Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My experiments with

idlis, a "Lunch Box" special.

Idlis have a special place in our culture. Be it Ramisseri (yeah they have a special secret idli recipe!), Kanchipuram (the big flat ones) or my mom's mallipoo idlis- a family is never complete with idlis at least once a week. The name seems to have come from Tamil- ittu avi- literally pour and steam. Since it is a combination of rice and lentils,  there is a lot of ground to play in.
Some interesting links here and here that describe the little history that we know of, for idlis.
Ingredients

3 cups rice
1/2 cup whole urad dal
1/2 cup skinned whole urad dal
1/2 cup sprouts
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tbsp methi, soaked separately

Method

Soak the rice and the lentils separately (you do not have to soak the sprouts) for a few hours; 4 to 6 hrs is plenty of time.
Grind them separately adding as little water as possible, add the sprouts and methi seeds to rest of the dal mixture and grind until they become a fine paste -the key to good ildis is how finely the lentils are ground, or so I am told! I use a blender and it does a decent job.

Grind the rice mixture and flax seeds, this does not have to super fine.

Mix the two mixtures well and let it ferment overnight in a warm place. 

The next day your batter is ready and just before you cook the idlis, add salt and thin it if necessary with water.




Judgement

My dad would have surely not approved of the texture, you see they were not mallipoo idlis (idlis that have the texture of jasmine flowers). But we loved it- the idlis came out well (not too hard, which I was dreading) and they tasted great. My favorite way to gobble them- dredge leftover idlis in idli podi and seasame oil, and eat them the next day. Believe me- that is heaven right there!

This recipe is off to MLLA #25, an event started by lovely Susan and hosted this month at Siri's Corner. Have you submitted your legume recipe yet?

Hear ye hear ye...

it is time once again for a daring baker's post- and for me I think I have not participated in almost two months, well shame on me.


The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

For this challenge we had to make the swiss rolls with a filling of our choice, fudge sauce or a variation and two ice creams of our choice. Now that means, you know what, letting your creativity flow in full swing! Well after coming up with many variations, theoretically speaking of course, I stuck with chocolate-coffee-vanilla combination. I followed Sunita's recipe for the swiss rolls and the filling. Instead of the fudge sauce, I made a vegan mocha-espresso mousse. For the ice creams, I made a partly vegan vanilla ice cream with hazelnuts (well sorry not entirely vegan since it has honey) and a partly vegan mocha ice cream with hazelnuts.


The Swiss rolls

Ingredients

3 medium sized eggs, at room temp
112 g powdered sugar + extra for rolling
23 g all purpose (plain) flour + 20 g natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
1 tbsp boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans

For the filling-
1C whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
35 g powdered sugar

Method

Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.

In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.

Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pan.

Place it in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.

Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.

Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.

Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.

In a large bowl, add the cream, sugar and vanilla extract and beat till very thick/ stiff peaks form.

Open the roll and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).

Roll the cake up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

Partly vegan mocha ice cream (recipe source here) and vanilla ice cream (recipe source here)

Ingredients
2 c soy creamer, (To make this, I followed this recipe here, but added buckwheat honey instead of agave nectar).
1 c  soy milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate
¾ c fresh, strong espresso
¾ c sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch 
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Method

Mix ¼ cup of soy milk with the 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and set aside.

Mix the soy creamer, soy milk, coffee, sugar and the chocolate together in a saucepan. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

For the vanilla ice cream

2 c. soy creamer, homemade
2 c. vanilla soy milk
3/4 c. sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla extract 

Follow the procedure above as for the chocolate ice cream. I do not have an ice cream maker and therefore did this the old fashioned way of pouring the mixture in a fairly deep pan- freezing it and taking it out every few hours to break the ice crystals with a spatula (have to be forceful here!)

Mocha-espresso mousse layer

Ingredients
6 oz extra-firm silken tofu
2 tbsp soy milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
4 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Method

Crumble tofu in a blender. Add soy milk, maple syrup,  espresso powder, vanilla extract. Also add molten chocolate (double boiler/ saucepan/ microwave, whichever you choose, just do not burn it, is all) and blend until combined.

Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerator until it firms up.

Assembly
Cut the Swiss rolls into ~10 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each )

Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap.

Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).

 Soften the vanilla ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour).

Add the mousse over the vanilla ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour)

Soften the chocolate ice cream and spread it over the mousse. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set .

Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.

Judgement

Everything tasted good but for the vegan (well partly-vegan) vanilla ice cream, it was not creamy enough for me. The best part- rolls themselves with the filling and the mousse (with best chocolate as ingredient, it sure did make a difference!)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tis the season

for the itsy-bitsy, dainty golden beauties.
  
