - 2 dozen cookies
All purpose flour/Maida - 1-3/4 cups
Salt - 1/4 
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Butter - 1/2 cup (unsalted, room temperature)
Light Brown Sugar - 3/4 cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup + more for coating
Egg - 1 (room temperature)
Creamy Peanut Butter - 1/2 cup
Pure Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Jam (Your desired flavor) - for filling
Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, salt and baking soda together with a whisk. In another bowl cream the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and sugar with a electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix again. Add the flour mixture in 4 batches and slowly incorporate into the wet mixture. The whole mixture will come together as a dough. Make lime sized balls out of the dough and roll in the granulated sugar and arrange in the cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Basically 1 dozen cookies in a medium tray. Use 1/2 tsp measure (rounded) or your thumb to make an indentation in the top of the cookie and press down slowly. Fill with jam (well to your heart's content). Bake for 9-12 mins until it is done. The cookies will still be soft when warm and hardens as it cools. Enjoy!
Now sending this yummy goodness to a long list of events.
Know your Sweetness - Brown Sugar;
Merry Christmas Celebrations;
Bake Fest #14;
Favorite Recipes - Christmas recipes;
Let's Cook - Edible Gifts;
Bon Vivant #10 - Festive Feasts;
Cookies and Cakes for X-mas;

Friday, November 30, 2012

Guest Hosting "Know Your Sweetness" - Brown Sugar

I am guest hosting an event after a long time. This time it is Jagruti's Know your Natural Sweetness event with the theme of Brown Sugar. I love Jagruti's themes and happy to be a part of this event. Sweetness is the most prominent and preferred taste among the five (sometimes six) tastes. Who doesn't like something sweet after dinner? This month being the cookies and cakes month for Christmas and New year, it is more appropriate to treat yourself and your sweet tooth. Make or bake something with Brown Sugar and link it up.

Guidelines for the event:
1. Send in any dish which uses brown sugar/raw sugar. The dish can be sweet or savory.
2. Only Vegetarian dishes are allowed. Eggs are allowed if you prefer.
3. Entries posted from December 1st to January 1st are allowed.
4. Link to this post and Jagruti's event announcement page are mandatory.
5. Use of logo is appreciated.
6. Non-bloggers can email your recipe to krithiskitchen [ at ] gmail [dot] com with a picture of your dish.
Linky for Know Your Sweetness:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Kollu Podi / Horse Gram Spice Powder | Side Dish for Idli Dosa

I can start this post saying horse gram (aka kollu in tamil) has numerous health benefits and is good for you. It is rich in protein like any other bean and has good amount of fiber. Kollu rasam/horse gram soup is good for cold and sinuses. But mind that too much of anything good is bad. Though horse gram taken in moderation is good for you, too much of it causes increase in body heat.
But I had actually thought of starting this post saying that the best side dish for idlis are podi. Podi popularly known as Idli podi is made of lentils and there are infinite combinations and recipes for making it. I have already made and blogged about Idli podi, Curry leaves podi earlier. Here is a healthy and tasty recipe for Idli podi with horse gram.

Horse gram dhal / Kollu paruppu - 2 cups
White Sesame Seeds / Ellu - 1/4 cup
Dry red chillies - 20
Curry leaves - a few
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Dry roast all the ingredients one by one until toasted (except salt). Allow to cool on a plate and pound to a coarse powder in a blender / coffee grinder. Mix 
with gingelly oil and serve with idli/dosa.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Banana Blossom Curry / Vazhaipoo Kulambu | Indian Curry Recipes

