Sunday, October 12, 2014

San Francisco Trip


SAN FRANCISCO , CALIFORNIA.

One of the most visited cities in the united states, this was on our list for some time , since we live in the greater northwest it wasn't that hard to plan , so this summer we decided to embark into this awesome journey.

Here are a few glimpses of our trip , a snap shot of our sunny days in CA. 
If a picture is worth a thousand words then this should say it all.











Monday, October 6, 2014

Masala Dosa




Every one has one of those recipes that takes to to your happy place, this is one of mine and so is this for my little one and older one . Both of them love masala dosa & plain dosa , relishing  every bite of it .  

Recently on our visit to San franscico we visited a typical south indian restuarant and decided to have brunch there, this place was did  great job of maintaining the same culture and more important the taste of traditional south indian dishes, just like you would find in south India . Long crispy dosas in variety of options with colorful chutneys and sambar to go along and many more savory delicacies 

Thumbs up for dosa
  Usually saturday mornings I make something that I grew up eating , so my kids could stick to the roots at least on the weekends :)

Masala dosa is one of the most  demanded on week ends  this savory dish is a crepe with  a filing of boiled potatoes with added spices in crispy layer of dosa .

What you need  for dosa batter :
Idli rice : 1 cup
Urad dal : 1/2 cup
Salt : to taste
Meethi seeds : 1 pinch 
Yeast: 1 pinch
Soak the rice, meethi seeds and urad dal for 6-8 hours, then grind it in a mixer (I use the Indian one I got from back home). Over the last few years, I went through several trial and errors to make soft dosas and idlis in this cold country. 
Quite a few attempts were disasters with idlis as hard as rock, but at other times it turned out to be great.
I tried a little trick , after the batter is mixed into a paste , take a pinch of active yeast in warm water
Add to the batter just like u would do for making appams but only the quantity is less as compared Cover this batter and leave it over night, next morning the batter will swell up which is a good sign of fermentation , add salt  if the batter is to make dosas make it thin and for idlis keep the consistency thick.

For the filling (masala) :
Boiled potatoes : 2 smashed 
Onions : 1 chopped
Chillies : 1 long slit
Curry leaves : 5-7 
Salt and turmeric as needed
Olive oil : 1 tsp
Urad dal : 1 tsp
Heat a pan . add oil until hot add urad dal sauté for few mins, add the chopped curry leaves, chillies, onions let it cook till the onions are soft and a little brown.
Add salt and turmeric then add the smashed potatoes leave some chunky pieces in gives the masala dosa an authentic taste, if needed you can also add chopped cilantro which is optional.
Add slat and mix well next to make masala dosas use the batter as mentioned earlier. heat a flat pan oil rub then at the right temp which u can check by sprinkling water on the pan it shud bubble ,  pour the batter in a circle form to make fresh piping hot dosas , add the potatoes add some oil on the sides to make it crispy fold from the sides. cook for few secs more then take it off the pan and keep aside try not to cover this as it may get soggy best is to eat while hot and crispy.
Serve with sambar or coconut chutney. Njoy !


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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cranberry pickle



As the weather starts to cool down , the cooler breeze is a reminder of darker evenings and cloudier days. But on the flip side also a time to look forward to the winter days with Halloween right around the corner, and Thanksgiving peeing thru right behind, and of course fall colors has started to surround the neighborhood so it's  time to start cooking some fall vegetables.

Pickles have always been a absolute favorite of mine, the spicy , tangy taste that  gets your taste buds going is a perfect compliment to any simple food.

Usually I make a lemon, mango , and fish pickle the other day I crossed by some  good fresh red cranberry bag in the grocery store , a thought crossed my mind that sweet and tangy cranberry in a pickle form YUM !!
Next on my list was to stop my mouth from watering :) and on my way picked a bag and headed to the counter.



