Orange flavored lentil ladoos

 I am an accidental cook, someone who never thought would be in the kitchen longer than it takes for a glass of water. But the roller coaster of life had me come rollicking into the kitchen and parked here for sometime to come.Life in the kitchen has been full of surprises. One such surprise was when I first made these lentil ladoos. It was my first ‘independent’ endeavour for a Diwali sweet. You know how huge an event that is! Surprisingly it was a huge success; such a huge success that my mother-in-law asked for the recipe and my father-in-law finished off the ladoos almost single handedly. These events are only next snowing in Malaysia on the impossibility index. Ever since, I make this recipe off and on, whenever we have a craving for sweets but I am not in the mood to spend too long in the kitchen(that is almost always).

Today I felt like wanting to add a little something to make this recipe mine. It is my mother’s recipe and I wanted to finally come out of her shadow. Ok, I know I am over analyzing this but something needs to be here which is entirely my idea and hence I hit upon the Orange flavor. I have to say it turned out to be a wonderful idea and I am here to record this momentous occasion for posterity.

So here goes –

WHAT WE NEED (FOR 15 LADOOS)
1/2 cup Yellow Moong Dal / Pasi parupu

1/2 cup Roasted gram/ Odacha Kadalai / Chatni Dal

3/4 cup Sugar, powdered

3/4 tsp Cardamom powder

1-2 tsp Orange zest

1/3 cup Ghee / clarified butter

8-10 cashew nuts, broken

8-10 raisins

WHAT TO DO

  • Dry roast moong dal and roasted gram separately.
  • Need to be especially careful with the moong dal since it can brown fast and stick to the bottom of the pan. So roast it on low flame and constantly stir and move it around. It should take around 12-15 minutes for the moong dal to get roasted and acquire a reddish tinge.

 

  • The roasted gram can be roasted on medium low flame and it would around 5 minutes.
  • Cool both the lentils completely.
  • Take the sugar and grind it to a fine powder and keep aside.
  • Once the lentils have cooled down, powder them almost finely ie. leave a few bits here and there to provide crunch in the ladoos.
  • Mix the lentils with the sugar.
  • Add the cardamom powder and orange zest and mix well with your hands or a spoon.
  • The cashew nuts need to be broken to small pieces ie. One cashew it can be broken into six pieces.
  • Heat the ghee and add the cashew nuts. Once they start browning, add the raisins.
  • Take the ghee off the flame, add it to the lentil- sugar mixture and mix it lightly with a spoon.
  • Let it cool for 3-5 minutes.
  • Check to see if it has sufficiently cooled down to be mixed with your fingers.
  • Mix the ghee with the lentil mixture so as to form a crumbly dough.

 

  • Take little dough in your hand and press it to form a ladoo.

 

  • Similarly make ladoos out of rest of the dough. It needs to be completed when the dough is warm else you will not be able to shape it.
  • Let it rest for 15-20 minutes before popping it in your mouth. Store it in an air tight container.

 

NOTES

  1. Taste the lentil mixture before adding ghee. It should give you an idea of the sweetness. If you want it to be sweeter, add more powdered sugar and mix well.
  2. If you are unable to shape the dough into ladoos because the dough is too dry, then heat 2 tbsp of ghee and pour it on the dough. Mix and try again. It should work.
  3. If the dough is too soft or wet and the ladoos are not holding their shape, it means the ghee is in excess. You can either add powdered cashews or almond flour as required to get the shaping consistency.
  4. The cardamom powder and orange zest are totally optional.
  5. I usually peel the orange skin and freeze them. When I need the zest, I powder them and add.
  6. You can stock the roasted and powdered lentils and sugar. Whenever you need a quick sweet, just heat the ghee and make the ladoos. Easy peasy!

I am sending this to My Legume Love Affair or MLLA as it is popularly known started by Susan of the Well Seasoned Cook and currently managed by Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen. This month’s affair is hosted by Padmajha of Seduce Your Tastebuds

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Sweet potato and black bean chimichanga

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Today is one of those ‘crazy for no reason’ days. In the middle of such a day I had a sudden intense craving for sweet potato. But I had a dish to make and a blog post to write on tortilla based dishes. So I decided to find a connection between sweet potatoes and tortillas.

A perineal issue at home is the diametrically opposite taste buds that the husband and I have. He loves South Indian food and only South Indian food whereas I like to experiment at least once a week with other cuisines and flavours. So my usual cheat sheet involves adding some Indian flavours to whatever I am trying and ease the way to the husband. So this recipe has many sources – online, offline and in my head.

