Saturday, December 31, 2011

Finger Food For The New Year Party - Kuzhi Paniyaaram


FINGER FOOD FOR THE NEW YEAR PARTY
KUZHI PANIYAARAM

Kuzhi Paniyaarams are delicious and addictive snacks. They can easily fit into any party or celebrations. They are a no fuss no mess finger food, and taste yummy with or without dips and chutneys.


INGREDIENTS

Raw rice - 3 cups
Black gram dal - 1 cup
Bengal gram dal - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Beaten rice or puffed rice - 1 tbsp
Salt - 2 tsps
Sugar - 1 tsp

TO PREPARE THE BATTER

1.Wash and cover all the ingredients except salt and sugar in water and soak for one hour.
2. Grind the soaked ingredients into a thick, smooth and fluffy batter adding water as required.
3. Mix salt and sugar to the batter and store in a big vessel with lid.
4. Rest it in a warm place and allow to ferment overnight.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PANIYAARAM

Finely chopped onions - 2 tbsps
Finely minced fresh coconut - 2 tbsps
Finely chopped green chillies - 1 tsp
Finely chopped fresh ginger - 1 tsp
Finely chopped coriander leaves - 1 tbsp

SEASONING

Oil - for seasoning and frying the paniyaarams
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Black gram dal - 1/2 tsp

TO PREPARE PANIYAARAMS

1. Add all the chopped ingredients to one cup of the fermented batter and mix well.
2. Heat oil in a seasoning ladle and add mustard seeds.
3. When the mustard seeds crackle add the black gram dal and fry till golden in colour and mix the seasoning into the paniyaaram batter.
4. Heat oil in a paniyaaram pan ( Appa Kaaral ).


5. When the oil is hot enough pour one tablespoon of the prepared paniyaaram batter into every cup like depression in the paniyaaram pan. The paniyaarams will ease out by themselves and start to float in the oil when done.


6. Gently turn over the paniyaarams one by one using a fork and cook on the flip sides.


7. When the paniyaarams are done gently remove them one by one from the pan and drain them on a kitchen towel. 

 

Enjoy the hot and scrumptious Kuzhi Paniyaarams with coconut chutney if needed.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Finger Food For The New Year Party - Lentil & Vegetable Dumplings


FINGER FOOD FOR THE NEW YEAR PARTY
LENTIL & VEGETABLE DUMPLINGS

This is an easy to prepare finger food. Lentil and Vegetable Dumplings are very healthy and nutritious since they are cooked in steam.


INGREDIENTS

Tur dal - 1 cup
Bengal gram dal - 1 tbsp
Green gram dal - 1 tbsp
Red chillies - 4  
NOTE - Wash the above ingredients, cover with water and soak for one hour.

Grated carrot - 1/2 cup
Finely chopped beans - 2 tbsps
Finely chopped capsicum - 2 tbsps
Finely chopped onion - 2 tbsps
Finely chopped Green chillies - 2 tsps
Finely chopped coriander leaves - 2 tbsps

FOR SEASONING

Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Black gram dal - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Salt - 1 tsp

METHOD

1. Drain the soaked ingredients and grind coarsely without adding water.
2. Blend in the salt and keep aside.
3. Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds.
4. When the mustard seeds splutter add the black gram dal and roast till golden in colour.
5. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida.
6. Add chopped onion and green chillies.
7. Add chopped capsicum and beans and stir fry till they are half done.


8. Mix in the ground lentil , switch off flame and allow to cool.
9. Blend in the carrot gratings and the chopped coriander.


10. Take lemon size balls of the prepared mixture and shape them into dumplings.
11. Arrange the prepared dumplings in a greased idly plate and steam in the pressure cooker without the weight for fifteen minutes.


Serve the hot Lentil & Vegetable Dumplings with a tangy tamarind sauce or mint chutney.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Finger Food For The New Year Party - Idly Sticks


FINGER FOOD FOR THE NEW YEAR PARTY

IDLY STICKS

Basically Idly Sticks are nothing but fried idlies. The addition of garlic and and other spices lend a distinct flavour to the Idly Sticks.




