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Monday, September 30, 2013

How To Make Noodles Pakora


Sometimes my brain works like a parachute when I am stuck with ideas in kitchen. The background of my story is...I had left over vegetables noodles with me screaming for some makeover as no one at my home will eat what was served on previous night. So my brain was racing to find a solution...An making pakora out of it flashed in my mind. I googled to check if I am the only weird person to come up with such solution and found out there are people who have made Noodles Pakora ! 

So I mixed gram flour with some water to make a fine paste and added little seasoning. Tossed the leftover noodles and mixed well with a fork. Fried on high flame til they are golden and crispy. Believe me it was as simple as boiling milk ! So try out this delicious Noodles Pakora and surprise your guests. 

Ingredients:
Noodles /Leftover Noodles ( you can follow my Egg Chowmein Recipe)
3/4 cup Gram flour (besan)
1 Onion, thinly slice
1/4 tsp Pepper powder
1/4 tsp Baking powder
1-2 chopped Green chillies if you like it spicy
Salt to taste 
Water to make the gram flour batter
Oil for deep fry

Method:
If you are making from scratch then boil noodles as per the instructions and chop some vegetables of your choice. Toss all vegetables and season with salt and pepper along with soya, chilly sauce. Add boiled noodles and stir fry on high flame for 5 minutes. And let this cool.

For those who have leftover noodles with them, take gram flour in mixing bowl and initially add very little water and stir to mix well. When you come to a stage where no lumps remain, again add little water at a time and stir well to make a smooth batter.
 

 Why I emphasized enough to add little water at a time is to get rid of lumps. Add salt, pepper, baking powder and onions, mix well thoroughly. Add leftover noodles and use a fork to mix well.

Heat oil for deep frying, check the oil temperature by dropping a noodle strand, if after few seconds it floats on top and turns golden then it means oil is ready. Use fork to drop small portions in hot oil and fry until golden brown. Place the pakoras in a kitchen towel and serve them with tomato ketchup.


Tips:

  • If you feel batter is little runny then you may add 1-2 tbsp cornflour for more thickness.
  • You can add grated cheese to make it more yummy.

read more.. "How To Make Noodles Pakora"

Friday, September 27, 2013

Banana-Oats Smoothie


Banana-Oats Smoothie is ideal who don't have time to sit and have their breakfast. So this is quick fix nutritious breakfast for those on the go. I have become a stickler for smoothies lately. As I am on a mission to loose 3-4 kgs weight before my Durga Puja trip.
 

        Well do you know the difference between Milkshake and Smoothie? 
A Milkshake is blended with Milk, Ice-cream, any flavour or may be fruit. Dairy based based drink made with Milk, ice-cream or both. Chocolates are the very common ingredient in the milkshakes. On the other hand Smoothie is typically made of fruit /frozen and usually have lower fat and sugar content.

Ingredients:
1 whole banana cut into 3 slice
1/4 old fashioned rolled Oats
1/2 cup fat free Milk
1 tbsp Nutella
1 tsp Honey

Method:
Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve in a tall glass and serve it a slice of banana. You can also freeze it and use it later. Perfect fix for kids when they return from their school in the afternoon. In case you are using frozen bananas you won't need ice cubes.

read more.. "Banana-Oats Smoothie "

Monday, September 23, 2013

Crispy Keema Kachori


Last weekend I had already started to plan about my upcoming Calcutta visit for the Puja vacations. For those who joined in late or not quite familiar with Bengali culture, Durga Puja to us is what Christmas to Christians or Eid to Muslims or Guru Purnima to Sikhs. It's the festival we all look up to throughout the year. For a Bengali in Howrah (near Calcutta) or in Honolulu, if there are more that 3 families, they make it a point to celebrate this festival together. The joyous mood in West Bengal will sure make your eye balls come out ! The best part the culinary extravaganza that is a part and parcel and anybody with a sane frame of mind won't mind eating out and hopping pandal to pandals. Ohh I can continue till the day ends and you will be bored to death so coming back to today's post "Khasta Keema Kachori". Khasta means 'crispy', Keema means 'minced meat' and Kachori is a snack which is stuffed with spicy filling. And then deep fried in hot oil. 



Ingredients for crust:
2 cups All purpose flour
1 big pinch of baking Soda
1/4 tsp Aajwain
1/2 tsp salt
5-6 tbsp Oil (vegetable)

For filling of Kachoris:
1 cup Boiled Keema
1 big Onion, minced
1 tsp grated Ginger
1 tsp Garlic paste
1/2 tsp Chilliy powder
2-3 Green chillies, minced
1 tsp Garam masala powder
1 tsp Lemon juice
1/4 cup Coriander leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
Oil for sauteing

Method:
Sift flour, salt, soda and make a well in the center. Add enough water and knead into a soft dough. Wrap a damp towel around the dough and keep aside for 20-30 minutes. Transfer the boiled keema onto a sieve or colander and let it stand so that all the excess water drains out. 