If you are a purist, I would recommend that you don’t read any further because there is one travesty too many!

WHAT YOU NEED

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7-8 tortillas

100 gms black beans

100 gms sweet potato

1 medium sized green capsicum

1 medium sized onion

1 medium sized tomato

2 cloves garlic

2 green / red chillies

1-2 tbsp of sour cream

50 gms Grated Mozarella cheese

1-2 tsp of cumin powder

1-2 tsp of pepper powder

2 tsp sambhar powder / garam masala / curry powder

1 tsp chilly powder (optional)

Salt

1-2 tbsp Oil

WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the black beans for 4 to 5 hours. Drain the water and add fresh water
  • Cook the beans and sweet potato in a pressure cooker till the beans are cooked and the sweet potato is mashable. It took me 3 whistles and 7 minutes on simmer.
  • Heat oil and add the chillies and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes
  • Once the garlic starts browning, toss in the onions and cook till onions are translucent
  • Drain the black beans of any residual water, add it to the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Toss in tomatoes, capsicum, 1tsp cumin powder, pepper powder, sambhar powder and salt and cook covered for 5 minutes. Keep aside
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  • Skin the sweet potato and mash it thoroughly. Leave no lumps. Add the sour cream, 1 tsp of cumin powder, chilly powder and salt. Mix in all the ingredients to the sweet potato.
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  •  Take a tortilla and spread the sweet potato paste in the centre. Add the bean mixture on top. Grate some cheese on it.
  • Fold the tortilla like a burrito.
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  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Fill in all the tortillas in the same manner and place all the tortillas on a baking dish
  • Brush both sides of the tortillas with oil
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes and turn over the tortillas and bake for another 7-9 minutes til golden brown.
  • Serve hot with salsa or sour cream

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NOTES

  1. You could also deep fry the chimichangas instead of baking them.
  2. The black beans can be substituted with red kidney beans and other vegetables like carrot and broccoli can also be added.
  3. I used Mozarella cheese but you can use cheddar or any other melting cheese of your choice. You could also completely omit the cheese if you like.
  4. The sour cream can be replaced with Greek yogurt.

Check out what the other bloggers are cooking up at this Blogging Marathon.

Cheesy Paneer Enchiladas

CHEESY PANEER ENCHILADAS
My entry for today under Tortilla based dishes is Paneer Enchiladas. This recipe has everything I love – paneer, mushroom and cheese! So I was pretty excited making it.
The good thing is that the husband hates paneer and so I usually get to have the lion’s share of all paneer-ness. Now the not so good news is my two year old loving it (just like me) and it’s hard to fight for paneer (or anything else) against all that cuteness.
So while I was making these enchiladas, she had the freshly made paneer, then the golden brown roasted paneer and finally she tore open the enchiladas to just pick on the paneer. Takes after her mother!!
So the dish turned out good but somehow the photos did not. So this once, just take my word and try it and don’t judge this recipe by its photo….
WHAT YOU NEED
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4 tortillas
100 gms paneer, cubed
4 button mushrooms, sliced
4 tomatoes,sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 pods of garlic, chopped
80-100 gms cheddar cheese, grated
3-4 tblsp of olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
WHAT TO DO
Cook the corn in water for 7-8 minutes till it is cooked but retains its crunch.
Heat 2 1/2 tbsp oil in a pan.
Add the paneer and mushrooms and fry till the mushrooms are soft and thepaneer is slightly browned.Keep aside.
In the same pan, add another 1 tbsp oil and fry the onion, green pepper and garlic for 5 minutes over medium flame.
Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook covered till the tomatoes are mushy and it begins to thicken.
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Blend this mixture to make a sauce.
Return the sauce to the pan over heat, add the paneer, mushrooms, corn and half of the cheese and simmer over low heat for 3-5 minutes.
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Pre heat the oven at 200C
Warm the tortillas over a tava.
Pour little sauce in a baking dish till it’s bottom is coated with the sauce.
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On each tortilla, place a little of the sauce and paneer mixture.
Roll up the tortilla and arrange them side by side on the baking dish with the seam side facing downwards.
Pour the remaing sauce over the wrapped tortillas and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
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Bake for around 10-12 minutes till the cheese melts.
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Notes
1. You can either blend the sauce to a chunky or smooth paste depending on your taste. I like it chunky and so my sauce is not smooth purée like.
2. You can use other melting cheese like mozzarella instead of cheddar. Your baking time would vary depending on the cheese you use.

