Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Mirchi Bajji ~ Hyderabadi Style

Some foods I cook for healthy body and some for mental health. Mirchi bajji belongs to later category for me. Cravings and nostalgia motivate me to cook this deliciously hot recipe. Hyderabad, the capital city of my home state Andhra Pradesh has a unique recipe for stuffed bajjis. I have already blogged about mirchi bajjis with different stuffing’s from different regions in India but thought this famous Hyderabadi style mirchi bajji deserves one more post dedicated to it.

Chilli bajjis, the popular street food are incredibly easy to prepare at home and make an excellent way to begin almost any special meal or they can be served as a light meal/snack on busy days. Because we remove the middle thick white vein that carries the seeds, these chilli bajjis are surprisingly mild and not that hot at all.


Reducing the spice kick of chillies by removing the white vein with seeds.

Recipe:
(for 20 chillies)

Preparing the filling to stuff the chillies:
Sesame seeds - 3 tablespoons
Dried coconut powder - 3 tablespoons
Coriander seeds (dhania) - 1 teaspoon (dry roast these 3 to pale gold color)
Salt - ¼ teaspoon
Tamarind juice - 1 tablespoon
Take them all in a blender or spice mill - make a smooth paste without adding water. Remove to a cup.

Mirchi (Chillies) Preparation:
Pick 20 straight, plump, healthy looking chillies. Wash and dry them in a kitchen towel. With a sharp knife make a vertical slit in the middle of chilli on one side. Keep the ends intact (see the photo above). Insert the knife tip and pluck the thick white vein in the middle along with the seeds. Usually it will come off nicely with a sharp knife. After preparing all chillies in this way, start stuffing. Fill the gap with the sesame filling nice and evenly one by one and keep them aside on a plate.

Preparing the batter to dip stuffed chillies:
Besan (gram flour) - 2 cups, sieved
Rice flour - ¼ cup, sieved
Salt, cumin and ajwan (vaamu) - ½ tsp each
Take them all in a vessel, mix to combine. Adding water, prepare medium thick batter of thick buttermilk consistency.

Deep-frying:
Take about 3 to 4 cups of peanut oil in a deep bottomed skillet or kadai. Heat the oil on medium-high. One by one dip the bajjis in batter and gently drop from the sides of kadai into hot oil and deep fry until golden. Remove to a paper towel covered plate and let cool a minute or two. Serve with some limejuice sprinkled and finely sliced onions and tomatoes on the side.
(I’ve dipped the bajjis in batter again and double fried them for that true taste.)


Mirchi Bajjis with Chickpea Guggullu and Watermelon Granita (Ice) with Cherries
Our Comforting Meal and My Entries to
Santhi’s JFI~Flour and also to Revathi’s FMR~Comfort Foods

Watermelon Granita with Cherries
Watermelon juice, limejuice mixed and frozen for about 4 hours. The ice is crushed (gently with a hammer) and cut cherries are added before serving

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Green Chillies, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Flour(Pindi), Gram Flour (Besan), Rice Flour, Cherries, Peppers, Jihva For Ingredients (Monday July 31, 2006 at 3:18 pm- permalink)
Comments (46)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Flour Sievers (India) and Sifter (US)

Santhi of ‘Me and My Kitchen’ selected “Flour” to feature for August’s JFI Event.

How can we talk about flour, without talking about flour sifters? Two important things I have learned to pay attention when cooking with flours are -

Freshness of flour
Sieving and sifting the flour

Buying freshly milled flour is not possible anymore here where I live, but sieving and sifting is; which helps to break up clumps, to remove foreign matter and also to aerate the flour. Aerated flour is a beautiful thing to work with, mixes easily with liquids and other foods without forming into lumps. At my mother’s home growing up, it was often our (the children’s) duty to sieve the flour for chapatis etc. Needless to say, it was quite an enjoyable task.

I have two sifters. The round one with several discs (to control the fineness of flour) is a traditional flour sifter from India. (My friend who recently moved back to India from US gave it to me). The second one, the traditional flour sifter people use here, I bought it from Pittsburgh flea market few years ago. Both are easy to use and my choice depends on the amount of flour I am using in a recipe.

