Salad Bhaaji/ Onion-Tomato Mix Sabji

Salad bhaaji is one of the quickest and easiest sabji to prepare and liked by all at home. It utilizes the readily available vegetables in any household. It is one of the commonly available  and relished sabji in most cafes (khaanawal) in Goa, India. Goans usually enjoy it with pav (bread bun) but it can also be had with rotis, phulkas or chapatis.

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Recipe :

Ingredients :

  • 2  small onions, cut length wise
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, cut length wise
  • 5-8 curry leaves
  • few sprigs of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida
  • 2-3 green chillies, slit lengthwise
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • salt as per taste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

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Method :

  1. In a non-stick saucepan, heat oil.
  2. To it add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and green chillies.img_20160929_115138
  3. Once they begin to flutter, add the onion and saute till soft and transparent. (you can add a little salt while adding onion as it helps in faster cooking of the onion)img_20160929_115432
  4. Then add the tomatoes and cover and allow it to cook on low flame. Add a little water to aid in cooking.img_20160929_120059
  5. Then once the tomatoes are soft, add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt as per taste.img_20160929_121209
  6. Mix well and allow to cook till little water remains and the dish is not completely dry.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and switch off the gas.
  8. Serve hot with roti, phulkas, chapatis or pav.

 

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Red Velvet Cake pops

A week more and my parents will be travelling back to India. I always aimed to give them or cook most of the items which they usually wont get readily or not intend to buy back home in India.

I had some mix of white candy melt with a little shortening left with me out of the batch I had prepared for the Princess theme birthday cake. Cream cheese frosting is what I had not tasted or tried before and I have heard that it goes well with red velvet cake. So instead of preparing usual cupcakes or cake, I planned to make cake pops. I recipe is inspired by the joy of baking video. It is a red velvet cake pop with cream cheese filling and white chocolate coated decorated with red sugar sprinklers.

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Recipe :

Ingredients :

For the cake :

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp cake flour ( If cake flour is not readily available, then use 1/2 cup + 2 1/4 tsp all-purpose flour and 1 tbsp + 3/4 tsp corn flour)
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup +2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 large beaten egg, at room temp.
  • 1/4 cup butter milk ( I used 1/4 cup whole milk, to it added 1 tsp lemon juice and allowed it to stand for 5-10 mins)
  • 2 tsp liquid Red food coloring
  • 1/4 tsp vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

For the cream cheese frosting :

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup confectionary sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the white chocolate coating :

  • 1 cup white or vanilla candy melts
  • 1 -2 tsp vegetable shortening
  • red sugar sprinklers

For the cake pop assembly :

  • 12-15 lollipop sticks
  • a styrofoam or thermocol block

Method :

  1. Pre-heat oven at 350 F and grease a 6 inch round cake pan.
  2. In a bowl, sift the cake flour(all-purpose flour plus corn flour), salt, baking powder and cocoa powder.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter till smooth and creamy.
  4. To this add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat again for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and beat till well combined.
  6. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl at regular intervals while beating.
  7. Add the food coloring to the butter milk and whisk well.
  8. Add the flour mix in 3 parts and buttermilk mix in 2 parts, alternating each and beating at low-speed.(begin and end with the flour mix)
  9. In a small cup, combine the vinegar and baking soda and allow to fizz. Quickly fold this into the batter.
  10. Then quickly pour the mix into the greased pan and  spread the batter evenly. Tap the pan on the counter top to release any air bubbles in the batter.
  11. Bake the cake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 mins or till a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
  12. Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack and remove to carefully from the pan.
  13. In the mean while, in another clean mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth.
  14. To this add the sugar in parts and continue to beat.
  15. Lastly add the vanilla extract and beat again once till well incorporated.
  16. In a large bowl, crush the cake into small crumbs. To this add just enough frosting to hold the mixture together.(The frosting needs to be just right not little that the ball falls apart nor too much that the ball becomes soggy. i used approximately 1/4-1/2 cup of frosting)
  17. Gradually work the frosting into the crumbs.
  18. Make golf-size balls out of this mix. You should get approximately 12 balls.
  19. Place them in a tray lined with parchment paper. Place the tray in the freezer for around 15 mins.
  20. Melt the white candy melts along with the shortening in a glass bowl in microwave for 1-2 mins at intervals of 30 seconds, stirring in between. (Addition of shortening helps to give a smooth finish)
  21. Remove the balls from the freezer. Dip each lollipop stick tip into the melted chocolate and shake well to remove the excess.
  22. Then insert this stick into the ball, right in the middle, half way through. Repeat for rest of the balls. Again place them in the tray and place them in the freezer for another 15 minutes.
  23. Then coat each cake ball with melted white chocolate, by dipping and rolling into the melted chocolate. Tap while turning the stick to remove the excess chocolate. (In case, the chocolate has become dry and thick, then you can microwave it for another 30 seconds and give it a stir)
  24. Then sprinkle the red sugar on the ball rotating cake pop, while the chocolate is still melted.
  25. Pierce the cake pop stick into the styrofoam block and allow it to dry.
  26. Repeat for rest of the cake pops. Your cake pops are ready. They can be eaten right away or refrigerated for 3-4 days.