Come Summer we get more Asian vegetables in the supermarket. I love the season due its abundant availability of fresh vegetables. Curry leaves, Methi leaves and not to forget Banana Blossom / Vazhaipoo. It is a rare vegetable to come by in this country and when I find one I pick it immediately. We mostly prepare vadas with this one but this time MIL made delicious kuzhambu with this. This time too I missed to take the step by step pictures on how to clean and prepare this one but would do so next time.  
Banana Blossom/Flower/Vazhaipoo - Prepped and chopped - 2 cups
Onion - chopped - 1 cup
Garlic - 4 cloves - sliced thin
Tomato - 1/2 - chopped
Tamarind - size of a lemon - soak in water and extract juice
Fenugreek seeds/Vendhayam - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Gingelly oil - 3 tbsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp - optional
Buttermillk - 1 tbsp
Water - 2 cups
Roast and grind:
Red Chillies - 5
Coriander seeds - 3 heaped tbsp
Chana dhal - 2 heaped tbsp
Prepare the banana blossom and chop finely. Put the chopped stems in a bowl of water mixed with a tbsp of buttermilk until ready to use. Roast the ingredients under 'Roast and grind' one by one and allow it to cool. Make a fine powder in a mixie or a coffee grinder. Heat oil in a kadai and add the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. When the curry leaves splatter add the chopped onions and saute until translucent. Drain and squeeze the chopped banana blossom and add it to the onions. Fry for about 5 mins until half done. Add the chopped tomato and fry for about a minute. Now add the powdered spice and mix well. Add 2 cups of water and cover and boil for about 5-7 minutes until the mixture is cooked. Now add the tamarind extract and salt. Check for heat and add chilli powder if needed. Allow it to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Orange Olive Oil Egg-less Cake | Eggless Cake Recipes

Citrus flavored bakes fascinates me. They are very light tasting and with every bite it is like a party in your mouth. When I was searching for a cake with orange juice which is also eggless I stumbled upon Priya's recipe here. I made few substitutions and baked this cake for a birthday. This recipe can also be made as a loaf cake or muffins.
Makes on 9" cake; Serves 8
All purpose flour/Maida - 1 cup
Whole Wheat flour - 1/2 cup
Corn Starch - 2 tbsp
Salt - 1/8 tsp

Baking Soda - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp

Orange juice - 1/2 cup - preferably freshly squeezed
Thick greek yogurt - 1 cup (room temperature)
Olive oil - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup
Orange zest - 1 tbsp - I used lime zest, hence the green hue
Pure Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix 1/4 cup of sugar with the orange zest and set aside. Grease and flour a 9" deep pan. Mix the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda with a whisk or fork until it is well mixed. Whisk the yogurt and sugar together until the sugar melts. Add the olive oil, vanilla and the sugar with zest and mix well. Now add the dry ingredients alternating with flour mixture and juice. Do not overmix. Pour in the greased bowl and bake for 30-40 minutes. Serve as a simple snack with a cup of tea.
1. You could use all all-purpose flour for a lighter cake.
2. I did not frost the cake. You could use a whipped cream frosting with sugar and perfumed with orange zest.
3. Alternatively you could soak up the cake in sweetened orange juice before serving.
4. I have substituted 1/2 cup of Splenda for 1/2 cup of sugar to make a low-calorie version.
Linking this yummylicious cake to the following events: What's with my Cuppa event by Nupur; Bake Fest #13 eveny by Vardhini; CWF - Whole Wheat Flour event by Kiran.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Announcing Serve It Series Finale - Original Recipes from Home

This is the last theme in the Serve It Event series. After 15 themes over 18 months, Serve It event series hosted by I and Denny comes to an end with this one. The theme is "Original Recipes From Home" and runs for two months, November and December. Every family has its own tradition and practices which has been followed for generations. Be it Diwali, Pongal, Thanksgiving, Christmas or any festival each of us would fondly remember the practices and customs followed in the celebration. And not to forget every tradition revolves around food. This theme is all about those family recipes which are close to your heart and dear to your tummy.
Check out the rules below and let your entries flow..
Here are the guidelines for the event:
1. You may send in any entry that is your family recipe.
2. The most important rule is that dish should NOT be served in any hotels, restaurants, shops or bakeries.
3. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes are allowed.
4. Please link back to this announcement page and also to Denny's page here.
5. New entries are appreciated, however if you are sending archived entries, please re-post as latest (with a date in November/December 2012) and update with both the links to the announcement page and logo.
6. Usage of links and logo is mandatory.
7. Last date for submission of your entries is December 31, 2012.
8. To submit your entries, just link your entries using the linky tool below.
9. Non-bloggers also can send their entries with a picture to the below email-id.
10. If you have a problem in linking email us your problem to serveit[dot]series[at]gmail[dot]com. We will try to resolve it.
Note: If the entries are inappropriate to the theme, we would have to remove the entries from the linky sans notification. If there are other issues like link or logo missing we would definitely notify through email.
Linky for entries:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Puli Kaichal / Home made Puliyogare / Tamarind Rice | Indian Rice Recipes

