Saturday, April 30, 2011

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana bread comes up often in blog posts and I think I know why. Bananas ripen too quickly and this is a yummy and healthy way to use them. I paired them with walnuts and chocolate chip, my favorite flavor combination. These muffins can also be baked as a banana bread in a loaf pan but I like to make these as muffins so I can count how many were gobbled up by me. With a loaf, a thin slice becomes a thick slice which becomes half the loaf without my realizing it. I kept the sugar in it to a minimum as the bananas were sweet. We thoroughly enjoyed them. So here's the recipe...

Ingredients:

2 cups All-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 cup Chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure Vanilla
1/3 cup Granulated sugar
3 ripe medium Bananas
2 large Eggs
1/4 cup refined vegetable oil
1/2 cup Walnuts 
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with wrappers. Toast the walnuts on stove top and cool.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas, do not over-mash else they will become lacy. Add the eggs, butter, sugar and vanilla and mix well. In another bowl, mix the flour (keep aside 1 teaspoon), baking soda, baking powder, salt and whisk to mix well. Add the teaspoon of flour to the chocolate chips and nuts and coat evenly. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffin. 

Gently fold in the wet mixture into the flour mixture. Fold only till mixed, mixture maybe lumpy. Also fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. Put into Muffin cups and bake for about 18-20 minutes. Pierce with toothpick in the center to check if done. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

This muffin goes to Divya's Show me your Muffin event.
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-f31L6ZhR8cQ/TYkaXpMEhhI/AAAAAAAAI7Q/5C5ASQVCttk/s1600/show+me+your+muffin.JPG

Monday, April 25, 2011

Triple Chocolate Cookies - Eggless

Saturday was a happy day. I spent the entire afternoon baking these triple chocolate cookies and just baking and tasting gave me a chocolate high. The recipe is the same as these Chocolate Chip Cookies but they have cocoa and white chocolate chunks in them. These are certainly much more richer and decadent than CCC so they are perfect with black coffee or a cold glass of milk. 

Ingredients: 

1 3/4 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (use 1/4 cup if using dark cocoa and substitute rest with all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 sticks butter (approx 220 grams) at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (don't use powdered)
1/2 cup condensed milk
1 cup dark chocolate chunks / large chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 400F (200 C). Line baking trays with parchment paper. 

Cream the butter and sugar together for about 5 minutes with a mixer on medium speed. The butter will become pale in color and increase in volume as well. Then add the condensed milk and vanilla and beat well to mix. In another bowl, sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder together (you can also just whisk them together to mix well). Mix the flour into the butter mixture a couple of spoons at a time with a spatula. When all the flour is incorporated into the butter, fold the chocolate chips into it. Do not beat the mixture. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This will harden the butter and not spread the cookies as much when baked. Take 1 1/2 inch balls of dough (roughly - they don't have to be perfect) and place them on the baking tray keeping about 2-3 inch distance between two dough balls.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes,  since they are dark in color it is difficult to judge doneness. The center may not be firm but they will continue to cook and harden outside the oven. Remove from oven and cool them on a wire rack. Do not cool on a plate as the moisture on the base of the cookie will make them soggy.

Enjoy with coffee or a glass of cold milk! To store, place in a air tight container once they are completely cooled.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Vaghareli Khichdi / Seasoned Khichdi

Life is about simple pleasures and this is one of them. Subtly spiced and making the flavor of the lentils pop, this khichdi with a dollop of ghee and I can finish a potful. I add the potato to make it a little substantial. You can skip it if you want. So here goes...

Ingredients: 

3/4 cup split green moong daal with skin
3/4 cup rice (non basmati preferred)
2 medium potatoes
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 stick of cinnamon
4 cloves
Water
Salt

Wash the daal and rice thoroughly. Keep aside. Wash the potatoes well to remove any dirt on the surface. Chop the potatoes with skin on, about medium dice, 1/2 inch cubes. 
In a pressure cooker or rice cooker, heat the oil and when hot, add the cumin seeds. Next add the potaotes, cinnamon, fenugreek seeds and cloves. Saute for about 30 seconds and add the rice and daal. Add 4 1/2 cups water (you may add more water if you like a more thinner consistency) along with salt and cook upto 2 whistles (and cooling it naturally) or till the rice cooker turns to warm setting. If you are making it in a rice cooker, stir about midway though it, say after 10 minutes. 