Flour Sievers and Sifter

Flour sievers (sifters) from India and from US - For this week’s Indian Kitchen

Flour Sievers in different sizes from India

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Kitchen, Indian Utensils (Sunday July 30, 2006 at 11:16 pm- permalink)
Comments (15)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Chickpea Guggullu ~ Black and White

Black Chickpea Guggullu
Black Chickpea (Kala Chana, Sanaga) Guggullu with Tomatoes and Fresh Coconut

Temple prasadam, beach fare and yogi diet - guggullu (sundal) is a comforting, quick snack item and quite easy to prepare at home also.

Soak the chickpeas overnight in water; cook them until tender and prepare ‘guggullu’ by quickly sauteeing them in few drops of oil, with lot of curry leaves, finely chopped red and green chillies. Sprinkle turmeric and salt to taste. Fresh coconut gratings, sometimes finely chopped tomatoes, onions and green mango are also added just before serving.

Chickpea, (Dubba Sanagala) Guggullu
Chickpea Guggullu with Fresh Coconut

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chickpeas, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Chickpeas-Black (Monday July 24, 2006 at 7:56 am- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Sanagalu (Kala Chana, Black Chickpeas)


One Chickpea (Chana, Choleye, Sanaga) ~ Different Forms
For This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Green fresh chana - Shelled from pods (and available frozen in Indian grocery shops).

Black chickpeas (Kala Chana) - Result of green chana dried under the sun.

Chana Dal (Bengal Gram, Sanaga Pappu) - Prepared by splitting the black chickpeas and removing the brownish-black outer skins.

Roasted Chana Dal (Dalia, Pappulu) - Prepared by roasting black chickpeas in special kilns and then splitting and removing the brownish-black outer skins.

double_curve.gif

Contributions From Fellow Bloggers For Indian Kitchen Series

Kavvam (Buttermilk Churner)
Kavvam (Buttermilk Churner) ~ To “Cool Those Summers”, from Yadbhavishya

Boondhi Maker
Boondhi Strainers and Makers ~ To Prepare Boondhi Laddu, from Foodnewbie

Thanks Vidyanath and Sudha for sending me these photos for Indian Kitchen series.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chana Dal, Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Indian Utensils, Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia), Chickpeas-Black (Sunday July 23, 2006 at 3:08 pm- permalink)
Comments (6)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Iceland ~ Guest Post by Veena Parrikar

Some of my blog readers already know about Veena Parrikar, the incredible and generous lady who sent me gifts in appreciation of ‘Mahanandi’. Veena and her husband recently visited Land of Fire and Ice - Iceland. One may wonder why Iceland? If you are like me, the first question might be “What were the food traditions there”? When I requested her for a guest post, she kindly agreed to share her Iceland experience with me and with Mahanandi readers. I thank Veena for writing this wonderful article and sharing some beautiful pictures from Iceland with us. ~ Indira

Viti Crater
The Colors of Iceland ~ Viti Crater

Last month, we visited Iceland for the first time. Except for a couple of days in the cities of Reykjavk and Akureyri, most of our trip was spent driving around the country, with stops in small towns and villages along the way. We drove for nine days, for the most part on the Ring Road that encircles the island, starting from Akureyri (Iceland’s second-largest city situated in the north, only 60 miles or so south of the Arctic Circle), heading east to Lake Mvatn, then along the eastern fjords towards southern Iceland, then a foray into the interior Highlands to the wondrous Landmannalaugar, finally making our way back to Reykjavk.

One of the great philosophers said that a man travels round the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it. There are some things in Iceland that could probably never be experienced in the countries I call home (India and United States). Some are obvious - Nature in her most beautiful forms, yet so capricious, so forbidding, so untamed that it strikes fear in one’s heart. Others are not so obvious:

* It is the last inhabited unpolluted space on the earth. The environment and water are so pure and clean that they permeate every food item grown and prepared in Iceland, from the dairy products, chocolate, bread, and vegetables to the fish, lamb and other meat products.