 

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Chilli Cheese Toast

As my husband comes all hungry in the evening from office, I am expected to be ready with some yummy snack item in the evening. Most of the time this does not turn to be so even if I put thinking cap on still no idea pops up and I end up giving him some ready-made chips, muffins, etc along with protein milk.

But some lucky days are such that an idea just strikes like a wave and you end up making a delicious yummy snack even without having thought much or not thought at all. Yesterday evening was one such evening when I was just out of bed after having my evening nap, just washed my face and went into the kitchen. I had some slice bread, very little shredded mozzarella cheese left and some very tiny cherry tomatoes that my aunt had given me  from the crop that was grown in her garden. In 5-10 mins I was ready with the chilli cheese toast.

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Recipe :

Ingredients :

  • 4 bread slices
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (If mozzarella is not readily available, then you can also use grated cheese cube or cheese slices cut into thin strips)
  • 2 tbsp onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp green chilli, finely chopped
  • few sprigs of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • red chilli flakes, pepper powder, salt, herb blend as per taste
  • capsicum & minced or grated garlic (optional)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp milk

Method :

  1. Lightly toast and butter the bread slices.
  2. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except milk and bread. Check the taste and add accordingly.
  3. If the mixture is not of spreadable consistency, add little milk.
  4. Pre-heat the oven at 350 F.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly on the bread slices.
  6. Place the slices on a baking tray and cook in the pre-heated oven for around 4 mins or till the cheese melts.
  7. Once done and out of the oven, cut the slices into triangles using pizza cutter.
  8. Enjoy as is or with tomato ketchup over a cup of hot tea.

 

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Mutton Biryani in Andhra style

Though being a non-vegetarian,I like to have fish and chicken. I never liked to have mutton(goat) since childhood. I always thought and found it to be like chewing gum. My husband is a foodie and likes to explore different types of food items. He loves to have mutton. He always tried to convince me to start eating mutton. To satisfy his wish, I did try 2-3 times way back in India, but I did not like it them.

After coming to US, my options in non-veg has pretty much reduced due to the variation in taste and lack of freshness. My husband again started convincing me about mutton and this time he succeeded. I did start eating it and liking it too. But I have only explored to the extent of mutton biryani and mutton curry. Every where in this post, by mutton I intend to mean goat meat.

My husband has a couple of bachelor friends here who hail from Andhra Pradesh, India. I have heard that they are awesome cooks though have never been lucky to taste their food. This recipe has been shared by one of this bachelor friends with my hubby and I happened to try Mutton(Goat) biryani at home. It turned out to be so delicious, we really relished it.

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Recipe :

Ingredients :

  • 500-750gms mutton medium-sized pieces, washed and cleaned (shoulder pieces)
  • 2-3 tsp tenderizer*
  • salt as per taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup curd
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp biryani masala
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 green cardamom
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • around 1/2 cup fried onion for garnish

*Note: Take 1/4 piece of raw papaya. Remove the seeds and chop it to 1/2 inch pieces and then puree it in mixie. Your tenderizer is ready.

