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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vegetable Balls

 Filled with an assortment of vegetables, these veggi balls are a tasty, nutritious snack. Very delicious to eat, crispy on  the outside, soft on the inside.

1 cup grated Mozzarella Cheese
1 carrot , grated
1 boiled Potato, grated
1/4 cup Corn
1/2 cup Green peas
2 tsp Green chilly paste
1/2 tsp grates Ginger
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Black pepper powder
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

For Outer coating you need 1/2 cup Cornflour, Oregano, Salt and finally Breadcrumbs. Icy cold Water to make a thick batter.

Put the peas in blender (don't add water) and run the machine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs., just a step before it tuns into puree.
In a non stick skillet, heat just 2 tsp and fry ginger, chilly paste, green pea mixture till the moisture evaporates. Then dry under the fan to cool it. Keep aside.

Grate the cheese into a large bowl, mix in corn, ginger-peas paste, grated potato and carrot. Add all the spices well and cheese. Mix thoroughly. Make small dumplings and shape into small lemon sized balls.
Make a smooth batter of cornflour and water (thick). Add some salt and oregano and dip the balls into the batter and roll in breadcrumbs till they are evenly coated from all the sides. Keep all the balls in a tray and put this in fridge for 1/2 . 

Heat the oil in a kadhai on medium flame and deep fry till they are golden brown in color evenly. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve immediately with chillly mayonnaise. 

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read more.. "Vegetable Balls "

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chingri - Phulkopir Dalna / Cauliflower Gravy With Prawns

The cauliflower-peas curry is definitely a good dish but for non-veg lovers adding prawns makes it more wonderful combination. You can add potatoes here which also blends quite well with cauliflower and prawn but I generally skip it. 

1 medium sized Cauliflower
200 gms medium sized Prawns, cleaned 
1/4 cup Green peas
1 Onion, ground to paste
2 Tomatoes, ground to paste
3-4 Green chillies
2 tsp Ginger paste
1 tbsp Coriander paste
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Red chilly powder
1 tsp Garam masala powder
1 tsp Sugar
1 tbsp Ghee
4-5 tbsp Mustard oil
Handful of coriander leaves
Salt to taste

Sprinkle some salt and turmeric powder on cleaned prawns. Keep aside for 10-15 minutes. Cut cauliflower into medium sized florets, dip them in hot water with 1/2 tsp salt and put this on burner for 5-6 minutes until they are slightly tender (over cooking will cause it to break apart). Drain and keep aside. 

Heat mustard oil till smoking point and then reduce the heat, fry prawns for few seconds and keep aside(prawns are very tender so don't over fry them or else will become rubbery). In the same pan fry cauliflower florets on medium heat till they are light brown. Place them on tissue paper to soak the excess oil. Now add bay leaves in the same oil, add onion paste and fry on medium heat till it turns pink. Add ginger paste, chilly paste and all dry masala (except garam masala). Fry till it leaves oil, then add tomato paste. 

When the masala is nicely fried add cauliflower, mix well thoroughly. Add little water and green peas, adjust salt, cover and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are done. Just before removing from the heat add fried prawn at this stage, sugar, garam masala and ghee for flavor. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with steamed rice or simple masala rice. 

Sending this recipe to Chandrani's Spotlight : Festive Food which was started by Indrani of Recipe Junction

read more.. "Chingri - Phulkopir Dalna / Cauliflower Gravy With Prawns"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Trader Vic's Restaurant Review

Jist of a great culinary extravaganza: Trader Vic's is a restaurant chain headquartered in San FranciscoCalifornia. Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr. (December 10, 1902, San Francisco, California – October 11, 1984, Hillsborough, California) founded a chain of Polynesian-themed restaurants that bore his nickname, "Trader Vic". He was one of two people who claimed to have invented the Mai Tai. Source: Wikipidea

Trader Vic's has a trademark of an easy and fantastic combination of good ambiance, food, drinks and warmth in service. I  along with my few friends had been there for lunch last weekend. When we entered through a giant door, it looked a busy atmosphere. The first thing that caught my notice was it's classic Tiki ( Polynesian masks) arrangement. The decor because of Tiki gives a distinctive look.

You can find different size of Tikis all over there, imported from abroad. Above every table there is a focus light. The over all ambiance made me soak in the exotic atmosphere. 

Steward came in quickly with a warm smile and handed over the menu to us, quickly we glanced through menu card for our starters and drinks. So we started with cocktails and mocktails, our pick were Suffering Bastard, Peach Tree Punch and Honolulu Bay. 

