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Easy Dahi Kadhi with Fresh Coriander Leaves Pakora Recipe

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Our Simple Sankranti Lunch

Our Simple Sankranti Lunch

On Sankranthi this year, I was an incarnation of a sloth bear. I usually like to celebrate the festival because it teaches us to be thankful and grateful to the earth for its produce, the farmer who tills the land and the animals who work with the farmer. I am an spoilt urban brat, but as I grow older, I am beginning to appreciate these things.

Anyway, back to the oscillation between being grateful and a sloth, I settled to being a grateful slothful person. Veering towards ordering in some biryani for lunch, I had a sudden need to not waste the day and mark its significance. I quickly washed the rice and moon dal and put the cooker on to take care of the pongal. And debated if it was too lame to serve it with pickle and ghee. I baulked myself!

So a quick yogurt based kadhi it was going to be, sassed up with bhajiyas. Those of you who (still) read this blog, or know anything at all about me will know how far I run away from deep frying. There are only those times when I am guilted into filling a frying pan with oil, or feeling particularly indulgent that I actually get down to doing something that involves more than a few teaspoons of oil. Back to the bhajiyas / pakoras /fritters. Call them whatever you want. Dumplings spiced and fried before being added to the yogurt curry takes it up several notches and is a favourite way to eat pongal and or khichdi.

I brought out my appam chatti, the special little vessel that is similar to an Aebleskiver pan and is used to make paniyarams both sweet and savoury. I’ve used it to make vadas for my very popular Cheater’s Dahi Vada and kofta’s for the Creamy kofta curry recipe here.

The result was a kadhi with all the taste of the real deal, yet none of the deep frying! Win in my opinion!

Dahi ki Kadhi with Coriander Pakoras

Dahi ki Kadhi with Coriander Pakoras

Dahi Kadhi with Pakoras (non deep fried)

(Serves 3 as a side dish, Time taken: 10 minutes prep time, 20 minutes of cooking time)

The (non fried) pakoras

The (non fried) pakoras

For the (non deep fried pakoras – Makes about 20)

Besan / ChickpeaFlour – 1 cup

Coriander Leaves (washed and stems removed) – 1 cup loosely packed

Onion, finely sliced – 1 medium 

Ajwain / Carom Seeds – 1/2 teaspoon 

Asafetida – a pinch 

Salt to taste

Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Baking Soda – a pinch

Water as required to make a batter

Mix together all the ingredients listed and make a batter that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It should be like dosa / pancake batter.

Heat the appam chatti and add a few drops to each indent. When hot enough, drop the batter into the indents to fill 2/3 of it, using a spoon.

Allow to cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes or till the edges turn golden. Drizzle a few drops of oil around each pakora, using a blunt knife, ease them around the corner and flip over.

Cook for another couple of minutes, till done. Poke the centre with a toothpick to check that it has cooked through. Remove onto a plate. Repeat till all the batter has been used up.

These pakoras can be served as is or used in the kadhi.

For the Kadhi:

Yogurt, whisked smoothly – 1 Cup 

Chickpea / Gram Flour (Besan) – 3 tablespoons

Grated fresh Ginger – 1/2 teaspoon 

Salt to taste

A pinch of Turmeric powder

Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 teaspoon 

Asafetida / hing – a pinch

Whole Cumin – 1 teaspoon  

Dried Red Chillies – 

A few curry leaves and a sprig of fresh coriander leaves

Ghee / Vegetable oil – 1 tablespoon

In a bowl large enough for 4 cups of water, add the yogurt and 11/2 cup water, besan flour, grated ginger, asafetida, turmeric and red chilli powders and half the salt.

Using a whisk, whisk everything together to ensure there are no lumps in the mixture.

In a kadai, pour this yogurt mix, and gently cook, stirring often, till it comes to a gentle boil. Cook for about 6-7 minutes on the lowest heat possible. The stirring ensures the heat is evenly distributed and the gram flour cooks through without clumping up.

Taste to check that the rawness of the gram flour has disappeared. Simmer for a minute and turn off the flame & add the fresh coriander leaves to it. Set aside and add the pakoras.

Heat the ghee / vegetable oil in the tempering pan. When hot enough, add the cumin and wait for it to turn dark, put in the curry leaves and dried red chillies. Take off the heat and all this to the kadhi. Serve hot with Pongal or even plain steamed rice or rotis.