* Very few places in the world can claim the silence, stillness and isolation one experiences in many parts of Iceland. There is not even the rustling of trees or the soft, muted noises made by tiny critters. The silence is so palpable that it envelops your ears and wraps itself around your mind like a thick fog, blurring out all mundane details.

* One encounters public rights in Iceland, a term that one forgets after years of living in the United States. Our tour guides informed us that travelers may walk into any farm or land and spend one night without the owner’s permission; for more than one night, you have to seek permission. Even in the most isolated of areas, we could walk into a farm or an open-air bakery and take pictures without fear of being questioned or shot at.

* The concept of tipping does not exist. No tips are given and there is no expectation of one -not in hotels, not in restaurants, not for taxis, nowhere! No bellboys hovering outside the hotels to take your luggage - you haul your own, which is the way I prefer it.

As anyone with a penchant for food is wont to do, I try to learn about the culinary specialties of any place that I intend to visit (after all, the best souvenirs are to be found in the local farms or grocery stores!). To a foreigner and a vegetarian at that, many of Iceland’s traditional dishes might sound rather extreme: H?karl ?”rotten” or cured shark, Svi? ? singed sheep’s head, and blood pudding to name a few. Oddly however, I felt neither disgust nor nausea when I came across some of these items. Iceland’s traditional cuisine was shaped by the exigencies of their land and harsh environment, where they could afford to waste nothing from the few food sources available. Iceland’s meat production entails none of the mechanized and beastly practices that are the hallmark of North American meat industries.

Iceland’s dairy products meet, no, surpass the highest standards of good taste and quality. Icelandic sheep and cattle breathe unpolluted air, graze on pure pastures, and are not subjected to cross-breeding, antibiotics or hormones. I was somewhat apprehensive about the vegetarian fare in Iceland, and had gone armed with packets of heat-and-eat food products. These quickly became unpack-and-throw products once we discovered the simple, yet extraordinarily flavourful vegetables-and-cheese sandwiches and soups in even the most unassuming caf’s. We found three Indian restaurants in Reykjavik - Shalimar (of course!), Indian Mango (which, to our pleasant surprise, was run by a Goan, George Holmes), and Austur India Fjelagid (“East India Company”). The last one, said to be the northern-most Indian restaurant in the world, was exceptional. As for souvenirs, I came back with Icelandic cheese, locally prepared rhubarb jam, which is absolutely delicious and not very sugary, and Icelandic milk chocolate.

Some scenes are forever etched in my memory. The sight of Mjifjrur the most remote and beautiful of Iceland’s fjords, with a population of 35, after a harrowing drive on a one-lane dirt track where every turn was a hairpin bend. The wild white reindeers that appeared on a mountain ledge out of the fog like some mythical creatures, unfortunately, or perhaps, fittingly so, we do not have pictures of this scene as it would have been dangerous to stop given the bad weather and treacherous winding road. The colony of white swans in a lake encounted briefly one dusky midnight when it still looked like twilight*; the eerie silence broken by their strange, bugle-like calls to each other. Like phrases from an exquisite melody only once heard, these scenes return to haunt the mind long after all tangible evidence of the visit has been either eaten or stored away in a closet.

* Iceland has 24 hours of daylight in the summer.

Iceland ~ Photo Gallery


Keri, an explosion crater, around 3000 years old.


On the way to Lake Myvatn.


Sheep grazing in a field at Lake Myvatn - a very common sight in Iceland.


Close-up of a bubbling mud pool at Hverarnd.


Underground baking ovens near Bjarnarflag Thermal Station, where hverabrau, a traditional rye bread is slowly baked for over 20 hours using geo-thermal energy.


Hverabrau (traditional rye bread), which we were lucky to get fresh and warm out of the oven.


One of the hairpin bends on the way to Mjifjrur.


