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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nutella Walnut Brownies



Once a while or so, something or other issue crops up in our day to day life for which we hardly have any control. Recently, I discovered that my passport validity got expired few months back but I noticed it last month. So, I thought for renewal as there is a Passport Seva Online service, it would be an easy process. However, after uploading of all the information in their portal, I had to wait for two weeks to fix and online appointment. No sooner do I log in at 6:00PM , all the Interview Slots get over and the message states that please try again tomorrow at same time. So after a lot of persistence , I got an appointment for today. So carrying these brownie to munch at the office if it gets delayed over at the passport office. Wish me luck friends ....


Ingredients:
1/2 cup All purpose flour
1/3 cup Cocoa powder
1 cup Nutella
3/4 Sugar
5 Tbsp Butter(room temperature)
2 Eggs
2 Bananas
1tsp Vanilla essence
3/4 cup Walnuts
1/2 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of salt

Method:
Pre-heat the Oven to 350 Degrees. Line 8" square pan a butter paper with an overhang from all sides.

 In a bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined. Mash bananas with a fork and keep aside. Using an electric mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (it takes 3-4 minutes). Add eggs, blending fully, one at a time. Add in vanilla essence, nutella and mix with a wooden spatula. Add dry flours and gradually to the butter mixture and combine well. 

Mix in the dusted walnuts, scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 20-25 minutes (depending upon you Oven temperature). you can insert a toothpick in the center to check, if it comes out with few crumbs(not completely clean) and moist then it is ready. When the brownies are cool, unmold slice them into squares. I frosted them with melted chocolate for extra shine on top. Serve warm and keep the rest in an air tight container.


 Notes:


  • Store properly the brownies as they tend to dry out easily. Keep a small pieces of bread in the air tight   container to keep the brownies soft. Read and followed the same.
  • Make sure everything is room temperature before you start ahead. 

Linking this Nutella Walnut Brownies to Priya's (Easy & Tasty Recipes) ongoing event "Valentine's Day Recipe Contest"

Also to Valarmathi's "Eat.Cook.Delicious.Desserts!" where this month's theme is Walnut.



read more.. "Nutella Walnut Brownies"

Monday, January 28, 2013

Strawberry Milkshake Recipe



One kind of refreshing drink that is favorite with everyone is milkshake. Traditionally, we all are used to have lassi or buttermilk prepared at our home to quench summer thirst. But thanks to arrival of seasonal fruits like strawberry, raspberry, cherries and of course we have our very own mangoes, bananas etc. , we can prepare milkshakes throughout the year. Not to mention flavors like chocolate, oats are also good to replenish your energy.

A key point here is that children now a days do not stick around same and monotonous milk based drinks. Not much hassle to prepare anyway, and as long as it serves the purpose of nutrition with taste, would keep on preparing it.  


Ingredients:
12-15 Strawberries
1 cup Milk
2 tbsp Sugar
2 scoops Vanilla ice cream
Ice cubes as needed

Method:
Remove the hull and discard. Chop the strawberries and put them in a flat dish, sprinkle sugar and leave them for half an hour so that juice is extracted. 

Now in a blender add all the ingredients and puree until smooth and well blended. Pour into chilled glasses and serve immediately. 


Notes:

  • Adjust sugar according to your preference but the final product will depend on the sweetness of strawberries. 
  • You can replace vanilla ice cream with strawberry flavour ice cream.
Linking this to Shama's " Know your Dairy- Milk" event which is Jagruti's brain child



read more.. "Strawberry Milkshake Recipe"

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dal Poori / Deep fried Lentil Stuffed Flat Bread



Yesterday while using some applications in my phone, suddenly my phone went blank. At first I though that the battery got discharged. However even after half an hour of charging the phone did not turn on. It was like a panic situation for me. I am one of those common people who views mobile as an extension of oneself and feel totally at loss and also is a safety device for us. However, to cut a long story short, I am on my way to the service center to have my phone fixed and in the meantime leaving you with another lentil based poori dish.