Method :

  1. Mix all the ingredients except basmati rice, ghee, oil and fried onions.
  2. Refrigerate it and allow to stand for at least 4-5 hours. I prefer to keep it overnight though.img_20160917_202611
  3. In a pressure cooker, heat oil. To it add the marinated mutton pieces.img_20160918_101435
  4. Add water enough just so that the pieces are dipped. Pressure cook for 6-10 whistles.
  5. In the meanwhile, soak the rice in water for at least one hour. Then wash the rice and drain all the water.img_20160918_111142
  6. Once pressure is released, drain the mutton pieces from the curry and keep both in separate bowls. Allow to whole masala to be retained in the curry.img_20160918_111103
  7. In the pressure cooker, heat ghee. Add the rice and fry for a minute.
  8. To this add the curry and then water enough for the rice to cook along with the curry. For one cup rice, I had 1 3/4 curry existing so I added around 1/4-1/2 cup water.
  9. Before pressure cooking, check the salt and add if required.
  10. Pressure cook the rice for 2-3 whistles.
  11. In a serving dish, spread all the mutton pieces. On top of it spread half the fried onion.
  12. Above it, spread all the rice. Then garnish with the remaining onion.

 

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Indo-Chinese Samosa / Veggie Triangle Roll

Patties is the commonly used word in our house for puffs. My father had a craving for veggie patties since quite a long. Finally I decided to fulfill his craving. I was searching for ready to use samosa patties in our regular Indian store. But I could not find any. I had some spring roll sheets in my fridge so I thought of putting it to use. I decided to use the spring roll sheets instead of the patties thus giving rise to the Indo – Chinese samosas.

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Recipe :

Ingredients :

  • 1/4 of small cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes, boiled, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped green chillies
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mango powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • flour paste (2 tbsp all-purpose flour mixed with 2 tbsp water to form a thick paste)
  • 8-10 spring roll sheets
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying

Method:

  1. In a non-stick pan, heat oil.
  2. Add the onion and green chillies and saute.
  3. Once transparent, add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the rawness of the paste vanishes.
  4. To this, add the cabbage and all the spices. Allow it to cook for 5 mins.
  5. To this add the potato pieces and mix well.
  6. Garnish with coriander leaves and allow to cool.
  7. Take a square sheet of spring roll sheet and divide into two.
  8. Take one rectangular sheet and make a cone of it as shown in the pictures.img_20160911_134657img_20160911_134703img_20160911_134711
  9. Put a 1-2 spoons of the cooked vegetable mixture into the cone.img_20160911_134750
  10. Apply the flour mixture on the edges and seal the cone, thus forming a triangleimg_20160911_134808img_20160911_134818img_20160911_134830
  11. Heat the oil and deep fry the triangles till golden brown. Repeat the process for rest of the vegetable mixture and sheets.

 

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Khaja/Layered sweetened puff

Ganesh Chaturthi was around and we had prepared a lot many sweets to celebrate the festival. I had made packets to distribute the sweets between neighbors and close friends. I have a neighbor who is a college student. She hails from southern India but has been in the states for quite many years. I had given one packet to her too.

As soon as she tasted them, she was very delighted and asked me if I knew how to prepare Indian sweet – Khaja. She said she loves it and the sweet Chirote reminded her of it. Actually, Khaja are similar to chirote but are rolled slight differently and soaked in sugar syrup. I decided to try out the Khaja and surprise my neighbor with them.

She was very much excited and said she felt she was in heaven when she tasted them. So lets move ahead with recipe.

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Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt as per taste
  • 3 tbsp ghee (melted)
  •  for flour paste – 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and 3 tbsp ghee(melted)
  • rice flour for dusting
  • oil for deep-frying
  • for sugar syrup – 2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cup water

Method:

  1. Mix all-purpose flour, salt, ghee and knead into a soft dough.
  2. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for at least half and hour.
  3. In the meanwhile, prepare the flour paste by mixing flour and ghee and keep it ready. It needs to be fluffy.
  4. Divide the dough into 6-9 balls.
  5. Roll 3 dough balls into 3 thin discs of 6-8 inch. Keep each on a separate plate so that they do not stick to each other.
  6. Take the first disc and apply the flour paste on it all over generously.
  7. Then place the second disc on top of it so that the first disc it entirely covered.
  8. Again apply the flour paste on the second disc and cover it with the 3 disc.
  9. Repeat flour paste application for the third disc as well.
  10. You will get a thick disc now. Roll it into a pipe from one edge towards other.
  11. Cut around 8-10 slices around 1/2 inch thick.
  12. Then run the rolling-pin on each piece along the length and not the side which is cut like we did in chirote. In case of Khaja, the layers will be pressed.
  13. Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, deep fry these in oil till slight light brown on low flame.
  14. Drain on an absorbent paper towel.
  15. Repeat the process for rest of the dough balls.
  16. For the sugar syrup, boil sugar and water till the sugar is dissolved and the syrup boils for achieving one string consistency.
  17. Once the deep-fried puffs cool, dip them in the sugar syrup.
  18. Drain the excess syrup and remove the khaja on a plate using a pair of tongs.
  19. Enjoy the melt in mouth Khaja.

