Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bharli Wangi !! (Stuffed Eggplants)

8-10 small eggplants/small sized brinjals

1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
3-4 curry leaves
1 tbsp of finely chopped onion (optional)
1 tbsp finely chopped tomato (optional)
a pinch of asafoetida /hing
1-2 tbsp of oil
For the Stuffing :- 
( Make sure you mix all these ingredients together and stuff the  eggplants/brinjals  )
1 cup very finely chopped onion,
1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
1 tbsp roasted peanut powder 

1 tbsp roasted sesame powder (optional)
1-2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp grated garlic 
1 tbsp goda masala
1 tsp of grated jaggery

A pinch of red chilli pwd
Tamarind to taste (optional)
Salt to taste  
Finely Chopped Cilantro and
Fresh Grated Coconut (optional)

Method :- 
1. Slit the small eggplant/brinjals cross-wise from the top and keep them in salted water till needed (approx 15 minutes).
2. Pat dry the eggplants, stuff them gently with the stuffing masala and keep them aside.
3. Now, heat oil in a wide bottomed pan on medium flame.
4. Add mustard seeds, let them splutter, also add a pinch of hing, curry leaves and the onions. Saute till translucent.
5. Now add the finely chopped tomato and saute for about a minute.
6. Next, place the stuffed eggplants gently and  season rest of the masala on top if needed.
7. Cover the pan and cook on low flame for about 15-20 minutes (add very little water if needed) 
( if using a pressure-pan give one whistle, it’s enough to cook the eggplants) 
8. Once the eggplants are cooked, remove them from the heat.

Garnish these eggplants with finely chopped cilantro/fresh grated coconut
Serve Hot with Roti/Chappati/Naan.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hari Bhari Kofta Curry !! (Spinach kofta in cilantro curry)

' Everything in Life is a Blessing ! '

Greetings to all the readers of “Oops ! in da kitchen wid Roops !!” 
…..Sat Sri Akal, Salamu 'Alaykum and Namaskar 
- Sonali

From Roopali’s wall posts on FaceBook it’s obvious that ya’ll have been enjoying her food recipes very well and I hope my recipe doesn’t disappoint your taste.

Well, on that note, let me first take this opportunity to have a word on my introduction to the author of this blog—RD.  I got reconnected to Parth as everyone else is getting connected to their school/college friends through this fantastic FB.  On March 27th of this year my college friend Parth posted his darling wife’s blog link http://anndatasukhibhav.blogspot.com/ (Bless the one who feeds us) on his wall !
Such a meaningful and catchy title for the blog …..could not wait to read it.  I was impressed with her recipe for ‘Chaha’ and 'New Beginnings' section and also got to know her gradually on FaceBook.
Soon we became good FB friends !   She caught up my attention primarily as she shared my sister’s name and also due to her genuine and frank writing style.  I started visualizing the personality of this new lil' sister of mine through her expressiveness on FB.  The way she walks us through Life is Beautiful, The sugary salt, Whose fault is it anyway & Heads or Tails sections from her blog, is simply amazing!! 
Lucky I to have RD ( Someone  who is always seen cherishing the beauty & happiness in life) in my life as a friend/sister…….truly " Everything in Life is a Blessing " and I’m a strong believer of that.  Her request to me to  send and share my favourite recipe on her blog was an honor to me. I delightfully accepted that :)
" Wishing a continued success to Roops in all endeavors !
Being a mother of a 9yr old & 18 months old, my focus in cooking is to make sure that all types of food is being fed to them.  My other belief is that all food is good.  All foods contain nutrients which have their own role to play in our body and it is especially important for growing kids.  Sometimes kids don’t enjoy the original taste of some meals and I keep experimenting myself to change that form or taste in order for them to enjoy their 'Mitahar' ……..in my attempt to give them the best of everything !
Wait wait wait……..I’ll answer what 'Mithahar' means.  'Mithahar' loosely translated means ‘sweet food’, mitha = sweet & ahar = food.  But in real meaning 'Mithahar' means food that leads to sweet feeling i.e. the satisfaction one gets after eating.  Kareena Kapoor’s diet-advisor & famous nutritionist 'Rujuta Diwekar' also believes in having 'Mithahar' and to experience that ‘sweetness’ one needs to employ all senses:  tongue, nose, eyes, ears & skin while eating one’s food.  So, in my effort to cook 'Mithahar' for my family, I managed to come up with this GREEEN recipe:   ‘Spinach kofta in cilantro curry’.  Hope ya’ll will enjoy it !

