What are you cooking today?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Banana Flower Vada (Vazhaipoo Vadai) & an Award

Whenever we are in the veggies section at the Indian store, Senthil will whisper in my ears or speaks with his eyes to buy the banana flower and prepare vadas. My answer would be 'no' all the time. He was smiling the other day when he saw me picking up the banana flower. Broke my 'diet' spell and prepared vadais which are drowned and bathed in hot oil, totally blaming it on Diwali. After all, its festival season, missing my home and what could be more comforting than a fried snack that feels exactly like home? Its going to be a sinful week, i guess. Alright, here goes the recipe,

1 medium Banana flower
1 cup Chana dal 
4 Green Chilli (finely chopped)
1tsp Ginger (chopped)
5-6 Curry leaves
1/2tsp Fennel seeds
1 Cardamom stick (1/2")
1tsp Turmeric powder
Oil for deep frying
How to:
  • Soak the chana dal for 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile start removing the outer purple layer and save the small bunch of white flowers. Continue until you find the last bunch. 
  • In each small flower, remove and discard the stem with a black tip in the middle(my mom calls it a thief with a black head) and also a small transparent plastic like skin. (Takes a little more time than you think.)
  • Then immerse all the flowers in a bowl of water with turmeric powder, to avoid browning.
  • Drain the chana dal and coarse grind with ginger, cinnamon, fennel seeds and salt.

  • Also drain the banana flowers and squeeze out the water completely.
  • Roughly chop'em and add the chana dal mixture to it. Also add green chillies and curry leaves, and blend well. (If you don't want to bite into green chillies in your vada, you can add'em while grinding the chana dal.)

  • Heat oil in a deep pan at medium-high heat.
  • Make flat-round shaped balls and deep fry'em until golden brown. (Check salt for taste by frying a small ball at first.)

  • Drain excess oil with a paper towel.

  • Serve hot as an appetizer or snack.

Hi friends, very happy to receive an award from Jaisy James of Ente Pachakasala. She is a wonderful blogger with diverse collection of recipes. Do check her space, if you haven't.

And i would like to share this with a few of my blogger friends.


Kindly collect your award, gals. Thank you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Paneer Laddu

 Starting my day with a smile and a sweet! 

Laddus are often prepared on festivals or on weddings in the households of India. These sweets are round balls, shaped in between the palms of your hand varies in different sizes, also given as prasadham in temples. Today, i thought i would start the celebration of the upcoming "Diwali' festival by preparing this laddu with spongy paneer coated with juicy rose-flavored coconut. Got to say this, it tasted out of this world. I have to thank Madhavi from Vegetarian Medley for this wonderful recipe. I never knew we could eat paneer raw, until i checked her post. My hands smelt so good after playing with paneer and rose water. It was really easy and fun making these laddus. Here goes the recipe,

7oz Paneer (grated) (store bought)
1/2 cup Coconut (grated)
2tbsp Sugar
2tbsp Powdered Sugar
1 tbsp Rose Water
2 1/4tsp Milk
1/2tsp Cardamom extract
10 raw Almonds 
1 pinch Saffron
1 pinch Salt
How to:
  • Dry roast the almonds and keep aside. (If you have roasted almonds handy, you can use that.) Also chop 3-4 almonds. 
  • Dissolve saffron in the milk and keep aside.
  • In a bowl, mix together the paneer, powdered sugar, 1/2tbsp rose water, cardamom extract, salt and chopped almonds.
  • Make smooth balls out of it and keep aside.

  • Heat a small skillet at low heat, add coconut, sugar and the remaining 1/2tbsp rose water and cook for 12 mins, stirring once or twice.

  • Pour the saffron-milk into the skillet, mix well and switch off. Let it cool.

  • Now roll the paneer balls and coat'em with the coconut mixture, top it with almonds and refrigerate'em for an hour.

  • Serve cold and relish.

Keep visiting for more Diwali sweets and snacks!

Sending this to the events
CFK - Festive foods by Suma and Sharmi
ONLY - Festive food by Preeti and Pari

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Methi leaves (Vendhaiya Keerai) Pulao

Last time i remember chopping methi leaves was at my home, before marriage. As my mom, most of the times, make me separate the leaves from the stem, wash and chop'em, i always think its a big time consuming process. After marriage, when i started cooking, i avoid picking fresh spinach leaves, rather buy chopped frozen leaves just to make my cooking easier. But today as i cleaned fresh methi leaves, i found it quite refreshing with the smell of those fresh leaves on my hands. You know it, when handling the fresh ingredients. Trust me, your lunch will be ready in no time. I came across this recipe from showmethecurry. Their method was, to cook the rice along with methi, but i cooked the rice separately and mixed with the methi masala mixture. You can choose your way of cooking. Alright, here goes the recipe,

3/4 cup Basmati Rice
1 bunch Methi leaves
1/2 cup Petite Peas (optional)
1 small Roma Tomato (chopped)
2 Green Chilli (finely chopped)
1/4tsp Turmeric powder
2tsp Coriander powder
1tsp Chilli powder
1tsp Cumin seeds
1tbsp Oil
How to:
  • Separate the methi leaves, wash and chop'em. Add some salt and let sit for 20 mins.

