Mung dal

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Fresh vegetables with tomatoes from my garden

This is a simple dal recipe. But with a difference. Whenever I make the Kerala erisseri I love the seasoning they add in the end, coconut and dal fried to a crisp with some curry leaves added. The addition  of fried coconut imparts a particularly rich flavour. So I decided to do that to my dal. And added some vegetables to the dal to make it more wholesome. You can serve it with rotis or rice. Be sure to add spoons of ghee while serving for that extra flavour!

Cook the vegetables and tomatoes
Cook the vegetables and tomatoes
Add dal and boil with spices
Add dal and boil with spices. Then add the fried coconut to it.

INGREDIENTS

Half a cup of mung dal

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp chilli powder or 1 tsp of sambar powder

salt

1 zuchini or choko

1 carrot

1 tomato or 5-6 cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup dessicated coconut

curry leaves

1 tsp urad dal

1 tsp mustard

2 dry red chilli

1 tsp asafoetida

oil

METHOD

Wash the dal a couple of times,add 2 cups of water and cook in preferred way, either using a pressure cooker or on stove top.

Cut the vegetables in small cubes. Heat oil in a pan and add vegetables. Cook for five minutes then add the tomatoes. Fry for five minutes. Add turmeric powder and chilli powder. Stir, now add  a cup water and cook till vegetables are soft. Add the cooked dal. Season with salt and bring it to a boil.

Heat a frying pan,add 3 Tb spoon of oil. Add curry leaves, the red chillies and the asafoetida powder. Now add the mustard and urad dal. When the dal turns golden add the coconut and fry till it is light brown. Add this to the dal, stir and serve hot. Add ghee when serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRUIT CRISP

I collect cookbooks, I check out food blogs, I bookmark some, add some to my reading list. A lot of blogs have their recipes published to have people gushing over how nice the recipe looks or sounds. Sometimes the odd person writes a comment after trying the recipe out. Now that’s helpful. With all the wonderful photographs accompanying the recipes every recipe sounds delicious. But that’s not always true, believe me I have had some flops before. Same for cookbooks. Some of the cookbooks I have bought have turned out to be just good enough to look at, but some have been really great to cook from.

So anyway I have been trying a number of recipes from several blogs and cookbooks. I thought I could post a few successful ones.image

One of my favourite blogs is Smitten Kitchen. And when Deb Perelman, author of the blog, published a cookbook of course I had to have it. And the book did not disappoint. I cook regularly from it.

One recipe I make often is the fruit crisp.image

The original recipe used apricots but I used a pear and apples.

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Coconut blossom sugar is a new discovery for me. It’s farmed on the island of Java, Indonesia. It says on the packet “this unique sugar imbued with subtle caramel,spice and butterscotch notes”….well, I was hooked.  And I love it. I used this instead of turbinado sugar used in the original recipe.

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Oats is added and makes it a wholesome breakfast dish with some almonds thrown in. Flaked almonds would be a good substitute but I did not have any so I just chopped some whole almonds. If you are worried about the amount of butter used, don’t be, it actually can be used over a few days if stored in the fridge. Makes a great snack too!

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Cooked, till the whole topping comes together,  it goes on the fruit.

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Bake till done and serve it on yogurt or eat as is. Delicious, healthy, I mean you are having fruit,nut and oats in one go! It can’t be bad for you right?

Deb calls it apricot crisp.

INGREDIENTS

Fruit

455 gms of apple and pear together

3 tablespoons of coconut blossom sugar

1 tablespoon of plain flour

pinch of nutmeg

Topping

60 grams butter

75 grams of coconut blossom sugar

45 grams  rolled oats

65 grams plain flour

a pinch of salt

a handful of almonds or 2 tablespoons sliced or flaked almonds

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C

prepare fruits by peeling and coring apple. Dice them. Dice the pear after coring. Pile them into a gratin dish  big enough to fit the fruit in one layer. Stir the sugar, flour and nutmeg and sprinkle over the fruits.

Make the topping by melting butter then adding  the sugar, oats, then the flour and finally the chopped almonds and salt. Mix for about 5 minutes. Strew it over the fruit and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. You might want to check in after 30 minutes. Don’t let it brown too much. You can cover with foil if it browns too soon.

Serve with yogurt. Or eat as a snack just on its own.

This makes about 3 cups of fruit crisp.

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I found you can easily reduce the amount of sugar if you don’t like it too sweet. It also depends on how tart the apples are. Deb suggests using a plum and peaches combo too.