Preparation time: - 20-25 mins
Cooking time: - 25-30 mins

Serves 5-6 people

(For the Koftas-makes approx 15 koftas)

½ bunch spinach (cleaned & finely chopped)
½ bunch green onion (cleaned & finely chopped)
1 tbsp cut green garlic stems (Green garlic stems can be found in any oriental store and is being used to get the green color)
3-4 Thai green chilies
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 Black peppercorns
3-4 cloves
½ inch Cinnamon stick
½ tsp ENO or baking soda
¼ tsp turmeric power
1 ½ - 2 cups besan
3-4 cups Oil for frying koftas
Salt to taste
Ingredients :-
(For the Curry)
3 medium sized thinly sliced onions
3 medium sized diced red tomatoes
5-6 Thai green chilies cut into pieces
12-15 Black peppercorns
8-10 cloves
2 inch Cinnamon stick
1 ½ inch ginger cut into pieces
3 tbsp cut green garlic stems   (Green garlic can be found in any oriental stores & is being used to get the green color)
2/3 cups cashews soaked in water
2 bunches cleaned and chopped cilantro
1 cup grated coconut.
3-4 tbsp oil
Salt to taste.
Method: -  
(You can customize the spice level— the above spices are adjusted according to medium level)
1. In a mixing bowl mix spinach, green onion & ENO/baking soda.
2. In a pan then – dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves & cinnamon tick.  Grind them to fine powder and add it to the above mixing bowl with turmeric powder
3. Grind green chilies and garlic stems and add it to the above mixing bowl
4. Then add besan and salt and make a dough kind mixture out of it.  Do not add water.
5. Form balls by rolling small portion of mixture (Like a medium sized laddu) between the palms.
6. Heat the oil in kadhai and deep fry the balls.  Keep them aside.
7. Again for Curry, dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves & cinnamon tick.  Grind them to fine powder and keep this ground masala aside.
8. Heat 3-4 tbsp of oil in a kadhai (wok).
9. Add the onions and saute them till they turn slightly translucent.
10. Add the tomatoes, masala powder and cook it till oil separates.
11. Then add ginger, chilies, garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
12. Then add coconut and cook for another 3-4 minutes
13. When this mixture becomes cool enough,   add soaked cashews, chopped cilantro and blend it with some water in a blender to make coarse paste out of it.  Just blend enough to make sure it has think consistency.
14. Pour this green mixture in a kadhai again and add salt to taste.  Add water to get the desired consistency.  Cook it on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. 
15. When the gravy starts boiling add koftas, mix it well.  Cook for another 5-7 minutes.
16. Garnish with shredded coconut.

Serve hot with Phulka or Roti or Chapati

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chicken Masala Dry !! ( Type 2 )

" Are you ready ? 
It's time for a good Laugh "

Today at this hour-It is pouring heavily here in Cincinnati and I admit this not with great pride that I get petrified with these torrential downpours with all the rumbling of thunder..the mere thought of cloud-to-ground lightening strikes as well the darkening and heavy rolling of the clouds make me go weak in my knees... This is the time I truly pray and only wish that it could just stop raining !

I do enjoy the drizzles though, as far as I recall these brief showers never kept me indoors . I've mentioned this in my earlier post as well. This is something I do not hesitate to repeat  -when it drizzles and showers how I wish I was back home-enjoying the thrilling monsoons-UFF the geeli mitti ki khusboo,the messy puddles,the cool breeze that sweeps one off ones feet,the long never-ending bike-rides,the perplexity of a heart between getting drenched & staying warm ...I remember holding that hot cuppa chai in hand and standing half covered under that lush green trees humming 'badal yunh garajta hai - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT1FiypW5Zo and then suddenly tapping my feet onto Sridevi's  'megha re megha' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5YbaE3oZ0M&feature=related . Monsoons back then were so much fun -that sure was sheer joy of enjoying the monsoons ! The song 'sawan barse tarse dil' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zd9b6-aPdI describes the monsoons and the drenched hearts  beautifully!
As much as I enjoy these brief pours and the now and then drizzles ...the incessant rains do drive me crazy !
On that note of some things in life driving you crazy I would like to share a few jokes today. Found these in my scrapbook ..they are some gullible jokes :- Take a look and I am sure you would have a goooood laugh !