I know this is not your problem, but felt little better after sharing this incident with you. Cheers !!Now coming back to Urad Dal Pooris these are our winter special dish with fresh coriander chutney. 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Wheat flour
1/2 cup Urad Dal
1 tsp Red chilly powder
1/2 tsp Asafetida (hing)
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Dry Pomegranate seeds
1/4 tsp Dry Mango powder
7-8 White pepper balls
3 Green chills
Salt to taste
2 tbsp Oil to knead the dough
Oil for frying pooris

Method:
Wash and soak dal for atleast 4 hours. Dry roast cumin, dry pomegranate seeds and pepper balls on low flame till youget nice aroma.Keep aside to cool down.

Drain dal, in a grinder add dal, hing, red chilli powder, green chills, roasted seeds and grind it to make a smooth paste. Try not to add water while grinding if necessary then may be 2 tbsp. Keep aside.
Take a big vessel and pour flour and make a well in the center, now add dal mixture, salt, 2 tbsp oil and dry mango powder. Mix thoroughly. Add water as needed to make a soft dough. Cover the dough and let it rest for 1/2 hour.

Make golf size ball out of dough and roll out into 4 " rounds on floored surface by using a rolling pin. On other side heat oil in a frying pan. Keep 4-5 rolled pooris ready before frying. Fry poori one by one, holding them with slotted spatula under the oil on one side, when the poori is puffed up flip it.

 Take out when it is golden brown and place on absorbent paper to soak excess oil. These should be fried just before serving ie. hot and fluffy, otherwise once they cool in normal temperature they can be stored in an air tight container for later consumption. If you keep the container in fridge, these remain good for another 2 days.

Tips :
  • Check the temperature of hot before sliding pooris otherwise you will not get puffed pooris.
  • To check if the oil is hot enough, drop a small piece of dough on oil ideally dough should come up on top.
  • Don't over crowd the frying pan. Just one poori at a time.

Poori saying "This is how I look from inside"

read more.. "Dal Poori / Deep fried Lentil Stuffed Flat Bread "

Monday, January 21, 2013

Egg Chow mein Recipe



Todays' recipe is simple stirred and fried noodles with egg. The type of chow mein that I like most is Hakka chow mein or dry chowmein. Whenever I am in Kolkata during Durga Puja days, I find out that during wee hours in the morning, chowmein and tea is available in every nook and corner of the city. I have seen the small road side shop workers dry boiled noodles on a clean plastic sheet placed right on the street !! Rolls, cahow mein and tea is hard to miss if you are visiting Kolkata for the first time. It ensures that you are not famished during your pandal hopping schedule. To avoid maddening crowd we go late night and believe me it makes sense. 

Ingredients:
400 gms noodle (wheat flour noodles)
2 Onions, thinly sliced
1 Capsicum, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 Red Carrots, slit lengthwise
1 cup Cabbage ,cut into lengthwise
1 tbsp Pepper Sauce (I use American Gardern)
2 tsp Dark soya sauce
2 tsp Vinegar 
4 Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
1 tsp chopped Garlic
Dash of ground White pepper
3 Eggs -scrambled 
Salt to taste
Oil

Method:

Boil noodles as per instruction written on the back of pack. You should boil them until they are just cooked not too soft. Do add a dash of salt and 1 tsp oil in boiling water (mine took just 5 minutes). Drain and keep aside.

Place a wok on high flame and pour oil after the wok gets hot, add chopped garlic and fry until the garlic begins to smell fragrant. Remove from oil and you are ready with garlic infused oil. Add the onions, carrot strips, capsicums and stir fry until the capsicums and carrots are tender but crisp. Add soya sauce, vinegar and pepper sauce and mix on high flame. 


