February 25, 2012

Eggless Banana Bread

An all time  favorite of the kids as well as adults.  This is a very simple recipe that I heard from my cousin.  Every time I make this bread I just blindly follow this and it is so simple and easy to remember.

The recipe my cousin gave me calls for 3 big bananas for 2 cups of flour.  But the bananas I had were small in size and some portion had to be discarded.  Hence, I decided to halve the recipe and it turned out to be really good.

3 small bananas(I lost some and would have effectively used about two and a half or you can use one and a half big ripe bananas)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
pinch of salt

Mash the bananas in a small bowl.  Add oil and the brown sugar and combine this thoroughly.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a bigger bowl.  Add the banana oil and sugar mixture to the flour and combine well. Add water if needed to get the right consistency.  The batter will be thick but should flow down smooth and slow but not too fast or too slow when taken in a spoon.  Add the walnuts.

Bake this at 350 degrees for 40 minutes in a small loaf pan.

This recipe goes to Eggless and Vegan Bakes event of hosted by Priya's Easy and Tasty Recipes

February 21, 2012

Mixed Vegetable Stew in Almond Milk

This was prepared before I went on a vacation during winter break.  I wanted to clear out most of the vegetables in my refrigerator especially the chayote squash.  I could have prepared a kurma or a kootu but decided to try out a stew kind of dish using almonds instead of coconut milk.

1 medium chayote squash chopped
1 med carrot cubed
1 potato cubed
handful of peas
1 onion finely chopped
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 green chillies
3-4 garlic cloves
1 inch piece ginger
1 tbsp oil
3 tsp sliced almond soaked in little milk
1 tsp coconut
salt to taste
1/8 to 1/4 tsp chilli powder

Take oil splutter the cumin seeds, 2-3 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon and pinch of elaichi powder, small bay leaf.  Add onions and saute it on med heat for 2 minutes.  Add the grated ginger, garlic and green chillies and saute for a minute.  Add all the vegetables, salt, pinch of turmeri powder and stir for a minute.  Add water so that the vegetables are just covered and pressure cook for not more than five minutes or upto one whistle.  Grind the almonds with the coconut adding water till it is smooth.  Otherwise you can use store bought almond milk or prepare the almond milk at home.  I did not have the patience to do that just ground the almonds with water.  Add this to the cooked vegetables and let it boil for 3-4 minutes and simmer it for ten minutes.

Serve this with rice or parathas.

February 18, 2012

Minestrone Soup

Mention soup and Minestrone soup is what comes to my mind.  There cannot be anybody who does not know or like this soup.  I can confidently say that this tops the list of my kids favorite soups and also pull  up my collar for they like the homemade version better than the ones at restaurant.

1 small carrot
1 small potato
1 handful frozen peas
2 trimmed celery sticks
1/2 of a medium onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 a can of chick peas
3 small tomatoes
3/4 cup of uncooked pasta any kind
1/2 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp each of coriander and cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste
some butter and 1 tbsp olive oil

Heat up the butter and olive oil.  When it is slightly hot add the onions and garlic and saute for half a minute.
Add the bay leaf and all the chopped vegetable.  Add little salt and saute these vegetables for a minute.  Add about 4 cups of water or the amount needed to get the vegetables completely covered.  Add a pinch of turmeric, paprika powder and the cumin coriander powder and let these vegetables cook until they are a bit tender.  I had this quick variety of penne pasta(cook time is only 3 minutes) which I could directly cook along with the vegetable.  If using any other pasta which takes a longer time to cook, prepare it separately and add it to the soup. When the pasta is cooked well, add the chick peas to it.

In the meanwhile, blanch the tomatoes in boilling water for few minutes.  Once this cools, blend the tomatoes into a paste and extract all the smooth pulp.  Use water if necessary to get all the pulp out.  Normally, diced tomatoes are sauteed and cooked.  But since I like to have a tomato based stock, I prefer to do it this way.  Add this to the soup and the necessary salt and pepper and the Italian seasoning.  Let this cook for few more minutes.

Enjoy this wholesome soup with some nice toasted french bread or some bread sticks.

Tips:  It would be good to use either home made or store bought vegetable stock instead of water to begin with.
The pasta is going to soak up in the soup and make it thicker.  It is okay if the soup is a bit runny as soon as it is completed.  On the other hand, if you know you are going to consume everything right away and you prefer it thicker, add the water accordingly.