 

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Modak – Kaju (Cashew), Chocolate, Dryfruits

As per mythology, it is believed that Lord Ganesha loved a sweet very much – the Modaks. It is also believed that you can please the Lord by making devotedly his favorite sweet. Traditionally, a modak has the same base and stuffing like Nevri but its shape is not half circle bur rounded. Here, the filling is put right at the center of the dough disc and its covered by getting together the edges of the disc,giving tiny folds to form a frill and seal.

Here, in this recipe I have tried to make modaks using milk, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and dry fruit maintaining the traditional shape while avoiding the dough base. I will be sharing the recipe for 3 types of modak here – Cashew (Kaju), Chocolate and Dry Fruits.

 

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Recipe :

Recipe for cashew modaks is inspired from a recipe shared by lady on a food group with slight modifications while Dry fruit modaks is inspired from Hebber’s kitchen dry fruit ladoos. You can also do the cashew modaks in microwave following similar steps to chocolate modak for microwave part.

Ingredients :

For Cashew modaks

  • 2 cups fine cashew nut powder (I used around 2 1/2 cups of cashew nuts to yield around 2 cups of cashewnut powder after grinding and sifting)
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • raw whole milk (just enough to dip the sugar)
  • 1 spoonful ghee (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder

Note : In case you do not have cream, you can just use the milk. In this case, 1/4 cup milk will suffice to dip the sugar.

For Chocolate modaks

  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp ghee (unsalted butter)
  • 1 1/2 cup milk-mawa powder (If specialized powder is not available, you can use just milk powder but then you need to adjust the sugar accordingly. Milk-mawa powder does not have sweetness of its own)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup whole milk

For Dry fruit modaks

  • 1 cup seedless dates
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/3 cup chopped cashew nuts
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp ghee

 

Modak mold :FB_IMG_1472754660297-COLLAGE

Method :

For cashew modaks:

  1. In a non-stick saucepan, add sugar. Then add milk plus cream (as mentioned earlier you can use just the milk) just enough to dip the sugar.
  2. Heat the sugar till it dissolves and you get a string consistency.
  3. Put the flame to low and add the cashew nut powder. Keep stirring the mixture till it leaves the sides.
  4. Put off the gas and continue to stir till the mixtures dries out and comes together to forma ball but is still not completely dry.
  5. Before putting off the gas, you can add ghee (optional).
  6. Remove on a greased plate. Also grease the mold.
  7. Stuff the batter while it is still warm in the mold.
  8. Fill complete mold then de-mold to get the desired modak shape.

For chocolate modak:

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, add sugar, ghee and milk-mawa powder and mix.
  2. Microwave the mixture by adding milk a tbsp at a time for 5 mins in intervals of 1 min. Keep stirring between intervals.
  3. Finally, remove from microwave and keep stirring continuously till the mixture begins to thicken but is still hot.
  4. Now add the cocoa powder and chocolate chips and continue to stir. The heat in the mixture will dissolve the chips. Stir till the mixture begins to dry out and comes clean from the sides and begins to form a ball.
  5. Grease the mold.
  6. Stuff the batter while it is still warm in the mold.
  7. Fill complete mold then de-mold to get the desired modak shape.

For Dryfruit modaks:

  1. Blend the dates in a mixie to a coarse paste.
  2. In a non-stick pan, heat the ghee.
  3. Add all the dry fruits except the dates.
  4. Once the dry fruits are well fried in ghee, add the date blend and mix.
  5. Put off the gas. Grease the mold.
  6. Stuff the batter while it is still warm in the mold.
  7. Fill complete mold then de-mold to get the desired modak shape.

 

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