Now add ginger and cabbage on high flame and toss to coat. Add the boiled noodles, salt and pepper powder and stir fry on high flame. Finally add the scrambled eggs and check the seasoning. Enjoy this delicious egg chowmein hot. This chowmein can be enjoyed with Chilly Chicken.

read more.. "Egg Chow mein Recipe"

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bhaja Moong Dal : Motorshuti ar Pholkopi Diye (Bengali Style Roasted Moong Soup)


This is the season when array of vegetables are out in their freshest form. I was longing for this bhaja moong dal which has peas and fried florets of cauliflower. Don’t get me wrong, but even a habitual foodie like me got flummoxed few years back when I heard the word “Radhuni” as an aromatic flavor used in preparation of dal. Till then for me Radhuni was a term used for domestic cook in Bengali household. Then what on Earth could it be? But when I got to know about this taste enhancing spice, then I realized how strong and powerful it is which boosts the tastes of Dal, Sukto and it’s veg additives but also does away with ginger and garlic as a tadka ingredients. The key of the taste is to add in right proportion and Voila ! You have your tadka dal with good taste in front of you.
This is how Radhuni looks like

Wikipedia says: "It is a very strong spice, with a characteristic smell similar to parsley and a taste similar to celery. A couple of pinches can easily overpower a curry. In Bengali cuisine the seeds are used whole, quickly fried in very hot oil until they crackle. They are part of a local panch phoron (Bengali five spice) mixture, where they replace the more commonly used mustard seed; the other ingredients are cumin seed, fenugreek seed, fennel seed, and kalonji. In other places, a common use is in pickles or spice mixtures.

Ingredients:
1 cup Moong Dal (Yellow split Moong lentil)
1/4 cup Peas
1/4 cup chopped Cauliflower
1 tsp chopped Ginger
Pinch of Radhuni (Hindi name Ajmud)
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds powder
2 Green chilies (slit) or 2 Whole red chilly
1 tsp Turmeric
Pinch of Sugar (optional)
1 Bayleaf
Salt to taste
3 tbsp Ghee

Method:
Dry roast moong dal in a frying pan on low heat and keep stirring continiously till it gives a nutty aroma and becomes very light golden color. Turn off the heat and keep roasting the dal as the heat of pan is strong enough to burn the bottom of Moong dal. Wash dal in running water till 2-3 times. Then pressure cook it with turmeric, salt and double amount of water (2 cups + 1/2 cup) and cook till dal is tender (2 whistles). You can also boil dal in a heavy kadhai by covering the lid on low flame and cook for 25-30 minutes. Add more water if required and simmer until dal is cooked.

In a separate pan, heat ghee and fry the small florets of cauliflower by sprinkling some salt and turmeric powder. Fry till they turn golden brown. Keep aside. In the same pan add bay leaf, chopped ginger and radhuni. Fry for a minutes and you will get nice aroma of radhuni add chillies now and stir. Add cooked dal, peas and fried cauliflower, cover the lid and let all this give a boil on low flame. Add sugar (optional), check salt and add bhaja jeere guro (roasted cumin seeds powder). Serve with plain rice.

Tips:
  • You can skip peas and cauliflower in this dal, the simplicity will still hold you for good.
  • Roasting dal will bring out the sweet nutty aroma, so don't skip this step
  • Just before serving you can also add few drops of lemon drops to bring out the best taste.
  • If you don't have radhuni then you can replace it with cumin seeds. Just to remind you that our Panch phoron has radhuni in it :-)
  • Though this simple aromatic dal doesn't need garnishing as radhuni has such a strong flavor, still in absence of radhuni you can garnish with coriander leaves.

read more.. "Bhaja Moong Dal : Motorshuti ar Pholkopi Diye (Bengali Style Roasted Moong Soup)"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sankranti Special- Ranga Alur Pithey


Happy Makar Sankranti to you all !! Makar Sankranti is the first day of 'Magh' . Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over India by majority communities with slightly different variations. I remember in many parts of our town the sky used to witness small, big varities of kites. 

