Mahanandi

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

Modern Indian Cooking~ Cookbook Review and Recipe

Modern Indian Cooking

You know how it is with some cookbooks. You hold it in your hands, browse through a page or two and immediately know that you are going to enjoy preparing from it. I felt that way with “Modern Indian Cooking“, written by talented chefs Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna.

The difference between my cooking methods and my mother and grandmother generation lies in the globalization of taste. Traditional roots, but always on the lookout for some adventure that’s appropriate to the evolving palate. Chef Hari Nayak speaks such language in Modern Indian Cooking. He uses ingredients you might not normally see together, and they work. Wonton Chat, Paneer Picatta, Grilled Chicken with Kokum Compote, Konkan Chilli Prawns, Mint Puris, Semolina Crepes, Cardamom Brownies, Pink Peppercorn Chocolate Truffles - the book is filled with clean and contemporary combinations that are grounded in commonsense.

Being into the food photography and neat designs, I want to add some comments about the quality of the book. The design and layout are pleasing to the eye. Beautiful images of classic looking food against chic background fit with the theme that these are modern versions of classics. Some of the recipes have a series of small photographs that show the ingredients and the process of cooking the food. The recipe instructions are also laid out in a clear and concise manner without overcrowding the page. All and all, Modern Indian Cooking is a pleasant cookbook to have in the kitchen, and this is the first Hari Nayak’s cookbook I have added to my collection, but it won’t be the last.


The following is a recipe from Modern Indian Cooking. Baked samosas with spinach and mung bean using phyllo pastry sheets. I’ve prepared them with sprouted mung beans for a friends get-together last weekend and they were very well received.

Samosa with Spinach and Sprouted Mung Beans
(from MIC, page 25. Makes 2-dozen samosas)

1 cup, sprouted mung beans
4 cups, finely chopped fresh spinach
½ cup, finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon cumin-red chilli powder
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1-teaspoon oil or ghee

Puff or Phyllo pastry sheets
(mine was from Trader Joe’s-artisan brand.)

Filling: Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add onion and sauté to pale red. Add sprouted mung beans and spinach. Cover the skillet and steam-cook. Spinach supplies moisture, and it would take about 10-15 minutes for the sprouted mung bean to become tender-soft. At this stage, sprinkle turmeric, salt and masala powder. Mix and continue cooking for another five minutes or so. Turn off the heat, and wait for the curry to reach room temperature (cool).

Samosa Wrap: Meanwhile takeout the puff pastry sheet from the freezer. Wait until they reach from stiff, cardboard like to firm but pliable condition. Place the sheet on a lightly floured work surface and evenly roll out to thin. With a sharp knife, cut the sheet to equal looking 2 x 2 inch squares. Place a teaspoon of spinach curry in each square. Quickly fold the right corner over the filling to the left side and press the edges to make a triangle. Repeat until all are done.

Bake: Place the samosas on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 F. After about 10 minutes of baking time, turn to opposite side. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until crisp and golden. Serve warm with tamarind-date chutney or ketchup.

Baked Samosas
Baked Samosas with Spinach and Sprouted Mung Beans

Notes:
Available for purchase at Amazon, Powell’s
Book Cover is taken from Harinayak.com for review purpose.
Recommend this book to your local library.

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Moong Dal (whole), All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Spinach, Reviews: Cookbooks, Sprouts (Molakalu) (Monday May 19, 2008 at 1:34 pm- permalink)
Comments (28)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Home Grown

Pudina (Mint)
Apartment Therapy with Homegrown Pudina (mint)

Our apartment has tiny balcony, just enough space for container gardening. I have planted mint, dill and basil for herbs, and also cherry tomato, chilli pepper and small variety brinjal plants. That’s my garden log for summer 08. How about you? What are you planning to plant this season? Any new/exotic plants? Share your garden tips and tools.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday May 18, 2008 at 9:49 am- permalink)
Comments (31)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Flavors of Life ~ Cakes n Bakes


