Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nutritious stuffed Idlis with Coconut chutney…also, added with a good news to share

I realized I haven’t posted vegetarian recipes in a long long time. I’m not a big fan of Idlis… what do you do when this is your staple diet all along (almost every day when I was in school). Needless to say, I was in no mood to make Idlis again for dinner…It struck me that complaining can only lead to disgust...why not experiment…but, can Idlis get interesting…? Read on…

A small flash of the bulb and I said to myself…"Stuffed Idlis”…nice thought but before I go on…I strongly recommend that you must try it once. Enjoy them even without chutney (the culprit that oozes calories). Colourful and healthy, and mark this – sure to make a very good meal for your kid’s lunch box. 

 Hey, one small pause here - let me first share the good news with you…Sometime in January I saw a ‘Kitchen Queen’ contest by Scotch-Brite on my Facebook wall. I sent them one of my original recipes (Gudbud Gotala). In February, I got a call from Scotch-Brite informing my qualification to the next round and if I’d be interested to take part. I was overjoyed and when I reached the hall (at Hotel Royal Orchid). It was exciting to know that out of 7000 entries (in Bangalore), lo behold…I was one among the top 50!! There was this soothing sense of pride (I couldn’t stop smiling!). Then there were 3 written tests (first – cooking quiz, second – taste a mini samosa and write the ingredients and third was a Scotch-Brite quiz). Sadly, I didn’t make it after the written tests. I am glad I tried and didn’t sulk over my poor chances (without trying). This whole experience has lingered…and now, I am very sure I will participate in contests and quizzes such as this one…there’s so much to learn, get inspired and motivated…and importantly, take them as ego boosters. So, here’s a request to all of you…if you come across such announcements (in Bangalore)…please let me know. 

 Now, the slurrrrpy, pretty and nutritious stuffed Idlis

You need: 

Idli batter (about half a litre)
1 large onion (cut into small cubes)
1 large tomato (de-seeded and cut into small cubes)
1 large capsicum (cut into small cubes)
1 large carrot (grated)
1 large potato (finely cut and par boiled)
1tsp mustard seeds
1tsp jeera seeds
1 tsp chilli powder (adjust according to your spice tolerance)
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp saunf powder
½ tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
4tsps sunflower oil
Few sprigs of coriander leaves (to garnish)


Keep the Idli batter out of the refrigerator (these Idlis taste good even if the batter is a lil’ sour) 

Arrange all the vegetables and keep them in separate bowls (you can use vegetables of your choice) 

Add 3tsps of oil into a kadhai. Once hot, add the mustard seeds 

After the mustard seeds crackle, add the jeera and fry 

Now add the onions and fry till they turn translucent 

(Let’s start the colour game now) Add the carrots and fry 

Once the carrots are half done, add the capsicum 

In goes the tomatoes now ( you don’t have to wait for it to get mushy) 

Add in the potatoes and toss (looking beautiful already!) 

Add in all the dry powders and salt. Fry for 2-3 minutes (or till the masala is cooked) 

Garnish with freshly chopped coriander
Your stuffing is done 

 Now pull out your idli steamer and rub some oil on each of them (so it doesn’t stick) 

Spoon in a little idli batter (very little or you won’t have space for the last spoon of batter)

Now add a little masala (do not get generous) 

Pour another spoon of idli batter (just enough to cover the masala) 

Repeat the same process on all portions of the steamer 

Shift it on to the gas on low fire and let it steam for about 10 minutes (it takes the same time as plain idlis) 

Meanwhile, you can grind up your coconut chutney ( scroll down for the recipe) 

Back to the Idlis - pull out the pretty stuffed Idlis (be careful as the steam can burn your fingers) 

Repeat the same process for the rest of the Idli batter and stuffing (you can save the filling for a lazy day too:) )

 Coconut Chutney 

Grind together 3 green chillies, 1 cup grated coconut, 2tsps roasted gram dal, salt and very little water. 

