Potato Skins

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My third recipe for this theme of USA cuisine was supposed to be this awesome s’mores mug cake. The only mistake I did was to wait to make it till the last minute because, mug cake. How difficult can it be? Mix ingredients and microwave for a minute, duh! But then I tried to be smart and made some changes to the ingredients and then it crashed badly, like really badly. Then I figured I would stick to the recipe but found I was out of some ingredients. Yeah, mug cake can actually cause so much grief. Anyway I fell back on potatoes which is the ultimate saviour as also very American. The added benefit is that the daughter loves it and I figured a cool way to sneak in veggies inside all that cheese. So not everything ended badly!

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The original dish is potatoes, bacon and cheese. But I needed a vegetarian version of it and so I replaced the bacon with some vegetables and also some cheese with butter and landed with a super easy evening snack.

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Potatoes 4

Garlic butter 2 tbsp

Onion, small 1/2

Tomato, small 1/2

Mozzarella, grated 4-5 tbsp

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 220C
  • Cut the potatoes vertically in half and scoop out the flesh as much as you can leaving just the skin and little flesh
  • Melt the garlic butter and apply it on both sides of the halves and scooped potatoes
  • Place it on a baking tray skin side down and bake for 10 minutes
  • Turn the potatoes over and bake for another 10 minutes
  • Finely chop the onion. Deseed and finely chop the tomato
  • Mix the two with salt and pepper or any other seasoning
  • Take out the potatoes and turn them over
  • Fill each half potato with the onion tomato mixture
  • Top it with grated mozzarella cheese
  • Bake for 2-3 minutes or till the cheese melts
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. You can use plain butter or any other flavoured butter instead of the garlic butter
  2. The filling can be any vegetable of your choice like carrots, peas, corn, mushroom, etc. In that case you have either sauté it before adding it to the potatoes or bake it for 10 minutes with the potatoes but add the cheese in the final 2 minutes.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Cuisine of USA.

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Quick Bread – Zucchini Bread

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We had the children’s day celebration at our apartment complex for which they organised a drawing and colouring contest. Sounds good, right? But no. Parents were breathing down the necks of the little ones (read 8 to 10 year olds!) giving them detailed instructions on what they need to draw or the colour they need to use. My daughter made those sad puppy dog eyes making me feel like an ignorant negligent parent in contrast. I have been ranting ever since to all and sundry about how parents need to leave their kids alone to take their own decisions and make their own mistakes so that they can learn their own lessons. Then I found out that the kid whose mom gave the maximum instructions actually won the contest. Now I am in two minds – maybe I should have helped her afterall. She would not have been heartbroken about not winning. But then maybe this will help her deal with life better in the long run. Parenting is tough! Rant complete and I am feeling better already.

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Now on to the dish of the day. I luckily found zucchinis at the local supermarket much to my surprise. I grabbed it and simply had to make a zucchini bread. It turned out fabulous especially with all that cheese in it. Since it is a quick bread, I could eat some before the daughter was back from school and became competition. Yay!

I have begun to replace all purpose flour with wheat flour in most recipes except yeast bread where I think they make a significant difference to the airiness of the bread. In muffins, quick breads, etc. I can manage a reasonable amount of lightness to the dish with whole wheat flour. You could use all purpose flour in this dish just as the original recipe.

Adapted from here

Makes one 7″ loaf

WHAT WE NEED

Zucchini, grated                      3/4 cup

Whole wheat flour                 1 cup

Baking powder                        1 tsp

Baking soda                              1/4 tsp

Salt                                             1/2 tsp

Milk                                            1/2 cup

Apple cider vinegar                1 1/2 tsp

Egg                                              1

Olive Oil                                    1 1/2 tbsp

Cheddar cheese, grated         1/2 cup heaped

Mixed herbs                             2 tsp

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper
  • Squeeze the grated zucchini gently to release some liquid. I did not do it because I used whole wheat flour which absorbs more water and I did not want the bread to be dry. Squeeze out some liquid (around 2 tsp or so) if you are using all purpose flour.
  • In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together
  • In another bowl, combine the milk and vinegar. Any vinegar will do. I used apple cider vinegar
  • The milk will curdle a bit. Then add the egg and oil and mix well
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine ensuring no dry flour is left
  • Add the zucchini, cheese and mixed herbs and mix lightly
  • Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour
  • If the toothpick inserted comes clean, the bread is done
  • Cool it for 10-15 minutes in the loaf tin and then unmould it on to the wire rack to cool further
  • Once it is completely cooled, (around an hour) slice and serve
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Cuisine of the USA.

