May 31, 2010

Lemon Rice

While I have made Lemon Sevai reasonably often, I haven't made Lemon Rice as much. I tend to stick to making it only on Pongal or during the "Aadi Maasam" (if I remember). Now, I make it when we have people over for a meal. In these parts, a South Indian meal is not complete if there is no lemon rice. I have seen lots of people eat lemon rice with sambar. I don't think of it as a great combination. Sambar goes with Pongal or plain rice very well, not with Lemon Rice.

1 cup cooked Rice

Juice of 1 Lime
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
Salt to taste

For the tempering:

1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
7-8 Curry Leaves
1/4 tsp Urad Dal
1/4 tsp Chana Dal
1 Red Chilli
2 Green Chillies, slit
1 tbsp Cashews, roughly broken
2 tbsp Peanuts

Mix the lime juice with the salt and turmeric powder.

Heat the oil in a kadhai. Add the urad and chana dals. When the urad dal begins to change colour, add the mustard and asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves, peanuts, cashews, green chillies and red chilli.Take it off the stove and allow to cool a bit. Add the lime-turmeric mixture to this.

Pour the lime juice -tempering mixture over the rice. Mix well and serve with some vadams.

The rice for this dish should not be soft. Sometimes, I cook the rice with a little turmeric and few drops of oil, and add less water than I would for a regular meal. So, a ratio of 1:2.25 for Sona Masoori rice would work very well. Spread the cooked rice on a plate and allow it to cool so that it doesn't get mushy. The dish tastes best when the grains of the rice are separate.

May 30, 2010

Mini Cauliflower and Cheese Fritattas

A year and a half ago, one of my namesakes posted this recipe on her blog. I wanted to try them instantly. Instant, in this case, turned out to be 18 months or so. Last Saturday, I had everything I needed. Well almost. So, I changed the recipe a bit and they turned out great. I know I will make these often and the next time around, I shall take pictures as they come out of the oven.

While these would taste great on their own, we had them with Zingo. (I received sauce samples from DelMonte long before Zingo and Twango were released into the market and they've both been great hits at home, with the two of us as well as every party we've had.)

For the fritattas:

4 Eggs
1/4 cup Cheese, grated
1 Onion, chopped finely
1/4 cup Cauliflower, grated or chopped finely
1 tsp Southwest Spice Blend (Tortilla Soup Seasoning)
1/8 cup Milk
1 tsp Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Grease the mufifn trays.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions until golden brown. Add the grated cauliflower and the spice blend. Fry for a minute and add the salt and pepper. Add about a teaspoon or two of water and cover and cook the mixture. After about 2-3 minutes, remove the lid and allow the water to evaporate.

Beat the eggs. Add the milk and beat again. Blend in the cheese and the cauliflower mixture.

Pour into the muffin trays and bake for 15 minutes.

I had some left over pasta which I also threw in along with the cauliflower. We loved every bite of these fritattas and I can't wait to make them again. Thanks Arundathi.

May 29, 2010

Batata Song (Saung)

This has to be one of the most popular konkani dishes to have been invented. Amma made it very often when we were growing up and on weekends, we would have a meal of rice, dali-saar and batata song. I can't say it is my favourite dish, but I do love it.

Amma makes a slightly different version which has coconut in it, but I tried this minus the coconut. Amma added coconut to reduce the spice quotient. I have to save my coconut reserves for dishes that absolutely need the sweet white meat. I tried the version with coconut many years ago and I made this verson recently. I always have tamarind paste at hand and I also have a bottle of red chilli paste. So, I didn't even have to grind my "massol". After having made the mushroom version of this dish, I am glad I made the original.

4 Potatoes, cooked, peeled and diced

4 Onions, sliced

1 tbsp Tamarind Paste

2 tsp Red Chilli Paste

1 tbsp Oil

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a kadhai. Add the onions and fry for 5-10 minutes, until the onions are evenly browned. Add the tamarind and chilli pastes. After a couple of minutes, add the potatoes and salt. Add a little water. Cover and cook for a few minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve this with some rice and dali-saar. If you grew up with this, there can be no denying the "all is well with the world" feeling that will come over you with every mouthful.

