Vegetable Pulao

Hi all, It has been a long time I posted a recipe. I’m glad I record them because I am not good at remembering measurements and recipes, so it works great for me. I refer my own blog recipes sometimes. 🙂 This is a very simple version of vegetable pulao I make on weekends.

Ingredients:
Basmati Rice – 2 cups
Cloves – 5
Cinnamon – 2-3 sticks
Black cardamom – 3
Peppercorns – 10
Bay leaves – 3
Oil/Ghee – 2-3 Tbsp

Sliced onions – 1/2 cup
Ginger garlic paste – 3 Tbsp
Plain Yogurt – 2 Tbsp
Chopped Tomato – 1/2 cup
Green Chillies – 3
Mixed Vegetables (I used cubed potato, peas, carrot, capsicum) – 1 cup

Salt – 2 Tsp
Garam Masala powder – 1 Tbsp

Coriander leaves
Mint leaves
Milk – 1/4 cup (Optional)
Water – 3 cups

Recipe:
Wash and soak the rice. Heat oil in a pan, fry the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns and bay leaves. Then add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell leaves. Now add the onions and fry well.

Next add the chopped tomatoes, green chillies, coriander and mint leaves, garam masala powder, salt and curd. Cook till the tomatoes are mushy. Now add all the vegetables and let them cook in the gravy till almost done.

Then add the rice, water and check for salt and spice and adjust according to your taste. Cover and cook on medium again till almost done. Now add the milk and cook on simmer till done. 😛

This is really easy, light on oil and masala. You can add some fresh coconut paste and red chilli powder to make it spicier. You can even fry the potatoes till slightly brown first and then add to the pulao, like you do with paneer. Infact you can try adding paneer, mushroom etc too. I’ll do it next time.

Serve it with spicy Jalapeno masala gravy and cucumber raitha, a filling Sunday lunch.

Veg Pulao

Simple snack

Hi people, Bakrid is around the corner and I was busy with the cleaning stuff. Sometimes this bug to prepare lots of snacks at home and store them hits me, because the first thing Ox asks for when he comes home in the evening is something to eat.

I made a simple cake and buns yesterday, thus finishing the last maida at home. Next was rice flour which I had bought long back because I knew it can be used for many varieties. I googled and found this simple recipe of rice crackers which are great for munching.

Ingredients:
Rice flour – 1 cup
Channa dal – 1 1/2 Tbsp
Water – 1 cup
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Asafoetida (Hing) – 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Butter – 1 tsp
Few curry leaves
Salt – To taste (about a tsp)
Oil – To fry

Method:
Soak the dal for an hour or overnight.

Heat the water, add chilli powder, salt, hing and bring to boil. Remove from flame and add the rice flour. Mix with a spoon and leave it aside till it cools.

Then add the soaked dal, cumin seeds, butter and bring the dough together to a smooth ball (grease your hands with oil if needed).

Heat oil to fry. Grease a plastic sheet with little oil. Roll out a small ball of dough and flatten it using the fingers. Prepare few and place on the sheet. You can prick them roughly with a fork. Slowly remove and pour carefully in the hot oil. Let it be on high flame till they raise. Then turn to medium flame and fry both sides till golden brown and crisp.

Prepare rest of them similarly. Cool and store. 🙂

Mushroom Fry

No one at my parent’s place eats mushrooms. I first tasted it when my roommate made it and thought it was ok, not bad. Then I had the mushroom manchurian in a restaurant and felt the same. Next I ate the mushroom curry made by my MIL, and still did not fall in love with it, may be because I saw the hassle in cleaning and cooking it.

And then I saw the clean and fresh mushrooms at the local Farmer’s market here. We bought them immediately and Ox said he would cook it in his style. Trust me, it was heavenly. I had to snatch his recipe and here it is. 🙂

Ingredients:
Oil – 2 Tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Chopped onion – 1/2
Slit green chillies – 2
Chopped tomatoes – 1/2
Curry leaves – few
Mushrooms – 8 to 10 no.
Ginger garlic paste – 1 Tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – To garnish
Salt – To taste

Recipe:
Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and then add the onion, green chilli, and curry leaves once they crack. Now add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes. Now add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala and red chilli powder and cook till mushy and oil separates. Add the cut mushrooms and salt and cook till done. Garnish with coriander leaves, and serve hot with rice or roti.

Ox also adds some curd and cashew paste to thicken the gravy and sprinkles pepper on top too. But I made the above as a simple fry, just cooked till dry. And it served well for 2 people.

Butter Pound Cake

So, my new found love for baking is making me read lots and lots of blogs (there are as many baking blogs as there are cooking blogs) to understand it better. I find baking so so vast, there are many things to learn and experiment. I’m yet to try frosting or icing on cakes, but I hope I can do it well by Ox’s birthday this December.

Anyway, I’m currently reading through Veena’s blog, and I tried a simple butter pound cake. If you are a newbie like me, this is perfect to try and I don’t think you can go wrong with this.

