Monday, September 8, 2014

Vegetable Strudel


This month International Food Challenge completes 1 year, so as an anniversary post, Saraswathi, suggested that we try one of the recipes from any of the previous months. I decided to try these strudels, which was suggested by Birju.
Typically a strudel, is a layered pastry with a sweet filling, the most common being apples. Strudel is often associated with the Austrian Cuisine. My family always prefers savoury bakes to sweet and so I chose to go with the savory strudel. It is quite easy to put together and tastes delicious.



Adapted from The Recipe File
What you'll need
For the filling
  1. Carrot – 1 medium, chopped
  2. Cabbage – 1 cup, chopped
  3. Red or Green Bell Pepper – chopped
  4. Onion – 1 Medium, chopped
  5. Garlic – 2 cloves
  6. Mozzarella Cheese – ½ cup, grated
  7. Black Pepper Powder – ½ tsp
  8. Dried Basil – ¼ tsp
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Olive Oil – 2 tsp

For the outer covering
  1. Phyllo Sheets – 6
  2. Melted Butter – about 30 gm

Method
  1. Follow the package instructions and thaw the phyllo sheets. Keep them covered to avoid drying.
  2. Heat a pan with oil, add the chopped onions and minced garlic, sauté until the onion turn translucent.
  3. Now add the cabbage and carrots and sauté for 4 to 5 mins.
  4. Finally add the bell peppers, salt, black pepper powder and dried basil, mix well and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Add the grated cheese and give it a mix.
  7. Pre- heat the oven to 190C.
  8. On a work surface, lay out one of the phyllo sheets, brush  with all over with melted butter.
  9. Place the next phyllo sheet over this and brush the top with butter. Continue this for all the 6 phyllo sheets.
  10. Now place the prepared vegetable filling all over the phyllo sheets, leaving a 1 inch space on all four sides.
  11. Roll the sheets tightly along the shorter side. Place this over a baking tray with the seam side down.
  12. Now with a sharp knife make 3 or 4 cuts on the top of the roll.
  13. Brush the top with butter and bake for at 25 to 30 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.
  14. Remove from the oven.
  15. Cool a little and then cut along the previously made cuts. Serve warm.



Note:
You can use the vegetables of your choice.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kadala Paruppu Poorna Kozhukattai


Vinayagar Chathurthi is just round the corners. Think Vinayagar Chathurthi and the first thing that comes to my mind is the kozhukattais. My mother and grandmother used to prepare only the Thenga Poorna Kozhukattai and the Ulundu Kozhukattai, but after marriage, I did come to know about many other kinds. My MIL makes many different offerings like Pachha arisi idly, ellu urundai, nei appam, sundal, chakkara pongal, vadai and kozhukattais. It is usually and grand feast on this day. I really admire her patience in preparing all these different varieties of offerings. I am sure I will be making only very few of them. 
I wanted to post a Kozhukattai recipe and while talking to my MIL she told me about this one with Kadala paruppu and I decided to try it. It was very yummy. A change from the regular thenga poornam.


For the outer covering
  1. Rice Flour/Idiyappam Flour – 1 cup
  2. Water – 1 cup + ¼ cup
  3. Salt a pinch
  4. Coconut Oil – 1 tsp

For the filling
  1. Kadala Paruppu/Channa Dal – ½ cup
  2. Powdered Jaggery – ½ cup + 2 tbsp
  3. Grated Coconut – ¼ cup
  4. Cardamom Powder – as required
  5. Ghee – 2 tsp



Method
To prepare the filling
  1. Dry roast the channa dal for 3 to 4 minutes. Wash and soak the channa dal for ½ an hour.
  2. Pressure cook the channa dal with just enough water until soft and mushy.
  3. Mash the dal well and set aside.
  4. Heat a Kadai, and add the jaggery with ¼ cup of water. Once the jaggery dissolves, strain it for impurities.
  5. Pour the jaggery syrup back into the kadai and heat till the syrup reaches one string consistency.
  6. Add the coconut and the channa dal and mix everything very well.
  7. Add the ghee and stir until all the moisture has evaporated and the mixture starts leaving the sides.
  8. Remove from heat and add the cardamom powder and mix well.
  9. Allow to cool.

To prepare the dough for the outer covering
  1. Heat a kadai with water, salt and oil, once it comes to a rolling boil, lower the heat, add the rice flour and mix well. The whole thing will come together as a mass.
  2. Remove from heat and let it cool till you can work with your hands, Knead well and make into a smooth dough. Cover and keep aside.
  3. Make small balls out of the channa dal mixture.
To prepare the kozhukattai


  1. Grease your palms and pinch out small lemon sized balls out of the dough. Flatten the dough in your palms and place a ball of filling in the center. Gather the edges and seal the filling forming a peak at the top. (just like you would do for the stuffed paratha). Prepare more kozhukattais using the remaining dough and filling.
  2. Heat a steamer, you can also use the idli stand. Place the kozhukattais one by one without touching each other and steam for 10 minutes or until the outer layer is shiny.


Note:

The quantity of water required may vary depending on the dryness of the riceflour. So always keep a cup of hot water aside and use if required.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Beetroot Thayir Pachadi/Kichadi - Easy Sadya Recipes



Beetroot is a very versatile vegetable. You can use it in a variety of dishes like thoran, molaguttal, thogayal etc. This Kichadi or thayir pachadi is yet another way to put the beets to use. My kids love beetroot in thayir pachadi. It pairs very well with molagootal and molagushiam.