Dondakaya (Tindora/ Ivy gourd) Masala Rice

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Dondakaya Masala Rice

Dondakaya Masala Rice

Years ago, I ate Dondakaya Biryani at a friend’s place. It is one of those things that lingers for a long long time. Mostly because one doesn’t expect Dondakaya to be made into a biryani, while it intrigues, it also is very very well made and feels so in place! My favourite way to eat dondakaya (tendli, tindora, gilloda as it is also called) is stir fried with red chilli powder, salt and curry leaves. No tadka, masala, no fuss and goes well with rice and dal / sambhar or rotis. My mother hardly made dondakaya as we were growing up, mainly because to fry it one needs to add a lot of oil, and it used to be a very cheap vegetable, so she always felt it was not worth the time or effort involved in making it. Also, the vegetable is real small, the size of your thumb, so for a family of 5, it was a pain to top, tail and slice the damn things.

All this meant, when someone makes it in a different way, I love eating it. One of my favourite ways to make this vegetable is Gutti Dondakaya. Using Sailu’s fool proof recipe for stuffed brinjals, it always turns out great. But it was time to try making that biryani. To see if I could replicate the flavours. I didn’t ofcourse actually ‘make’ it as a biryani, rather, used my trusty pressure cooker to make a one pot masala rice of sorts. It turned out very well. We had it with raitha on the side. This is a good way to use this vegetable, make a quick one pot meal for a packed lunch or a lazy lunch on a weekend.

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Dondakaya Masala Rice (Serves 2-3)

Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cooking Time: 15 Minutes

Rice  – 1 cup, washed and drained

Dondakaya (Coccinea) – 12-15, washed, tops and tails removed and slit lengthwise

Green Chilli – 2, slit

Onion – 1, Sliced into semi circles

Tomato – 1, chopped

Ginger garlic paste – 2 teaspoons

Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons

Garam Masala Powder – 1 teaspoon

Red Chilli Powder – 1 teaspoon

Any Ready Made Masala Powder such as kitchen king, pav bhaji or even chicken or meat masala – 1 teaspoon

Salt to taste

Oil – 1 tablespoon

Curry leaves – 6-8

Mint Leaves – ¼ cup

  1. In a pressure cooker, heat the oil and add the onions and slit green chillies. Fry for a few minutes till the onions are translucent and add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.
  2. Add the curry leaves and the slit dondakaya and fry till they are beginning to wilt.
  3. Add the tomato, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, kitchen king masala powder, mint leaves and toss to coat it well. Cook this for 3-4 minutes, stirring so that the powders do not burn.
  4. Add the washed and drained rice; add salt to taste and 11/2 cup of water. Close the lid of the cooker let it cook for exactly one whistle.
  5. Turn off the flame and allow the pressure to release. Once the cooker is open, fluff with a fork, garnish with fresh coriander before packing into a lunch box or serve hot with Raitha

Carrot Raitha

Plain Curd / Yogurt – 1 cup

Salt to taste

Carrot – 1, peeled and grated

Green Chilli – 1, finely chopped

Coriander Leaves – 1 sprig

Whisk the yogurt with the salt till no lumps remain. Add the grated carrot, green chilli and coriander. Chill till served

Dessert for Breakfast ~ Parfait with Mango and Muesli

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Breakfast Parfait ~ Muesli, yogurt and mango

Breakfast Parfait ~ Muesli, yogurt and mango

Give me a hot savoury breakfast each morning and I am a happy camper… but there are the summer (now gone) months to get through when I will eat anything that is below room temperature! I made this simple breakfast parfait, actually just assembled everything because this is a no cook recipe. It was healthy, filling and very yummy. The muesli is also a no cook one if you discount the minimal hot dry pan roasting that is needed. You could make the Muesli and store to eat as is without the parfait trappings.

Breakfast Parfait with Mango

Serves 4

For the Muesli

Cornflakes                             100 grams (or wheat-flakes, whichever is preferred)

Oats                                          100 grams

Dried Fruit                            ½ cup (use dried dates, cranberries, figs etc)

Nuts                                         ¼ cup (use almonds, cashews, pistachios etc)

Sesame Seeds                       ¼ cup

For the Parfait

Yogurt                                    500 grams

Mango                                     2 cups, peeled and chopped

Honey                                     4 teaspoons (optional)

Method

To make the Muesli, dry roast the oats and chop the dried fruits into small bits. Roast the nuts and sesame seeds till they are changing colour. Cool it and mix together with oats, cornflakes, dried fruit and nuts. This can be stored in an air tight container and eaten with yogurt or milk and a dash of honey.

Put a muslin cloth over a wide soup strainer and add the yogurt to this. Set aside in the fridge for 2-3 hours to allow the water to drain away from the yogurt. I usually do this overnight. Once done, if using, add the honey and whisk the yogurt till no lumps remain.

To serve, assemble the parfait add a few tablespoons of the yogurt at the bottom of the serving bowl. I used a juice glass. Add the second layer with 4 tablespoons of the granola. Add another layer of yogurt, top with chopped mango and granola. Repeat till everything is used up. Chill for 10 minutes and serve.

