Vegetable Pulao

I am a big fan of Rice varieties. I like to have rice in any style...from our traditional pongal to any chinese fried rice. For me rice is always a comfort food. But my hubby isn't very fond of rice dishes, he always prefer indian breads if given an option. He likes less masala rice and so I make this Vegetable Pulao. It is a light flavoured rice and very simple to make. You can see in the clicks that white colour of the rice is retained as I haven't added any spices such as chilli powder, garam masala etc. I have used only whole spices which gives a nice flavour. This is actually a modified version of my mom's pulao as she makes it in a kadai. I always use my favourite assistant, my pressure cooker to make this :)...so isn't that a yummy one pot meal ?


Serves 3-4

You need...

1 cup Basmati rice
3/4 cup mixed chopped Vegetables (carrot, peas etc)
1 medium size Onion chopped
3-4 Green chillies slit
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Ginger - Garlic paste
2 tbsp broken Cashews
1 tbsp Ghee
1.5 cup Water
Salt

Whole Spices
1" stick Cinnamon 
2 Cloves
1 Bay Leaf
2 green Cardamoms
1 star aniseed

To prepare....

Wash the rice and soak in water for about half an hour. Heat ghee in a pressure cooker. Splutter cumin seeds.  Add all the ingredients listed under Whole Spices and saute until nice aroma comes. Add the cashews and fry till slight brown. 

Now add onions, green chillies, ginger-garlic paste and saute until onions turn transparent. Add the vegetables and saute for 2-3 minutes and add salt. Now add the drained rice and saute for a minute. Add water and mix well. Close the cooker and pressure cook for 2 whistles.

Rice is ready...Serve hot with any raita or a sidedish.






Sending this to Show me your HITS by Sangee Vijay of Spicy Treats.



 SpotLight: Colourful Holi at Cuisine Delights



 CC-Dish For Loved Ones by Srav's Culinary Concepts



and to Holi Hai at My Cook Book






Paneer Bhurji

Hope all of you had a great weekend !! Let's welcome this week with an easy and delicious dish..Paneer Bhurji. I like paneer in any forms. As we all know its a great source of protein especially for vegetarians. It's a relief that my son, who was not very fond of paneer earlier, has started eating it recently. So I try to include paneer in our diet frequently. Paneer bhurji is a wonderful dish and can be served with rice or any indian breads. I made this as a side-dish for lunch a couple of days back. There was some leftover which I used to make a filling for sandwich later that day. The sandwiches also came out great. I have added some carrots in this bhurji to make it colourful and healthy.



Serves 3-4

You need...

2 cups crumbled Paneer
3/4 cup grated Carrot
1 Onion small, chopped
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1" pc Ginger chopped
1 tsp Chilli powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
a little Kasoori Methi (optional)
a few Coriander leaves chopped
Chaat Masala, Lime (optional)
1 tsp Oil
Salt

To prepare...

Heat oil in a pan. Splutter cumin seeds. Add ginger and saute for few seconds. Now add onion and saute till they turn slight brown. Add the carrots, sprinkle some water, cover and cook until the carrots are cooked. 

Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder and salt to it. Mix well and add the paneer. Combine well so that paneer gets coated with the masala. Now add the garam masala and also add kasoori methi by rubbing between hands. Finally add the coriander leaves and give a quick mix. Sprinkle chaat masala or some lime juice if you desire. Serve hot with any indian breads,  rice or also as filling for sandwiches.



Notes:
* You can use other vegetables such as tomato, capsicum, green peas etc.
* You can add some chopped green chillies too.



Sending this to Show me your HITS by Sangee Vijay of Spicy Treats.



 SpotLight: Colourful Holi at Cuisine Delights



and to Holi Hai at My Cook Book








Eggless Avocado Cake

Avocado in a cake....does that sound interesting ? This was the first time I used Avocado in baking. Making this cake was a complete experiment and I kept my fingers crossed ;) . But to my relief, the cake turned out just great and I just loved the green colour. A fresh look...very natural colour....and don't they look yummy ?? I feel so happy that its another eggless bake from my kitchen !! But I couldn't take better clicks of the cake to show you the lovely colour of the cake :(.

One thing I observed is nobody can make out that the cake has avocado in it, not by taste. I couldn't feel any strong flavour of avocado in it. But when I offered it to my hubby, he guessed it right, of course by looking at the colour :). I added some dates too to make it more healthy. Kids who don't like avocado can be given this fruit,  in the form of this yummy cake with such a pretty colour. They will surely love this Green cake !!