Serve hot with a dollop of ghee on top!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Strawberry-Mint Coolers

Phew summer! Its hot and humid and a few minutes outside make you crave something cold and refreshing. With just a hint of soda and lots of fruit, this drink will not give you any guilt pangs. The idea of pairing strawberries and mint was introduced to me by a fellow blogger and good friend. Upon experimentation, I reached this recipe which can also be a welcome drink, mocktail or cocktail. The fresh juices, pungent mint and crisp soda make it a refreshing sip. The below portion is for 12 large servings.

Ingredients:  

2 boxes strawberries, about 30 pieces
2 fistfuls fresh mint
4 lemons juiced
1 litre orange juice
1 litre Sprite or any other lemon-lime soda
6 cups ice, approx 4 cubes per serving

Wash all the produce thoroughly. Clean and hull the strawberries. In a blender, add the strawberries, mint, lemon juice and ice. You may have to do this in 2/3 batches depending upon the size of the blender. Blend till all the strawberries are pureed and ice is crushed. Remove in a jug and add the orange juice. Keep refrigerated till time of serving. Alternatively you can add half the ice to blend and remaining can be added in the jug to keep the juice blend cool.

To serve, fill 2/3 of the glass with the strawberry orange juice blend and top the remaining 1/3 with Sprite. Garnish with a twig of mint and serve chilled!

Cocktail option: Add a shot of vodka to the above glass and serve. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rasawalu bateta nu shaak / Aloo ki sabzi / Potato stew

This is a simple preparation and tastes best with puri's. Its also one of our favorite Sunday brunch items. I guess everyone's had this dish in one form or another. And here is my version for it. When I feel like making it Gujarati style, I add a half teaspoon of sugar in it. And for Punjabi style, just add a fat pinch of kasuri methi. Onions (1 medium) and garlic (4-5 large cloves) are also good additions.

Ingredients: 

4 large potatoes
4 large tomatoes
3-4 green chilies
1 inch knob ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
Pinch asafoetida (hing)
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin-coriander powder
2 tablespoons coriander finely chopped
Salt

Boil the potatoes in a pressure cooker, about 3 cups water and 2 whistles. Let the steam cool naturally. 
Peel and chop into medium sized cubes. 
Wash the tomatoes, chilies and ginger. Removes the stems from the tomatoes and chilies and skin the ginger. Blend all three into a puree. 
In a heavy bottomed wok, heat the oil and add the hing, cumin and mustard. When it crackles, add the tomato puree and cook on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes till the puree has thickened and is all cooked out. Add the potatoes, spices and salt. Add about 3/4 cup of water and bring it to a boil. Mash 1-2 pieces of potatoes to make the gravy thicker. Add the coriander and mix.

Rasawalu bateta nu shaak is ready. Enjoy with some hot fluffy puris or rotis. I paired it with Gujarati kadhi and Methi na gota.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mixed Vegetable Pulao (Pilaf)

Golden yellow basmati rice with colorful vegetables and an aroma that can make you hungry on a full stomach. That is what this mixed vegetable pulao is. It is one of my moms original recipes and its a masterpiece. The magic is in the aromatics, she uses whole spices but does not overwhelm the subtle flavor of rice or the veggies. Again this is a recipe which tastes best when made in ghee so dont count calories there. The veggies can be fresh or frozen. Peel and dice the potatoes about 1 centimeter cubes. Cut the veggies in uniform size so that they all cook at the same time and some of them don't become mushy.