Did that tickle your funny bone ? Well, now let's see if this recipe for 'Chicken Masala' tickles your tongue-

Preparation Time :- 25-30 mins 
Cooking Time :- 30-40 mins 
Serves 3-4 People
1 kg (approx 2 lbs) Chicken (washed and cut)
1 Medium Sized Onion finely chopped
1 Medium Sized Tomato finely chopped
9-10 Cashews soaked and then ground to fine paste
2 tsp Ginger garlic paste
2-3 tbsp of Fresh Yogurt
1 tsp of Red chilli pwd with 1/2 tsp of garam masala

1 tsp of Cumin and Coriander pwd
1 inch Cinnamon stick
3-4 Cloves
3-4 Black peppercorns
1-2 Bay leaves
1 tsp of Lemon juice
3-4 tbsp of vegetable oil
Salt to taste

1. In a bowl mix these ingredients together -red chilli powder and the garam masala with some turmeric. Add yoghurt and salt and make a thick paste out of it.
2. Marinate the chicken pieces in the above prepared mixture and keep it aside for about 20 minutes.
3. While the chicken pieces get marinated, soak the cashew nuts in warm water for about 10 minutes and then grind them fine to a paste.
4. In a pan then-dry roast cinnamon, cloves and black peppercorns for about a minute and then grind them to fine powder. Keep this ground masala aside.
5. Now heat 4 tbsp of oil in a kadhai (wok).
6. Add the chopped onions and fry them till they turn translucent.
7. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for another 5 minutes on medium heat.
8. Add the tomatoes and let it cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
9. Now add cumin and coriander powder and saute for a minute.
10 .Mix it well and cook till the oil separates.
11. Add lime juice and the ground masala (step 4) to the mixture in the kadhai and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
12. Add the marinated chicken pieces (steps 1-2) to it and saute. Then add the cashew nut paste and saute again. If required add 1-2 tbsp of water.
13. Cook on high flame for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium flame and cover and cook for a further 5 minutes.
14. Remove from heat.

Serve hot with Chappati/Roti/Naan/Boiled Rice.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kadhai Paneer !!

“Take time to love the little things”

Enjoy the little things in life…
…For one day you’ll look
Back and realize they
Were the big things.
-Robert Brault

For us the year 2010 has been fantastic so far. With so many amazing events happening around Good news has been floating all this while.  I guess good news always come to those who’ve been waiting!. We’ve been lucky to have our bunch and our share of lovely news and outstanding events this year..We have been enjoying immensely all of these good packages coming our way ! “Knock on the wood.” 
Where do I start from ? hmm well – to begin with let me tell you that one of my dearest friend is getting married to that one guy she has been in love all these years, it’s been almost 12 years now that they've been together waiting for consent from their respective families. Finally... they did manage to convince everybody! Love conquered and everybody else surrendered she said to me :) WoW! I am oh so hAppie hAppie for my friend ..YaY !!  
Next – A cousin of mine bought A Brand New Stylish Mercedes-Benz coupe. She says, driving a car has never been so much fun ever. Well don’t we all know that? When you are driving a Mercedes–benz , the subject has to be nothing but FUN ! Again, I am oh so so hAppie hAppie for her too and yes here’s my YaY !!
There are many more such amazing events and news that I would want to share with all of you right here right now.  But I believe I would want to hold my horses for this very moment and let you all know one good news at a time. Well, I do need reasons to be on my blog …Don't I ? I am so happy that I want to share this lovely tiny little poem with you I came across this morning!