Here I have to confess the unique name "Suffering Bastard" was enough for me to try it. If you aren't careful, it will sneak right up on you !!!
Honolulu Bay
Chef Priyank seeing us enjoying our cocktails recommended to try their famous Tiki Bowl. Well yes Chef Priyank was right this was just not another drink, a rum based with a hint of almond flavoured, Italian liquor. The presentation was fantastic with a white huge conch shell served with my arm's length straws !! Yes it is meant for 3 -4 persons. My dear friend who was sitting besides me whispered in my ears "Am feeling high and want to laugh loudly". We enjoyed it so much....Don't believe me?? Then see it yourself.

 The advantage of long straws were we didn't have to lean towards the table and could relax and chit chat.  The cocktail section is fairly based on rum. All their cocktails starts from Rs450 onwards. Prices are normal for the quality offered. Chef Rahul said that their bartenders are specially gets hands on training by a Chief Bartender. 

Next on our table was TidBit Island which had assorted appetizers. The mozerella chesse balls were finger licking good. Crispy prawns were crunchy from outside and soft from inside. Best pick amongst all these starters were Kung Pao Chicken. Rest items were also OK. 

By now I was actually full after having scrumptious starters and cocktails but my tongue was not ready to surrender. For the main course we ordered 9 Spice Chicken, Green Prawn Curry, Vegetable Fried  Rice and All in Vic's Fried Rice. The Green Prawn Curry was not impressive though, found it very sweet based gravy. 9 Spice Half Chicken was something which was done inside Chinesewood Fried Oven (slow indirect cooking). This method brings out the best taste and infuse the distinctive smoky flavor which defines Trader Vic's dishes. 

The meat was tender and had a lot of flavor in it. The custom built woodfired Chinese Oven can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (206 B.C to A.D 20), and it is vital feature of Trader Vic's. Meat, seafood, poultry is suspended from hooks and slowly cooked by the smoke and heat derived from the burning a combination of white oak and wood. So this takes 25-30 minutes to get the food on the table. Keep that in mind when you order.

In dessert I had Rum Top and Chocolate Nut Tili which was out of this world. , with generous amount of walnut in it. Had a bite of Passion Cheesecake but may be I was over whelmed by the Chocolate nut Tike that couldn't relish the taste of  Passion cheese cake.

Over All : This was my first visit to Trader Vic's  and looking forward to going back again. Liked the personal approach of Chef Rahul, Priyank and there team added the warmth. Heavy on pocket  but value for money. Good portion on most of the food items. So Go ahead and indulge yourself in good cocktail and meal with friends.

Address: No. S 20, 23 A, 24 & 24 A, 2nd Floor, Phoenix Market City, Mahadevpura, Bangalore

Disclaimer: I have no interest whatsoever in promoting Trader Vic . But it is my wish that I share with all my Blogger Friends about my experience about specific dishes that I had . For the rest I recommend readers to try them out and if possible share their feedback here.
read more.. "Trader Vic's Restaurant Review"

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dinner Rolls /Pav Without Eggs

As promised I am here with Pav/ Dinner rolls today. These pavs are so popular with vadas and when combined with vadas tastes heaven, very popular vegetarian treat indeed.

4 cups of All purpose flour + little more for dusting
2 tbsp Active dry yeast
2 tsp Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Milk
2 tbsp Butter, melted
1 tbsp Olive oil
A big pinch of Salt

In a ceramic bowl add luke warm water, sugar, yeast and mix together for a second. Leave this liquid for 10-12 minutes. By now Yeast will be foamy and frothy, if not then your yeast is not alive and you need to start again with another packet of yeast.

Take a big mixing bowl and add flour, salt, melted butter and the yeast mixture and knead it roughly. Now add milk and knead for another 10 minutes to make a smooth dough and elastic kind of dough. You might need extra bit of flour or water to knead it smoothly, so adjust accordingly. Shape the dough into a neat ball and grease a separate big container to keep the dough (this step will ensure your dough will not stick to the container) and apply Olive oil from top. Cover the dough in a plastic wrap and keep in a warm place for next 2 hours( I kept the dough in a casserole).

Remove the plastic wrap, you will see dough has double in volume now lightly flour your work surface /kitchen slab. Punch down the dough and knead it for some time. This step is down to roll out the air bubbles so do it for at least 10 minutes. 

Now divide the dough into 12 parts, depending upon the pav/ dinner rolls size you want. Place on grease baking pan (1 inch apart), wrap it with a clean kitchen towel and keep it aside for another 1.2 hour minimum.

Meanwhile pre-heat Oven to 375 Degrees Fahrenheit, bake for 15-20 minutes. Rub a stick of cold butter on these hot buns (the best sight of baking these buns is soaking melted butter :-)). Wrap in a clean towel for another 20 minutes, by following this step, your buns will be very soft.