Yesterday my Mom told me over phone that our Dida ( Grandma)  has invited all her daughter's family and friends over her place. On occasion of Sankranti she will be making Pathishapta, Gokul Pithey and Ranga Aloo'r Pithe. I scratched my head as how she is going to cater so many people alone. She is just 83 !! And she lives in her own house with just a maid who comes for an hour to clean the house. 

For me she is Superwoman !! Hearing her stamina and courage to make so many dishes I also decided to prepare sweets which are trademark of Poush Sankranti.I made Ranga Aloor Puli ( or in colloquial term Sweet Potato Jamuns). This is a traditional  sweet particularly prepared for an auspicious festival like the one we are celebrating that is Makar Sankranti (Harvesting Festival). However once the preparation is over had a feeling that all these efforts were worth it. By the way if pictures could speak for themselves, even they would have vouched for the fact that at a time when we welcome the new crops, such a preparation would always be welcomed.

Ingredients:
For the outer coating you need:
1/2 kg Sweet Potato
3-4 tbsp All purpose flour
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
1 tsp scraped Nolen Gur (OPTIONAL)*
Pinch of Salt



To make Filling:
1 1/2 cup scraped Coconut
1/2 cup Nolen Gur (Date Palm Jaggery)
3-4 tbsp Milk

For Syrup:
1 cup Sugar
2 cups Water
4-5 Cardamom

Besides these we need parchment papers, cling film and Oil for frying.

Method:
Wash potatoes thoroughly and boil in cooker on medium flame for 2 whistles and immediately turn it off. If they get over cooked then binding step will be difficult so be careful.
Sweet Potato

 Strain and peel off the skin (leaving them in hot water of cooker will make them soggy). Add flour, salt, cardamom powder and powder of Nolen gur* to the mashed potato mixture and mix properly to make a firm dough. Wrap it in a cling film and place it inside fridge for 1/2 hour.
Mashed sweet potato mixed with flour, pinch of salt,cardamom and powder of Nolen gur
Filling: 
Heat a wok on low flame and put nolen gur first, just when it starts melting add scraped coconut and keep stirring so that it doesn't stick to the bottom. Add little milk here and mix well. Roast till all the moisture from coconut gets evaporated and the color also turns brown. Keep aside and let it cool completely.


How to make Syrup:
Heat sugar and water, add cardamom pods in a pan. Bring to boil and cook till you get one string consistency.



To make Pithey:
Divide the sweet potato mixture into 12 equal parts and lightly grease your palm. Make round balls by rolling them in between your palms, fill with a tsp of coconut mixture and gently cover the filling with dough from the sides. Prepare all the dough balls like this and place them on parchment paper. Heat oil in a skillet and deep fry these balls on medium flame till nice golden color. 

Remove the fried balls and place them on absorbant paper /kitchen towel. Now allow them to soak in the sugar syrup for 30 minutes. Once first batch of pithes are soaked well transfer them to a wide mouth container and dip the second batch. You can serve these pitheys in room temperature or you can also keep them in fridge if you want to enjoy them as chilled dessert. I like it warm. 


User Tips:

  • Don't overcook the sweet potatoes in pressure cooker for long. Soggy potatoes will be difficult to handle.
  • Keeping the dough in fridge (for firmness) will make is easier for you to work later.
  • You should cover the inner filling well from all the sides otherwise while frying coconut filling will burn.
  • I just can't emphasis enough on Oil temperature. If too hot your pithey will get golden color as soon as you blink ! And you certainly don't want to enjoy half cooked pithey. Once you slid 2-3 dumplings in oil don't flip it until the submerged part turns light golden. Always fry these dumplings on low flame. 

I just couldn't resist myself ;-) This is how the the filling looks ..isn't it tempting?

read more.. "Sankranti Special- Ranga Alur Pithey"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spicy Baby Potatoes Curry



Now a days, the whole of North and East India is under the realm of a severe cold wave which has broken last 40 years record. Even in the North Indian Plains, the temperature has dipped below zero degrees. While staying here at Bangalore, I can emphasize with what the people in general and children in particular are going through in this biting cold as I was born and brought up in the foothills of Himalayas in a town called Haridwar. 