INGREDIENTS FOR THE BATTER

Raw rice - 3 cups
Black gram dal - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Beaten rice or puffed rice - 1 tbsp
Bengal gram dal - 1 tsp
salt - 2 tsps
Sugar - 1 tsp

METHOD

1.Wash and cover all ingredients except salt and sugar with water and soak for one hour.
2. Grind the soaked ingredients into a thick, smooth and fluffy batter using the grinder.
3. Mix salt and sugar and run the grinder for two more minutes. 
4. Store the ground batter in a big vessel allowing space for fermenting.
5. Cover with a lid and leave the batter in a warm place overnight.

TO PREPARE IDLIES FOR THE IDLY STICKS

INGREDIENTS

Finely chopped garlic - 2 tbsps
Chilly flakes - 2 tbsps ( Dry roast red chillies till crisp and crush them using a pestle )
Sesame seeds - 2 tsps
Cumin seeds - 2 tsps
Finely chopped coriander - 1 tbsp

METHOD

1. For every cup of the fermented idly batter add the above ingredients and blend well.
2. Grease idly plates ( I have used tattae idly plates ) and pour one cup of the prepared batter into each plate.
3. Steam the idlies for fifteen minutes in a pressure cooker without the weight.


4. Allow to cool and then refrigerate the idlies along with the plates for half an hour.
5. Remove the idlies from the idly plates and cut them into long sticks using a sharp knife.


6. Heat oil in a pan and gently drop the sticks one by one into the hot oil so that they do not clump together.
7. Turn over using a perforated ladle and fry till the Idly Sticks become crisp and golden brown in colour.
8. Remove the crisp Idly Sticks and drain them on a paper towel.



Enjoy the flavoursome Idly Sticks as they are or with tomato sauce, chutney or any other dip of your choice.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finger Food For The New Year Party - Spicy Banana Rings

FINGER FOOD FOR THE NEW YEAR PARTY

SPICY BANANA RINGS

Now that Christmas is over, everybody is geared up to usher in the New Year with new hopes, dreams and resolutions. Here we are, ready with a few Finger Foods to add spice and life to your New Year party.


INGREDIENTS

Raw banana - 2 large
Green chillies - 3
Green coriander leaves - 1/2 bunch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Pepper ( coarsely crushed) - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Fresh ginger - a big piece
Bengal gram flour ( Besan ) - 2 tbsps
salt - 3/4 tsp
Cooking oil - for seasoning and roasting

METHOD

1. Wash and halve the bananas and pressure cook without adding water. Set aside to cool.


2. Peel and chop the ginger lengthwise  into slender pieces resembling match sticks.
3. Grind green chillies,coriander and turmeric powder into a thick paste adding a few drops of water if required.
4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and add the crushed peppers and the cumin seeds.
5. When they crackle add asafoetida, besan and the ground paste at half minute intervals and saute together for two more minutes and switch off flame and  then add the ginger.


6. Peel the cooked bananas and mash well.
7. Add the banana mash and salt to the sauteed paste.
8. Knead together into a thick dough.
9. Take a lemon size ball of the banana mixture and flatten it on your palm.
10. Make a hole in the center .
11. Arrange a batch of banana rings on a greased hot tava, pour a spoon of oil around each banana ring and roast on low flame.


12. Turn over and cook the flip sides of the banana rings till they become golden in colour.


Remove the Spicy Banana Rings on to a plate.


Enjoy the Spicy Banana Rings with tomato sauce, mint chutney or any other delicious dip of your choice.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sweet Melange For A Merry Christmas - Indian Cheese Cake


SWEET MELANGE FOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS

INDIAN CHEESE CAKE / PANEER CAKE

This simple and easy to make Indian Cheese Cake / paneer cake,  can be prepared even by children. My grand children are ardent viewers of the popular T. V. show 'MasterChef Australia'. They gave me some very useful tips while making this cake. It was so easy to make the cake. And it was all the more easy to polish it off  as soon as it was ready!