Check the consistency and add water (it’s better if the chutney is thick) 

Transfer on to a serving bowl 

Temper the chutney with 1tsp sunflower oil, 1/2tsp mustard seeds and a few curry leaves (love the aroma!) 

Your chutney is ready to serve 

Don’t wait…go ahead and grab some praises…and beaming smiles of all your loved ones!! 

Yours Tastefully 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Patra ni Macchi - a Parsi Delicacy

“Long time…no see”(should I be saying that or just to feel good)… "I am hoping all of you missed me” :). Here’s an interesting shot at “Part 2” or the “Return of Yourstastefully”.

I am sure you guys will like it…we, at home can’t stop feeling proud of this simple…yet a scintillating dish that I am now sharing. 

Patra ni Macchi, a Parsi signature dish is the dish for the day…Literally translates to "fish wrapped in a leaf". It’s fish covered in green chutney, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed to perfection (can be baked too). Simple, healthy (excellent when you are on diet) and perfect for fish lovers. It's succulent and full of flavour.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2-3

You need: 

5 slices of white pomfret (you can use salmon or seer)
1 large banana leaf washed thoroughly, central spine removed and then cut into 6 pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of half a lemon

For the chutney:

4tbsp fresh grated coconut
3 green chillies
8 garlic pods
1 cup fresh coriander leaves
a few sprigs of mint leaves (if you like the flavour)
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt as required


Clean the fish slices and rub it with lemon juice and salt
Make small gashes on the fish for the chutney to seep in well. Keep aside for 10minutes 

Grind the ingredients for the chutney into a coarse paste (lick your fingers…. you know it’s going to be yummm!) 

Rub the chutney generously all over the fish (keep some chutney aside)
Let it marinate in the fridge (not the freezer) for at least 3 hours 

Pat dry the banana leaf pieces and smear lightly with oil on the smooth side. Place one piece of fish in the center of each piece of leaf, add more chutney (remember you kept some aside) 

Wrap into a neat parcel. Pierce both ends with toothpicks (you may even tie it up with a thread)
Repeat the same process for each of the fish slices 

When you are ready to eat, arrange the fish parcels on a steamer and steam it for 25 -30 minutes 

You know the fish is done when the banana leaves have changed colour 

Place each piece in the center of a plate and serve hot (the experience of unwrapping the parcel itself is lovely and it tastes divine too!)

Dig in with a mixed vegetable salad or steamed rice…Enjoi your guilt free fish!
Yours Tastefully!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mathi Puli (Sardines in a sour and spicy thin gravy)

I am not going to begin this post with an apology though I really owe one…I have too many excuses to offer and sure if I start with the list, you may just want to switch off and refuse to read this post…just one piece of truth - responsibilities at work and home has ruined my daily schedule… worse, my blog has taken a back seat…"ab kaa karein… duty pe jaana hai"[borrowed from an old car commercial…but holds literally in my case :) ]

Today, I’m posting a recipe that I made quite some time back, in fact a few months back [absolutely!, shamless me:( ] It’s another delicacy from Kerala called “Mathi Puli”. Literally, Mathi is 'Sardines' and Puli is 'Sour'. This one is sour gravy made with sardines and spices and lots of kodam puli (it’s a souring agent used in Kerala’s fish curries and other seafood preparations)

You need: 

1/2 kg fresh sardines
3-4 pieces kodampuli (gambooge)
salt to taste
3 tbsp coconut oil

½ tsp each of mustard and fenugreek seeds
2 tsp dhania powder
2 tbsp red chilli powder

2 sprigs of curry leaves
6 pods of garlic, julienned
1” piece ginger, julienned
7-8 shallots, julienned
2 green chillies, slit lenghtwise

Rinse and soak the kudampuli in half a cup of warm water for 20 minutes 

Clean and cut the sardines into 2 pieces and clean it thoroughly, rub rock salt well to remove the smell (discard the head) 

Heat coconut oil in a kadai, splutter the mustards and brown the fenugreek seeds

Sauté the shallots, garlic and ginger pieces, green chillies and the curry leaves till the onions are light brown and the aroma fills the air. 