Although most schools have declared holiday till 16th still in order to perform day to day chores and buying household supplies mothers have to fight with this cold and go outdoors sometimes with the children. 
Coming back to today's recipe, baby potatoes are in season so making the most of it by preparing variety of dishes with it.


Ingredients:
1/2 kg baby Potatoes
2 Onions, ground to paste
2 Tomatoes, ground to paste
1/4 cup Peas
6-7 Garlic pods
1/2 tsp Ginger, grated
4-5 Green chillies, deseeded and slit
1/4 cup hung Curd
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Kashmiri Red chilly powder, soak in warm water for 15 minutes
3-4 Whole red chilly
2-3 Green cardamoms
2-3 Cloves
2-3 Pepercorns
1 Bay leaf
Salt to taste
Oil

Method:
Boil baby potatoes in a medium sized pot till they are tender or if you are using pressure cooker then just 2 whistles are needed. When cool, peel the skin,poke holes in each baby potato so that they absorb all the spices and marinade with salt and turmeric powder for 10 minutes.

I generally shallow fry these potatoes in a pan but here I just wanted to try by deep frying them. So it is your wish to either shallow fry them or deep fry (though I prefer to shallow fry these with just 1 tsp oil in non stick pan).

First make a paste of garlic and whole red chilly in a coffee jar with almost no water or just sprinkle little water *. Keep aside. Now heat oil in a pan and add bay leaf, cardamom, cloves, pepercorns and fry for a minute to get nice aroma then add onion paste. Fry till it turns pink, then add ginger and garlic paste*. Add turmeric, coriander, red chilly, salt and mix well.

 Add tomato paste and fry till it leaves oil, then add hung curd on medium flame stirring continuously for 5 minutes. Now add peas and potatoes on lower flame. Mix well and cover and cook for 2 minutes. Add water little by little and cover and cook for next 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander and green chilles. Serve hot with Luchi / Pea Pulao or chapathi.


Baby Potatoes served in baby spoons ;-)
read more.. "Spicy Baby Potatoes Curry"

Monday, January 7, 2013

Puti Maach er Jhal


Now that we all have wished each other Happy New Year and season's greetings and got down to the business of moving on with our daily lives , so I too have started to go along with the flow and resume my "Homemaker" duties. This word has polarized thoughts between most of Men and Women ( but let's not get into that this time). However, this very dish that I am about to post is such that only a person with a good amount of patience could pull it off as the cleaning of the fish takes time.

Ingredients:
250 gms Puti maach( Spotfin swamp barb)
2 medium sized Onions
2 Tomatoes
4-5 Green chillies
1/4 cup chopped Coriander leaves
1/2 tsp grated Ginger
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Red chilly powder
1 tsp Kashmiri red chilly powder
Salt to taste
Mustard oil

Method:
Wash and clean puti fish (I have got 4" of puti variety here). Generally cleaning takes more time than cooking !! Sprinkle some salt, turmeric and chilli powder over fish pieces and keep aside for 10-15 minutes.
A dark spot is present at tip of tail of Puti fish

In between make a paste of onion, tomato and chilli in a blender. Heat mustard oil in a pan till it reaches smoking point and then turn off the flame. Allow it to cool down then again put the pan back on flame and fry fish in batches till they are just turn golden. Keep aside the fried fishes.


To make the gravy
In the same pan add mustard oil if required and add the onion paste. After frying for 2-3 minutes add all the dry spices, green chillies and stir well. Now sprinkle some water in the pan and cover. Don't leave it unattendant as it may get burnt easily. Again remove the lid and add just 1-2 tsp water, cover and cook. This step is called 'moshla bhaja'.  

By now you will see oil floating on the top and sides of pan. Finally add just 1/4 cup of water and give it a boil. Add chopped coriander leaves, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from flame and serve it hot with steamed rice.

read more.. "Puti Maach er Jhal"