Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cabbage salad - 3 way !

Dear Foodies,

Spring arrived here with a sudden peak in temperatures a couple of weeks back and its funny that as I am writing this post the temperatures have dipped again and the cold weather outside is unbearable. Not because the temperatures are so low, but because the mind has lost its tolerance towards it. It wasn't expecting this bout of cold air for another 6-7 months :-(

Have you guys heard of this fast food place called Gold Star chilli....its a Cincinnati based restaurant chain and well, is located only in the tristate area. They hardly have anything vegetarian in there, but I came up with this combo that I liked very much when in the Univ. It had red kidney beans cooked rajma-style, topped with onions with hot sauce, crackers and a wedge of lime. But this was not a usual combo offered by them. They would have these 1-way, 2-way and 3-way chilli combo's where 1 was for beans, 2 for cheese and 3 for onions and the default being chilli in all of them. I would call mine a '3-way veggie chilli with no cheese' and they would get totally confused :D

The guy who actually plated the food new what I wanted due to sheer repetition, but the ppl at the counter would be different every single time. So the moment I went to their store, this guy would have the food ready but the person at the counter would still be debating about the cost :D I paid a different amount every time I ate there I think! One would ask me to call it a '2 way with onions, no cheese', and the other would christen it a '3 way veggie without cheese' and I would try remembering who said what so I wouldn't have to go thru the whole explanation every single time :D

So back to the salad, my way! Last weekend we had pretty good weather, and I was in no mood of eating anything hot. I was also in a cabbage eating mood all of last week and had a raw salad once during the week. I tried out another version of it and tossed in some quinoa to make a really tasty and quick meal.

  • 1 1/2 cups: Cabbage, Shredded or thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup: Carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 nos: Bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 nos: small Onion, thinly sliced (I had tiny white onions, but would have preferred red ones)
  • 1/2 slab: packaged Silken firm Tofu, cut into thick matchsticks
  • 2 nos: Spring onions, chopped (green and white portion)
for the dressing:
  • 1 Tbsp: Tamari/Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp: Tobasco
  • 1 tsp: toasted Sesame oil
  • 1 tsp: Honey
  • 1 tsp: Red wine Vinegar (or any vinegar)
  • 1 tsp: Thai green curry paste
  • 1/2 Tbsp: Olive oil
for the garnish:
  • 1 Tbsp: Sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp: slivered Almonds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup: Quinoa, cooked as per instructions
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Wanton wrappers
  1. Spray a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil with some oil and line the tofu sticks. Broil them on low for 6-8mins until they start turning a little golden around the edges.
  2. Toast the sesame seeds and almonds, either on the stove top or in the microwave.
  3. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and adjust the individual amounts to your taste.
  4. Next toss in the veggies and coat well with the dressing and check for seasonings. Add the tofu sticks and load up your salad bowl, topping it off with the sesame seeds and almonds OR add some quinoa, check for seasonings, toss them well for a tasty quinoa salad OR fill some crunchy lettuce leaves with the salad and make lettuce cups OR use the salad as a filling and make potstickers like so.
You could add other veggies you have in hand and play around with the ingredients to suit your palate.

There you go, you have three different dishes from the same salad, and all of them are super easy and flavorful :) ...

...and you also have three pics of the salad with 3 different backgrounds. So which one do you like better ??

Confession # The chopsticks are only for the camera, I tried eating with it and could hardly get any of the salad into my mouth with them :))

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 28, 2008

there's always a first ...

Dear foodies,

Grape tomatoes for CLICK: Au Naturel

and this is my first entry to CLICK (yayyyy), Bee & Jai here I come :) :) Thank you soo much for hosting the event.

This was another photograph I clicked,

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Comforting Kichadi

Dear Foodies,

I am back again, and this time I am armed with a brand new camera. Yayyy ! I am still learning and trying to find my way through the innumerable settings and buttons on the camera, so pardon the photography that I am going to force upon you guys for the next few weeks. Any tips and comments on composition, lighting, angles and everything else are more than welcome, infact I might make that compulsory ;)

The mention of the red chilli pickle in my previous post reminded me of kichadi and instantly I started craving for some warm kichadi. It was also going to be the best companion for kadhi which has sprung up on quite a few blogs this past two weeks. This time I made my usual kichadi without dressing it up like last time.

  • 3/4 cup - Rice, I used Basmati
  • 3/4 cup - dal, I used 1/4th toor and 1/2 moong dal
  • 1 tsp - Shah jeera or Jeera/Cumin seeds
  • 2 nos - Garlic cloves, sliced or smashed
  • 1/2 cup - Onion, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2" round of ginger
  • 4 nos - Laung/Clove
  • 1 nos - Bay leaf
  • 1 nos - Badi elaichi (or normal elaichi/cardamom)
  • 1" - Cinnamon stick
  • 2 nos - Green chillies, split thru the center
  • 1 tsp - turmeric
  • 2 tsp - Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups - Water
  1. Soak the rice in water for about 20 mins. Heat oil in a pan (or pressure cooker) and add the jeera. Next add all the whole spices and heat them through for about a minute.
  2. The garlic and ginger go in next, after the garlic cooks a little (~1/2 -1 min) toss in the onions, green chillies and turmeric . I add a little salt to the onions so they release their moisture and soften faster.
  3. After the onions are cooked and turn translucent add the moong dal and saute for 2 mins on medium heat until they start turning a little golden and then add the rest of the dal and rice. You could also skip the 2 step process and add all the rice and dal together.
  4. Saute the mixture for 2mins until the moisture evaporates and the rice gets nicely coated with the oil. Transfer it to a rice cooker or microwave safe bowl and cook according to your tried and tested rice:water ratio and salt. I cooked it in the microwave for 14 mins, stirred it once and cooked for another 2 mins.
There seems to be nothing elaborate or rich about this dish but it sure is on the top of my 'comforting recipes' list. Its also because of the memories I've attached to Kichadi. My brother and I would play 'tent' in our home once in a while. We would pull together shelves and some how manage to drape bedsheets over them to form a tent right inside the house :D And then we had this nifty little torch light that had a fan on on side and the light on the opposite. We would fix that to the center of the tent and 'camp out' in our tent. We would also pile up pillows and bedding, books etc and make it a cozy corner. My mom would acknowledge this with kichadi and bring it to our tents :)) It sounds so funny and silly but those were golden days :)