Brunch on Huevos Rancheros

HUEVOS RANCHEROS

This is Taco week for me at the Blogging Marathon.
I love Mexican food and have been planning on making it myself for a long time now. Finally I am biting the bullet and the taco!

My recipe for today is Huevos Rancheros adapted from a book I recently found – The Accidental Vegetarian. It has quite a few interesting recipes and I should hopefully make lot more of the dishes from it.

Huevos Rancheros or ‘ranch eggs’ is simply fried eggs, salsa and tortilla. It is eaten for breakfast and there are various ways to go about it. You could simply fry the eggs, make or buy the salsa and tortilla and have a go! Or you could have fun doing it this way. Guess what, the second most difficult part of this recipe is pronouncing the name.

WHAT YOU NEED ( Serves 3)

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6 Eggs
6 Tortillas
1 Small Onion
1 Medium Green Capsicum
1 Small Red Capsicum
1 Garlic clove
4 Button Mushrooms
1 Green/ Red Chilly
6 tbsp Passata
5 tbsp Butter
Salt & Pepper
Oil
Chinese Parsley for garnish

WHAT TO DO

Chop the capsicums, onion, mushrooms, garlic and chilly finely.

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Like that!

Mix all of them and add salt and pepper to it
Pour the passata little by little. All we need is the vegetables to be bound in by the pasta.
Divide this vegetable mixture into 3 portions
Heat little oil in a pan and add one of the portions to warm
Once warm, make a well in the middle of the pan and melt 1 1/2 tbsp butter
Once the butter has melted, break two eggs over it.
Rotate the pan slightly so that the egg whites spread across the veggies. Don’t be violent with the rotating else the yolk will go amok.

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Cover the pan and let it cook for 3 minutes. It is done when the whites have merged with the salsa and cooked.
If you are like me and keep opening the pan frequently, then don’t. Instead occupy yourself by warming the tortillas on a tava.
Slide the eggs on to a plate and garnish with coriander.
Serve with the tortillas and be blissful!

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Notes-
1. What I learnt through this recipe is that Passata is Italian for tomato purée. I like the word – Passata, Passata.
2. My not-so-extensive research told me that cilantro is best for Mexican salsa. I was also told that cilantro, sometimes in some places, is called Chinese parsley. So yay for me….I can find anything Chinese in this tropical smal town on the equator. But if you can’t, there is always the ever reliable coriander leaves.
3. Mushroom was not part of the original recipe but I add it wherever possible. You can omit it if you wish.
4. One portion was quite a huge breakfast for me and I ended up having only buttermilk for lunch. So I am guessing this could be an ideal brunch for a lazy Sunday!
5. The only tricky part of the recipe is to slide out the salsa and egg of the pan without breaking it. I wasn’t quite so successful. Maybe next time I should try it on a tava so that I could slide it out like a dosa with a spatula. Maybe I could also try with fewer vegetables and more butter. More butter is always good na?!

Check out what the others are cooking up in the Blogging Marathon!

Blogging Marathon – Tokneneng

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Today is the final day of this week’s Blogging Marathon on Fritters! My recipe for today is perfect for for days when one is too lazy to make an elaborate snack. It is the recipe for a street food from Philippines called Tokneneng which is frying hard boiled chicken eggs in a fiery orange batter. The same recipe is also used with quail eggs and is called kwek kwek.

WHAT YOU NEED

6 Chicken eggs

1/2 cup plain flour

1/4 cup corn starch

2 tsp annatto powder (See Notes)

Coarse table salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

1/2 cup water

extra corn starch for dusting the peeled eggs

Oil for deep frying

WHAT TO DO

Boil the eggs for around ten minutes. Cool the eggs and peel the shells Combine all the dry ingredients together

Heat the oil

Add water to the dry ingredients and mix till the texture of the batter becomes really smooth and free from any lumps.

By now the oil should be hot enough for frying.

Roll each egg in corn starch and coat them with the batter

Lower the egg one by one into the oil with a spoon. You can fry as many eggs at a time depending on the size of your pan. You only need to ensure that the eggs don’t come in contact with each other in the oil

Once the eggs floats on top of the hot oil, let them cook for  5-10 seconds before removing them.