Add dhania and chilli powder and stir (do not allow it to burn) 

Add the kodampuli along with the water and let it boil. Add water as required (it’s a thin gravy) 

Transfer contents to a flat manchatti (earthern pot) and add the fish pieces.

 Simmer the gravy for a few minutes till the fish pieces turn soft and the oil separates (Keep a watch as fish cooks in no time!) 

And it's ready  to serve!!

Mathi Puli tastes better if prepared at least 4 hours before serving and the best, the second day.

Enjoy  ‘mathi puli’ with steaming hot rice and fried pappads....

Yours Tastefully!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

August 6th… the most memorable date … the most significant, the most important and the most cherished date ‘cos it happens to my dad’s birthday. And I dedicate this post to my father, “the world’s best dad.” He is one in a million (and I can’t count beyond million:) ). Every time I want to write about my dad, I run short of words. He’s my one and only super hero and will always be... There’s so much in life that I have learnt from my dad. He’s simple yet strong with his beliefs, modest yet the most sophisticated with his values, abundant with love…equal with care, tough and practical…yet extremely brittle with emotions. If there was a pedestal for perfection…I guess, he would have defied that too …I am sure all daughters have a special place and space for their fathers. In the words of Joanna Fuchs, here’s an ode to my father that truly expresses my feelings.

Every day the whole year through, I feel grateful you are my father.
Some fathers don't have time for their kids, But for you I'm never a bother.
You always make the effort to listen and share; You're always there when you're needed
It warms me to know how much you care, And with that knowledge my worries are defeated
Dad, you are truly admired and adored, And as your daughter, I hope that you know,
These sentiments fill me each day of the year, And my love for you continues to grow.

I love you Accha !!

Before I push the emotions further, let’s see what I baked for him, “A Pineapple Upside-Down cake” and I am mighty pleased that he loved it…This recipe was passed on by my friend Sangeetha (thanks Sangu!). I had made this cake once before (it was a hit then too!) and I must tell you, it’s a ‘never-fail cake’…so go ahead and try it…it’s damn easy too…!!

Preparation time: 20 minutes 

Cooking time : 35-45 minutes
Serves: 9-10

You need:
6-7 pineapple rings (I used tinned but you can use fresh ones too)
6 -7 cherries
2-3 tsp brown sugar
2 cups maida (plain flour)
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tsp baking powder
100gms cooking butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp pineapple essence
a pinch of yellow food colour
4 eggs
a pinch of salt

Sieve maida and baking powder 

Take a fairly big tin, grease it with some butter and dust it with some maida

Sprinkle brown sugar evenly on the tin

Arrange the pineapple pieces (do not throw away the syrup from the tin) 

Place the cherries in the center of each of the pineapple rings (’s going to be a pretty cake)

Beat the eggs, butter and powdered sugar till fluffy

Add the maida (with baking powder) and mix carefully

Now add the food colour, pineapple and vanilla essence and give it a good mix (keep the beater away)

Pour the batter on top of the pineapple rings

Bake at 1800C for 35-45 minutes (keep a close watch to avoid burning!)

Insert a toothpick or a knife to check if your cake is done (it has to come out clean)

Keep the cake in the oven (after you have switched off) for 10 minutes
Allow the cake to cool for another 15 minutes 

Now, turn the tin on to a plate…Voila! The pretty cake is smiling back at you:)
Gently put the cake back into the tin (be careful not to smash the sides) 
Pour the syrup evenly on the back of the cake 
Allow the syrup to sink into the cake (the last wait, I promise) 
Another 30 minutes… over turn the cake again and light the candle… 

Do not allow Pineapple upside-down cake to cool completely before removing from the tin. The caramelized sugar hardens and results in the cake sticking to the tin .

Try it and check how it manages to put a smile on someone you love…!

Here’s wishing the superman, my dad again for the splendid day gone by and many more to come…!!

Yours Tastefully