February 15, 2012

Masoor/Moong Dal Idli

Today we hear of everyone talk about finding alternate ways to keep their carbs consumption minimal.  However, there are these certain dishes which becomes irresistible to our taste buds.  One such dish being the famous Idlis.  Taken with some spicy sambar or the spice powder nobody can say no to these delectable savory steamed rice cakes.  However, the carbs in these do more good than any harm.  In combination with black lentils, it is considered as the most nutritious food providing the necessary carbohydrates, proteins, fiber with minimal fat.  The process of fermentation breaks down the starches so that they are more nutritious and easily digested.

Having said all this,  it only makes more sense to enhance its nutrient content by adding more lentils for the calorie conscious people.

3 cups idli rice
1 cup urad dal
1/2 tsp methi seeds
1 cup masoor dal/yellow moong dal

Soak the rice, urad dal and methi seeds for about 8 hrs before beginning to grind.   Grind the urad and methi seeds until they are smooth and fluffy.  Remove the batter, and now grind the rice to a fine rawa texture.  Combine this with the urad dal paste and add salt and leave it to ferment overnight.   Next morning soak the masoor dal for about 3 hrs.  Grind this in the food processor with little ginger, 2 chillies and few coriander leaves to a coarse consistency.  Transfer this to the idli mixture and the batter is ready for making idlis. You can also prepare the dal batter few hours before preparing the idlis and leave it at room temperature before adding to the idli batter

Enjoy with some sambar or some chutney.  We enjoyed these idlis with some nice spicy onion, tomato and capsicum chutney.

February 9, 2012

Bok Choy Kootu

Bok Choy also know as Chinese leaf cabbage is a very popular crop in the oriental regions especially in China.  It is well known for its light, sweet flavor, crisp texture and nutritional value.   It is not only high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium, but also low in calories.  Combined with dal and minimal spices, this makes a very delicious and healthy side for rice.

1/2 cup of yellow moong dal
2lb of baby Bok Choy(each is about 3-4 inches in height)
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1/2 tsp sambar powder
mustard seed and urad dal for seasoning
oil or ghee

Wash the bok choy thoroughly.  Trim the ends of the bok choy and chop the rest including the stem part. You will lose almost a pound of bok choy after trimming.

Pressure cook the moong dal with little salt and turmeric.  Transfer the cooked moong dal to a wide mouthed vessel and add the chopped bok choy salt, cumin seeds to it.  Once it settles and shrinks a bit add the sambar powder and hing powder and cook further until all the raw smell is gone.

Splutter mustard, urad dal and add hing in the end to half a spoon of oil and add it to the kootu.

Serve with some hot rice.  

February 8, 2012

Celery and Coriander Thokku

I always like to try out common recipes with some non traditional ingredients.  One such attempt is this thokku with celery.  Though celery is best eaten when raw,  I tried this for a change after having used in salads, soups.  

8 stalks of trimmed celery(you can add the trimmed leaves while grinding)
1 big handful of trimmed coriander leaves
4 green chillies
3-4 tsp of tamarind paste
1 tsp each of coriander and cumin powder
1 small ginger piece
salt to taste
pinch of turmeric powder
pinch of brown sugar/jaggery(optional)
2-3 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal
nice pinch of hing powder

Chop the celery stalk into small pieces and steam cook them for a couple of minutes.  Let this cool down.  Grind this along with the rest of the ingredients to a fine paste.  When you grind this, it is going to be little liquidy.  Take oil in a pan and splutter the mustard and urad dal, add the hing powder and then the paste.  Saute this on medium heat until the paste comes together and begins to leave out oil.

This can be mixed with rice and eaten or is a good accompaniment on the side for curd rice.

February 7, 2012

Green Peas/Vatana Masala Vada

This traditional lentil masala vada has been prepared mainly using dried green peas.  This is equally flavorful but more light and crisp in texture compared to the traditional counterpart.

1 cup dried green peas
2 tblsp each of tuar and chana dal
1/2 of a medium onion
1 tsp fennel seeds
2-3 garlic clove
3-4 green chillies
small ginger piece
salt to taste
chopped coriander leaves

Soak the green peas overnight.  Soak the tuar and chana dal 3 hours before grinding.  Drain out the water completely from both the dals and grind with the fennel seeds, garlic, ginger and salt.  You can reserve little bit of the tuar and chana dal to add in the end to the batter and use the rest in the start.  Towards the end add the coarsely chopped onion and coriander leaves.

Take about a spoonful of the batter, flatten it into a 1/2 inch thick circle and deep fry in hot oil. Remove when golden brown in color.

Enjoy these vadas with some ketchup or chutney.