Ingredients:
All purpose flour – 3/4 cup
Sugar – 1/2 cup
Butter – 1/2 cup
Eggs – 2
Baking powder – 1/4 tsp
Milk – 1 tbsp
Milk cream – 1 tbsp (optional)
Vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp
Salt – a pinch

Recipe:
If you could get hold of some cream or malai, mix it with the egg whites (keep the yolks separate) and keep aside. Else skip this step and use the whole eggs in the batter.

Use butter at room temperature, I mean don’t heat it to melt it, we need the soft butter.

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Then add the vanilla extract and the egg yolks mixing all the while. Now add the flour, salt, baking powder, egg white mixture made earlier and milk and whisk well. You may add little extra milk if you find the batter too thick.

Preheat oven to 350 F and pour the mixture into an oven safe vessel. Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool, slice it and store. This recipe calls for more butter which makes it so soft and smells and tastes delicious, a perfect tea time snack. 🙂

Roller Coaster Ride

That is how the last month has been for me, but trust me, I still took out time to read all your posts. 😛 Firstly, IM’s grandfather came to stay with us for 10 days, and we realised how tricky it was to take care of an 80 year old. Our timings went haywire, and we found ourselves waking up at 5 every morning to provide him bed coffee, and sleeping at 9 after he’s done with his boost. 😀 We took turns to wake up early sometimes, and one day when it was my turn, I woke up on time to find him asleep, so I lied back for sometime, and when I woke up again after 30 mins, he was still asleep.. this way I finally woke up at 7, and he said he has been waking up and checking if we were awake since 5, LOL.. It was not easy to prepare good food for non cooks like us too, but we somehow managed to feed him well and he left all happy.

Then we got a news that IM’s visa has been approved, we were like WHAT??!, it was such a long wait of 8 months. So we celebrated, and guess what, he was asked to travel in a week too. So then began the shopping, packing, etc and etc.. We used to shop after office, and would return back at almost 11 daily, it was tiresome with many more things to do too, and then both our families landed to see him off, and he finally left last saturday to Concord, CA. Such an exciting roller coaster ride the last month has been. Amidst all this, we managed to get the marriage certificate by paying a cool 10k. And there are so many pending things for me to do now, have to shift to a room near office soon and what not., I hope everything gets sorted by this month end and I get to enjoy Ramzan. And did I tell you how the first time, we went for the yoga class, the instructor met with an accident and the classes got cancelled, yeah it happened so. 😐

And you guessed it right, I might travel soon too. 😉

How not to make pasta

Well.. yeah, so don’t just cut carrots, beans, tomatoes etc and put them together with pasta and water in a container on the stove and expect it to cook.. And it won’t get any better after adding salt and pepper.. Whoa!! You have completely ruined it by adding lots of tomato sauce to it now.. That’s just not the way it is made, you bad cook, dreaming of a food blog, talk of great expectations.

There was this cool small green colored pack of pasta sold nearby, and the recipe mentioned on it was so easy, and pasta would come out really well. So instead of noting down the recipe, I believed it came naturally to me.. And now, I got lots of pasta at home, and have lost that green pack recipe. So I made it as described earlier.. Bah! I hope I learn to cook it well by the time all the pasta at home gets over at least.

We went out last weekend for shopping, and guess what; I again got few kurtas at LifeStyle. And this BigBazaar had a weird offer going on as always, a 100rs. gift voucher for a trial. HeeHaw, cleaned the whole house and surroundings too finally.

IndiBlogger approved my blog, and also wished me luck for the contest, So I could submit my entry, and I even posted it on FB, but the lazy friends I got haven’t voted for me yet, and I’m so pissed off at them. And I bought new books on Flipkart, as that’s all I can afford with the measly salary I get. And how I love the birthday cake cuttings our team has, that Saif’s DCH dialogue rings in my head whenever there is one ‘Cake khaane ke liye hum kahin bhi pahunch sakte hain’.. 😛

The week gone by

We had a crazy time here with my family the last 2 weeks. They had to suffer the heat, as we haven’t got an AC yet. And there was no power for the whole day once. Poor them. The saving grace was we at least had TV, Internet and few books and magz, so they could pass their time, and we would try to make it up by getting them burgers, pizzas, puffs, pastries, cream buns, sandwiches, sweets, chocolates, icecreams, drinks and what not on our way back from office. Needless to say I have gained weight again. 😐
*****
Weekends were eventful though; we did lots and lots of street shopping, picked up some pretty junk jewellery on the TNagar roads, and Mom got her favorite Coimbatore Cotton saris at Nalli too. She fell in love with them, when we were shopping in Chennai last September, and never misses to buy one when she’s here. On other days, we would be busy watching ‘Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashma’ or ‘Mrs. Tendulkar’, they are super funny shows on SAB TV. Finally, all of them gladly retreated to Hyderabad last Sunday away from the scorching sun and back to their not-so-peaceful abode to spend the rest of their Summer Holidays. Awww.. How I miss my School days. If you did not know yet, ours is a big family, and two of my siblings are still in school. We often compare ourselves with the Hum Paanch team, and have a hearty laugh. 🙂
*****
My SIL gave birth to a baby boy last week, and he’s named Ayaaz. We’ll be going there next month to check him out. Well, I’m an official Maami now. And I’m too lazy to cook since everybody left, not that I cooked then, but I hope to resume from tomorrow. Anyways there is still some lip-smacking Chicken Manchurian left in the fridge. 😛 I plan to start a new page listing the tried and tested recipes from my kitchen soon.
*****
I have this very bad habit of reading blogs but not commenting on them. I mostly read them in my spare time here at office, and the blogger comments section is blocked, and that’s the reason I do not comment. But I’ll definitely try to comment from home atleast.