You need...

1 1/4 cup All Purpose flour
1 tsp Baking powder
3/4 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt

1 small ripe Avocado
3/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Oil
1.5 tsp Vanilla extract

3-4 tbsp chopped Dates


To prepare..

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Keep aside.

Cut the avocado into half.  Remove the pit and scoop out the flesh. It came about a little more than 1/2 cup for me. Blend avocado, vanilla extract, sugar and milk together. Put this in a bowl. Add oil to this and whisk well.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a cake pan and keep it ready.

Now slowly add the flour mixture a little by little to the wet ingredients and combine it. Finally add the dates and mix slowly. I found the cake mix is thicker and denser than the usual cake mixes. If its too thick, add a few tbsp of milk.

Pour this to the cake pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the centre comes out clean. Cool completely and cut into pieces. Enjoy the colourful and delicious cake !!





Sending this to the following events:

Show me your HITS by Sangee Vijay of Spicy Treats,
Valentines Day event at Teenz Yummy Delights, 
Valentines Day at  Anzz Cafe,  
Sweet Luv at Zesty Palette, 
CC-Dish For Loved Ones by Srav's Culinary Concepts.
Healthy Diet event - Baked Goodies at Vegetarian Tastebuds, an event by Priya
Kids Delight event hosted by Priya, an event by Sreevalli




Tandoori Paneer or Paneer Tikka

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. After the success of Tandoori Soya, my next experiment to try a tandoori style in oven was on Paneer. When I tried this for the first time, I followed the exact recipe as of Tandoori Soya. So I used the regular yoghurt and mixed all the paneer pieces in the marinade. But I felt that unlike soya which absorbed most of the marinade, paneer didn't absorb much of it and the marinade left out water as well. Hence I made the Hung yoghurt this time which can be made so easily at home. Hung yoghurt is very thick and creamy one and best for preparing marination. During my first trial, some of the paneer pieces got stuck to the foil though I had greased well and I am not sure of the reason. So this time I kept the skewers resting on the sides of the tray. 

The final verdict was that Paneer Tikka came out really good. The outside was slight brown n crisp, but inside was very soft. Since paneer is bland, add all the spices according to your preferences. Squeeze some lime juice just before serving, which will make it taste just great !! I made this as an appetizer when few of our friends visited us and served with the lovely Mint chutney.




You need....

2 cups medium size cubed Paneer
1 Onion diced
1 Bell Pepper diced
5 tbsp Yoghurt ( to be made to Hung yoghurt, see below for instructions)

For marination:

1 tsp Chilli powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1/2 tsp Pepper powder
1 tsp Lime juice
1 tsp Ginger- Garlic paste
a little Kasoori methi ( rub within hands and add )
Salt

To prepare..

To make Hung yoghurt: Put the yoghurt in a thin clean cloth, tie it tight and hang inside the refrigerator for about an hour. Keep a bowl under it so as to collect all the water drained. After this process, you will get very thick creamy hung yoghurt.

Mix all the ingredients under For marination with  the hung yoghurt to form a smooth paste. Coat each paneer piece with this paste on all sides. Place them on a tray or plate and refrigerate it for a minimum of 3-4 hours. You can leave them overnight as well. 

If there is extra paste left, mix the diced onions and bell pepper together with it. Leave it in the refrigerator. This step is optional. You can use onions and bell pepper without marinating also.

Soak the bamboo skewers in water for atleast an hour so as to prevent burning inside oven.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and grease it well. Now very carefully slide in paneer, onion and bell pepper alternately on to each skewer. I kept the skewers vertically resting on the sides of the tray so that paneer won't stick much on the tray.



Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Slowly turn the skewers and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until paneer gets slight brown.



Serve with some Mint chutney. Squeeze some lemon juice or chaat masala if you desire.






Sending this to Show me your HITS by Sangee Vijay of Spicy Treats.



and to SpotLight: Colourful Holi at Cuisine Delights




and to Holi Hai at My Cook Book





The Chef's Favourites Series : No Fry-No Bake Pakodas - A Guest Post by Priya Mahadevan

I welcome all of you to The Chef's Favourites guest post for the month of February. First I would like to thank each one of you who appreciated this new series happening here and also for giving such lovely comments for  a wonderful post - Butter Cashew Biscuits by Sangee Vijay. A special thanks to Sangee for starting off this series with an amazing post :).