Breakfast Parfait ~ Muesli, yogurt and mango

Breakfast Parfait ~ Muesli, yogurt and mango

Celebrations Galore ~ Baked Yogurt Tart in an Oatmeal Crust

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Celebrations galore today. 65 years of the birth of India. Despite the warts, still beautiful and engaging. All we need to do now is to deserve all that she has to offer us.

100 years of the woman I knew not much about until my favourite actress Meryl Streep brought her to life and exposed me to what a phenomenal influence she was on home cooks. All those of us who follow a passion, will learn important lessons of following our hearts from Julia Child.

Baked Yogurt Tart with Blueberries, Orange Zest and Almonds

Baked Yogurt Tart with Blueberries, Orange Zest and Almonds

In the midst of all of this, is hanging out with friends, so what if it is online and spread over 6 cities in two countries. We, (Arundhati, Arundathi, Aparna, Nandita and I) have baked together earlier, this month onwards, Monika joins us. Frantic back and forth on facebook about baking in tandem to celebrate Julia’s birth centenary went on. Posting recipes, coming up with options for ingredients we did or did not have, frame by frame advances and updates as we tackled various stages of the tart baking. Believe me when I say it was so much fun. That’s what happens when you make friends with people who have the same passions as you do. After a bit of a hiatus after two baking escapades, the baking club, now called The Sisterhood of the Traveling Cake Tins, decided on Julia Child’s Baked Yogurt Tart.

Pardon me if I say so myself, but this tart is perhaps one of the best things I have baked in a while, and there is a decent amount of baking that happens at the Escapades household. It has a cheesecake like texture and is not overtly sweet which is just the way I like my baked treats. Plus there is very little argue about the reasonably healthy dessert it automatically becomes when there is oats and yogurt in it.

Baked Yogurt Tart

Baked Yogurt Tart

Each one of the six of us used ingredients we had on hand, so each of the tarts is amazingly different. I loved how we interpreted it and added our own touches. I admit I am not one of those people who will run out and shop for ingredients for a recipe. I usually try to substitute what I have on hand, or skip to another recipe if I don’t have more than a couple of the listed ingredients. In this case, I didn’t have vanilla (horror for a self confessed baker!). I find that I am using a lot of orange zest instead and this tart too was no different. I loved how it paired with the yogurt and frozen blueberries. I didn’t have fresh fruit on hand, so used some of my stash of frozen blueberries. I was a bit anxious about how it would turn out, but was very happy with the results.

There is a celebration of Julia’s legacy to commemorate her 100 th Birth Anniversary by PBS with  “Cook For Julia” through the month of August. To join them, simply cook any one of Julia Child’s recipes. The deadline to join the party is 15th of August and as always, I make it by the skin of my teeth!

So here it is, my version of the Baked Yogurt Tart. I used a no roll pie crust from this recipe as the base.

Baked Yogurt Tart with Blueberries, Almonds and Orange Zest in an Oatmeal Pie Crust

(Adapted from Julia Child’s Baked Yogurt Tart and the Crust is from Baked Obsession’s Oatmeal Crust)

Ingredients

For the Crust (Makes one 9 inch tart shell)
½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 cup old-fashioned oats (I used Quaker’s quick cooking oats)
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter; melted and cooled (I used Amul’s Lite Bread Spread)
1 egg, beaten, for sealing the dough

For the Tart Filling
3 medium Eggs
3/4 cup Sugar
2 cups thick plain yogurt (I used one 200 ml tub of store bought yogurt, drained out the whey)
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
¾ cup All Purpose Flour
A large pinch of salt
1/3 cup coarsely chopped Almonds (use any nuts of your choice or leave out if you have allergies)
1 cup frozen blueberries (I rinsed the frozen berries and left them in a sieve to drain out till needed, use any fresh berries or stone fruit you have)

To Make the Crust

Lightly butter the tart pan with removable bottom. Pulse the oats in the mixer to make a fairly smooth flour. In a bowl stir together the dry ingredients.
Add the melted and cooled butter, stir to combine. Press the mixture evenly into the pan to make a crust at the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan. I used the bottom of a steel tumbler to press it down firmly.
Chill for about 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Put a piece of baking paper or foil in the tart shell, add some pie weights such as uncooked rice or uncooked beans and bake the tart crust for about 20 min, until it is set and pale golden.
Brush the bottom with the beaten egg, and then bake again for about 5 minutes until set and shiny to prevent the crust from becoming soggy.
Cool the tart crust. (I skipped this step and filled the still pretty warm crust with the yogurt mixture)

Tart Pan: I used a 6 inch glass tart pan (in fact a 1½ inch deep lid of a casserole. Lined it with aluminum foil which I then buttered before pressing the tart shell into it. I also used two 3 inch tart pans with removable bottoms.

