Jan 30, 2010

Simple and Easy Fruit Salad

This is a very quick and easy dessert recipe to make for a party or just for yourself!

Cut your favorite fruits in small pieces and add to a bowl. You can add any types of fruits. I used fresh pineapples, apples, oranges, grapes and bananas.


There's the wonderful and colorful array of fruits. Now, you could just have this as a fruit salad.


But, since we like kicking up our foods, go ahead and add a can of condensed milk into this. Mix well.


Refrigerate and serve. How easy is that? None of my guests have stopped at one serving when they have this - its that good! Really - try it.

Now - because there is milk and there are oranges and pineapple, the citrus content could spoil the milk. But, that won't happen for a few hours. So, mix the condensed milk just before serving. Also, do not store this overnight after the milk is mixed.

If you are making this for only 2 or 3 people, mix the fruits but don't add the condensed milk. Serve in your small bowls and then add some condensed milk on top just before eating. You can also do that if there are people who don't eat too much sweet or who should not be eating too much sweets, that way - they'll get the goodness of fruits without all the sugar in condensed milk.

Enjoy! Peace Out!

Jan 26, 2010

Tirangi Puris!

Happy Republic Day to all of you! Here are some Tirangi Puris to celebrate the special day with!

Two of my friends are also celebrating their Anniversaries today - Happy Anniversary to Sandy & Hari and to Shwetha & Babu! Enjoy your day guys!

I do have to mention that none of this was planned. I was thinking about what to make for dinner. I was talking to my friend yesterday and something came up about puris. I then realized that I had not made in maybe a couple of months. So, from that time ...it was bugging me...the craving I mean!

So, for dinner tonight I thought I'll make puris - and then it was also raining ..so the craving was pretty strong. But, I was also very strongly feeling something else...guilt..of deep fried food on a weekday night...oh..the pressure! So, I thought " Hey - why not make Spinach Puri" - makes up for a tiny bit of the guilt..LOL!!

And then my daughter said she wants both a plain and a spinach puri. Ok. That's easy. So, I started making the atta for puri and was talking to my daughter about republic day! And that was when it stuck me - to make a third orange puri and make it an all celebratory republic day dinner! I mean, don't we always celebrate everything with food??

So - here we go.

For the Spinach puris, just boil a few fresh leaves of spinach for a couple of mins. When done, blend it well and mix with atta to make green color atta!

For the tomato puris, do the same thing. Boil a couple of whole tomatoes - the peel come right off. Puree them and add to the atta. Add a tsp of Kashmiri mirch to the tomatoes while blending - that gives a beautiful red color to the whole thing.

And then you do know how to make the plain puri atta!

So, here are my three colored atta ready to be made into puris!

Make small balls out of the atta.


Roll out into small puris. Get your little one to help out! Mine was so excited like you can see. She wanted to do one puri of each color.


Uh-oh..someone's got a sticky situation!


And here, my dear friends are the three colored puris.


Happy Indian Republic Day to all of you!



Enjoy. Peace out!

Jan 25, 2010

Paneer Butter Masala

PBM as I fondly call it has been and will always be one of my favorite paneer dishes. There is no further discussion on it! If you are from Salem and if you've eaten in this small place called Argees, they have one of the best PBM's - everytime I go back home, I have to eat it atleast twice a week! Their PBM and fried rice, and Gobi 65 that comes parceled in a green banana leaf and then an outer newspaper cover. Man...is that good or what? I miss Argees and their PBM.

If you've read my previous post on Homemade Garlic Naan, (what..you've haven't - the whole world of 15 people have already read it - go read it here!), this is what I prepared to go along with those soft naans.

There are a few different methods of making this - some people add only paneer, some add onions and bell peppers, some add way too much butter that there is a whole lake of it on top. A lot of people add cream at the end to make it richer and creamier. This however is a simple version with not too much butter or ghee and no cream at all. But, still rich and flavorful!

Chop up a couple of green chillies and some ginger. Heat a tsp of oil and when hot, add Jeera and the chopped ginger and green chilli. You can also add garlic if you like. Add some coriander seeds to this too. Fry for a min.

The add chopped onions and a few tomatoes. Cook till completely soft and done.


Cool down the onion, tomato mixture and grind into a smooth paste.In a pan, add about 1 tbsp of butter or ghee and then add the smooth paste to it. If you like small pieces of onions in your PBM, you could add it to the butter and saute before adding the paste.


Add salt, turmeric powder and Kashmiri red chilli powder for the wonderful color. You could add garam masala or any other masala if you'd like. I added about 1 tsp of pav bhaji masala - my favorite flavor.


In another pan, add a tsp of butter or ghee and cook the cut paneer pieces till soft and the sides are brown. Now, my husband is not a big paneer fan - yes - not a fan - tell me about it. I can't believe it myself even after all these years! So - for him, I sauteed some red pepper for about a min separately.


Now, when the sauce has cooked for about 5-8 mins, add the sauteed paneer and bell peppers to the pan. Let the whole thing cook for another 10 mins in slow flame.


Add some cilantro on top to garnish and you are done!


Tada..there is my PBM.


Enjoy hot with Garlic Naan or rotis or chappathi or even fried rice!

Enjoy. Peace out!

Jan 23, 2010

Homemade Garlic Naan

Of late, my little one at home has become a huge fan of Garlic Naan. Anytime we eat out now, she says we can eat Thai or Chinese as long as I pick up Garlic Naan for her!

I thought this would be a good one to try at home. I've never tried this at home before. So, there's a challenge.