What you'll need
  1. Beetroot – 1 Medium sized, peeled and grated
  2. Fresh Yogurt/curd – 1.5 cup
  3. Salt to taste

To grind
  1. Scraped Coconut – ¼ cup
  2. Green Chilly – 1 or 2
  3. Ginger – a small piece
  4. Mustard Seeds – 1/8 tsp

To temper
  1. Coconut Oil – 1 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Curry Leaves – few

Method
  1. Take the grated beetroot in a vessel and add about ½ cup of water and cook it with salt till the beetroot is soft. Allow to cool.
  2. In the meanwhile, grind the coconut, green chilly, ginger, and mustard seeds. Add a little of the curd to aid in grinding.
  3. Add the ground coconut mixture to the cooked beetroot
  4. Also add the whisked yogurt and mix everything well. Adjust the salt.
  5. Heat a small frying pan with oil, and temper with mustard seeds. Remove from heat and add the curry leaves.
  6. Pour the tempering over the kichadi and mix well.


Serve as an accompaniment with rice.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pizza Pinwheels



I love savory bakes. This month for Home Baker's Challenge, Gayathri suggested few recipes. Now two of them really caught my attention, one was the chocolate rolls and the other was these pizza pinwheels. But since I love to try savory bakes, I chose these over the chocolate rolls. But I am sure I will try out the chocolate rolls soon.

These Pizza pinwheels are really easy to put together and taste delicious. They can be the perfect appetizers for your potluck lunches or kids birthday parties. They were a huge hit with my kids.

Now off to the recipe

Makes around 10 medium sized pinwheels


What you'll need
For the Pizza Dough
  1. All Purpose Flour – 1 ½ cup
  2. Instant Yeast – 1 tsp
  3. Sugar – 1 tsp
  4. Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
  5. Milk – ¼ cup
  6. Water – ¼ cup

For the filling
  1. Pasta Sauce – 4 tbsp (or as required)
  2. Onion – 1 medium sized, finely chopped
  3. Red Bell Pepper – ½, finely chopped
  4. Yellow Bell Pepper – 1/2, finely chopped
  5. Grated Mozzerella – as required
  6. Olive oil – 1 tsp
  7. Italian seasoning – a pinch
  8. Salt and black pepper powder to taste

Method

For the dough
  1. In a wide bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt and yeast and mix well.
  2. Mix the water and milk and warm it so that it is lukewarm.
  3. Now add the olive oil and the water milk mixture to the flour and mix well.
  4. Knead for 5 to 8 minutes into a smooth dough.
  5. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a cling wrap.
  6. Set aside for 1 hr or till the dough is double its volume.
  7. In the meanwhile, prepare the filling,
  8. Heat a non stick pan, with a tsp of olive oil
  9. Add the onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, next add the bell peppers and sauté for another 3 to 4 mintues.
  10. Add salt, black pepper and the Italian seasoning. Allow to cool.
  11. Pre – heat the oven to 200C
  12. Once the dough has risen to double it volume, punch down the dough and knead again for few minutes.
  13. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.
  14. Roll one of the parts into thin rectangle shape.
  15. Apply about 2 tbsp of the pasta sauce, sprinkle some of the topping and then add the required amount of cheese.
  16. Start rolling tightly from the shorter side of the rectangle, once you reach the end, pinch the edges and seal well.
  17. Slice the log into medium size pieces  and place them on a baking tray with the cut side up. Shape them slightly into round discs.
  18. Brush with melted butter and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pinwheels are golden brown.

Remove from oven, cool and serve.





Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thattai - Easy Janmashtami Recipes


Thattai is one of our family favorite snacks. My kids love it very much. They prefer such savory snacks to sweets. My MIL is an expert in preparing snacks. She makes a huge array of sweets and snacks for Krishna Jayanthi and Deepawali. All these years I have been observing my MIL preparing the dishes, helping her here and there. Now that I am on my own, I have started trying out these snacks.




Makes - 18 to 20 
What you'll need
  1. Rice Flour – 1 cup (I used Idiyappam flour)
  2. Urad Dal Flour – 1 tsp
  3. Channa Dal/Kadala Paruppu – 1 tbsp
  4. Sesame Seeds – 1 tsp
  5. Unsalted Butter – 1 tbsp
  6. Asafoetida – generous sprinkling
  7. Chilli Powder – ¾ tsp
  8. Curry Leaves – few
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Oil to deep fry

Method
  1. Soak the channa dal for 1 hour
  2. In a wide bowl, take the rice flour, urad dal flour, sesame seeds, asafoetida, salt, chilly powder, mix well with hands.
  3. Now, drain the water from the soaked channa dal and add the dal. Add finely chopped curry leaves.
  4. Also add the butter and mix well with hands, so that the butter is incorporated in the flour.
  5. Now add water little by little and knead into a smooth dough, (just like chappathi dough)
  6. Heat a kadai with oil to deep fry.
  7. Divide the dough into small gooseberry sized balls.
  8. Take to thick plastic covers, milk cover or two ziplock bags, apply oil on one side of the plastic.
  9. Take one of the balls, place on the greased plastic sheet, place another plastic sheet, and flatten the ball flat bottomed vessel like davara, into a thin circular disc, Flatten into thin and even disks, you can use the fingers too.
  10. Prick the circular disc of thattai with a fork to prevent puffing up.
  11. Carefully transfer the thattai from the plastic sheet to your hand and slide into the hot oil, cook for couple of minutes on medium heat and then flip over. Cook till the bubbles stop.
  12. Remove from oil and drain on kitchen tissue.
  13. Grease the plastic sheet again and repeat  the procedure.
  14. Cool completely and store in air tight container.



Notes:
  1. Using good quality rice flour is important.
  2. Flatten the thatti nice and thin so that u get crispy thattais.
  3. Ensure that oil is hot when you drop the thattai and then fry on medium flame, don’t fry on very low flame, thattais will drink too much oil don’t fry in very hot oil too as the thattais will turn dark outside and remain uncooked inside.




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