Arriving into Sey?isfj?r?ur, the most picturesque among the fjords of Eastern Iceland.


ingvallakirkja (1859), the beautiful church at ingvellir, the site of the world’s first parliament.


Rainbow near ingvellir. We saw five full rainbows on the same day!


The 17th century “house of prayer” at Npsstaur, a small farm in Southern Iceland. According to this site, the same family has lived on this farm since 1730.


Summer flora in Iceland.


After driving miles and miles with not a sign of life in sight,
this lone couple of swans reminded us that we were still on Earth.


Is it yogurt? Is it cheese? This is skyr, one of Iceland’s traditional delicacies. May be available in some parts of the United States


Hkarl (Preserved Shark) ~ An Icelandic Tradition
Fisherman Hildir showing us his hkarl at his farm in Bjarnarhfn. He regretfully informed us that the traditional occupation of fishing and preserving shark is declining.


Chef George Holmes outside his restaurant “Indian Mango”
My husband was thrilled to bits meeting him - imagine bumping into a fellow Goan in Iceland!

~ Guest Post by Veena Parrikar

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Veena Parrikar (Friday July 21, 2006 at 1:42 pm- permalink)
Comments (59)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Bottle Gourd in Yogurt

Dear L.G, before writing at her fabulous food blog Ginger and Mango, used to comment on ‘Mahanandi’ occasionally. Her comments were delightful and informative just like her current blog posts. In one of her comments in response to my mother’s recipe of sorakaya, she detailed a Kerala recipe of yogurt based bottle gourd curry and asked me to give it a try.

I have always wanted to visit God’s Own Country - “Kerala”. I don’t know when I am going to do that, but for now I am content to try at least Kerala cuisine. Yogurt and coconut based curries are hallmarks of Kerala cuisine and they call them “kaalan“. Here is my first attempt at bottle gourd kaalan, I hope I did justice to this traditional recipe and will be allowed to enter the God’s own country.:)


Yogurt, Bottle Gourd Cubes, Curry Leaves, Coconut-Chilli Paste

Recipe:
1 cup of cubed bottle gourd pieces
1 cup of day old, homemade Indian yogurt (sour curd)
6 green chillies and 1 tablespoon of fresh grated coconut (made into smooth paste)
½ teaspoon of each - turmeric and salt
For popu or tadka:
1 tsp of oil
1 tsp of cumin and mustard seeds, few pieces of dried red chillies and curry leaves

In a saucepan, heat oil on medium heat. Add and toast the tadka ingredients. Add the bottle gourd cubes and also green chilli-coconut paste. Stir in turmeric, salt and about quarter cup of water. Close the lid and cook on medium-low heat, until the bottle gourd pieces are tender. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the yogurt. Turn off the heat and remove the saucepan from the stove. Cover the pot with a lid and let the curry sit for about 15 minutes, for the flavors to mingle well. Serve warm with rice.

The curry tasted superb! Vijay more than me couldn’t get enough of this curry and we finished all in one setting. Thanks L.G for sharing this wonderful, traditional recipe.


Bottle Gourd in Yogurt Curry with Rice ~ Our Simple Meal Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Green Chillies, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Yogurt, Coconut (Fresh) (Wednesday July 19, 2006 at 3:07 pm- permalink)
Comments (41)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Bottle Gourd in Sesame (Sorakaya-Nuvvula Kura)

Few months ago, I wrote about my mother’s recipe of bottle gourd. It is a standard, no fuss kind of recipe with minimum ingredients. I like the taste of that curry and played around with the recipe little bit and came up with this one. It is also a simple no-nonsense recipe and supplies carbos (bottle gourd), protein (black chana) and fat (sesame seeds). I love the taste and also the ease with which it can be prepared.

Bottle gourd Pieces (Sorakaya, Lauki)
Bottle Gourd (Sorakaya, Dudhi) - Peeled, Cut into Cubes

Recipe:

Prep Work:
One cup of black chickpeas (kala chana) soaked in water overnight.
Half of medium-sized bottle gourd (sora kaya, dudhi), peeled and cut into half-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

Cook:
Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil. Toast a teaspoon of cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves (for tadka).
Add the bottle gourd pieces and soaked kala chana. Saut? for few minutes on medium heat. Add about a cup of water and close the lid and cook.