Ingredients:

2 cups raw mixed vegetables, caulifower, peas, carrots, french beans, potatoes
2 cups raw long grain basmati rice
1 tablespoon ghee
1 medium onion, chopped finely
3-4 cloves garlic
1 inches stick of cinnamon
4-5 cloves
2 dry bay leaves
3 green chilies
1 inch knob of ginger, grated
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Pinch asafoetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
Salt

Wash the rice thoroughly and soak in 4 cups of water for one hour. Take ghee in a heavy bottomed vessel and heat. Add the hing and jeera when hot. Add cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, onion, garlic, chillies and ginger and saute for 3-4 minutes on medium heat, till the onions are translucent in color. Add the veggies, salt and turmeric. Saute for a couple of minutes. Add the rice.
You can either cook this in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles and then on low heat for 3 minutes. Then remove from heat and cool. If you are making this in a rice cooker, prep the vegetables in the rice cooker vessel and put it to cook. This can also be made on open flame, it will take upto 15 minutes. Check after 10 minutes to check doneness. You may also need to add some more water and use a larger vessel for the open flame method. 
When done add the coriander and serve hot with this or this raita. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gujarati Kadhi

If I had to pick my favorite Gujarati food, this would be it. Of course basundi is right up there too, but nothing is as comforting as a bowlful of hot kadhi. Its a simple preparation, a mix of yogurt, water and gramflour (besan) boiled and seasoned with the 'masala dabba' aromatics. This kadhi is much thinner than the Punjabi or Rajasthani version, you can make it thicker by adding more yogurt and gramflour. The seasoning with ghee is essential for the taste, don't use oil. Around Ahmedabad, a clove of crushed garlic is also added. So if garlic is your thing, you can add that as well. So without further writing, here is the recipe. I hope you make and enjoy it as much as I do. This portion below makes 3-4 servings. 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups thick yogurt / curd
4 cups water
3 tablespoons gramflour (besan)
2-3 green chilies, whole slit thru middle
1 inch knob of ginger, minced
1 1/2 tablespoon ghee
Pinch asafoetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1/4 teaspoon raee (mustard seeds)
7-8 kadhi patta (curry leaves)
1 inch cube of jaggery (or 1/2 tablespoon sugar)
2 inch stick of cinnamon
2-3 cloves
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
Salt

Whisk the yogurt and gram flour together. Add the water while whisking to make sure there are no lumps. Heat on medium heat and bring to a boil. Add chilies, ginger, salt and jaggery and continue to boil while preparing seasoning. 
Heat ghee in a seasoning wok and add the cinnamon and cloves. Next add the hing, jeera and mustard seeds. Finally add the curry leaves and stir. Saute for a minute. Add to the boiling kadhi. Continue to boil kadhi for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust as required. At this time there should not be any raw taste of gram flour or yogurt and it should be one cohesive liquid. If you can taste the rawness boil for a few more minutes. When done, add the coriander and serve hot!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Kala Chana / Black Chickpea curry

The lesser known sibling of Kabuli chana, famously made as chole, this chana variety has a different taste profile and is used differently too. It is also my little sisters favorite, and is made often at home. It is a simple recipe and with its leftovers I truly take creative liberty. I spread it over bread, dollops of yogurt over that, some sweet mango pickle and sev or boondi....ahhh heaven

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup raw chana
1 large onion
3-4 cloves garlic
2 green chilies
1 inch knob of ginger 
1 tablespoon oil
Pinch asafoetida
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 spoon Garam masala
Pinch turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon Dhania-jeera powder 
2 tablespoons chopped coriander 
Salt

Soak the chana in 3 cups of lukewarm water overnight. Drain the chana. Pressure cook to two whistles adding just enough water to cover the chana along with salt (about 1/2 teaspoon). Let the steam cool naturally. Make a paste of onion, garlic, chilies and ginger. You can also finely chop the onions and garlic, grate the ginger and add the chilies whole. 

In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat the oil. When hot, add the asafoetida, mustard and cumin seeds. Next add the onion paste. Saute till the paste changes color to a pale brown and all the moisture is cooked out. Next add the chana with the cooking water to the onion mixture. Add the spices and adjust for salt. Bring to a boil. Add the coriander. Chana is ready!

Serve hot with warm rotis or rice. 
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