Many thoughts fill my mind as I write my first post of the new decade. The year 2020 has brought in a lot of uncertainties with it but one thing that I have held on to is hope. The time at hand has allowed me to try quite a few recipes on the weekends and I decided to share them with each of you.
Paniyaram is a South Indian dish prepared by cooking the fermented idli or dosa batter in a mould. They are like dumplings and served during breakfast or as a tea-time snack. Usage of minimal oil with ability to stuff various vegetables as fillings makes this dish an instant hit with the kids. For this recipe, I have used carrots and onions to make this wholesome recipe. Typically, paniyarams are best paired with onion or mint chutney.
Paniyarams are made in a paniyaram maker which is a vessel made of steel or soapstone with mould pits of equal depth.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 3 pax
Time: 40 mins
- 2 cups of idli/dosa batter
- 1/4 cup of finely grated carrot [use the smallest marker size of the grater]
- 1/4 cup finely chopped or grated onion
- 2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp urad dal
- 1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
- 2 tsp cooking oil
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a cooking pan. Temper the urad dal and mustard seeds till they splutter and become slightly golden.
- Now add in the finely chopped green chillies and onions and cook them till they become translucent.
- The add in the grated carrots, ginger and salt and cook the veggies for five minutes.
- Cool the vegetables for a few minutes and add them to the batter. Mix well to combine
- Take the paniyaram maker and heat it on a low flame. Pour 1 tsp of oil into each pit of the pan. Once the pan is hot, pour the batter into each of the pits. While pouring, fill it to 3/4th of the capacity of each pit since the batter will rise once heated.
- Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 4 minutes. Now turn over each paniyaram with the help of a chopstick and cook it till a toothpick inserted at the centre of the paniyaram comes out clean.
- Serve and eat them while they are piping hot.
- Do not overfill the mould with the batter and leave some space in the mould pit for the batter to rise.
For as long as I remember, I’ve had a sweet tooth. Supermarkets here typically contain ice cream tubs, pastries and cakes. If I want to satiate my craving for Indian desserts, I have to make it at home. And thus began my first attempt at kulfi! Kulfis are a type of ice cream from India which are conical in shape and served on a stick. Since I did not have sticks at home, I decided to use a muffin tray to get a round shape and serve it in a bowl. The visual representation is different from the usual kulfi – but the taste and the feeling of eating a kulfi turned out to be just the same. Ever since I made Carrot Kheer , I’ve wanted to continue using carrots in desserts. Carrots enhance the rich texture required in kulfis. I was also happy with the colour that I got – it reminded me of the golden yellow colour of alphonso/hapus mangoes. Everyone at home loved the dish and that made me really happy.
Recipe Details :
Makes: 1 muffin tray
Time: 60 mins
- 3 medium carrots
- 3 cups milk
- 5-6 saffron threads
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1 can unsweetened condensed milk
- 8-10 pistachios (optional)
- Soak the almonds in warm water for 30 mins and peel off the skin.
- Wash and peel the carrots. Cut them into rounds.
- Cook the carrots and almonds together on a medium flame. Once they become soft, switch off the flame. Let it rest for around 15 mins at room temperature.
- Now pulse the cooled almonds and carrot mixture in a blender into a purée.
- Take the milk in a vessel and bring it to a boil. Add saffron threads into the boiling milk. Then add the blended mixture into the milk and keep stirring.
- Once the milk has almost reduced to half, add in the condensed milk. Stir well and let the whole mixture remain on the flame for 5 more mins.
- Finally switch off the flame and let the whole mixture rest in room temperature for 20 mins.
- Now pour the kulfi mixture into the muffin tray and keep it in the freezer for around 4-6 hrs. Before serving, keep it out for some time so that you are able to removed the hardened ice mold easily. Enjoy this delicious carrot and almond kulfi which will make you want to eat more.
- Keep stirring the mixture when it is on the heat. You don’t want the milk to scald and stick the the bottom of the vessel.
- Let the mixture come to room temperature before pouring into moulds and freezing.
- You can cover the top of the muffin tray with plastic wrap while it is setting to avoid “skin” formation on the surface of the kulfi.