Sesame-Dalia paste:
Meanwhile prepare the curry thickener. Grind in a blender:
3 tablespoons of each - sesame seeds and dalia
½ tablespoon of each - tamarind juice and powdered jaggery
1 teaspoon of each - coriander seeds (dhania), cumin and red chilli powder
½ teaspoon of salt or to taste
Grind them to smooth paste by adding about one cup of water.

Simmer:
Add the sesame-dalia paste to the curry. Stir in half teaspoon of turmeric. Mix and on medium heat, simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the curry reaches the consistency you desire.
Tastes great with chapatis/naans and with sorghum rotis.

Bottle gourd curry with chapatis
Bottle gourd curry with chapatis

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Jaggery, Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia) (Tuesday July 18, 2006 at 7:21 pm- permalink)
Comments (15)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Stuffed Bell Peppers (Capsicums)

Capsicum (Bell Pepper)

Hollywood often portrays the pretty blonds as cute and dumb. The same role in vegetable world is filled by bell peppers or capsicums. I think.

Bell peppers are colorful! Look so pretty, cute and also would bring that much needed (in some eyes) color and attraction when added to a dish. They are popular mainly for that reason and they have hollow insides, giving the impression of empty pretty heads just like the blond stereotype. No wonder we are tempted to fill them up. Almost every cuisine has several stuffed recipes for bell peppers. Rice, meat, lentils, nuts and cheese, every other thing in food world is used to stuff the bell peppers. Even other vegetables,… aah, the humiliation. The bell peppers must feel mortified when we fill them up with other veggies. But graceful they are, they won’t show it. They stand our mistreat and still look pretty. Such graciousness always invites strong reaction; people would hate or love them. But few could resist their charms.

One such charming, capsicum recipe is from India. Here the bell peppers are stuffed with spiced mashed potatoes and cooked to brown and then placed in peanut-sesame sauce. Served with rice or chapati, this is a meal fit for a rani (queen). Though the recipe makes us work like kitchen helpers in a rani’s kitchen, once you wipe off the sweat from the brow, once it’s plated, you would feel like a rani. Worth the effort, that’s what I am saying.:)


Capsicums Stuffed With Potato Curry - Ready For Browning

Recipe:

Potato Stuffing:
Good quality potatoes (red or baby alu) - 3 or 6, Pressure-cook or boil them in water, until tender. Remove the skins, mash them to smooth paste.
In a pan, heat a teaspoon of oil, do the tadka (toast ¼ tsp each - mustard seeds, cumin and curry leaves). Saute finely chopped pieces of one onion, 4 green chillies and a fistful of fresh peas. Add the mashed potato. Stir in salt, turmeric and one teaspoon of clove-cinnamon-cumin-coriander seed powder (garam masala). Mix them all well. Cook covered on medium-low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes - That’s our potato stuffing for bell peppers.

Bell peppers (Capsicums):
Pick 6 small sized, fresh and firm bell peppers - any color (green, red, yellow or orange) or color combination is fine. This curry is all about appearance and size matters. Small sized capsicums are perfect for this curry. Jumbo regular grocery (US) type are too big and the curry won’t look good when prepared with them. (Local farmers markets here in US, often carry small sized ones during summer time.)

Cut the tops off. Remove the seeds and membranes inside and make a hollow. Fill them up with potato curry to the top.

In a big iron skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon of peanut oil. Place the stuffed bell peppers neatly in a circle and cook them covered on medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn them to sides in-between so that they could get brown evenly on all sides. (You could also cook these stuffed bell peppers in oven - baking and broiling at 375 F until they are soft and tender to touch.)


Stuffed and Cooked Capsicums in Peanut-Sesame Sauce

Peanut-Sesame Sauce:
Toast quarter cup each - peanuts and sesame seeds to golden color. Take them in a grinder, add 2 cloves and 2 one-inch pieces of cinnamon, half teaspoon each - chilli powder and salt and a tablespoon of tamarind juice and powdered jaggery . Grind them to smooth paste.

Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil in a big pan. Add the peanut-sesame sauce and about a half cup to one cup of water. Mix well. Simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Have a taste and adjust salt, sweet and sour levels to your liking.

Add the stuffed capsicums to the thickened sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes on medium heat, covered. Serve with rice or with chapatis.


Stuffed Capsicum Curry with Rice

Notes:
Traditional North- Indian recipe does not inlclude the gravy, and cooking the stuffed peppers in peanut-sesame sauce is my version. Adding little bit Andhra touch.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Bell Pepper, Sesame Seeds (Monday July 17, 2006 at 2:04 pm- permalink)
Comments (36)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Weekend Reading

56 Dal Entries - JFI:Dal (Lentil) Roundup

Dosa - A Love Story

Monsoons and Coconut Trees - Breathtaking Oil Paintings

Migrating Back to India - Ten Points

Who is responsible for bombings in India?

Exercise in Writing - Once in a Lifetime (Short Story)

Sit and Roll Over, Find Your Own Keys

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday July 15, 2006 at 10:10 am- permalink)
Comments (6)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Chocolate~Chilli~Pecan Mini Cakes

chocolate cake

To the naive palate, cheese is mind numbingly bland. But with few tries, one would know that there are many subtle flavors even in cheese blandness. Same thing with chillies. They are hot, but there is remarkable variation of “heat” among chillies and within any given chilli type. When added to taste, chillies would bring incredible flavor to all types of foods. One example that I recently found out is chocolate. The South and Central American culture often combine cocoa and chillies in recipes and their cuisine is famous for this terrific combination for centuries.

Last weekend, I tried this ancient tradition at my home and baked some little cakes of chocolate-chilli-pecan combination. I went as far as I could go to follow the tradition:). I couldn’t get pure (or good quality) chocolate but was able to buy few bars of dark chocolate. I experimented by adding half teaspoon of pure chilli powder from India, to the melted chocolate. The recipe I followed is from “Bittersweet” by Alice Medrich, is actually for cookies. Recipe title is “bittersweet decadence cookies”, and in her introduction to these cookies she wrote “Ultrachocolatey and richer than sin, slightly crunchy on the outside with a divinely soft center, these are not delicate or subtle, but the jolt of bittersweet is irresistible.”

They were all that and more. Trembling with anticipation, that is how I felt while preparing these little dark delights. The taste was purely out of this world and I give full credit to the recipe that I followed (adapted) and of course to the almighty, all-powerful chilli.


Chocolate, Chilli Powder and Pecan - Ingredients for the mini cakes (cookies)


Mini Cakes Ready for Baking

Recipe:

Flour and chilli:
All-purpose flour - ¼ cup
Pecans - roasted and finely chopped about 2 cups
Chilli Powder - ½ tsp
Baking Powder - ¼ tsp
Salt - ¼tsp
Sift the flour in a vessel and stir in the remaining ingredients.

Sugar and Eggs:
Eggs - 2
Sugar - ½ cup
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Break eggs in a vessel (I have removed yellows, my preference). Stir in sugar and vanilla. Whisk for atleast 2 minutes.

Chocolate and Butter:
Bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate - 8 Oz (2 chocolate bars)
Unsalted butter - 2 tablespoons
Break chocolate bars and chop them finely to small pieces. Take them in a microwavable bowl and add butter. I microwaved the bowl for about 1 minute. After stirring once, I put it in the microwave for another minute. Chocolate melted to smooth and was warm but not hot. (I waited few more minutes for warm chocolate to cool little bit and then added the egg mixture. This is done to prevent egg curdling.)

Mixing and Baking:
Add the egg mixture to chocolate and combine. Stir in the flour and nut mixture. Mix thoroughly.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
This recipe is actually for cookies and the cookbook author instructed to line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and scoop the batter into small rounds and place them 1½ inches apart. And bake for about 12 to 14 minutes, until the surface of the cookies looks dry and set.