‘Cakes n Bakes’ ~ Illustration by Sree
Graphite on paper, 8″x12″

I bake quite a bit and I like the home baked cakes more than the fancy, ornately iced ones from the store. My cakes almost always come out well except for the usual ‘old baking’ powder/ ‘old flour’ disasters. For ages I have followed this recipe given by my mother’s oldest friend, simply whisked all the ingredients (very important that they are all fresh and at room temperature) together for a while and baked it till the delicious aroma of a golden brown cake wafted through the entire house.:) My mom always adds a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of honey as well, she says it makes the cake moist and tastier.

~ by Sree

More from Sree ~ Click here

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sree (Saturday May 17, 2008 at 10:20 am- permalink)
Comments (12)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Fresh Peas of Spring ~ Peas Pulao


I walked to Pike Place Market this morning and came home with two pounds of fresh peas. I sat for some time thinking about what to prepare and the following recipe is what I came up with for our meal today.

Added basmati rice and salt to water. Steam-cooked the rice to tender.

While rice was cooking, I shelled the peas from the pods. I separated about a cup of plump peas for this recipe. Heated a skillet. Added a teaspoon of peanut oil. When the oil was hot enough, added a teaspoon of Mandira’s panch phoran mix. Toasted the spices for couple of seconds. Then added the fresh peas, quarter cup of finely chopped mint leaves for fragrance and a pinch of black pepper for some heat. Slow simmered the whole thing in quarter cup of very diluted homemade coconut milk for about five minutes.

By then the rice was ready. Added the Pea-panch phoran mix from the skillet to the rice. Mixed and served it with cucumber raita.

Thanks to the Basmati, panch phoran and mint presence, the fresh peas of spring season radiated comfortable glow of self-appreciation. I loved my meal today.


Peas Pulao with Fresh Peas and Panch Phoran
(for two persons, for two meals)

1½ cups basmati rice + 3 cups water + quarter teaspoon salt
Skillet
1 teaspoon - peanut oil
1 teaspoon- panch phoran mix
1 cup - freshly shelled, plump peas
¼ cup - finely chopped mint leaves
¼ teaspoon - crushed black pepper
¼ cup - coconut milk (homemade or store-bought)

(Panch Phoran is a Bengali/Oriya spice mix made of Cumin, Fennel, Fenugreek, Mustard and Nigella seeds. Take the seeds in almost equal quantity. Mix and store in a spice box. That’s panch phoran.)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Basmati Rice, Peas (Bataani) (Friday May 16, 2008 at 5:12 pm- permalink)
Comments (16)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Kovakkai Crisps (Tindora Fries)

Kovakkai (Dondakaya, Tindora)
Thinly Sliced Kovakkai (Dondakaya, Tindora, Ivy Gourd)

This dish suggested by my sister, tastes as elegant as it looks, yet very simple to prepare. It goes well with rice and dal or chapati and dal, but I would like it anyway, even as one of the filling in a sandwich.

Kovakkai Crisps

Wash kovakkai in plenty of water. Take them in a kitchen towel and pat them dry. For each one, with a sharp knife, cut and remove the ends. Slice lengthwise into two and then cut each half to two or three thin pieces. Prepare them all in this way.

Take the Kovakkai pieces in a bowl. Sprinkle salt and olive or peanut oil to taste. Toss to coat. Spread the pieces on a baking tray.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Once the oven is ready, place the baking tray and bake the kovakkai for about 15 minutes. Then change the oven setting from bake to ‘broil’ and continue cooking for another ten minutes, until the kovakkai turns to crisp. Keep an eye during broil setting to prevent charring/overcooking.

Remove the baking tray. Sprinkle few tablespoons of pappula podi on the hot and crispy kovakkai. Mix. Serve immediately.

Oven-cooking draws out the sharp sour flavor of kovakkai and the crispiness adds delightful crunch. Kovakkai crisps taste quite good as a side dish to rice and dal/sambar combination, or as a filling in chapati or bread sandwich.

