Monday, April 30, 2012

Announcing Serve It Series - Serve It - Preserved

The theme(s) we selected for the May Edition of 'Serve it' is Preserved. Remember the summer holidays back home when we go to grandma's place, meet all cousins and spend lot of time playing under the sun?? We used to make full use of the sun by getting scorched by the heat and getting back home only for our meals and drinks break - Rasna and lemon juice. Oh... how we miss those days. During that time when the house is quiet and peaceful, our mothers and grandmothers will be busy with something else.. Making preserved food. It doesn't stop with Pickles and Jams but they'll make Vathals/Vadagams (sun-dried home-made fryums with rice) and Vengaya vadagams (a unique tempering item used in South-India).
While my maternal grandmother makes the best Onion pickle and Tomato jam, my paternal grandmother makes the lovely killu vathal (bite sized ready-to-fry fryums), Killu meaning pinched to a particular size. So remembering those delicacies and to re-kindle those memories we decided to devote this Month of May for the "Preserved" entries.

Here are the guidelines for the event:
1. You may send in any entry that is made and preserved. The dictionary defines preserved as: "to prepare food or any perishable substance so as to resist decomposition or fermentation". Your entry MUST meet this definition.
2. Examples include Jams, marmalades, Squash, Sherbet (not to be confused with sorbet), Pickles, Thokkus, Puli-Kaichal (ready to make tamarind rice mix), Sauces, Salsas, Sambal, Pesto, Home made ready to fry-Fryums (Vathals/Vadagams), sundried fruits/veggies. Recipes for canned fruits/veggies and posts explaining the canning process are welcome. 
3. Dry Spice powders are not allowed in this theme.
4. The entries should have a shelf life or refrigerator life of minimum 2 months. 
5. Both Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian entries are allowed.
6. Please link back to this announcement page and also to Denny's page here.
7. New entries are appreciated, however if you are sending archived entries, please re-post as latest (with a date in May 2012) and update with both the links to the announcement page and logo.
8. Usage of links and logo is mandatory.
9. Last date for submission of your entries is May 31, 2012.
10. To submit your entries, just link your entries using the linky tool below. 
11. Non-bloggers also can send their entries with a picture to the below email-id.
12. 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 Preserved entries:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quinoa Pilaf / Quinoa Coconut Milk Pulao in Pressure Cooker | Indian Quinoa Recipes

Looks like I have been posting at least one Quinoa recipe every month and I am happy about it. This time it is a simple and tasty Quinoa coconut milk pulao or Indian Style Quinoa Pilaf. This recipe is inspired by the Semiya pulao recipe of Chef Dhamu. I loved it very much. I made little tweaks to fit in my favorite quinoa in the same recipe and here it is. It is a one-pot meal and a perfect one at that.
Quinoa - 1 cup
Coconut milk - 3/4 cup
Water - 3/4 cup
Oil - 1 tbsp
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 1/2" stick
Bay leaf - 1
Onion - sliced thin and halved - 1 1/2 cups
Green chilli -1 - slit lengthwise (Can add more based on your heat level)
Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Mint leaves + Coriander leaves - 1 handful - chopped
Mixed vegetables - I used Carrot -1 - chopped and 1/4 cup of frozen peas
Plain Greek Yogurt/Curd - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste

Wash and soak quinoa for 15 minutes. Heat oil in a pressure cooker in med-high heat and add the cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf. After a minute add green chilli and onions and fry until the onion is almost cooked. Add the garlic paste and saute for 2 mins. Now add the mint and cilantro and fry until the leaves wilt and then add yogurt and vegetables and mix well. Pour coconut milk, water and add salt to taste. Drain the quinoa and add to the pressure cooker. Close and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. When done open the lid and fluff with a fork. Serve hot.
Note: Mint and Cilantro are kind of important ingredients in this recipe and contributes to the lovely aroma of the pulao. So do not  try skipping those.
Sending this pulao to Serve It - Pressure Cooked/Slow Cooked event happening at my space and Denny's.
I am also linking this to What's in your Lunchbox and EP-Series - Herbs and Spices event by Julie, hosted at Surabhi's space this month.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Urad Sweet Bonda / Deep Fried Sweet Vadas with Urad Dhal / Indian Zeppoles