The Chef for this month is Priya Mahadevan of Now Serving. When I started Good Food, I had no clue about blogging and initially I didn't have any blogger friends. Priya is one of the first bloggers who stopped by my space and left some very encouraging comments for my initial posts. Her comments inspired me to move forward in this blogosphere and I have reached this far now. I owe you a lot Priya :). I don't think I will ever forget you :). I still remember sending entries to your Fast Food, Not Fat Food event, which was one of the first events I participated :). Most of you will know that Priya always encourages and supports the newcomers . I am so glad that she is a good friend of mine and has supported me all the time without fail :). Thank you Priya !! Thanks a lot for agreeing to do a guest post, sending it so quick  (I must say super quick ) and its an honour for me to present you here. 

Chef Priya of  Now Serving  is sharing with us one of her favourite recipes, which is very healthy and delicious too. No Fry - No Bake Pakodas...sounds great rt ? :) . I know you all are waiting to know about this interesting recipe :)



Presenting Priya in her own words....

Thank you Sobha dear for doing me this honor to be part of your The Chef’s Favourites series.  I know you started blogging after I did and I have watched your blog grow and become a repository of wonderful recipes. Congrats dear and keep up the great work. It has been so awesome to be blogging with you and I hope we will for a long time.

About me...

Let me introduce myself as a mom first and foremost, who delights in cooking different kinds of foods – One thing I know about myself is I am not afraid to experiment with my spices and flavors and my rationale for that is if you like certain flavors, playing around with it sometimes leads to amazing new flavors and recipes. I am also trained as a journalist and was with a prominent Indian newspaper before I got married and moved to North America. Now I cook, blog, and do other types of writing.

Favourite Recipe here @ Good Food

Being a diehard vegetarian and a stauch advocate of vegetarianism, the fact that Sobha’s is an all veggie blog make me confident that I can comment on them – sometimes it is difficult for me to make an informed or sensible comment about non-veg dishes so I try to find a veggie dish that has been made recently by my friends who blog both to leave a comment.

I enjoyed this exercise because it gave me a chance to browse in greater detail Sobha’s Good Food and I found several dishes that I loved on sight – I mention a few that especially made me drool – Her Aval Payasam – The pictures present a perfect payasam that I want to pick up and drink right away.

The other recipe that I have bookmarked to try soon is her Oats Spinach Dosai – Sounds healthy, looks delicious – check it out – a third unique recipe I discovered was Bread Laddus – How cool is that – there are many others do browse at leisure.

Favourite Cookbook

Meenakshi Ammal is the one lady whose cook books I refer to for all my traditional recipes – Cook and See is the ultimate for a good recipe and a good laugh since she measures things in Ollocks and I have still to remember what an ollock is even after referencing it so many times on google – but her recipes are accurate and the end product fabulous.

Favourite Chef

Like Sangee who did this before me, and like 90% of the bloggers whose bios I’ve read, I must say that the tastes and flavors that my mom grew my tongue up with are the ones I have carried with me all my life and although I know I have built upon these tastes and recipes of my mom. The basic understanding of how to use spices and the subtle nuances of using just the right amount are definitely from her exacting expectations of herself and my father’s uncanny ability to say just what is required – he was the official taster  and my son has now taken the role.

Favourite Spice

I have to definitely say Coriander Seed – I am under the spell of its freshly ground fragrance – nothing to beat it :)

Favourite Restaurant 

In India this is a difficult choice as there are so many favorites in different categories – Saravana Bhavan for South Indian, House of Ming in Delhi for Chinese, Cascade for Thai, The Dhaba Express for Punjabi/North Indian 

In the US, our options are very limited – but I like the Italian joint called Vinny’s close to my home – they have a very decent standard of taste which is highly suitable for the Indian palate. I love Basheer’s Taverna, a Lebanese restaurant – he makes some of the best Baklavas :)

Favourite Cuisine

My favorite cuisine of all I decide by asking myself – what do I least tire of eating if I make the same cuisine for a whole week? And the answer is too cinchy – South Indian, hands down – too many varieties and so many different ingredients and flavors!

Favourite Food Show

I don’t watch much TV at all – and if I must pick, I love the recipes I see on Dr. Oz’s shows.

Favourite Recipe

This is a very tough question to answer since I have many many favorite dishes which I make often – but if I really must pick, it would be Rasam. That is one dish we never tire of – we make these long trips and vacations, and when come back out tongues are dead from not tasting what we are used to and the first thing  I do is make a good rasam with some rice and spinach dish on the side – Our comfort food. Rasam has flavours in it that hits all the spots of the tongue that need pleasing – the only dish that can do that for me.  