Yes, so as I am about to share this beautiful poem with you let me come out clear with a few things. I have been recently receiving quite a few messages inquiring about my previous post– asking me whether it was a Friend or a Neighbor? To all those who wrote to me, here is my answer. “I know my Friends and they can never be nasty... even when they are entitled to ...but Nope, I've never come across petty ones until now... ! but when it comes to a neighbor or a mere acquaintance?  I’d say “ maybe I just got  way too lucky ! I believe at times one does need more than just the eyes to notice !
So my dear friends, you make sure ..you take time to notice every tiny little thing that comes your way -

Take Time To Notice 
Take time...to notice the dewy web clinging cautiously to the morning grass.
Take time...to feel the fire's warm glow, and hear the crackling wood as it sparks randomly upwards.
Take time...to smell the sweet aroma of cookies wafting from the bustling kitchen.
Take time...to appreciate the laughter of children enjoying the first days of Spring.
Take time...to listen to the rushing stream as it glides swiftly under fallen limbs and over mossy pebbles.
Take time...to admire the diligence of the chattering squirrels seeking stores for their winter nests.
Take time...to wonder at the intricate crystal patterns frosting early morning windows.
Take time...to notice arid, shriveled leaves crunching with each step, along the tree-lined path.
Take time...to watch Autumn's crispness paint changes from branch to branch, decorating the landscape for a short time.
Take time...to feel the cool breeze blowing in the promise of a summer rain.
Take time...to hear the clicking crickets echoing in the blackness.
Take time...to count the stars as they emerge from the graying sky, one by one filling the dark.
Take time...to hear the lapping waves pound against the grainy surface, then recede in answer.
Take time...to enjoy the fragrant scents of blooming newness and life, sprouting an array of colors where brown slept many long months.
Take time...to follow a firefly as it winks across open-air chasing the evening silence.
Take time...to share a smile.
Take time...to give a hug.
Take time...to acknowledge a kindness.
Take time...to tell someone you care.
Take time...to say, I love you.
 And now, Take time to make this yummy recipe for 'Kadhai Paneer' 
2 cups deep fried paneer cubes (when using frozen paneer cubes, let it thaw at room temp)
1/4 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp grated garlic 
1 cup diced red tomatoes
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder 
1/2 tsp cumin powder 
1/2 tsp of kashmiri chilli powder 
a pinch of garam masala 
1 tbsp of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) 
1 tbsp of vegetable oil 
2 tbsp of heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp of butter      
a pinch of cardamom powder

Method :-
1. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan.
2. Add onions, grated ginger-garlic and saute until the onions turn slightly translucent.
3. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder,cumin powder, kashmiri chilli powder and saute. Cook until a thick consistency.
4. Add heavy whipping cream and saute. Add a little water if you find the curry very thick.
5. Add green bell peppers, cover the pan and simmer it for about 5 minutes until the green peppers are half cooked.
6. Add butter and salt to taste.
7. Saute for a few more minutes and then add the fried paneer cubes.
8. Sprinkle kasuri methi, a pinch of cardamom (elaichi) powder, a pinch of garam masala and cover.
9. Let it cook for about a minute and then remove from the flame.

Serve hot with Roti/Parantha/Naan

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Batata Vada !!

“ At times all you need to do is...
inform the 'RIGHT THING' to your brains “
This happened quite some time back. One summer evening I received a call from a neighbor of mine asking whether she could talk to Parth. As, he was not home, I asked her what the matter was all about. She then said, that she wanted to know the measurements for the wall-that wall to which we have our television set placed...probably she wanted to place/mount her LCD ...hence needed to know the exact measurements... and thought 'Parth' would somehow know it. Yeah, maybe Ms.Neighbor was not sure that I could measure it too ! Women - I tell you, at times can be very unsure and stay forever in doubt...about what ? about everything and anything !

Hmm, well whatever the reasons were - I don’t know much and did not find it necessary to ask. We lived  in the same community, so I said ,”it measures the same as yours”. She and her husband were out then, she said.  I said “Okay” and as quickly as I could measured the wall and gave her the exact measurements. Right !

When, Parth got home, I told him about the/her call, he couldn’t help but laugh and wonder - how could he have measured the wall any different? That is when I said,  “she must have forgotten to inform her brains that we (Parth & I)  have been married for quite some time now and have been living together since and by now we know quite a bit about each other and also about the place we have been living in”.
“Ab koi kya kare ? aisa waisa kuch na kuch hota hai bhai hota hai“. 
A simple yet friendly and also a very humble request was then made from our side asking her,  to make sure to you use her brains the next time she calls and not to lose on any ! Well, can share tons of such funny incidents where my dear neighbor had actually forgotten that I existed ! Quite a character to have met ! Anyways - that's that !