Heat oil in a pan and add grated ginger and garlic paste. Fry for a minutes and add onions, fry these together till onions are half done. Add keema along with chilly powder, garam masala powder and cook for a couple of minutes. After 5-6 minutes you will see the color has changed a bit, keep frying the filling till it becomes dry. Remove from heat and let it cool down. Later add lemon juice and coriander leaves. Mix well. Filling is ready.


Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll out into small puris in a way that they are thinner around the edges and thicker in the center. Place 2 tsp of filling in the center and pull the edges of the dough to wrap the keema filling. Dust the counter flour and flatten the stuffed puri little bit. 

Take enough oil for deep frying and heat oil on low flame. Carefully slide 1-2 kachori into the hot oil and after they start to puff on one side, flip it over and cook until golden brown.


 Place the fried kachoris on a kitchen towel. Fry with the remaining filling. Serve these hot Keema kachoris with either Tamarind Chutney /Coriander Chutney or Tomato ketchup.



Useful Tips:

  • While making filling (keema) make sure there is no moisture. Fry till it becomes dry.
  • Do add baking soda in the crust dough as it gives crispy crust after frying.
  • Do not fry the kachoris on high flame as it will make plenty of small bubbles on the surface and it will remain half cooked from inside.
  • Do not over crowd the frying pan, at a time 2-3 kachoris should be dine.

read more.. "Crispy Keema Kachori"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Oreo Milkshake


I have a confession to make. I am crazy about milkshakes in any form. Particularly during summer time I crave for shakes be it at home or in ice-cream parlour. My son is fond of milk so touchwood I have had trouble running behind him with a glass of milk. My love for Oreo cookies is beyond words. 

Few months back I tried out the Oreo milkshake and Abhi got himself involved in the process to learn the process. I also do not stop him to enter kitchen as sooner he learns to cook/ enjoy making 'no cooking' dishes or easy peasy dishes it's better for me ! Actually it takes few seconds to make this awesome milkshake. So I was a bit hesitant to post such an easy fix but then followed my heart.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of Milk
1 scoop of Heavy cream (Whipping Cream)
5 Oreo cookies

Method:
I don't like my milkshake to be too dark so I have added only 5 which is good enough still if you want more feel free to add more cookies. Put everything in a blender or a milkshake maker, blend until combined and frothy. Pour into a tall glass and you may add roughly crushed Oreos. Serve immediately.

Do you dunk you Oreo in milk?


read more.. "Oreo Milkshake "

Monday, September 16, 2013

Spaghetti And Meatballs With Roasted Tomato Sauce

 Recently I read a quote from the legendary Henry Ford that " There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something." when I started my blog 4 years back, never in my wildest imagination did I realize that I would be able to last till now and continue. However I realize that I may have little bit when a week before an European colleague of my husband complimented my cooking as "Thank you to you and your family for inviting me for dinner. Lovely to meet your wife Deepa and your full of beans lad Abhi. It was very enjoyable and food was amazing. Best meal in Chennai ever."



Believe me friends I didn't prepare the food to be anything lavish, but all I did was fine-tuned the same dishes like Seek Kebabs, Butter Chicken, Dal Makhani etc to suit his taste and it worked. I hope that I am able to host different guests both from India and the Globe in my small house and share meal with them (this includes my blogger friends also :-)).
Moving on today's post is very healthy as I have baked the meatballs instead of frying. As the name suggests except for few tbsp Olive oil, I make these meatballs along with roasted tomato sauce (recipe given below).

Ingredients:
500 gms ground chicken
3 Breads (2 days old)
2 tbsp Basil leaf, chopped
2 tbsp fresh Parsley
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 Green chillies, minced
2 tbsp Chilly Garlic Sauce (I use Easy Life brand)
Few mint leaves
1 large Egg
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tbsp Cornflour

Method:
Wash the mince meat with cold water and leave it in a fine sieve to drain out excess water. Then transfer it to a large bowl, mix together everything and check the consistency if for binding you feel more cornflour is needed add so. Roll into 2 inch round balls. Pre-heat Oven to 190 Degree Celsius.

 Prepare a baking tray by placing foil and place onto ungreased baking tray. Space them evenly, lightly brush with melted butter and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a meatball comes out clean. Remove from tray and serve the meatballs with spaghetti and sauce.