To Make the Filling

Beat together the eggs and the sugar till pale and thick. I used the blender jar of the mixer. Whisk the yogurt and salt to remove lumps. In a bowl, fold the yogurt into the eggs and sugar mixture along with the orange zest. Add the flour to this mixture, folding in gently. Pour this mixture into the tart shell gently till it is 2/3 full. Add the rinsed and drained frozen blueberries to the mixture, leaving about 1 inch around the edges for the nuts. Add the nuts to the edge of the pie crust. Bake for about 22 minutes at 325 F or till the middle is just set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before chilling. Slice into wedges; dust with icing sugar and serve chilled or at room temperature.

baked yogurt custard

baked yogurt custard

I had 1 large cup of the filling leftover because my tart pan was smaller than what the recipe called for. I baked the filling for 15 minutes at 325 F without the crust in two small ramekins. Dusted it with sugar and served it as custard. The filling was just as good without the tart shell, so this is a pretty versatile recipe.

The yogurt tart is not very sweet and has a nice tang which paired well with the orange zest and blueberries. All in all, this is a keeper of a recipe.

Here are the tarts baked by my fellow bakers:

Aparna’s Yogurt Tart with Orange and Pistachios

Arundhati’s Cherry Berry Yogurt Tart

Nandita’s Baked Yogurt Berry Tart

Monika’s Baked Yogurt Tart with Fresh Figs and Blueberries

Eggless Baking ~ Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Cake

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My life is currently held captive by an 8 week old pooch who has no consideration for the fact that i am not a morning person and i dont like my ankles bitten into by razor sharp teeth. Despite all the mayhem around here (Read Sage’s story here), who could not fall in love with this face?

Meet Sage Sizzler Iyer. His sombre Sagacious look made K decide he should be called Sage, also scored high with me for the foodie connotation. (K was petrified i would give the pooch a sissy (according to him) name like basil or pepper). Since he’s anything but sagelike when he gets fortified with food, i went in for a second name as well!

Early morning wakings (at insane hours, even for my board exams i didnt wake up as early as Sage makes me these days) means that i have more time on my hands and browsing begins at a much earlier hour for me.

You can’t ignore the assault of beautiful pictures at 5 a.m when you are just wanting the milk to heat up and boil already so that you can have some caffeine in your blood stream and begin to resume your humanly functions. Its like the lowest resistance to anything. and so yesterday morning, rudely shoved out of bed at 5 a.m to feed the resident pooch baby food, I was waiting for the milk to boil, i saw this piece of cake on foodgawker and i was smitten. I had a bag of frozen blueberries stashed away in the freezer that i bought all glassy eyed at the supermarket the other week, from the imported foods aisle at hypercity. but am sure this recipe will work well with any other fruit cut up real small.

I looked thru my pantry and gathered all the things i needed. I made it eggless as we were expecting guests dinner who dont eat eggs. it was convenient that i had an egg replacer on hand, else I’d have used powdered flax seeds. I used a 9 inch tart pan to bake it and not as a loaf. Also swapped the All Purpose Flour for my regular multi grain chapati flour.

i had this baking in the oven even breakfast was made. it smelt heavenly as it baked. The flavour of the blueberry with the lemon syrup was very unique and it was served warmed up after lunch as dessert.

Here is the original recipe. below is my version with the changes.

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon Multigrain Wheat Flour (you could also use Whole Wheat flour or all-purpose flour), divided

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I used home made, made with toned 2% fat milk)

1 cup sugar

3 teaspoons Orgran Egg Replacer mixed with 3 tablespoons of water or use 3 large eggs

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed ( I used frozen)

For the Lemon Syrup:

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of one 9 inch round cake tin or 9 x 5-inch loaf pans; dust with flour, tapping out excess.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, (I did this in a blender jar used the mixer) whisk together the yogurt, sugar, egg replacer, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Pour it into the dry ingredients and slowly with a gentle hand, incorporate them to make a batter.

Sprinkle the reserved flour over the blueberries and toss them. Gently fold into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared cak tin pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.

Make the lemon syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir together the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat; set aside.

Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the warm loaf. Brush the top and sides of the loaf with the lemon syrup. Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again. Let the cake cool completely.

The original recipe even has a lemon sugar glace, but I omitted this. I liked the tartness that the lemon syrup gave the cake. It was wonderful warm, am sure will taste fantastic when paired with vanilla icecream too. This is a moist cake and leftovers should be stored in the fridge. I think it will keep for 3-4 days. Ours was all gone the same day I baked it though!

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