I, on the otherhand scooped the batter into tiny aluminum cake pans that I bought recently and baked them for about 20 minutes at 350 F.

End result looked like this and tasted really good.


Mini Chocolate-Chilli-Pecan Cake ~ My Entry to Barbara’s “Spice is Right - Chilli” Event

Recipe adapted from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich
Ebay Listing for mini cake pans - Here

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sugar, Caffeine,Chicory & Cocoa, Chocolate (Thursday July 13, 2006 at 4:19 pm- permalink)
Comments (37)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Peach Pie

I am not an American still I like pies! Apple, peach pies and from my Houston days the pecan pie of Texas, are my favorites. One of the new recipes that I tried for my friends visit last weekend was baking a lattice topped peach pie. Lattice topped pies are the prettiest pies of all I think. They look so delicate and so delectable, you just want to rip off the lattice top and devour.

Though the traditional American pie is made with enough butter that a ordinary Indian would eat in a year, I designed my pie keeping health in mind - reduced the butter quantity in pie shell drastically, still it came out great. The base was like thin crust pizza pie base, and the peach fruit topping - I read that peaches are the kind of fruits that would come alive with touch of heat. I picked peach filling mainly for that reason and I agree, they tasted great after baking. And the lattice top - it was fun to weave the top.

Both Vijay and I, we are the offspring of silk and cotton weavers, so it didn’t take long for us to figure out how to weave the dough strips, and also Barbara’s post helped me a lot. Thanks Barbara. All and all, even with shortcuts, the pie came out good, I imagine just like a traditional rural pie would; firm-flaky crust that tasted little more than browned butter and flour and a peach filling that was naturally sweet and juicy. A blue ribbon winner for sure.:) If you are interested to try this recipe, please keep in mind that peach pie is little bit acquired taste, also depends entirely on the quality/ripeness of peaches.

Recipe:
(for 9-inch pie pan)

Prepare the dough:
2 cups of all-purpose flour (sifted),
Quarter cup of cold, solid butter finely chopped and
1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt -
Take them in a vessel. Mix (rub) the flour with butter pieces and adding few drops of cold water inbetween - prepare a tight dough. Cover the dough and keep it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the fruit filling.

Fruit filling:
6 to 8 ripe peaches - peel, cut and remove the seed. Slice the fruit into thin pieces lengthwise
Quarter cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of corn starch (added to absorb the fruit juices and to prevent saggy base)
1 teaspoon of limejuice
Take sliced peaches in a vessel; add sugar, cornstarch and limejuice, toss to mix. (Because this fruit mix could ooze lot of juice with time, mixing with sugar etc., do it just after you roll out the pie shell.)

Rolling out the dough:
Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator. Divide it into two portions, ¾ and ¼ part, the big one for pie shell and the small part for lattice top. Roll the big portion of dough into a big round that would fit the pie pan. Lift and place neatly into the pie pan.
With the remaining small portion of dough - roll it into another big round. Cut the dough into thin strips lengthwise with a sharp knife. Make a lattice weave following the instructions here. (Do you remember how folks back home weave cotton rope layers for sleeping cot? Same thing here, quite easy.) I did it on the back of wax paper covered steel plate; it was easy to place the lattice top on the pie.

Assembling and baking:
Fill the pie shell with fruit slices neatly in a level, to the top. Carefully place the lattice weaved dough strips onto the fruit pie. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle some sugar on top.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the pie pan on a flat big baking sheet and bake at 400F for about 20 minutes and then at 350F, for about 30 minutes, until the top turns to golden brown and fruit inside becomes soft and juicy. Do not underbake.
Remove and cool. Slice and serve.


Lattice Topped Peach Pie - Ready For Baking


Baked Pie Removed to a Plate to Cool


Peach Pie


Traditional American apple pie - Recipe in images.
How to weave lattice top for pies - Barbara’s post here.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Fruits, Sugar, Peaches (Wednesday July 12, 2006 at 1:39 pm- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Sad Day!