But here I am sharing with you a favorite dish I like to prepare which is Pakodas – that is like rasam and quick fix if you ever are dying to have a yummy snack – except as I am becoming more health conscious and mind what goes into my mouth, I have devised several different ways in which to enjoy the same snacks/treats without compromising on their healthfulness.

I have recipes for Fried  Pakoda and Baked Pakoda on my blog. Here I am presenting a No-fry No Bake Pakodas – interesting na? and it turned out just as tasty as it is loaded with oil – so do give it a try!

No-fry No Bake Pakoda

Ingredients (same as that of regular pakoda)

1 cup besan (kadalamavu/chickpea flour
1 cup rice flour
1 red onion chopped
3-5 green chillies
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp olive oil for lightly sauteeing the onions
Olive oil cooking spray and Paniyaram pan (bagel pan)



Preparation

Lightly fry the chopped onion in tsp of oil.
Add water in tablespoons (about 3) until you've reach the right consistency to bind the flours but not make it soggy (see pictures)
Make into firm balls to fit the dips in the pan
Heat pan on low flame and pray the dips
Place the balls in the dips and spray lightly once more
Close with lid and allow it to cook for a couple of minutes before turning them over.
With another light spray, cook the top side for a couple of minutes longer until the entire pakoda is a pleasing golden brown crisp.

Serve hot - This is what I call having my pakodas and eating them too :)

Enjoy :)




My Cooking Tip / Advice / Quote


1) For this I want to quote the tagline that my good buddy, Priya Sreeram of Bon Appetit has - Cook with passion, serve with love and the food tastes good and makes you feel a lot better.

2) If it does not come out exactly how you imagined it would, please give it several more shots – remember the Scottish Fable about King Bruce and the Spider?

3) Measurements work best for baking, but for Indian cooking esp, they are merely guidelines to tweak around to your satisfaction.

Love you all and thanks for being in my life  - Hugs to you Sobha!!





Chocolate Pizza

Wishing all of you a very Happy Valentines Day !! A special day to express our love to all our loved ones and celebrated world wide..isn't that so nice?  :). We relate this occasion to so many things rt....Flowers, Cards, Gifts, Chocolates.... !! I feel Chocolates are an inevitable part of this special day. Who doesn't love chocolates rt? To celebrate this occasion, I too prepared a very chocolaty dish....Chocolate pizza. I haven't thought about any health factors while preparing this ;). Special days are those times when we can indulge in sweets and chocolates and not worry about the calories rt. The pizza came out super yummy, sure this is kid's delight and everyone will love this.




Serves 3-4

You need..

1 cup All Purpose flour
1.5 tsp Yeast
1 tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Warm Water
1/4 cup Warm Milk
2 tsp Oil

Topping:

(Use as per your preference)
Nutella
Chocolate Chips/Morsels
sliced Almonds
M&M Chocolates



To prepare..

Dissolve yeast and sugar in water and keep aside for 5-10 minutes. The yeast solution will become frothy.

Add salt and yeast solution to the flour. Mix well. Now add milk little by little and knead well. Add oil and knead again to form a smooth  dough. Coat the dough with a little oil, cover the vessel with a damp cloth and set aside for about 1 hour or until it becomes double the size.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking tray with foil and grease it.

Take the dough, punch the air out. Knead for a couple of minutes and the roll into a flat round base. ( I divided the dough into two and made 2 bases.) Fold a little inside along the circumference. Prick the base with fork at few places. Apply butter or oil on the surface and place it on the tray. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the bottom has browned and crust above is also slight brown. All ovens vary, keep an eye on the oven.

Now take the tray out and immediately apply a thin layer of Nutella on top. Sprinkle chocolate chips, almonds and m&m on top. Again, bake it in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until chocolate chips start to melt and almonds are slightly toasted.

Cool for a few minutes and serve. Enjoy the yummy pizza on this special occasion :)





Sending this to Valentines Day event at Teenz Yummy Delights, Valentines Day at  Anzz Cafe, Love n Chocolate Fest by Vimitha, New year, New Dish at UK Rasoi,  Kids Delight event hosted by Kavi, an event by SreevalliChocolate Mela by Sreevalli, Sweet Luv at Zesty Palette, Cakes, Cookies and Desserts by Anjali, CC-Dish For Loved Ones by Srav's Culinary Concepts.