"I have no hostility to nature, but a child's love to it. I expand and live in the warm day like corn and melons"- Emerson


The corn season arrives and I let out a sigh of relief. I wait eagerly for these months when I can go out to the store, smell the wet earth on fresh corn and obsess over which one, among the hundreds laid out, I should pick. I love corn- and I love all kinds of it. I am happy with just plain corn (sweet or otherwise) roasted on a stove.
I saw the recipe here- by the way Mark Bittman rocks!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons canola oil
3 ears corn, stripped of their kernels
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 tsp chilli powder, like ancho
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small can (15oz) black beans
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Method

Put the oil in a pan and turn the heat to high. When the oil is very hot but not yet smoking, toss in the corn. Let it sit for a minute or so, then stir or shake the pan; brown the corn a bit, 5 minutes or less, then turn off the heat and stir in the onion, pepper, chile powder, salt, and pepper.

Cool for a few minutes, then toss with the remaining ingredients. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature

Judgement

I love corn in any form, if you have missed it the thousand times I have said it before!



  • 2 teaspoons canola oil


  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 3 ears)


  • 1 large ripe mango (about 1 pound), peeled and diced


  • 1 15-ounce or 19-ounce can black beans, rinsed


  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion


  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper


  • 3 tablespoons lime juice


  • 1 small canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (see Ingredient Note), drained and chopped


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin


  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 2 teaspoons canola oil


  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 3 ears)


  • 1 large ripe mango (about 1 pound), peeled and diced


  • 1 15-ounce or 19-ounce can black beans, rinsed


  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion


  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper


  • 3 tablespoons lime juice


  • 1 small canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (see Ingredient Note), drained and chopped


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin


  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 2 teaspoons canola oil


  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 3 ears)


  • 1 large ripe mango (about 1 pound), peeled and diced


  • 1 15-ounce or 19-ounce can black beans, rinsed


  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion


  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper


  • 3 tablespoons lime juice


  • 1 small canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (see Ingredient Note), drained and chopped


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin


  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 2 teaspoons canola oil


  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 3 ears)


  • 1 large ripe mango (about 1 pound), peeled and diced


  • 1 15-ounce or 19-ounce can black beans, rinsed


  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion


  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper


  • 3 tablespoons lime juice


  • 1 small canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (see Ingredient Note), drained and chopped


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin


  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • And for dessert, we have fresh figs-quark cheese pot- for those days when you crave something sweet


    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Thayir sadam

    with juicy ripe mangoes, anyone? The ones in the picture are not juicy ripe mangoes- my dad thought the picture looked better with cut spicy mangoes. But the photo credit goes to him, as I amidst my mango devouring days in Chennai, I forgot all about the camera and this blog- now can ya blame me?


    Of course, a quintessential Tam Bram (only when it comes to food though) that I am- I love my thayir sadam and; I love to have my thayir sadam with the golden beauties when they are in season. Something about sour yogurt and sweet mango combination- just feels right every time.

    This time I had at least 4 different varieties- the ones in the picture are Haapoos or more lovingly known as alphonso, farm fresh and were being taken away for ripening. This was on our way back from Lavasa, Pune.  I had amrapali (mom bought them for me from Bhubaneswar), langda in Pune and one another varitey I do not remember the name- not that I care too much for names when I am eating them!

    So there you have it- a no recipe post that I had to write simply because I wanted to keep the taste and smell of mangoes with me forever and ever. Do you have any interesting mango story to share?! 

    Read more of my rants at in my other world.

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    I can't believe its pasta

    Yes, that is correct. The first time I saw this recipe here, I had mocked it and mocked it despite the fact that I love Sanjeev Kapoor's recipes. They are usually unbelievably simple and the outcome usually delicious. I should also confess that I did bookmark the page for one of those days that I would feel adventurous enough. So here is a very Indian-Thai tasting pasta recipe that was made by the wise guy- rest assured he/we did not follow the recipe to the T.

     
    Ingredients

    1 box dried rotini pasta 
    1 bag of frozen veggie mix that had broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
    1 onion, sliced
    2 tomatoes, chopped
    1 tbsp garlic paste
    1 tbsp ginger paste
    red chilli powder, to taste
    2 green chilli, chopped
    1 tbsp Garam masala (the wise guy used something called mutter paneer masala from parampara)
    1 cup half and half
    salt, to taste
    1 tbsp oil for frying

    Method

    Boil the pasta as per package instructions with salt and may be some olive oil.

    While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a pan. Add onions and saute them. Add tomatoes, ginger- garlic paste, green chillies, red chilli powder and garam masala. Let it cook for a couple of minutes until the raw smell of the masala is gone. 

    Add veggies and cook for a few more minutes until crisp and tender. At this time add some salt and pepper to taste. Once the veggies are almost done add half and half- as it comes to a rolling boil turn it off and add the pasta.

    Serve hot or cold, tastes good either way.

    Judgement

    The pasta tasted more like thai noodle soup rather than a makhni dish but it tasted great. In fact it tasted even better the day after! Go ahead try it...
    This pasta is off to presto pasta nights # 172 hosted by Sidewalk Shoes.