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Fudge Brownies 

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If there is one thing I am scared of baking then it is an eggless recipe. I panic and then mess up even the best of recipes. I have tries multiple recipes from various sources but the eggless version always betray me. My parents have now reached the stage of ‘super annoyed’ because they see the dishes I bake but can’t eat them because of the egg. So it is my endeavor to master the art of eggless baking so that my parents can have a feast of my baked goodies soon.

I have tried multiple eggless brownies but I only manage to get the ‘cakey’ version of it and never the fudgy version. Also most of them do not hold the structure and partially collapse. So for now, I continue to bake brownies with eggs. This is a recipe for keeps. The brownies turned out so fudgy and chewy and simply delicious.

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I have added chopped walnuts to the brownie. It is not mandatory but I will judge you a little bit if you don’t. It has dark chocolate in it though you can replace that for milk chocolate. The key to a delicious brownie is to not over-bake it. The pointers to figure out the brownie is done are – it starts to pull away from the sides, the top is cracked and when you insert a toothpick in it, there are a few crumbs. I halved the recipe and made adjustments because I had only 1 egg and the recipe needed more.

Recipe adapted from here

Serves 3

WHAT WE NEED

Dark chocolate                   170 gms

Unsalted butter                    56 gms

Egg                                          1

Granulated white sugar      100 gms

Vanilla extract                       5-6 drops

All purpose flour                  55 gms

Baking powder                     1/2 tsp

Salt                                          a pinch

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Grease a 6″ baking pan and line it with parchment
  • Melt the chocolate and butter by the double boiler method or for 50 seconds in a microwave oven
  • Mix well and let it cool
  • In another bowl, mix the egg, vanilla and sugar until frothy (4-5 minutes with a whisk)
  • Add the chocolate mixture and mix well
  • Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well
  • Pour into the baking pan and bake for 27-30 minutes till the top of the brownie is cracked and it has started pulling away from the sides slightly.
  • Take it out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for 2 hours at room temperature
  • Serve warm with some ice cream
  • Enjoy!

 

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Cuisine of USA’.

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Banana Flittas

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One advice I would like to give people who are yet to be married is that to look for someone with similar taste in food. A surprisingly lot of time and effort in your life is with regard to food – buying, making, eating. If you don’t agree on that, it is not going to be easy. Trust me. You’ll thank me later. It has taken us nearly a decade to find a middle path and now we have the daughter’s taste to consider which is very likely to disrupt the equation we have painstakingly worked on to cause equal grief to both of us. 

Usually I am of the opinion that fruits should not be cooked but should be had raw and with its skin whenever possible. I do enjoy my orange cake and banana bread (but the bananas are overripe and so shouldn’t count. Right?) but little else. So I was kind of skeptical to make these banana fritters or flitaas as they are called in Jamaica. But once I did, the husband and daughter loved it so much that they are trying to make me promise to repeat this as often as I can. I am so torn between my principles and the demands of the family. Sigh! Well, I did like it too!