Now to the recipe

What you need :

Cranberry : half fresh and half dried (50% less sugar) is what I used

Ginger chopped : 2 tbsp

Green chillies chopped : 2 tsbp

Salt : to taste

Chilly pwd : 1 tsbp

Vinegar : 3 tsbp

Turmeric pwd : 1/2 tsp

Asafetida pwd : 1 tsp

Meethi pwd : 1 tsp

Olive oil : 2 tsp

Mustard seeds ; 1 tsp

Curry leaves - 5-10 leaves

Wash and clean the cranberries and let them dry. Cut the fresh cranberries into halves add some rock salt or regular salt with some turmeric , marinate for at least 1 hour.

Heat a pan add the olive oil , add the mustard seeds let them pop then add the chopped chilles, ginger, curry leaves and saute for 2 mins.

Add the dry spices , later add the cranberries both dried and fresh , saute for few mins.

Add the vinegar , this makes the pickle a little loose let it cook for few mins then put the heat off.

Let the pickle cool before storing in a glass container , check the salt if needed .

Serve with hot rice and Dal Njoy !

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pav Bhaji


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One of the things that I miss most about my homeland "India " is the street food , hands down so  Delish . Out on the busy streets through the hustle bustle of daily grind stalls of fast food lined up, spices being thrown in, oil splashed and the aroma is highly appetizing and inviting .

After living in a western country for long your body tends to change gets used to the food that you put in, so after years when we visit India the dilemma is always out there about should we eat street food. but that is the essence of traveling back home right ?  doing or reliving things you did with family and friends , even if it is just standing on a street side with shopping bags in one hand and a plate of yummy pav bhaji in other hand .

Pav bhaji is one of those street foods best enjoyed on the street standing in a crowded space watching the cook create the mouth watering delight. It is basically dinner rolls preferably not too soft with more texture that is accompanied with a mashed and  spiced version of veges like potatoes, peas, cauliflower,  well for the rest jus check the recipe.






What you need :

Dinner rolls : 1 pack
potatoes : 2 big ones 
tomatoes : 4 chopped
red onion: 2 big chopped
ginger garlic paste : 1 tablespoon
peas : 1/2 cup
cauliflower : 1/2 cup
bell peppers: 1 green chopped
lemon : 2 cub sized
cilantro : chopped fine
salt : to taste
oil : as needed
butter : optional
Pav bhajji masala : lots out there 
(sanjay kapoor and everest personal fav )
turmeric powder : 1 teaspoon

Boil the vegetables potatoes, peas, cauliflower , bell peppers till well cooked usually these are traditionally  cooked in a pressure cooker with one one whistle which works great. After the cooker has cooled down , open it and mash the veges up leaving some chunks in are totally fine.
Meanwhile cut the dinner rolls in halves and spread some butter or olive oil .
In a pan heat oil add the chopped onions sauté , then add ginger garlic paste to this cook for a  few mins till raw taste is gone, later 
add the chopped tomatoes cook on medium heat add salt , add the pav bhajji masala .
Add the mashed veges also if too thick add water if needed mix well .
Add salt as needed .
On a flat pan start toasting the rolls that have been buttered or oiled up till they are slightly brown .
Serve the rolls with the pav bhajji , garnish with cilantro and a cube of lemon , also can add chopped onions for added yuminess !
Last but not the least a small dallop of butter in the bhajji just takes it to the next level.
Njoy!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Spinach and Black eyed peas Thoran



Spinach and black eyed peas thoran

Growing up we all are told of how important it is to add greens to your diet, now being a mom  to two boys the responsibility of adding the greens to the daily cuisine has been passed on to my shoulders. As hard as It can be I have learnt that with kids you have to be creative , surprisingly my older son is  interested in the kitchen usually will come by to check on what's for dinner try to help if he can, ask about how I made the dish which is a good sign . 
So it is sometimes easy to slip in the greens to their plate without a meltdown  :)

Recently I joined the health nutrition programme where a nutritionist calls me every 4 weeks to help me get on the right track , not that I was on the wrong track but now a days insurance companies have decided to take some responsibility to share the burden of the unhealthy nation so it does not come back to bite them. A step in the right direction .