Kovakkai Crisps
Kovakkai Crisps Spiced with Pappula Podi ~ for Meal Today

Kay’s Kovakkai Crisps with Frozen and Cut Kovakkai

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Dondakaya(Tindora) (Wednesday May 14, 2008 at 1:53 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Lassi Lullabies ~ Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi
Sweet Mango and a Glass of Mango Lassi ~ for WBB Mango Event

Lassies are soothing lullabies of my home, India. Mango lassi is a manthram like magic melody and I love it.

Mango Lassi Lullaby
(to fill two small glasses)

Mango, ripe - one
Yogurt, homemade - half cup
Sugar - 1 tablespoon (I added maple syrup)
Cardamom powder - a pinch
Blender

Peel and cut mango to small pieces. Take them in a blender. Add maple syrup and cardamom. Puree to smooth. Add yogurt and about half glass of water. Blend until well mixed. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Pour into two glasses. Enjoy the soothing mango lassi lullaby.

More with Mango from Mahanandi:
Burger and Fries with Sweet Mango
Mango Fruit Tart
Mango Halwa (Mango Ravakesari)
Mango Jam
Mango Jihva
Mango Salsa
Mango Shirkhand (Aamrakhand)
Mango Strawberry Scones
Mango Strawberry Popsicles
Pancake Ponganalu with Mango Sauce
Yogurt Rice with Sweet Mango

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Mango, Yogurt (Tuesday May 13, 2008 at 8:12 pm- permalink)
Comments (19)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Artisan Food with Daikon Radish


Daikon and Chana Dal (Mullangi mariyu Sanaga pappu)

A tablespoon of grated radish eaten daily for several weeks has long been recommended by traditional healers in the East as treatment for Kidney and bladder stones, and for sinusitis. Low in calories and an all around detoxifier, radishes are excellent for us health wise.

The following is my mother’s recipe in which the white radish also known as Daikon, Mooli or Mullangi, is cooked with chana dal and potatoes, and seasoned with dahi mirchi tadka. The recipe is easy to prepare and incredibly tasty. Great when eaten with rice, roti, pasta or with millet.


White Radish Subzi with Pita Bread and Aachar Avocado ~ Brunch Today

Recipe Details:

Artisan Food: Daikon Subzi (Mullangi Kura)
Ingredients: Daikon, Potato, Chana Dal and Tadka Ingredients
Skill level: Easy. From Novice to Expert
Labels: Traditional-India, Vegan, And Wholesome Food
Price: $2.00
Format: PDF

Artisan Food with Daikon Radish Recipe PDF


Buy Now

How it Works: After payment via Paypal, PDF will be emailed to you to download the recipe. For any questions about the recipe or the download process, please email me at mailmahanandi@gmail.com .

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Artisan Food Aim and Purpose:

“Artisan Food ~ Revenue through Recipes” program aims to raise money, however small the amount, to support the children at Swami School at Nandyala. This will also lend a sense of purpose to my food blogging, and help me feel like I am accomplishing something through my activity in this Web world.

Previously in Artisan Food:

Artisan Photo Gallery

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Radish, Chana Dal, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Artisan Food (Monday May 12, 2008 at 12:01 pm- permalink)
Comments (11)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Photo by Vijay Singari
To Mothers and Daughters Who Spend Time at Mahanandi and To My Dear Sisters ~
Happy Mother’s Day!