Tomato Pasta Sauce:

Ingredients:
5 Tomatoes
3-4 Whole red chilly
1 large Onion, diced
5-6 Garlic pods
1/2 Tomato paste
1/4 cup Basil leaves
Some Parsley leaves
2 tbps Olive oil + during roasting another 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Pre-heat Oven to 400 Degrees. Line a baking sheet with an aluminium foil asit will save your cleaning timing big time!  Chop tomatoes and spray a little olive oil and sprinkle some salt and place them in a baking pan along with some herbs. Roast for an hour to get that golden color on the edges and caramelized evenly.

In a pan heat olive oil and add minced garlic, finely chopped red chillies and onions. Saute for 5 minutes, add the roasted tomatoes and simmer it for 20 minutes. Just when you get the desired consistency add the herbs, mix thoroughly and  remove from fire. Let cool and you can save the remaining by freezing it for later use.
Cook the pasta according to the packet instruction and serve with sauce and meatballs. Finally top with a fresh parsley leaf and serve.



read more.. "Spaghetti And Meatballs With Roasted Tomato Sauce"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How To Make Orange Bundt Cake



This particular cake recipe has never failed me, comes out supper soft and flavoury. The orange flavour is the perfect blend to be added in the cake to compliment the softness with it's tasty ans tangy flavour.

Ingredients:
2 cups Flour
1/2 Butter, room temperature
1/3 Vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups Sugar, granulated
1/2 cup Orange juice
1 tbsp Orange zest
1 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
Pinch of Salt
Some nuts

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees F. Grease and flour bundt pan. In a large bowl add all dry ingredients except sugar and combine well. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk in oil, zest, orange juice and combine well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Now combine the dry ingredients and whisk the batter until light(don't overbeat).

Fold in the dusted nuts and gently stir. Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool it completely by placing it on a wire rack. Serve and enjoy !! Generally the flavour comes out best the next day.

read more.. "How To Make Orange Bundt Cake "

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Poha Kheer |Aval Payasam |Ganesh Chathurthi Special


In India during festivals you just can't stay away from making payasam /kheer. Kheer is basically Indian traditional dessert which consists mainly milk, nuts, sugar and sometimes we add flavours to enhance the taste. I have a collection of few varities in my earlier posts. I love the simplicity of this Aval /poha kheer as it takes very less time to cook. My Nani (Grandmother) makes it with jaggery so do I. I generally use thick variety of poha for making kheer but you can make with thin also. Do make this ultimate kheer this Ganesh Chathurti and see it yourself how easy it is.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Poha /Flattened rice (thick)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup Jaggery
4 Cardamoms
8 Cashews and Raisins each
2 tsp Ghee
1/2 cup Water

Method:
Heat ghee in a pan and add cashews first, fry till golden brown. Keep aside. And fry raisins till they swell up. Keep aside. Fry poha in the remaining ghee by keep stirring regularly for next 2-3 minutes.

 Once they turn light brown turn off the flame.Take a vessel and fill 1/2 cup of water along with jaggery, cook on low flame for few minutes (2-3).

 Strain the jaggery syrup to remove any dirt or waste particles. In the same syrup add roasted poha and put it on burner on low flame. Add milk into it and keep stirring in between to avoid getting it burnt from the bottom.

 After 7-8 minutes add cardamom, fried cashews, raisins and mix well. Turn off the heat when you get right consistency just remember that kheer gets thickened with time so be sure of your desired consistency. Serve warm or cold.

read more.. "Poha Kheer |Aval Payasam |Ganesh Chathurthi Special"

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Restaurant Review| Chennai |California Pizza Kitchen, Phoenix Mall, Velachery


It's been almost 3 months since I have settled down in Chennai and have started to get myself acclimatized with this City. One thing that I realized is that similar to the warmth in the climate there is a lot of warmth in the hearts of the people over here. So as I was settling down with my family and occasionally posting a few recipe, I got a call from Mr. Krishnamurthy ( AvianMedia) inviting me to review this newly opened restaurant in Chennai called California Pizza Kitchen ( CPK). "Wait a minute, I have been to Bangalore's branch many a times and liked their Pizza varieties. So why not in Chennai?" Checked with few friends who are based in Chennai if they can make it and Pari nodded in affirmative so more fun on the cards!

California Pizza kitchen has opened on the ground floor at Phoenix Mall and well visible from the outside so you can't miss it when you enter from the left wing of the mall. So,as we went in we were greeted by a smiling hostess who guided me to our table. Then Mr. Krishnamurthy  joined us and informed us about the Franchisee in India who also owns the chain of Hard rock cafe and Pink berry branches in India.


Then we met Chef Kuldeep Bharani (AKM of South division) who had arrived all the way from Bangalore to supervise the review. With a smile on his face he took us on the delicious food journey for next 3 hours. 