This is another dish which is recommended to be served immediately.

Notes 1. Annatto powder is a food colouring derived from the achiote tree. You can simply use orange food colouring like I did. The uniqueness of this dish is in the bright orange batter. So use the food colouring a little generously to get the perfect colour.

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2. If you are a pure vegetarian, then you an try this recipe by replacing eggs with paneer. The additional step would be to sprinkle some salt on the paneer and leave it for 15 minutes before dunking it in the batter.

3. After peeling the eggs, hold them under running water for 30 seconds. This will remove any minuscule shell pieces from the egg.

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Blogging Marathon-Perkedel Ketang

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Today is Day 2 of the 3 day Blogging Marathon on Fritters. My recipe for the day is for Perkedel Ketang which is a potato based fritter from Indonesia.
It is yummy, easy and actually does not need too much oil. And as I write this, my two year old has already finished one and is in the process of cleaning off the next one. What more can I ask for?
WHAT YOU NEED
2 Russett potatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 shallot
2 tbsp fresh or dried herbs
2 tsp – 2 tbsp corn flour ( See notes)
Salt
Pepper
2 tbsp Oil
1 egg
WHAT TO DO
Boil potatoes so that it can be mashed completely without any lumps.
Grind garlic and shallot to fine paste.
Mash potatoes fully and add salt and pepper
Add the shallot, garlic mix to the potatoes.
Add the herbs and mix
Divide the potato mix into 8 to 10 pieces and flatten each to make thin patties
Sprinkle corn flour on all the patties
Heat the oil
Beat the egg in a wide mouthed vessel so that it is easy to dip
Dip each patty in beaten egg and place it in the oil
Patties should be half submerged in oil.
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Remove when both sides are golden brown
Notes
1. You can use any other type of potatoes to make these fritters. The advantage of Russett potatoes is that it is easily mashable and also easy to shape.
2. If you are not using Russett potatoes then you may have to add some corn flour to the potato mix in order to be able to shape the patties.  The quantity of corn flour depends on the type of potatoes used.
3. The preferred method to grind garlic and shallot is by using mortar and pestle. But you can grind with a mixer or you can grate them.

Blogging Marathon – Apple Fritters

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Before you frown, let me tell you that I am one of you. I am also not in favor of cooking fruits in any way and believe that they taste best when eaten raw. Well, I don’t  even peel fruits if I can help it.But (of course there is a but) some recipes go beyond and call out to you. Don’t they? This is one such. So forgive. And while you are in that mood also extend the forgiveness to my future upside down pineapple cake which I will be making as soon as I get THe pineapple 😀Ok, the great news is that I have finally found a food blogging marathon. Can you believe this was happening for four years and I couldn’t find it till now. Google, how could you? Anyway, I found it and then had to wait for a month to sign up and then another month to participate. If nothing else, the kitchen has taught me patience.So I am part of this Blogging Marathon. Yay!

The rules are – 3 Fritters in 3 Days from 3 Cpuntries. Wiki says Fritters = Batter + Filling + Deeeep Fry! Yumm

Here is my recipe for Apple Fritters and from the sketchy info I got, it is an American Classic

WHAT YOU NEED

3/4 cup All purpose flour

Pinch of baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup yogurt /curds

1 Egg

4 Medium sized apples

Oil for frying

1/4 cup Sugar

2 tsp Cinnamon

WHAT TO DO

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt

In a separate bowl beat egg and mix it with the yogurt

mix the wet with the dry ingredients

Core the apples and cut them into thin rings (around 1/4 inch thickness). Then cut out a portion from the centre with a cookie cutter to make the apple rings

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heat oil

mix sugar and cinnamon in a plate. If you are a cinnamon fan like me, feel free to increase the quantity of cinnamon by another teaspoon.

dip the apple on the batter and gently place it in the oil. Fry till both sides are golden brown.

sprinkle sugar mix while still hot.

Gobble it up ASAP.

Notes-

1. I found that I did not need the entire amount of sugar since I like a subtle sweet instead of it being overpowering. So adjust according to your taste. You can use the balance sugar mix for your tea or coffee.

2. If you have batter remaining, you can add some chilly powder, more salt and herbs and use the batter for onion or capsicum rings. I did and they were not so bad.

3. Every page I read on apple rings advised to serve immediately on making them. I did, not that I needed an excuse.

4. I did not peel the apple and it tasted good. But you can peel if you so want.

Happy Fritters!