Do you have some family recipes which you have almost forgotten about. Well, I had forgotten about these beautiful Sweet Urad vadas until my sister reminded about them recently. She had made these for Pongal festival for offering to god. These sweet vadas (or vadeyvu/vadaevu as we call it in our home) is a must in our family for all festivals and marriages. They are similar to Medhu vadas, but slightly sweetened and have a mild spicy undertone due to the addition of pearl onions and cumin seeds.
Makes about 20-25 small vadas
Whole Urad Dhal - 1 cup (I used a 120 ml cup)
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Shallots / Pearl onions / Sambar onions - 2 - peeled and halved
Cumin seeds / Jeera - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - a few (Optional - Gives a lovely aroma)
Salt - a pinch
Oil - To deep fry
Wash urad dhal about 5 times with exchanges of water. Soak with about 3-4 cups of water. After 1 hour store the soaking urad dhal in the refrigerator for another hour. After 2 hrs, drain the urad dhal reserving the soaked water. Place it in a blender and grind until smooth. A couple of teaspoons of water may be added while grinding. Make sure the batter is smooth but thick. Now add sugar and pulse once. Add the shallots, cumin seeds, salt and curry leaves and pulse a couple of times. Transfer the contents to a wide bowl and whisk for about 3-5 mins. This makes the thick batter fluffy to enable the vadas/bondas to be soft in the inside yet crispy on the outside.
Heat oil for deep frying in medium heat. Take a tablespoon-full of batter and drop into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. When done remove using a slotted spoon and drain excess oil in a tissue paper. Serve hot.
To serve: Break the vadas into two and sprinkle some sugar, drizzle little ghee over it. Enjoy!
Note: Make sure the batter is thick before adding sugar, because adding sugar loosens the batter.
Sending these beauties to Walk Through Memory Lane event hosted by Rasi for this month and also to Kitchen Chronicles - Heirloom Recipes event by Kalyani hosted by Saras.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Oma podi - South-Indian Tea-time Snack - Guest post by Vardhini of Cooks Joy

This month's guest host is by my dear blogger friend Vardhini. I believe most of my blog friends would definitely know Vardhini of Cooks Joy (Previously Zesty Palette). She is an ingenuous food blogger giving the most tempting recipes. She is one person who presents each post with beautiful step-by-step pictures. Now how cool is that. It takes a lot of sincere effort to do that and I know it is pretty tough for me :). I especially like her Dish-It-Out event. If you are wondering what it is you should head over to her space and check it out.
She recently moved to her own domain - Cook's Joy and it is simply elegant. When I asked her to do a guest post, she happily agreed even on a very short notice. And she made this delicious snack - Oma Podi, just for me. Oma podi is a South-Indian deep-fried snack made with Besan and carom seeds (Bishop's weed). It is similar to murukku/chakali but has a thinner texture and literally melts in your mouth. Now I present Vardhini in her own words.

I probably have told this quite a few times already, but blogging has opened a whole new world for me and brought me a lot of friends. My first interaction with Krithi was roughly a year ago when she was hosting the pancake event. I was new to blogging and did not know how to link up to the event :). Thus, started my conversation with her on the same.
Over the past year we have interacted a lot of times and I was thrilled when she asked me to do the guest post and finally decided on this recipe. She has a warm and cozy blog and her pictures are adorable. She does a lot of fusion cooking and her recipes are mostly healthy.
Ever since I made Idiyappam, this has been on the list. A lot of recipes call to grind the ajwain(omam), but my mom suggested that I just extract the water so that I do not end up with tiny pieces of ajwain blocking the holes. Just the water had a lot of flavor and everyone loved it. As with most snacks this one also flew out in a very short amount of time.

1 cup besan (kadala maavu)
1/4 cup rice flour
1 tsp ajwain (omam) soaked in 1/4 cup hot water
1 tsp ghee
Salt to taste
Pinch of turmeric
Oil to deep fry
Soak ajwain in hot water for an hour.

We have to extract the water. For this mash the ajwain with a spoon to get the flavors.

Then strain using a tea strainer. Keep the strained water aside.

Take besan and rice flour in a bowl.

Add asafoetida and turmeric powder.

Add salt.

Add ghee.

Add the strained ajwain water little by little and form a stiff dough. (If more water is needed, use regular water.)

We need a murukku press for this and this is the disc we will be using.

Heat oil in a vessel and load the murukku maker with the dough. Directly press the murukku maker over the hot oil allowing the strands to fall into the oil. Keep moving the murukku press to form a circle.

When the hissing sound stops the oma podi is done. Remove from oil. It hardly takes time to cook because it is thin.

Stack of yummy oma podi ready to be eaten.


For more recipes from Vardhini, do head over to Cook's Joy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Spinach Broccoli Cream Soup | Soup Recipes

I am trying to include Spinach to my diet atleast twice or thrice a week. But I get bored with the regular Spinach with dhal curry. So I am trying many ways to include spinach which is interesting too. Spinach chapathi, Spinach basil pesto, Spinach chutney are few of the many ways I try them. The recent addition to the list is this Spinach Broccoli cream soup.
Serves -2
Fresh baby spinach - 2 cups - tightly packed
Broccoli - (fresh/frozen) - 1 cup - steamed
Chopped onions - 1/2 cup
Garlic - 1 clove - halved
Vegetable stock - 2 cups - Homemade or Store-bought
Cooking cream - 1/4 cup (optional)
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp or to taste
Salt  - to taste
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
In a wide sauce-pan heat olive oil. Saute the onions and garlic until it becomes soft. Add the steamed broccoli and fry for a minute. Add the spinach and saute until it wilts. Add pepper and the vegetable stock. Allow it to boil and remove from heat. When it is slightly cool, puree in a blender in batches or using an immersion blender. Return the puree to the sauce-pan and heat slightly. Add the cream and whisk until it is well mixed. Add salt to taste but remember the store-bought stock may already have salt in it. Remove from heat and serve warm or cold. It tastes good either way.
Sending this healthy and tasty soup to Healthy Morsels - Pregnancy and also to CC-Spring Seasonal Food.