  • Pressure cook the basmati rice along with 1tsp oil and salt. Cool it and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a skillet, add cumin seeds, followed by green chilli and tomato, saute for a min.

  • Then add peas along with salt and cook with lid closed for couple of mins or until tender.

  •  Now squeeze out the water from methi leaves and add into the skillet.

  • Add the coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric powder, and saute for another couple of mins.

  • Add the cooked rice and mix well. Check salt for taste, close the lid and cook for 3 mins at low heat.

  • Switch off and garnish with cilantro.

  • Serve hot with onion raita and chips.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Instant Sambar

Sambar is one of the staple food for South Indians. Hot steamed idlies or shallow fried dosa, sambar goes very well and a best accompaniment, sure a killer breakfast combo. When i came across this quick sambar from Padhuskitchen by Padhu, i know someday would come, to try this lovely recipe. And today tonight it is. I couldn't believe how quickly i prepared the sambar and dished out. Thanks to Padhu for sharing such a speedy recipe. Here it goes,

1/3 cup Split Moong dal
1/2 medium Yellow onion (chopped)
1 Roma Tomato (chopped)
2 Green Chillies (slit)
4 Garlic pods
1 small Tamarind ball
1/4tsp Turmeric powder
1 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup  + 1 1/2 cup Water
 For Tempering:

1/2tsp Cumin seeds
1/2tsp Mustard seeds
1/2tsp Urad dal
1 pinch Asafoetida
2 Dry red Chilli (broken)
4-5 Curry Leaves
1tbsp Cilantro (chopped)
2tsp Oil
How to:
  • Soak the tamarind in 1/4 cup water and extract the juice.
  • Pressure cook moong dal along with onion, tomato, green chilli and turmeric powder for 3 whistles.

  • Open the cooker, mash the dal well, pour the tamarind extract along with 1 1/2 cup water and bring it to a boil. (It has to be watery.)

  • Add salt and the tempering. Finally garnish with cilantro.

  • Serve hot with idli or dosa. Dip it, Dunk it or Drown it.

  • Heat oil in a small skillet, add dry red chilli, mustard seeds, when it splutters, add cumin seeds, then urad dal, followed by asafoetida and curry leaves.
  • Saute for 30 secs and pour the mixture into the sambar.
Sending this dish to the event Bookmarked recipes hosted by Aipi.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mutter Paneer Rice

Paneer is something i go crazy for. Who doesn't? I usually buy paneer, thinking of preparing side dishes for chapathi or naan. But this time i wanted to prepare some hot rice dish with it. Just like my other fried rice recipes, this dish was so good that you get to bite into those soft, delicate, fried paneer bits that really makes you go super crazy to have more and more. The pepper powder seasons the rice very well and it was a hit. Check the recipe and give it a shot.

3/4 cup Basmati Rice (cooked)
1/2 Green Bell Pepper (diced) (optional)
1/3 cup Petite Green Peas (frozen & thawed)
1/2 Yellow Onion (diced)
1tsp Ginger (minced)
1tsp Garlic (minced)

7oz/200gm Paneer (cubed)
1tsp Coriander powder
1/2tsp Chilli powder
1tsp Ginger (minced)
1tbsp Yogurt (plain)

1/2tsp Cumin seeds
1 Cinnamon stick (1/2")
1 Black Cardamom
1/2tsp Crushed red pepper (Optional)
3/4tsp Black pepper powder
1tbsp +1tbsp Oil
How to:

  • Cook the rice and spread it on a plate to cool.
  • In a bowl, to the paneer cubes, add coriander powder, chilli powder, 1tsp ginger, yogurt and salt.

  • Wrap and let marinate for 10-15 mins in fridge. 
  • Heat 1tbsp oil or just enough to coat the skillet at medium heat, and fry the paneer cubes for a min on each side or until brown. 

  •  Transfer it to a plate and keep aside.

  • In the same skillet heat the remaining oil, add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and black cardamom.

  • Then add ginger and garlic, and saute for a min.

  • Add onions and saute until tender, followed by peas and bell pepper.


  • After a couple of mins, add salt and some crushed red pepper and saute until the veggies are tender.
  • Add the paneer cubes, mix well and cook for another min. (I have cut the fried paneer into 2 pieces, just to have paneer in every bite. You can break it further or add as it is.)

  • Then add the cooled rice, mix gently and cook until the rice is all heated through.

  • Add the pepper powder and check salt for taste.

  • Reduce the heat to low and cook with lid closed for 3-4 mins.
  • Finally, switch off and garnish with cilantro.

  • Serve warm with hot sauce and chips.

Sending this dish to the event Complete My Thali (CMT) - Rice, hosted by Priya.
Complete my Thali by Jagruti.


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