To make Mumbai Style Vadas Pav you can click here

read more.. "Dinner Rolls /Pav Without Eggs"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mumbai Vada Pav Recipe

Today I am going to visit into uncharted territory of such a staple  recipe whose origins are diametrically opposite to my ethnic city Kolkata. It's none other than vada pav from Mumbai. this doesn't need any introduction....Mumbai ultimate street food symbol : a potato cutlet in a bun. During my last visit to Mumbai, I realized that this humble meal of potato fritters thrust inside a bun is what energizes the Mumbaikars ( Mumbai Residents). 

From Rich to Middle Class to Poor all of them are smitten by this dish. Even my younger sister who lives in Mumbai, when she comes home late from work and does not have the urge to cook, she has the 1st instinct to head to a nearest vada pav joint. Delicious food at reasonable price is unbelievable. I make pavs at home so on most days I make them a day ahead to fasten up the process. I am going to post "how to make dinner rolls /Pavs " so stay tuned ....Til then sharing the aloo bondas. 

5-6 Potatoes, boiled
2-3 Green chillies, chopped
1/2 tsp chopped Ginger
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Turmeric powder
Fistful of Curry leaves, chopped roughly 
A big pinch of Asafoetida
2 tbsp chopped Cilantro leaves
2 tsp fresh Lemon juice
Salt to taste 
Oil for frying the vadas

For Outer Coating:
1 cup Gram flour /Besan 
1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder 
 A pinch of Baking soda
2 tsp Hot Oil 
Salt to taste

You will get approx 9-10 vadas with the above quantity depending upon the size of balls you make. You can use store bought Pavs for this. Or wait till I post "How to Make Pavs".

Take boiled potatoes in a large bowl and roughly peel and mash it coarsely. Keep aside. In a pan heat 2 tbsp oil, add mustard seeds and asadoetida /hing. When the mustard seeds starts spluttering add curry leaves, green chillies, ginger and turmeric powder. Fry for a minute and then add potatoes and stir fry the mixture for another 5-6 minutes on low flame. Add cilantro, salt and mix well. Remove from heat and let this mixture cool. Add lemon juice only when the mixture is cooled down. Keep aside. 

To prepare the outer coating you need to take a bowl and mix together all the ingredients (Don't forget to add 2 tsp oil. Now with the help of little water make a thick batter. Heat a deep frying pan with enough oil to fry the vadas. The oil temperature should be hot, to check just drop a small besan batter and it should sizzle and rise to the top but not get browned right away. 
Divide the batter into small size balls and dip one ball at a time in the gram flour batter coating all sides. Gently lift the batter coated ball and slip in the hot oil. Do not over crowd the pan, I do it one at a time. Now fry it both sides till it turn golden brown. 

Blot the excess oil on a paper towel. Fry the remaining vadas in the same process. Take Pavs(dinner rolls) cut horizontally by taking cake one end is still joined. Spread some Green chutney, Dry Garlic chutney place a vada and have this with fried green chilles. 

For fried Green Chillies you just need some chillies, salt and some salt. Just slit the green chilles vertically, deep fry them and sprinkle some salt on them. Just put them inside the vada pavs and dig in !!!

How To Make Dry Garlic Chutney:
9-10 Garlic, peeled
5-6 Dry whole red chillies
4 tbsp grated dry Coconut/ Copra
1 tsp Sesame seeds
7-8 Peanuts
1 tsp Salt or to taste
1 tsp Oil

Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and fry garlic pods until light brown. With the help of slotted spoon remove the galic pods and place them on a kitchen towel. In the remaining oil fry dry coconut till it is light brown. Add sesame seeds after few seconds and saute for another minute. Switch off the burner and let this mixture cool. Grind the red chillies + fried garlic pods +coconut mixture along with salt and peanuts. DO NOT ADD WATER. Dry Garlic chutney is ready. This chutney has long shelf life so you can store it in an air tight container. Don't use a wet spoon. 

read more.. "Mumbai Vada Pav Recipe"

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tutti Frutti Cake with Egg Whites

This is my second post on Tutti Frutti Cake, previous one can be viewed HERE. One of my reader was consistently requesting me to post a version that has less butter. So tried it last weekend and voila it came out really good !!! Considering the fact that it can satisfy 5 hungry tummies :-)I have used 3 eggs whites here and reduced the butter intake. 

The cake was soft and nutty crunch in every bite.... was enough for my hubby to say "pack this for my trip" and off He went without turning back in case I change my mind and ask him to share !!. In this recipe sour cream is the fat which gives the cake moisture and softness.

2 cups All purpose flour + for dusting the cake pan
1 cup Granulated sugar
1/2 cup Tutti Frutti
4 tbsp unsalted Butter, room temperature
3 Eggs room temperature MINUS EGG YOLKS
1/2 cup Sour cream
1 tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Vanilla essence
2 drops of Yellow color (Optional) 
Pinch of Salt

Before you start preparing for the cake batter, pre-heat Oven for 180 Degrees (generally it takes 15 minutes  for the Oven to pre-heat). Grease the cake pan /loaf pan with cooking spar and dust with flour, tap to remove off excess flour. Keep aside. Sprinkle some flour over tutti frutti.