So I decided to choose the nutrition path , Stories aside I decided to incorporate a vegetable in  every day instead of 3 times a week  , at least one veggie a day Hurray :) so this is the result .
Lets see how far I can take this.

With this thoran U can make Spinach by itself but it can sometimes be too leafy , I prefer a little added bit of peas  I just added some black eyed peas for more texture and flavor .

NOW for the recipe
What U need :
Spinach - 2 cups finely chopped
Black eyes peas - 1/2 cup cooked usually found in the frozen aisle
Shallots - 2 finely chopped
Ginger- 1/2 inch chopped
Garlic 3 cloves chopped
Green chillies- 3-4 chopped
Coconut grated  - 1/2 cup
Curry leaves a few optional
Salt to taste
Olive oil- 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds- 1 teaspoon
Red chillies optional

Heat  a pan add the oil after the oil heats up add the mustard seeds , they begin to pop in few mins add the chopped shallots and dried whole chillies , curry leaves, saute for some time.

Add chopped ginger and garlic with the green chillies toast this for few mins than add the black eyes peas is they are not cooked thoroughly add some water in a cup and microwave for 3-4 mins before adding to the pan . Add salt and coconut and then last add the spinach. the spinach cooks pretty quickly so hence is added last. 
Cover the dish for a few mins till the peas are well cooked and the spinach is all welted down .
Serve with rice or Rotis.
Njoy !








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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Appam and Chicken curry

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Every home has its own special tradition some of it we grow up into so naturally adopted and some we create ourselves as a matter of convenience and also depending on our very own likes and dislikes.
One of those traditions that I love and grew up into is comfort breakfast as my regular visitors can easily point out there is a lil' too much emphasis on breakfast on my blog :)
who doesn't love a nice and hearty scrumptous breakfast just makes your day or sometimes the week too.
One of my absolute fav breakfast is appam and chicken, reminds me of Christmas and Easter mornings this was an absolute must, after the midnight mass my mom n dad would wake up and start the early preapartions of the breakfast ritual and by the time we kids would wake up thewhole house is turned is filled with warmth and appetising aromas, even now a days when I call  to wish my loved ones back home in India on Christmas eve the morning talk always comes around to ' SO WHAT DID U HAVE FOR BREAKFAST APPAM N CHICKEN?' and the obvious answer is always 'Yes'
There is something about this combination so comforting and appetising the soft appam  dipped in the coconut flavoured chicken curry bursting out with aromatic spices just melts in your mouth , kind of like a perfect match made in gastronomical heaven ;0

Now for the recipe:

What u need :
long grain basmati rice -2 cups
coconut grated frozen or fresh - 1cup
cooked basmati rice- 1/2 cup
active yeast - 1 teaspoon
sugar - 1 teaspoon for activation
water - as needed
salt- 1 teaspoon

Soak the rice for 6-8 hours or overnight, now wash the rice thoroughly and blend part of the rice , coconut, cooked rice with added enough water to a semi thick blend, the consistency should be not too grainy but on the smoother side .
The cooked rice plays a big role in this it makes the appams consideriably soft ,once the batter is ready take some warm water about a tablespoon add the yeast and sugar let it activate the yeast starts to mix in. Then add this to the batter let this sit for at least 6-8 hours to ferment , then the following day or after 8 hours add salt mix well if the batter is too thick u can add milk too. The next day the batter will look like it increased in size that is a sign that the fermentation has taken place.
Appam is usually made in a specific round pan easily available in Indian stores . 

Heat the pan on medium temperature control is a critical part towards soft appams add a laddle of the fermented batter and rotate in a clockwise fashion and let it cook for few mins cover the pan , appams is uasully cooked in the time as a pancake would.
You can also make appam on a normal non stick pan just make the batter a lil thick so it does not run all over the pan kind of the same way one would make pancakes only u donot need to turn just cook one side take it off the pan when it looks cooked from the top.
Enjoy this dish with any kind of gravy dish best goes with non vegetarian dishes!