Puli Kaichal meaning "boiled tamarind" is one of the ready to eat rice mixes. Puliogare/Puliodharai is known for its long shelf life and is a perfect food for packing during travel. This is DH's favorite and since MIL is here she has been making it quite often. Actually she has been making a lot of her son's favorites.. talk about 'pampering' :). This time I managed some time to click few pictures.
Tamarind (seedless) - 1/4 kg
Gingelly oil - 120 ml
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Mustard seeds - 2 tbsp
Urad dhal - 1 tbsp
Chana dhal - 1/2 cup
Curry leaves - a few
Red chillies - 4 broken
Roast and grind:
Coriander seeds - 1 cup
Chana dhal - 2 tbsp
Red chillies - 10
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 twig

Fenugreek - 1 tbsp
Sesame seeds - 1 1/2 tbsp

Soak the tamarind in warm water for about 1 hour and take a thick extract. This enables extraction of more juice. Roast the ingredients in the list one by one. Roast red chillies and asafoetida with a little oil. Let it cool and grind group (1) ingredients and group (2) ingredients separately to a fine powder. Heat oil in a kadai and add the tempering ingredients. When the chana dhal is roasted (about 3-4 mins) add the tamarind extract with 2 cups of water, turmeric powder and salt. Allow it to come to a rolling boil. Now add the ground powders and mix well without lumps. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer until the mixture thickens and oil starts oozing out. This may take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Allow it to cool and store in a dry airtight container. Mix with cooked rice as required. This mixed rice keeps well for couple of days in room temperature. The Puliyogare itself keeps good for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. Just make sure you use only dry spoon when mixing.
Sending this tangy concoction to Serve It - Boiled event happening at my space and Denny's.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pavakkai Ellu Masala / Bittergourd in Tomato Sesame Sauce | Indian Curry Recipes

Bittergourd - The love or hate vegetable. People either love it through and through or hate it to the core. I belong to the first group. Love it in any form baked, boiled or fried. But I bet that after tasting this dish even the people who hate it would come to my group. This is a simple stir-fry with a few ingredients and makes eating bittergourd a heavenly experience and I am not exaggerating.
Bittergourd - 3 medium sized - finely chopped
Onion - 1/2 of a big one - finely chopped
Tomato - 1 - finely chopped
Oil - 2 tbsp
Jaggery - 1/2 tsp
White Sesame seeds - 1 tsp - roasted until light brown and powdered
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp - per taste
Salt - to taste
Heat oil and saute the onions until soft. Add the bitter gourd pieces and fry until it is almost cooked. Add the tomato and pinch of salt and fry until the tomatoes turn mushy.. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and continue to cook until the mixture is almost dry. Top with jaggery and mix. Finally add sesame powder and mix well.. Have in low heat for 5 mins and then remove from the heat. Serve hot as a side dish for rice or roti.
Sending this favorite dish to Bon Vivant #9 Simply sides and to EP series - Sesame event by Julie.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Vendakkai More Kulambu / Okra in Yogurt Sauce | Indian Curry Recipes

I love mor kulambu. Period. If you are a yogurt lover like me you sure would love it. This mildly spiced tangy gravy tastes super delicious. If you have a blender and some sour yogurt (or not so sour one) you are all set to try this. Any vine vegetable like okra, bottle gourd etc can be added to this. You could also make urad dhal bonda and add to this kulambu. Try this out and enjoy a comforting meal.
Okra - cut into 1/2 inch pieces - 1 cup (I used frozen cut okra)
Besan / Chick pea flour - 2 tbsp
Curd/Thick Greek yogurt - 1 1/2 cups (can use lesser if sour)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - taste
Make a paste:
Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
Green chilli - 4
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Pepper corns - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Red chilli - 1 - broken
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a kadai and saute the cut okra until almost cooked. Grind the ingredients under make a paste adding little water. Add the ground paste to the kadai and fry until the raw smell disappears. Mix the besan with 2 cups of water without any lumps and add to the kadai along with turmeric powder and salt. When the mixture starts to boil add the whisked yogurt and let it heat for about 5 mins in the heat. In a small pan heat oil and add the ingredients to temper and pour over the kulambu. Serve hot with rice and a spicy curry.

Sending this awesome kulambu to Serve It - Boiled event happening at my space and Denny's. Also to Sumee's Bon Vivant#9 - Simply Sides; Radhika's Let's Cook - Protein Rich foods; Jagruti's Know your Flours - Besan.