May 15, 2010

Chocolate Walnut Cake

Baking! Everytime I start to bake, I wonder why I don't bake more often. I'd love to experiment with flavours and try new cakes. But I do have a waist at this moment and I'd like to continue to have it in my possession. In the last couple of weeks, I have been baking a cake for every occasion, big or small. I baked a banana nut loaf to take to a friend's place for breakfast, a carrot cake last week when some friends invited us over for lunch, a banana raisin loaf when another friend had us over. It seems to be the simplest thing to carry with us and it is also the most appreciated.

While I have made chocolate walnut brownies and muffins, I had never tried to make a cake with this combination. I was tempted to try and I was very happy with the result. I got two 6 x 6 cakes from this mixture. I frosted one with some readymade Pillsbury chocolate cake icing and multicoloured sprinkles and I left the other alone. Both cakes were delicious. I made sure I shared them with friends.

3/4 cup Flour
1/6 cup Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 cup Sugar
a Pinch Salt
1/4 cup Oil
1 Egg
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/3 cup Walnuts, chopped and toasted
Prepare two 6x6" square or one 8" round cake tin by greasing and flouring them.
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
Beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the oil, milk, sugar and vanilla. Beat again. Sift the remaining dry ingredients together and add them to the liquid mixture. Fold in the walnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin(s) and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack and cut into slices. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.
Cakes and birthdays go hand in hand. Here's wishing my dear brother H a very happy birthday!

May 3, 2010

Rum and Raisin Banana Cake

These days, I'm on a high. There are lots of things happening, lots of good things. I celebrated two very important milestones this weekend and it is time for the third. All of you know that I started this blog on a holiday we had about two days after I joined my “new” place of work. I completed three years with the company and that is a first for me. In one of the jobs I’d held earlier, I switched jobs before I completed three years. So it was special. 

There was also this other plan of mine which, with some planning, fructified about 8-10 years ahead of schedule. So, we had to celebrate both these events. What better way to celebrate anything than to go to Earth and let everyone there just pamper us. And that is exactly what we did.

Close on the heels of these two milestones, on this quiet Sunday afternoon, my dearly beloved, The Singing Chef, turned T-H-R-E-E.

While I’ve not paid as much attention to this blog in recent times, I think the nurturing it received in the initial years is what keeps it going. Year 3 had me meeting the original inspiration behind this blog, Nandita, for the first time. It was a very short visit, but one that had been pending for so long that even the half an hour felt worth the effort. It was in this year that my namesake, Arundati and her husband came and stayed with us. We got along like a house on fire, went shopping, cooked meals and did all those things that one does when friends come over. Including hours and hours of chatting. I met Sra in the comfort of my own home in Chennai and have received foodie gifts, including a whole stash of parchment paper from Deeba.

In Year 3, I got my first cheque from Adsense. Like the small cherry on top of your sundae, there was some monetary gain. But the real happiness still comes from the friends I’ve gained. From the adulation this blog receives. From the thrill that comes out of people cooking from this blog and sharing pictures of the food with me. From almost unknown people telling me that they scan my space before deciding what to cook for dinner. And for all this, I’m more thankful than ever.

It is thanks to all of you that I’m even blogging about a third birthday. So, please come and have a slice of this yummy Rum and Raisin Cake.

1 cup Flour
3/4 cup Wheat Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
2/3 cup Raisins (soaked overnight in dark rum)
3-4 Bananas (overripe), peeled
1/3 cup Oil
2 Eggs
Oil and flour for lining and dusting

Heat the oven to 350F. Grease and dust a cake tin. (I used two 6 x 6 tins)

Sift the dry ingredients together.

Combine the bananas, eggs, oil and brown sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend all these to a rough paste. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and add the raisins. Mix well and pour into the prepared cake tin.

Bake for 35-40 minutes (or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean). Cool on a rack for a few minutes.

You'll find that a little sweetness goes a long way. Thank you - each and every one of you.