Flowers and Plants for Senses and for Spirit
Beautiful Roses
Berry Merry Flowers
Baby Amaranth

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday May 11, 2008 at 12:06 pm- permalink)
Comments (11)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Weekend this and that~ Grocery Bills

Mindful shoppers with waste-not mentality, that’s Vijay and me. We pretty much depend on grains, dals, vegetables and fruits for our nutritional needs, with an occasional splurge here and there. We try to maintain a tight budget and do not like to overspend. Inji Pennu’s event has prompted me to share my grocery bill with you all. I don’t know how useful you would find this bill display, but here it is:

My grocery bill from DK Market, Renton, WA
My grocery bill for this week ~ for Inji’s Grocery Bill Event

I shop at DK Market, Renton these days for my grocery needs. The prices are low, the produce is fresh and wax free. And, we can get both Asian and Western variety vegetables and fruits. To the $ 23 above, add another $ 7 for milk, Garlic Naan and pita bread from Trader Joe’s for a total of $30. This is for two adults (with an occasional guest/friend dropping in) for one to two weeks. I may spend another ten dollars this week at Pike Place for fresh, plump peas and other seasonal vegetables and fruits.

Harvest Share: if you are a Seattle based hobby farmer or backyard grower, blessed with bountiful harvest of vegetables and berries this season, and looking for mindful consumers to share, please contact me at mailmahanandi@gmail.com for veggie-fruit exchange.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday May 10, 2008 at 9:03 pm- permalink)
Comments (16)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Black Pepper~Turai Chutney

బీరకాయ మిరియాల పచ్చడి

Shallot, Turai, Black Pepper
Shallot, Turai and Black Peppercorn

If there is a turai fan club, I would be a card-carrying member. I would go to farmers markets to demonstrate turai dishes and to dispense turai seeds to the interested. I enjoy this vegetable that much.:) Recently I came across a new chutney recipe with turai, and I tried it today for our meal. Sweet turai and fiery peppercorn, it’s a good combination. A must try for fellow turai fans, I recommend.

Black Pepper ~Turai Chutney:
(makes about a cup and half)

1 Turai (ridge gourd, బీరకాయ)
2 shallots (erra gadda)
½ teaspoon black peppercorn (*Hot*)
1-tablespoon tamarind pulp
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon oil

1. Add tamarind pulp to two tablespoons of water. This will soften the tamarind and helps to blend well. Peel the ridges, wash turai, and cut to big chunks (about two cups). Peel the skin and chop shallots to big pieces (about half cup).

2. Heat a cast iron skillet. Add and heat oil to smoking point. Add black pepper and cumin. Fry for few seconds. Add the shallots and ridge gourd pieces. Sauté to tender for about five minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the contents to reach room temperature.

3. Take them all in a mixer or mortar. Add salt, tamarind pulp and the water it was soaked in. Mix once. Blend to coarse consistency. Remove to a cup and serve. Good to mix with rice, or as a spread on chapati/roti/bread.

Turai- Black Pepper chutney
Turai Pepper Chutney ~ for Meal Today


Recipe adapted from:
Paajaka. Thanks Mythreyee for this tasty turai recipe idea.
Reduce peppercorn to quarter teaspoon if you prefer mild hot level.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Peppercorn (Wednesday May 7, 2008 at 6:14 pm- permalink)
Comments (36)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Maroon Carrots

Peeled Maroon Carrots
Maroon Carrots (skins peeled)

Deep earthy maroon on the exterior and a brilliant red in the interior with an orangish-white center. Subdued sweetness, and lots of crunch.

That is how I would describe maroon carrots. In addition to looking unique, maroon carrots also have nutritional benefits - more beta-carotene than their orange counterparts, and they have antioxidants known as anthocyanins, according to Wise Geek.

This old-time variety is popular in north-Indian farmers markets and usually appears during winter and early spring seasons. They have also started to appear locally here in Seattle, thanks to the rejuvenated interest in all things ancient and natural. At Pike Place Market, they were priced at one dollar a bunch, and I bought one bunch. They still have roots attached, so I peeled the skin and cut with mandoline to thin rounds. They looked so pretty and fresh, within minutes half were gone. Crunch, crunch…

With the remaining half, I have prepared pappuchaaru for our meal today. Toor dal protein, maroon carrots and vine-ripe tomato, soured with tamarind, sweetened with jaggery and seasoned with hing tadka, the pappuchaaru had enough flavor to permit omission of rasam powder. Very mild, soothing to the stomach, chaaru tasted delicious.