Terrorist attacks in India and loss of innocent life.

If you are looking for any information or assistance to locate your loved ones in Mumbai, the following website by bloggers of Mumbai might be helpful to you. If you are a blogger, I request you to provide a link to this website from your blog. Thanks!
Mumbai Help

Thanks Payal.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Tuesday July 11, 2006 at 12:56 pm- permalink)
Comments (28)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Coriander~Tomato Chutney

Coriander-Tomato Chutney and Fresh Coriander

We had my dear friends comeover for weekend visit. They brought ThumsUp, lots of laughter and fun stories to share and we on the other hand fed them until they said no more. All and all we both filled up each other to our heart’s content.

What’s good company without good food so I tried some new recipes for them. One is dear Karthi Kannan’s (writes at Kitchenmate and proud mother of cutest toddler ever) coriander chutney. She mentioned in her fabulous food blog, that this chutney is her favorite recipe and got it from her mom. What I liked about her recipe is - no prep work is needed like roasting peanuts or cracking a coconut open as with peanut and coconut chutneys. Also it uses one whole bunch of cilantro. During summer, the sky-high prices of cilantro come to earth level at Boardman. 2 bunches for 1 dollar here at local farmers market. Not bad, right? Perfect recipe to finish off lot of cilantro in one setting, I thought, so prepared the chutney for utappams and it was indeed tasted super. Sometimes cilantro can be overwhelming, but here in this chutney roasted tomato and onion addition, balanced out the intense cilantro flavor, making it pleasant chutney to have.

I followed Karthi’s recipe mostly. First chopped one red onion, 8 dried red chillies and 3 tomatoes to big pieces and roasted them in an iron skillet until they are golden brown and wilted. Meanwhile I washed and chopped a big bunch of fresh cilantro (leaves and branches included), added them to the skillet for few minutes of saute. Took them all in a blender, added a small piece of tamarind and a pinch of sugar and quarter teaspoon of salt - blended them to coarse puree. Removed the chutney to cup and added the tadka (toasted cumin, mustard seeds and urad dal in 1 tsp of oil) to the chutney.

We had the chutney with utappams. My friends who are very much interested in our food blogging wanted to play food stylists. Grated carrots and red radishes for the chutney, was their contribution, which made it look more attractive, I think. Thanks my dear friends for the stylish touch and thanks Karthi for this wonderful recipe.

Coriander-Tomato Chutney with Utappams
Coriander-Tomato Chutney with Utappams

Coriander~Tomato Chutney Ingredients:
1 big bunch of fresh coriander
1 red onion
3 tomatoes
6-8 dried red chillies
1 inch piece of tamarind
A pinch of sugar
Salt to taste or ¼ tsp
For Popu or Tadka:
1 tsp of peanut oil
¼ tsp each - cumin, mustard seeds, urad dal and few curry leaves

Recipe adapted from:
Food blog: Kitchenmate

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Kottimera(Cilantro) (Monday July 10, 2006 at 2:01 pm- permalink)
Comments (13)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Coriander Seeds (Dhania, Kottimera)


Coriander Seeds - Young


Coriander Seeds - In Different Stages of Drying


Coriander (Dhania, Kottimera) - Fresh leaves, Seeds (young and drying), Coriander Seeds
Photography By Vijay Singari ~ For This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Kottimera(Cilantro) (Sunday July 9, 2006 at 7:06 pm- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Weekend Kittaya & Some Music




Click on the button in the center to watch “Vande Mataram” song. Enjoy!

Photo by Vijay Singari
Hello, let me in people!

There are some bushes and grass behind our home. Kittaya goes there everyday for sometime, to meet his chipmunk and squirrel friends. After his play time, he comes back running to the porch glass door and acts so impatient to let him back in to the house. This is one of his impatient standing poses to get our attention and to have us open the glass door for him.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Kittaya (Saturday July 8, 2006 at 2:55 pm- permalink)
Comments (20)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Previous Page »