 So as soon as we sat we were presented with welcome drinks Party punch and Cucumber delights. I tried Party Punch which was amazingly tasty and comforting. There was a mix of tangy taste with a hint of mild sweetness to it. It was well decorated to make it look inviting. Pari also liked the Cucumber drinks and said that it was a very cool drink to have with meals. The pictures speak for themselves so all I can say is that the non alcoholic drinks set the tone for the reminder of the evening.

( Picture )

Next came, Mediterranean Foccacia with Cheese dips, honestly speaking this set the tone for the evening. The breads were soft yet well baked. The dip was also just delicious with the cheese being tasted as a freshly prepared.


I think I could let the Chicken wild race chowder soup pass. It was not extraordinary in taste but gives a comforting taste to the buds. Then came came Charqui grilled chicken which tasted soft and juicy but by looks it got slightly more charred than my liking. But overall it tasted as a good grilled chicken should be.

However it was followed by the best appetizer for the evening that was Spicy Chicken Supreme. Just by having a piece of it in my mouth made me feel so good. The chicken was just rightly cooked and once I have put it in my mouth it just melted. Every type of garnishing that was used was just right in proportion. Even the sauce was so tasty and tangy that I asked for it more than once.

Lettuce Wrap( Veg) dish that followed was looking vibrant , while having a filling of cottage cheese, chestnuts and a hint of olive oil. The lettuce was fresh and the fillings were well mixed for a delicious wrap. Another salad with Pita bread was also served but we found the bread too hard to chew.  Therefore as an overall opinion of starter and salads  I would recommend the Chicken supreme for the Non vegetarians and the Lettuce Wraps for the veggies. 

Now comes the main course that is Pizzas. It's signature dish is the California Pizza which comes as a multi grain dough option as well. The toppings were lavishly spread and by taste it was simply awesome. You could easily make out why CPK is layers above in quality and taste when it comes to pizzas as they are generous in ingredients and the taste stands apart from the run of the mill pizza joints. Then came Pepperoni which feel the highlight of the entire course of meal and without a doubt it was the preparation of the day. My thought was that it tasted simply awesome and to add to this the Chef Kuldeep also seconded that this Pizza is the favourite of the Franchisee owner. Now if the owner reveals his favourite course then it must be special. 

So after this we were served Chicken Fajita Pizza and Toastada Pizza which were also good to taste. A special mention about Toastada Pizza which is also called hot and cold pizza with a generous dose of tortilla chips, ranch dressing cheddar, fontina cheese served with fire roasted tomato salsa. I believe this is another pizza veggies would love to indulge.
The Chef served us with Pasta named California Kung Pao which we could taste a little as we were almost done with the main course and awaiting dessert, So till then another round of smoothies arrived. They were Peach Iced tea and Strawberry smoothie. Both were much needed to quench our thirst amongst all the food we ate. 
Then came the desserts : Red velvet cake which was not at all heavy, I shifted my attention towards Tiramisu, which had perfect balance. However I had remembered the Choco Banana cake from Bangalore which was the showstopper as far as dessert is concerned. Simply loved the taste. I admired it then and my opinion did not change a bit even now.

Overall I must admit that CPK has maintained it's quality if not improved more in last one year. It's surely a place worth giving a try and then judge it for oneself. Being a foodie myself made me realize that Chennai too is becoming a city with a variety of good food destination. So CPK adds to this fact as a place where you could have a good meal and time.
Here is Pari's take on this Food tasting session. Thanks Pari for sharing some pictures.

Location: Phoneix Market City, GroundFloor, Chennai
Website: http://www.cpk.com/
Phone no.: 044-65108888

PS : The above opinion is entirely mine and have tried to review with an objective frame of mind.The other dishes in the menu was not tasted by me so I reserve my views for another day. 
read more.. " Restaurant Review| Chennai |California Pizza Kitchen, Phoenix Mall, Velachery"

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mint Coconut Chutney


Ingredients:
1/2 cup Pudina leaves
1/2 cup grated Coconut 
2 Green chillies
2 tbsp Chana Dal
1/2 tsp Salt or as required
2 tsp Oil

For seasoning or Tadka:
1 tsp Mustard seeds
A big pinch of Hing /Asafoetida 
2 Whole Red chillies
Few curry leaves
Oil for tempering 

Method:
Wash mint leaves thoroughly and keep aside to retain some water. 

In a pan add 1 tsp oil and add chana dal along with green chillies. Fry till they turn golden brown. Let this cool down. In a grinder put pudina leaves, coconut, roasted chana dal, green chillies and add little water at a time to make a smooth paste. Add salt and mix well again.

Heat oil in a pan for the seasoning, add mustard seeds and let them crackle. Followed by hing, red chillies, curry leaves and turn off the heat. Pour over this tempering over chutney. Pudina Coconut Chutney is ready to be served with idli or dosa. 

read more.. "Mint Coconut Chutney"