I traveled to Bali recently – and I have to let you all know that it’s one of the best places to visit to eat! There are umpteen options for vegetarians and if you are a foodie, then Bali is surely going to be on your repeat list. This recipe is an adaptation of a dish that I had during one of my meals. It is inspired by Moroccan cuisine which plays with and balances sweet and savory flavours with the spices used to season them. Personally, I always wanted to try making a dish with couscous, and I am glad I managed that through this dish. I added some ingredients and made it to my liking. I must say this has been one of the most wholesome and fulfilling recipes of mine. I remembered the taste of the dish and tried to build it stage-wise which was an interesting process in my cooking journey. The texture of couscous is like semolina and the dry roasting process for both of them is identical. This dish is very easy to make, healthy and a welcome change from a boring salad. It is quite filling, ingredients can be added and the dish can always be evolved to suit your liking. I hope you enjoy trying it and do let me know on the outcome as I would be happy to read about it 🙂
Recipe Details :
Serves: 2-3 pax
Time: 40 mins
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into cubes
- 3 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 cup couscous
- 2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
- 3 tsp garlic, finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, finely crushed (Or you can use 1/2 a can of tomato puree)
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 1 pomegranate, deseeded
- 1/2 cup coriander leaves for garnish
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste (optional)
- 1.5 cups water
Pomegranate layer at the bottom
- Take a pasta bowl or a broad dish and place the pomegranate seeds as the bottom-most layer. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to the seeds and set it aside – preferably in the fridge.
- Place a pan on medium heat, add oil and the cumin seeds. Once the cumin seeds splutter, add the ginger, garlic, cinnamon and onion. Once the onion turns translucent, lower the flame, add the carrots. Add some salt, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes.
- Once the carrots are done, add the chickpeas and tomato puree. Also add 1 cup water. Stir well, add some salt and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Couscous – middle layer
- Simultaneously start dry roasting the couscous on a medium flame in a separate pan. The couscous will start to turn golden brown in 5 mins and you will also get a slight fragrance. Now add 1.5 cups water and let it boil on a low flame so that the couscous fluffs up. Switch off the flame and set it aside for 5 minutes before plating. This will form the layer above the pomegranate seeds.
- By now, the carrots and chickpeas part of the dish would also have been done. Remove that from the flame and plate it on top of the couscous layer. Garnish with coriander leaves and this is going to be one tasty dish!
- While boiling the couscous, ensure that your water proportion is correct. To much water will make it mushy.
- Let the couscous rest before you serve it. Once it has cooled slightly, you can fluff it with a fork.
- If you do not have pomegranate, you can also use finely chopped dates.
Festivals are all about celebrating the day in the right spirit. It was Tamil New Year a few days back and I dished out some festival preparations. Food preparations during festival times generally involves a combination of savoury and sweet items. This time I decided to take the kheer route for the sweet preparation. Kheer is basically a pudding with milk and sugar. You can choose different base ingredients to blend with those flavours. My choice – Carrots! They bring vibrant colour and flavour to desserts. The carrot kheer turned out to be delicious. It tastes great hot or chilled. I did not get time to take a picture of the entire process so I am posting a combined picture of all the preparations. In the pic from (L to R clockwise): Curd rice with seasoning, Lemon rice, Carrot Payasam/Kheer, Raw Mango Pachadi
Recipe Details :
Makes: 2 bowls
Time: 30 mins
- 4 carrots, chopped into cubes
- 1.5 cups milk
- 7-8 cashews, halved
- 3 tbsp ghee
- 5 tbsp sugar (I used brown sugar)
- 2 cardamom pieces, powdered
- 4-5 saffron threads (optional)
Carrot kheer (Bottom right in the pic)
- Cook the carrots in enough milk to cover them on low-medium flame. By that I mean just ensure that the carrots are submerged. Stir from time to time. To test for doneness, remove a piece of carrot and cut it with a spoon. If it is sufficiently soft, switch off the flame and set aside the carrots to cool.
- After 20 mins, blend the cooked carrots and the cooking milk into a very fine paste.
- Heat the ghee in a small pan and add the cashews. Toast the cashews in the ghee till they are golden brown. Keep the cashews aside.
- Now add the carrot paste and saffron threads to the pan in which the remaining ghee is present and mix it well for around 10 mins.
- Now add half a cup of water and the sugar into the paste. Stir the sugar in the paste till it is fully dissolved. Now switch off the flame.
- Check the consistency at this stage. If it too thick, add a little more milk according to your liking.
- Finally add the roasted cashews and cardamom powder on the top. Refrigerate it before serving and you are set for some delicious kheer.
- Do not roast the cashews on high flame as they burn.
- While blending, ensure that it is an extremely smooth paste.
- If your carrots are inherently very sweet, adjust sugar levels accordingly.