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Recipe adapted from here

Makes around 10

WHAT WE NEED

Bananas, ripe, medium                    2

All purpose flour                                1/2 cup

Sugar                                                     2-3 tbsp

Baking soda                                          A pinch

Ground cinnamon                              1/4 tsp

Salt                                                         A pinch

Oil                                                           2 tsp

Milk                                                        1 tbsp

Oil for deep frying
WHAT TO DO           

  • Heat oil in a pan for deep frying
  • Mash the bananas well in a bowl and set aside
  • Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt
  • Add 2 tsp oil and the milk to the mashed bananas
  • Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and combine to form a smooth, wet dough
  • Drop spoonfuls of the dough in the hot oil and fry till golden brown
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. The amount of sugar depends on the sweetness of the bananas. You need to taste and adjust to your preference
  2. An option is to roll the deep fried flittas in some cinnamon sugar to give it an additional level of flavour and sweetness 

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Dishes from the Carribean’.

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Coconut Rock Buns

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During the past week in Mumbai, I accompanied my mother and daughter to many friends’ homes for the ubiquitous Navrathri vethalapakku. The norm is to invite ladies of family and friends and present to them some beetle leaves, beetle nut, turmeric, coconut and fruit. Some people go the extra mile and give additional gifts as well and I got some amazing stuff this time. B what ended up happening was that, at the end of five days, we were buried under a coconut hill. We got so many coconuts from all the houses we visited which was compounded by the fact that the daughter asked for them when she didn’t get one leading to total coconut chaos. 

My mother made me take 6 coconuts (grated, thankfully) back to Bangalore and now I am using it across dishes even in those we don’t usually add them. The only good thing is that the husband loves coconut and is a very happy soul these past few days. So when I read about coconut’s popularity in th Caribbean cuisine, I was thrilled. But I found most recipes using coconut milk and not simply coconut as is. Then I found this coconut rock and I figured I had to make it. I added more coconut than the dish needed but that only ended up making it more flavorful. I also increased the proportion of sugar which worked out well. I also added the sweet cherries on top to give the Iyengar Bakery feels to the husband who was thrilled. So, I managed to hit many birds with one stone, or should I say rock. Yay!

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Recipe adapted from here

Makes 8 rock buns

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                1 cup

Butter, unsalted                  1/4 cup

Sugar                                     1/2 cup

Raisins                                   3 tbsp

Baking powder                    1/2 tsp

Ground nutmeg                   1/2 tsp

Ground cinnamon               1/2 tsp

Egg                                           1

Vanilla                                     1 tsp

Milk                                          4 tsp

Coconut, grated                      1/4 cup + 2 tbsp

Water            

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat 1/2 cup water, add the raisins to it and cover. Once it plumps up, drain the water and set aside. It should take around 10-15 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 190C and grease a baking tray and line it with parchment paper
  • Using fingertips, rub the butter with the flour till the mixture gets a sand like texture
  • Add the sugar, raisins, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and coconut and mix well to combine
  • Mix the egg and vanilla in anothe bowl and then add to the flour mix
  • Add milk and mix well to form a dough
  • Use a spoon to drop the dough on to the baking tray. Since it is to be rocks, the shape need not be well defined 
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes till done. Broil for 2 minutes to get the golden brown colour on top, if needed
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Dishes from the Caribbean’.

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Peanut Porridge

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I just finished a mega marathon of Protein Rich Dishes but I am clearly not over it. My theme for today is ‘Dishes from the Caribbean’ and what do I pick? Another protein packed dish. This one is so simple and delicious, not to mention easy to make with most ingredients readily available in your kitchen. It is a breakfast dish but I had it for lunch and felt content for the next 4-5 hours. This is surely getting into my breakfast roster.

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This peanut porridge is popular across all of the Caribbean. It started out as street food and is very popular with vegetarians. It has now gained popularity at restaurants with locals and tourists alike. There are different versions to make it – with condensed milk, evaporated milk or coconut milk.