The base is quite similar to making pizza base at home. Flour, yeast, milk mixture - the couple of unique things that go in here are yogurt and ghee. I did google for the recipe and found this very nice link with a video of making the naan - http://video.about.com/indianfood/Naan-Recipe.htm by Natasha Levitan. But, this recipe includes eggs but I did skip the eggs as I did not have any and wasn't going to run to the store for 1 egg!

To begin with, get all your ducks in a row. You'll need All purpose flour, milk, ghee, yeast, salt, yogurt, and sugar.

To about 4 tbsp of warm milk, add 2 tbsp of sugar and 1 packet ( 2 tbsp ) of rapid active yeast. Make sure the milk is just luke warm and not hot - that will kill the yeast.


After mixing the yeast well with the warm milk, set it aside for about 30 mins. The yeast mixture will become all frothy and that is just wonderful for the dough to rise.


Now, take about 4 cups of all purpose flour in a mixing bowl. Add 11/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp of salt.

Add the frothy yeast to this.


Next, add about 2/3 cups of milk to this.


Add about 1 cup of yogurt to this.


Add 3 tbsp of ghee on top.


Mix everything well and knead the dough for about 10 mins. This dough is very sticky - but do not add more flour to make it smooth. If you don't want to knead with your hands, use the spatula and mix well.


Move to another well oiled bowl and make a ball and let it sit in the center. Make sure the dough is coated well with oil from the sides.


Cover with a breathable cloth and let sit in a warm place for about 2-3 hours. I kept it inside my oven just as a resting place - if you live in Alaska and its super cold, you can pre heat the oven and then keep this in there.


After 3 hrs, you can see how much the dough has raised. It becomes almost double the quantity.


Take out the dough and knead well again for about 5 mins and then divide the dough into equal parts and make balls out of it and set aside.


Roll out each ball into an oval gently. Remember that the dough is really soft and might tear if you roll it out too much or too thin.


Use the oval shaped dough and place it over your hands and move your hands up and down to stretch the dough and to get a naan shape. 


Place the naans in a baking sheet and brush some ghee or butter on top.


Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and slightly roasted garlic pieces.You could just add chopped garlic but I like to roast it for about a min just to get some of that raw smell out. And then they get double roasted in the oven and becomes crispy and flavorful.


Here's the important part. Pre heat the oven at the highest possible setting and set the oven to broil too. The original tandoors have a high temperature that can go up to 800 or 900 F degress and the naans cook in a min. But, the best we can do at home is upto 500F with a conventional oven. Which is still good. And being on broil cooks the naan from the top too.

Just bake these in the oven for about 3-4 mins or until the tops are a golden brown.


Tada...see, that took only about 3-4 mins. And they remain soft inside just as they should be.


Enjoy the homemade Garlic Naan's hot with some Paneer Butter Masala or any other great side dish. I served this with PBM which will be my next post. Until then, here are the naans!



Enjoy. Peace Out!

Jan 19, 2010

Baby Potatoes Fry ...to die for..

Last week my trip to the grocery store was a memorable one. I was walking by the fruits section and was picking up some fruits. From the corner of my eye, on the other side of the table I saw something in a big heap. Wait...what is that - are those my favorite baby potatoes. I dropped all the fruits in my hand and almost ran there - I think I might have bumped a couple of people in the way too! And then I reached there - I let out this loud "WOW" and a couple of heads turned in my direction. Even a mountain erupting right there would not make me take my eyes off these babies! I thought I even heard a little chuckle from someone. Maybe they thought the crazy lady got out of the asylum! Who cares.

I bagged these babies up. And then went to look for my cart that I had left somewhere in the fruits aisle. Oh yeah..my fruits - I picked those up too and then came to the checkout counter. I had a big smile like I had won a pot of gold. Iwas sure they were going to talk about me after I leave. These little ones where 2.95 a pound - and I had bought for 4.95 total. A little pricey considering they are potatoes. The big ones are 10 lbs for 99c and these little ones are almost 3 bucks a pound!

But, oh...this was the best 4.95 I ever spent! (Except that one time when I bought a pair of reeboks on clearance for 5 bucks).

I was so tempted to do Dum Aloo with these. But, in my heart and my soul, just a simple fry of these potatoes is what I was craving. Potato fry with spicy lemon rasam and rice! Can you beat that?

Now - confess - don't these look attractive? Would you not moan out a loud WOW on these? 

Boil these in a pot of hot water for about 7-8 mins - don't cook it too much and make it mushy.


When it cools down a little bit, peel the outer covers - this is a pain - however, we have to look at the bigger picture here. There is no gain without pain.

Now, you could cook these with the skin. I do that sometime too - that's taste good - but for a good roast, its best to get the skins off.


Add a couple of tsp of oil in a wide pan. Do a tadka of mustard seeds and a tsp of jeera. Take a pan wide enough that the potatoes will not sit one on top the other - they should be as spread out as possible for a perfect roast.

Add salt to taste. (You can add some salt while boiling the potatoes - if you do that, reduce the salt here - just a pinch would do). Add turmeric and red chilli powder. 


Do not use a spatula to cook this. Use the pan as a whole and toss the potatoes so that the seasonings coat all the potatoes. You don't want to break these apart with a spatula. Cook on medium heat for about 7-8 minutes. Then, raise the heat up to high and roast well for 2 mins. Then switch off the stove.


Serve hot. I served these with Rice and Lemon Rasam. Or you could have these with rotis too. Or with lemon rice. Or rolled up in a tortilla like a wrap. Or just put in a bowl and enjoy all by itself!


 Enjoy! Peace Out!