World Cup Fervor

So finally India won.. yesss, we won !! And we had an amazing time on Saturday. Few friends came over to catch the match, and we were all set, and just prayed the power does not go off, and it didn’t, well.. who would spare them then.. It did go off before the match and we had to prepare all the food for lunch without it.. Anyways, I got a chance to show off what little cutlery we bought and my not so good cooking skills to my guests.

But it came out real well we were told, and we enjoyed the match so much, no one even moved from their places. But when Sehwag and Sachin got out, the boys left the match for the first time disappointed and went out for a walk, and everybody was back in form again after that.. Finally as Dhoni hit a six, all were ecstatic and jumped and screamed and did what not. The kids in the neighborhood gave us a good company too.

It was such a fun environment at home till midnight, and that’s how great our Saturday went. And needless to say, the whole Sunday was spent in cleaning up and taking rest. We just lazed around, browsed, slept, read, watched TV, I finally saw Wake Up Sid, and simply loved it.. I knew I would like it.

Another weekend

I did it again, yea. I watched Big Boss, Rakhi ka Insaaf, Emotional Attyachar -II last weekend, and Hell, I admit I am a sucker for Drama, and I equally hate to be a part of it. Last Friday, it so happened I was all done and happy with my work for the day and planned to start back to room by 6.45 PM for a good sleep and an equally fun weekend. A sudden call from an unknown number surprised me. Damn! It was my lead calling from Bengaluru, asking me about the action taken on the issue he sent in the morning. I was dumbfounded; I had not even looked into it. Anyways, I had company, others hadn’t too. 😛 And bad I took a bus back that day, and all the way, I was contemplating getting down and running to room, stuck in the terrible traffic.

The lazy Saturday was spent in cleaning and sleeping. And I set off to the station early Sunday to receive my Momma. Yep, my mom is here in Chennai with me for one whole week, woppie!! We had yummy south Indian breakfast at the trademark Saravana Bhavan, and then took a bus to room, reached after a whole 2 hours. My lazy roommates had not cooked lunch yet and were busy doing the cleaning stuff. Finally Mom whipped up something; we had it and slept like dogs. In the evening we went out for some Pizza and Icecream. I am eagerly waiting for the coming long 4-day weekend. We are off shopping. (H)

Mom’s one restless soul. She completely revamped my room, and the heavenly Fish Curry welcomed me to room last evening. Tch, tch… She’s gonna make Chicken Biryani today. 😉 And I strictly asked her not to venture out and take rest today. And I just hope I get my one week leave plan approved for Bakrid. I was watching Pardes the other day, and I realised I so miss those typical SRK movies. We want more from you. Period.

Ok.. more things to follow soon, and till then, bbyee. And a very happy Diwali to all !!

Food

Oh, I am such a big foodie, I eat even when I am full and later regret having had so much as I see the weighing scales go up. I really want to lose little more weight, but can’t resist. I vow to eat less in the morning, and by evening I would have had double the calories I loaded myself with the previous day. While I was out for lunch sometime back, the weather was so pleasant, and I so willingly had Chettinad Chicken curry and chapathis, and by the time I leave the foodcourt, it drizzles and I have a yummy caramel flavoured waffle cone with roasted almonds and nuts. 😐

I do not like the Gym, and Aerobics is yet to open in my office. Maybe, this is just an excuse I am making. I am going to ask my friends for company, and as soon as I get one, I will join the gym. A friend said I could have all the yummy food while doing a 30 mins of workout in the gym. If only they had other dance forms than salsa in here. I signed in for salsa for a month, and got bored. I then joined a dance institute near my house for some western shakes, and I quit that too after a month or so. It’s ok, it is fine. There is always a next chance.

And work in this new project is really slow. It’s so boring that I just doze off at my desk while looking at the screen. I haven’t even bought a new novel in so many days. The last one I read was ‘Keep the Change’ by Nirupama Subramanian. It’s about a girl named Damayanthi, of her life in Chennai, and her struggle to stay afloat at her new job in Mumbai, of her dreams etc., a nice fun read. I really enjoy reading these short novels, Tinkle comics and Femina magazines. If only somebody gifted me those. 😛