For the Kadhi I followed Manisha's recipe but skipped the cloves in it. Thank you Manisha :)

Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ready for Adai ?

Dear Foodies,

The recipes are back again on this blog, Yayyyy !! So before my blog gets branded as another no-recipe food blog ;), lets get cooking, shall we ?

I really love dosa's and idli's, they are so easy to make and you can either go ahead with the whole side dishes charade or make do with some pickles and podi's in your pantry. Either way, they are a great breakfast, lunch or dinner. And our love for this is more than evident with the number of recipe variations that we get to see on the blogs.

Since I started cooking here, I've never tried making my own dosa batter from scratch. One main reason being I am scared to even try fermenting it, and another equally strong reason is I don't have a good blender :D So whenever I want to get the satisfaction of making dosa's from scratch I jump over to Vaishali's instant recipe, otherwise its the pesarattu and rava dosa that are my go-to dishes.

The other favorite of mine is the Adai....

  • 1 cup - Rice
  • 1 cup - mixed dals -- more of chana dal & toor dal and a little moong/urad dal
  • 3 nos - dried Red chillies or to taste
  • A pinch of hing/asafoetida
  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for cooking the dosa - approx 2 Tbsp
Optional additions: 1" inch - ginger piece, a cup of drumstick leaves, Cilantro

  1. Soak the rice, dals and red chillies in water for about 3 - 4 hrs. If I want it quicker I just microwave them for a few minutes to warm the water and reduce the soaking time to 1 -2 hrs.
  2. Grind the soaking ingredients with the curry leaves and any or all of the optional ingredients to a coarse paste. The coarseness is what gives the adai the crisp texture.
  3. Add salt to taste and the asafoetida and mix well. Heat a shallow, wide pan for making the dosa's and spread a little oil on the pan and get started with the adai's. (check here for pics )
  4. The adai should be a little thicker than the normal dosa. To make it cook uniformly and also to make them extra crispy, make 1 or 2 holes at the center of the adai and add a drop of oil, this gives it the signature adai look.
  5. Serve hot with red chilli pickle, kara podi (gunpowder ;) ), jaggery and yogurt to make a perfect meal. For some extra touch, my mom would also add a small dollop of home made butter on the warm adai, the white colored one...yummmm
In our house we were totally spoilt. There were always more than 2 accompaniments to any of these tiffin items. I would have this queue system to optimize the dosa/idli between all the side dishes :)) So if you ask me, all those items mentioned are compulsory not optional :D

You could also add some chopped onions while making the adai and sprinkle some kara podi and grated jaggery...(yup, you cannot have just one thing)

and roll them up for the to-go person :)

I also tried my hand at my mom's Sponge dosa recipe. Since my blender did not give me a very smooth paste, I had trouble getting it to ferment well, and ya its the ~hand~ too :( So I added a tiny pinch of baking soda create the sponge effect :))

And most of you would have figured it out, this one is for Srivalli's dosa mela.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ugadi Shubhakankshalu

Dear Foodies,

Sri Sarvadhaarinama Ugadi Shubhakankshalu

I wish you all Happy Ugadi and Happy Gudi Padwa. Have a great year ahead :)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

May I come in please ...

Dear Foodies,

I still exist, I really do!! I know I've been away for a very long time. Sorry for everyone who stopped by and were disappointed to see the same old posts. Part of it was because I had work in the University that I still had to complete, and by the way I am a Post-Graduate now yayyyy :) The other reason is, my dear little camcorder that was my partner in crime for this blog broke (because of my stupidity :(( ) So though I cooked a lot in the past few months, I could not transfer the recipes to the blog. I am planning to get a new cam in a few weeks and will also be re-vamping my blog template to bring a fresh new look. So do come back :)

I have been using the old blogger template until now and plan to move to the beta version during the spring cleaning process. I had made a lot of changes to the basic Minima template I was using to create a unique look. So I am sure I'll loose most of it during the move to beta. If you have any sort of advice for me, please do drop in a comment :) and yaa, there is a poll on the left sidebar that'll help me get your views :)

Update: The move was easier than I thought, just a click of a button. I lost all my side bar content as expected because all that was my addition to the original template. But since I was given access to my previous HTML code, I just copy-pasted them into the HTML/Javascript Page elements feature.

I also added a new Horizontal Menubar right below the page Header. The pages connected to those links are just what the label states they are. Hope you find that convenient. I am still looking for other nice widgets and hacks to spruce up the blog and get it in good shape so you guys can enjoy reading it. Let me know if you have used/come across interesting pieces of code :)

Thank you !

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