Sieve all the dry ingredients twice in a bowl and keep aside. Mix together butter and sugar, soon it will look like breadcrumbs. Beat one egg white at a time and add to the butter mixture. Do not leave the egg whites in between for any break as beaten egg whites tend to loose volume if not used immediately. Now add vanilla essence, color drops if using and mix well. Beat in sour cream mixture. Fold in tutti frutti. 

Now add the dry ingredients to liquid batter and mix well with spatula until just combined. Transfer to the pan and tap it twice. Place it on middle rack and bake at 180 Degrees C for 35-40 minutes, check with a tooth pick if the cake is done from the center. Let it cool on wire rack and then invert the pan. Before serving dust with confectioners sugar. 

read more.. "Tutti Frutti Cake with Egg Whites "

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Garbanzo Salad (Kabuli Chana Salad)

I avoid having rice for dinner and having salad for dinner is my best bet for a diet safe meal. Although Mother Nature has provided us with ample food choices particularly veggies which are colorful, tasty and most importantly healthy, I have a thing for potato based salads.

 Veggies with Chickpeas is the ultimate food for having nutrients of all kinds. Be it Carbs, Proteins, Vitamins or Minerals one can get them all in this preparation. I love cold salads and most of the days when I am alone I either settle down for salads or soups. 

2 cups boiled chickpeas Or you can use can chickpeas /garbanzo - rinsed and drained
1/2 cup Pomegranate 
1 red Onion, diced
1 Tomato, de-seeded, diced
1 small Potato, boiled and diced
2 tbsp Lemon juice
A handful of chopped Coriander
Fistful of Mint leaves
2 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Chaat masala
1/4 tsp Red chilly powder
1/4 tsp Pepper powder
Salt to taste

Wash and soak the chickpeas overnight  in enough water as they will swell to double their size. Next day discard the soaking water and pressure cook in 4 cups of water with salt. 

Cook it for another 20 minutes and use the cold water release technique to check if the chickpeas are done. REMEMBER you are boiling chickpeas for salad so should not over cook them. I hate mushy chickpeas for my salad. Drain out the water and keep aside.

Place the vegetables into a large bowl and add freshly squeezed out lemon juice. Add garbanzo, coriander, mint and add all the spices. Toss all the ingredients together and chill for atleast 1/2 hour. Serve by itself and enjoy !!

read more.. "Garbanzo Salad (Kabuli Chana Salad)"

Monday, September 3, 2012

Quick & Easy Rasmalai With Readymade Rasgullas

During last week, I was in real hurry to rustle up something sweet for a get together few days back and it was then Soma mentioned about this quick solution 'Rasmalai' with ready made Rasgullas. And it saved me BIG time. One of my friend said "Aro rasmalai beche thakle amake pack kore dao" (pack the leftover Rasmalai for me) :-)And I knew I have hit the Jackpot !!!

 Once in a while don't shy away to indulge in the creamy, lip smacking Indian dessert. Who says that it takes much effort to relish these? Well hear me out when I say it's 'quick' and 'easy' way to enjoy a very popular Indian milk based dessert recipe. Ras malai is nothing but dumplings made of Cottage Cheese (many use Riccotta Cheese as well) soaked in aromatic, thickened milk with a hint of cardamom flavour in it.

1/2 ltr Full cream Milk
1/2 ltr Heavy cream
1/2 cup Sugar + 1/4 cup Rasgulla syrup
A can of store bought rasgullas / I used small ones 300 gms
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
2 tbsp Pistachio, chopped
2 drops of Kewra essence
Saffron few strands

Squeeze out all the syrup out of (store bought) the rasgullas and keep aside as we are going to use it later for sweetness along with sugar.
Boil the milk in a heavy bottomed pan and keep stirring it to avoid thin film to form at the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat after first boil and keep stirring till milk is reduced to half. Add heavy cream , sugar, the extra syrup and stir intermittently so it doesn't burn at the bottom. Add cardamom powder and pinch of saffron strands. Cook for 10 minutes and remove from heat. Once the milk is warm add the rasgullas, kewra essence and sprinkle some pistachios. Stir well and serve chilled rasmalai. 
This is how I served that day...

User Comments & Tips:

  • Don't put rasgullas into boiling milk  or else they will fell apart into climps if using big ones. Let the boiled milk cool down a bit then add the rasgullas. 
  • You can simply skip adding Kewra essence if not a big fan of it.

read more.. "Quick & Easy Rasmalai With Readymade Rasgullas "