That same evening, we had a few friends come over for some "Chai and Gupshup”. I thought of making some scrumptious ‘Batata Vada’s’. While, I was at it, I remembered this incident which took place long long back, wasn’t married then, had never stepped in the kitchen ever.  I remember, we (my friends and me) used to have these ‘Batata vada’s‘  while on our way back home from college.  That day, while enjoying these vada's, my best friend said that she had almost mastered the skill to make ‘Yummy Batata Vada’s ‘. I swear to GOD -
was not at all jealous, uhh uhh – but all I wanted to do then was, as quickly as I could rush home and make a few Batata Vada’s  myself.

I flew home, rushed directly to the kitchen. My mother wasn’t too surprised to see me in the kitchen, she knew I loved food and still do ! But, this time for a change I was there to cook“Okay“ I stood there firm and said, “I want to make ‘ Batata Vada’s’  right from scratch…mouth watering and melting ‘Batata Vada’s“. Mother looked at me, shrugged her shoulders and continued to do what she was doing.  I just stood there looking at her aghast as my mouth whispered “Do I ever get heard in this house ?”  "Here, enters our Drama Queen !" my mother said to 'Ragini' (mama’s helper) then nodding her head she gave me the signal that I could do it only under the supervision of ‘Ragini’.

Ragini then told me the easiest way to make ‘Batata Vada’s’ once the potatoes were boiled. She said, she would mash them for me. But, “HELL NO!” I said,  I wanted to mash them myself. Wanted to mash them to that extent where they could simply meltdown in one’s mouth.  I then, peeled the boiled potatoes and put them in the food processor. We then had Ronald’s Food Processor at home. As I did that, I could see Ragni banging her head against the wall, literally begging me to stop. She uttered this several times ”Manu, you don’t need to use the FP for mashing the potatoes, you can use your hands”.  

Clearly, I ignored to inform my brains that what she was saying was probably 'THE RIGHT THING' I was done with mashing the potatoes in the Food Processor and must I tell you what the end product was? A smooth potato paste ! "Paste toH paste" I said and did not give up, throughout the evening then I kept boiling potatoes, peeling them and mashing them to get the required or say the desired consistency. Later, it was fun frying them.

The entire society that evening had my hand cooked 'Batata Vada’s‘ and nobody was able to differentiate between the potato and the covering made of besan for the ‘vada’s’. It truly kept melting in one’s mouth !

To master that skill of making the perfect mouth watering 'Batata Vada's, all I had to do was, inform my brain’s to stay out of the kitchen and simply watch the 'Kitchen Queens' take over the charge and make 'yummylicious Batata Vada’s  for me; !

You said it right - Now,  you do need to give your brains a little break and follow this recipe for 'Scrumptious Batata Vada's' -

2 medium sized boiled potatoes
( pressure cook upto 3 whistles or if using a microwave, bake them for 10-15 minutes)
3/4th cup
Besan (gram flour) 
A pinch of Asafoetida(hing)
1/2 tsp of Turmeric pwd 
1/2  tsp of Red chilli pwd
1/4th tsp of Mustard seeds
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
4-5 Curry leaves
Oil for frying
Salt as per taste

1. Peel them and slightly mash with hand.
2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a small frying pan and add mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add asafoetida, green chillies and curry leaves, fry for a minute or two. Lower the flame.
3. Add the mashed potatoes, salt, finely chopped coriander leaves and mix well. Remove from flame.
4. In a bowl mix besan, turmeric, red chilli powder, salt, a pinch of asfoetida with sufficient water to make a thick paste.
5. Heat oil for frying in a kadai (wok).
6. Take a ball of potato mixture, dip it in the besan paste so that there is a thick layer of besan paste on potato ball , then deep fry the spiced mashed potato balls in the oil. 
7. Fry till it gets a slight brown color.
Serve hot with garlic chutney (coming up next on my blog) /tomato ketchup.