INGREDIENTS

Marie biscuits - 20
Butter - 1/2 cup
Hot milk - 1 cup
Indian cheese / paneer - 200 gms
Powdered sugar - 1 tsp
Sweetened Condensed milk - 1 tin
Canned fruits - 1 can

METHOD

1. Take a shallow bowl and line it firmly with a greased butter paper.
2. Blend 12 Marie biscuits into a coarse powder.
3. Melt the butter and add enough to the biscuit powder so that the crumbs cling together.
4. Pat the mixture evenly into the bowl  making a thick base to support the cheese cake.

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5. Dip the remaining biscuits in a cup of hot milk and arrange them on the biscuit crumb base.



6. Cut the Indian cheese / paneer into cubes and boil them in water for five minutes or until they become fluffy.


7. Drain the cooked  cheese / paneer thoroughly and knead into a soft dough adding one spoon of powdered sugar.


8. Spread  a thick layer of the  cheese /paneer dough on top of the biscuit layer.



9. Pat evenly and firmly and chill for half an hour.
10. Add one teaspoon of butter to the condensed milk and  microwave for one minute or till it starts bubbling  using  a microwave safe bowl. 
11. Bring out the chilled cake bowl. Spread the cooked condensed milk all over the cheese cake. Refrigerate again for fifteen minutes.
12. Run a sharp knife between the wall of the bowl and the now set cake and gently slide the cake on to a plate.
13. Top with thoroughly drained canned fruits.


Gently slice the delicious Indian Cheese Cake / Paneer Cake.


  Enjoy the Indian Cheese Cake slices with your favourite ice cream.


WISH YOU A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sweet Melange For A Merry Christmas - Peanut Brittle


SWEET MELANGE FOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS

PEANUT BRITTLE

Peanut Brittle is another avataar of the traditional Kadalaikai urundai ( Peanut laddoos ). The texture and the glassy look of this addictive sweet attract not only children but the grown ups too. A box of roasted and husked peanuts stored in your kitchen shelf will come in handy when you crave for an easy to make instant sweet.

.

INGREDIENTS

Peanuts - 1 cup
Powdered jaggery - 1 cup
Butter - 1 tsp

METHOD

1. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till they crack.
2. When they cool down rub the nuts between your palms to loosen out the skin .
3. Remove the husk and grind the clean peanuts into a very coarse powder using the blender.


4. Dissolve jaggery in one cup of water and filter it.
5. Spread a greased butter paper on a plate before you start cooking.Keep a greased spoon also ready.
6. Cook the jaggery water on low flame till the syrup reaches the hard ball stage. ( A drop of syrup should instantly harden when it touches cold water).
7. Add the butter,


 and the powdered peanuts.  


8.Stir till the mixture comes together into a mass.


9. Switch off flame.
10. Drop the mixture one spoon at at a time on the butter paper and flatten  using the back of the greased spoon.


 The brittle will immediately set.


Peel out the set Peanut Brittle from the butter paper and start munching on and on!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sweet Melange For A Merry Christmas - Sugar Poories


SWEET MELANGE FOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS

SUGAR POORIES

We tasted these poories at a food stall in Oregon zoo, Portland. They were soft, fluffy and sweet. They measured about a foot or more in diameter and were as big as elephant ears! Yes, they were known as 'Elephant Ears', a sweet snack sold at all fairs and carnivals.
Though they looked like huge poories topped with sugar powder, they tasted different from the normal poories that we ate with sugar in our childhood.
Elephant ears are prepared using plain flour and yeast. But Sugar Poories have been prepared using wheat flour.

INGREDIENTS

Wheat flour - 1 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup
Sour curd - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 pinch
Cooking soda - 1 pinch
Powdered sugar - 1 tsp
Butter - 1 tsp
Oil - for frying

FOR THE TOPPING

Sugar powdered with a few cardamoms / cinnamon - 1/2 cup

METHOD

1. Sift wheat flour, salt, sugar powder and cooking soda together into a bowl.
2. Make a well in the sifted ingredients and add butter and curds into it.
3. Add warmed up milk little by little as required and mix the ingredients into a smooth dough.
4. Cover and leave the dough in a warm place for six hours.
5. Divide the dough into four portions and make them into four balls.
6. Using a rolling pin flatten the dough balls into thin poories.
7. Heat oil and fry the poories on both sides till they puff up and become golden in colour.