Recipe adapted from here

Serves 1-2

WHAT WE NEED

Quick cooking Oats                            1/2 cup

Raw peanuts                                        1/2 cup

Wheat flour                                           2 tsp

Cornmeal                                               1 tbsp

Condensed milk                                    2-3 tbsp

Ground cinnamon                                1/2 tsp

Ground nutmeg                                     1/2 tsp

Water                                                       1 1/2 – 2 cups

A pinch of Salt 
WHAT TO DO

  • Heat 1 cup of water with a pinch of salt 
  • Grind the peanuts in to a fine powder and set aside
  • Grind the oats into a fine powder
  • Mix the ground oats and peanuts in a bowl
  • Add the cornmeal and wheat flour and mix well
  • Add 1 cup of water and stir to form a smooth paste
  • Pour this paste into the boiling water and mix well to ensure there are no lumps
  • Simmer and let it cook covered for 6-7 minutes
  • Stir frequently to avoid the porridge sticking to the base of the vessel
  • Add the condensed milk, nutmeg and cinnamon 
  • Mix and simmer for 2 minutes
  • Serve warm with some fruits for a wholesome tasty breakfast
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. If you only want a mild sweetness to your porridge, add 2 tbsp of condensed milk else add 3 tbsp
  2. The porridge will be slightly runny immediately after cooking but will thicken when let to cool
  3. You can replace the water with part milk 

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Dishes from the Carribean’.

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Protein Rich Dishes Recap – Mega Marathon BM#80

Sept roundup

We come to the end of another Mega Marathon when we blog for all days of the month except Sundays. The theme, as we know, is Protein Rich Dishes and I have showcased 26 different proteins of which 25 are vegetarian. This is my third Mega Marathon after –

September Cooking Carnival 2016 where I posted 26 different soups; &

A to Z Baking around the World where I blogged about 26 different breads, one for each letter of the alphabet.

The research for this topic taught me a lot about the nutrition in various ingredients that I was not previously aware of. I discovered new tasty dishes to get my daughter her daily protein fix and I enjoyed making and devouring some fabulous dishes. Here is a recap of all the recipes this month –

Sprouted Mung Soup

Karamani Kuzhi Paniyaram
Beans Parupu Usili

Hummus

Dal Khichdi

Rajma Masala

Black gram dosa with black gram chutney powder

Roasted Chana Dal


Amaranth flour Pizza topped with Broccoli 


Mushroom Egg Rice

Peas Paneer Paratha

Corn & Tomato Crostini with Cashew Cheese

Thai scented Asparagus Soup

Spinach Dosa

Cashew Cheese

Honey Roasted Almonds

Dry fruit Milk / Masala Doodh

Chia Seed Cookies

Flaxseed Malaga Podi

Poppy seed Waffles

Mor Kozhambu

Goan Egg  Curry

Spelt flour & Spinach Loaf

Chocolate Chia Overnight Oats

Quinoa Chocolate Mug Brownie

Ras Malai


This is my recap of the Mega Marathon with the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.

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    Ras Malai

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    This is the last post for this mega marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’. I can’t believe how quickly the month went by and I am so glad that I successfully completed my third mega marathon in a row. My protein for today is my favourite, that I was saving up to be the final post to finish with a flourish. I was not able to decide what dish to make with paneer. The choices are too many and I love all dishes that have paneer in it. So I kept postponing making this dish till it was time to go to Mumbai for my week long vacation. I completely forgot that I was yet to cook the 26th dish and made a distress call to my mom. She, as usual, made a million suggestions in under a minute and confused me more than ever. Then, as I was reading and drooling over Valli’s post (our boss lady, for the uninitiated), I figured it has to be a paneer based Bengali sweet and since mom makes an awesome Ras malai, I finally decided on my dish.

    Mom has these phases where she masters 2-3 sweets and feeds them to everyone who visits our home for a 2-3 month duration. Then those are forgotten for the next 2-3 dishes. Her Ras Malai phase happened just as I got married and so I wasn’t a frequent beneficiary though I remember her stuffing the husband with it during our first Diwali. She was only too happy to make it again, especially after I mentioned that the husband is a huge fan. ( I might have exaggerated a bit). So this is my mother’s dish and her recipe. I helped her with most things but all my cooking and food blogging experience was not sufficient for her to trust me with the kneading of the paneer. Mothers! 