Pappuchaaru with Maroon Carrots, Garnished with Haldiram’s Boondi

Pappuchaaru with Maroon Carrots:

Half cup - Toor dal (kandi pappu)
Half cup - Carrots, sliced to thin rounds
One - Ripe tomato, finely chopped
One - Onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon each - tamarind pulp and crushed jaggery
½ teaspoon each - Turmeric and salt
¼ teaspoon - Red chilli powder

Hing tadka:
1 teaspoon - peanut oil
6 curry leaves
Pinch each- cumin and mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon- hing (asafoetida/inguva)

Rinse toordal and take them in a pressure-cooker. Add about two cups of water. Cook to soft. With a wood masher, gently mash the dal to smooth consistency.

Once you are ready with the dal, start the chaaru preparation. In a vessel, heat peanut oil. Add and sauté curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds to fragrance. Add hing and toast for couple of seconds. Add onion, tomato and carrot. Sauté for about five minutes. Add the cooked toor dal, also tamarind, jaggery, turmeric, salt and chilli powder. Add about a cup of water. Mix. Partially cover with a lid, and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes to wonderful aroma. (The carrots bleed and color the preparation to reddish-brown, but not too much like beetroots.)

To serve, add a spoonful of cooked rice to a cup. Pour about three to four ladlefuls of pappuchaaru. Mix with a spoon or your right hand. For a tasty crunch, add a papad, few chips or boondi. Enjoy.

(NP: Carbohydrates from rice, quality protein from toor dal, vegetable goodness from carrot and tomato, spices like turmeric and hing for well being.)

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A question for you, dear readers

I am more likely to prepare this recipe, if it has

Soup in title, because I think of only Soups as healthy.
Chaaru in title, because I value traditional goodness and age-old wisdom.
Good nutritional profile (NP). I pay more attention to the ingredients list than titles.

***********

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Carrots, Amma & Authentic Andhra (Tuesday May 6, 2008 at 1:12 pm- permalink)
Comments (42)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Arusuvai Friendship Packages

I have just come back from the Post Office. Arusuvai friendship packages are on their way to Archana, Dee, Faffer, Linda, Mandira, and Pooja.

I had great time preparing all the goodies for you, dear friends. I hope you would find the contents enjoyable as well.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Monday May 5, 2008 at 1:19 pm- permalink)
Comments (9)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

The Promise of Sweet Sunshine

Sweet Sunshine, Sketch by Indira
Promise of Sweet Sunshine ~ for Mango Manthram

Have you ever gone shopping for mangoes wearing a sweater and a scarf? It sounds funny to imagine, but that’s what I did last week. In Seattle, temperatures are trying to reach respectable levels, but the chill and the spring showers are dominating the dress choice. Mangoes are essentially summer fruits and thanks to Asian imports, the local grocery shops have some good quality fruits in stock. These golden yellow mangoes were priced at $1.50 each. I had to experience the sweet sunshine they would deliver.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mango (Sunday May 4, 2008 at 6:51 pm- permalink)
Comments (18)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

A New Dining Hall

Charming and talented food bloggers DK and Siri have opened a new forum for us food bloggers and fans.

Check it out to join.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday May 4, 2008 at 6:36 pm- permalink)
Comments (4)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Flavors of Life ~ Chillies and Lemons

Chillies and Lemons
Chillies and Lemons ~ Sketch by Sree
Ink and watercolor, 5″x6″

Chillies and lemons are often hung as a talisman at the entrance of shops, houses etc in India to ward off the ‘evil eye’ or drishti (as we say it).

By Sree

Flavors of Life: A variety.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Limes/Lemons, Peppers, Dried Red Chillies, Sree (Saturday May 3, 2008 at 1:00 am- permalink)
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