8. Drain the poories on a paper towel.


9. Sprinkle or shower the sugar and cardamon /cinnamon powder over the fried poories as per your taste.



Eat ! Enjoy !

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sweet Melange For A Merry Christmas - Baby Carrot Murabba - Baby Carrots In Sugar Syrup


SWEET MELANGE FOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS

BABY CARROT MURABBA

Among all other vegetables Carrots are an all time favourite of children. Bright and tender baby carrots add colour and cheer to a festive meal especially when they are steeped in a sweet syrup.


INGREDIENTS

Baby carrots - 10
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Lime juice - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 a pinch
Cardamom powder or cinnamon powder - 1 pinch

METHOD

1. Wash and peel baby carrots and lightly prick them using a fork or a knitting needle.
2. Steam the carrots in a pressure cooker without the weight for fifteen minutes.


3. Add one and a half cups of water to the sugar and boil it adding the salt and the lime juice.
4. When the syrup starts becoming sticky add the steamed carrots .
5. Cook till the syrup reaches one thread consistency stirring now and then.


6. Switch off flame and add the cardamom powder / cinnamon powder.



The warm Baby Carrot Murabba is a welcome treat on a cold but festive day.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sweet Melange For A Merry Christmas -Fruit And Nut Laddoos

SWEET MELANGE FOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS

FRUIT AND NUT LADDOOS


INGREDIENTS

Pitted dates - 2 cups
Raisins - 1/2 cup
Almonds - 1/2 cup
Cashew nuts - 1/2 cup
Diamond sugar - 2 tbsps
Cloves - 1 tbsp
Honey - 2 tbsp

METHOD

1. Dry roast cloves,almonds and cashew nuts until you get a pleasant aroma.


2. Shred dates into small pieces.
3. Chop the roasted nuts coarsely using a blender.
4. Add the dates and raisins to the blender and give it one more swish.
5. Remove the fruit and nut mixture on to a plate and add diamond sugar.


6. Mix in honey and knead the mixture until it becomes  a sticky mass.


7. Grease your palms, scoop out small portions from the mass and shape them into plum sized mini laddoos.

Watch out while making these laddoos or else the delicious Fruit And Nut Laddoos will disappear even before the process of making is completed!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sweet Melange For A Merry Christmas - Nendiram Pazha Halwa - Banana Halwa


SWEET MELANGE FOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS

NENDIRAM PAZHA HALWA / BANANA HALWA

We presented our " Vegetarian Menu Recommendations For A Tasty Christmas" last year. This year we are ready to welcome Christmas with a "Sweet Melange". Fruits, vegetables, flour, milk, nuts, sugar and jaggery combine with many other ingredients and are all set to metamorphise into delicious sweets of varying shapes,colours , textures and tastes in this Sweet Melange For A Merry Christmas.
Nendiram Vazhai Pazham is a special variety of banana which abounds in the south west coast of  India. This variety of banana  is the best choice for preparing a delicious banana halwa due to its golden colour and unique taste.


INGREDIENTS

Nendiram Vazhai Pazham - 2 ( roughly 4 1/2 cups when sliced)
Sugar - 2 cups
Ghee - 4 tbsps
Cardamom powder - 1pinch
Mixed nuts - a few

METHOD

1. Heat 2 tsps of ghee and roast the nuts and keep aside.
2. Peel and dice the banana into thin slices.


3. Heat 2 tbsps of ghee in a heavy bottomed pan and add the banana slices.


4. Stir well and cover with a lid.
5. Cook on low flame stirring now and then till the banana slices become mushy.


6. Add sugar and cook till the sugar melts and blends well with the fruit mash.
7. Keep stirring on low flame till the halwa starts leaving the sides of the pan.
8. Blend in the remaining ghee, roasted nuts and the cardamom powder and switch off flame.




Enjoy the Nendiram Pazha Halwa in scoops while still warm. 


 Or spread the golden coloured halwa on a greased plate, and cut them into desired shapes when cold. Either way Nendiram Pazha Halwa tastes heavenly.