 

 

 

 

Bittergourd sambal

I have a love- hate relationship with bittergourd. When I was young my mum used to just fry it lightly and serve it. The bitterness still  being intact (which was how it was supposed to taste) I generally avoided it, naturally!  Now I seek recipes to make it more palatable and  to my surprise I found a few which were superb. One of them is this sambal.

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Bittergourd sambal.

It is quite easy to prepare.

Fry prepared bittergourd

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When crispy ,remove

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Fry till tomatoes break down and oil floats

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Add bittergourd and spices, fry till done

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INGREDIENTS

2 long bittergourds

salt

15 cherry tomatoes or 4-5 normal tomatoes

1 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 to 1 tsp jaggery or brown sugar

oil to fry

METHOD

Prepare bittergourd by dicing them into small pieces . To get rid of the bitterness add a tsp of salt, rub it in well and keep aside for half an hour. Drain the bittergourd squeezing out the liquid.

Heat a pan add 3-4 Tb oil and add the drained vegetable to the hot oil. Fry stirring now and then on medium heat. After about 8 minutes when they are brown and crispy, remove to a plate.

Chop the tomatoes and add to the same pan. Stir,  add a tsp of salt and cook covered. After 6-7 minutes have a look. When oil starts floating around the edges add the bittergourd to the tomatoes, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder,stir nicely cover abd cook in a low heat. After about 10 minutes open and stir. Add a tsp of jaggery or brown sugar,more salt if needed stir and remove. This recipe can be easily doubled. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days.

 

 

Cherry Tomato Pasta

CHERRY TOMATO PASTA

We have a small garden where every year religiously we plant a few vegetables. The joy of picking our own veggies, however few they maybe, is worth the trouble we put in for the meagre crop we generally harvest. But tomatoes are one plant which generously produce loads of fruit. I start with salads, then roast them, pickle them, sauce them, freeze them…apart from giving away to friends of course.

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Anyway since it is tomato season here where I live and I got a bounty of tomatoes I made cherry tomato pasta. This is an easy recipe. It is one from the zillions of recipes I have saved over the years. Basically you roast the tomatoes with some cheese and spices thrown in and toss it through hot pasta, that’s it! Here goes the recipe.

CHERRY TOMATO PASTA

500gms cherry tomato,about two punnets worth

1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated parmesan

1/4 cup grana padano cheese grated

salt and pepper as per taste

extra virgin olive oil

red chilli flakes

basil leaves

500 gms angel hair pasta

30 x 20 cm rectangular pan

preheat oven to 180C degrees

METHOD

Start with cutting the tomatoes in half. Lay them in one layer in the pan, generously salt and pepper the tomatoes and mix well adding two tablespoons of the oil. Be sure to season well because this will be the sauce which holds the pasta together.

Mix the cheese and bread crumbs together , add the chilli flakes (as much as you can handle 😜). Sprinkle this mix over the tomatoes. Drizzle more extra virgin oil over and place in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Check to see if the top is a golden brown , if not give it a few more minutes watching it carefully. Don’t let it burn!

Meanwhile cook pasta . Toss the hot pasta through the cheesy mix, making sure to scrape all pan juices. Season after tasting. Drizzle some more oil over everything.

Add the basil leaves torn up. Serve hot. Tuck in. Serve with a chilled glass of wine and a crisp tangy green salad.

NOTES

Sometimes I add a few teaspoons of Balsamic vinegar to the tomatoes before baking, this adds some oomph to the sauce. If you don’t like balsamic then plain red wine vinegar is a good alternative.

OR

Some tobasco or Sriracha sauce to spice things up. I like it spicy so I tend to add chilli sauce generously.

 

 

 

 

Hello world!

My first post! Before I start putting up recipes, a few words about myself. I have a great love for cooking. When I was young I used to pore over Indian magazines looking with wonder at the amazing foreign condiments and recipes. I used to try out some new recipes mostly tasted by my mum and myself only, the others in the family were not so brave.

That was then. Today I own many cookbooks – too many actually – notebooks filled with recipes, binders filled with recipes, bookmarked recipes….you get the idea! So what I am trying to say is, most of the recipes I post are not mine, they are ones I have tried from books, blogs, magazines. Very rarely will I post a recipe which is original!

So there. This blog is for my family first and for my friends next, friends who like to cook! Hope you enjoy my ramblings.