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    Protein – Paneer

    Serves 7-8

    WHAT WE NEED

    Milk (to make the paneer)                      2 litres

    Lemon                                                         2

    Water                                                           1 litre

    All purpose flour / maida                        1 tbsp

    Milk (for the soaking paneer)                 2 litres

    Sugar                                                           200 gms +60 gms

    Saffron                                                        a pinch

    Almond and cashew slivers for garnish

    WHAT TO DO

    • Heat 2 litres of milk in a large vessel till it comes to a boil
    • Simmer and squeeze the juice of the lemon on to the milk and mix well
    • The milk will separate into fat and whey (greenish liquid) 
    • Transfer the fat / paneer to a cheesecloth and tie it. 
    • Let the balance whey drip out of it. It should take approximately 2 hours
    • Transfer the paneer to a large plate and knead it for 15-20 minutes
    • When you make balls from this paneer, it should be whole and soft and without any cracks. 
    • Then it is done else continue to knead for another 3-4 minutes
    • If it is your first time, it is better to add 1 tbsp of all purpose flour while kneading the paneer. This ensures that the paneer doesn’t scramble when cooked
    • Heat the water along with 60 gms of sugar
    • Divide the paneer into small balls and roll them into balls. 
    • The paneer balls will expand once cooked and soaked in milk which needs to be considered before deciding the size of the individual paneer balls. 
    • Press the balls to form discs 
    • Once the water is hot, transfer the paneer balls in batches to the water and let it cook
    • After 2-3 minutes, carefully flip the paneer disc and let it cook on the other side
    • When the paneer starts turning pale in colour, around 5 minutes, remove it from the water and set it aside
    • The milk for soaking the paneer can be done simultaneously in another large vessel
    • Heat the 2 litres milk till it is reduced to half its quantity 
    • Add the 200 gms sugar and saffron strands and let it cook till the sugar is fully dissolved
    • Add the cooked paneer balls to the milk 
    • Serve chilled and garnish with almond and cashew slivers
    • Enjoy!



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    This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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    Quinoa Chocolate Mug Brownie

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    So I am back home to Bangalore. Like every time, I am back with some amazing memories with my family and friends, lots of promises made about keeping in touch and visiting at leisure, a reasonable break from mother chores of feeding and putting the daughter to sleep, suitcases bursting at their seams thanks to my shopping excesses and very tired legs thanks to all the meeting and shopping. Finally, after so many years, I am at peace with the fact that Bombay is no longer home and I am a guest here after all.

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    Today’s dish is a quick microwave mug cake. I never bought a microwave but always end up getting on my kitchen counter thanks to the house owners. I use it rarely and that is when I am sleepy and tired and need a quick fix. This brownie worked perfectly for my ‘cranky after a flight’ daughter and me. It tasted warm and fudgy which, in the cool and rainy Bangalore weather, seems like a blessing.

    Protein – Quinoa

    Recipe from here

    Serves 1

    WHAT WE NEED

    Quinoa flour              1/4 cup

    Sugar                           1/4 cup

    Cocoa powder            2 tbsp

    Oil                                 2 tbsp

    Milk/ Water                2 tbsp

    Pinch of salt

    WHAT TO DO

    • Mix all the dry ingredients in a mug
    • Add the oil and milk to form a dough
    • Microwave for 1 minute and check to see if it is done i.e. springy on top and gooey inside. Else microwave for another 20 seconds
    • Enjoy!

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    This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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    Chocolate Chia Overnight Oats

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    Overnight oats is another item that has been on my to-do list forever. I am so glad that I finally got to tick it off. I have been trying various combinations with it and most of them have been quite successful. Whenever I have these oats for breakfast, I don’t feel hungry for longer hours and is perfect for rush mornings. The dish for today has cocoa and chia seeds with a splash of honey, dash of nutmeg soaked in milk and topped with bananas. I tried a similar dish with coconut milk instead of regular milk and that was delicious as well.

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    Protein – Oats

    Recipe adapted from here

    Serves 1-2

    WHAT WE NEED

    Rolled oats                    3/4 cup

    Milk                                1 cup

    Cocoa powder               2 tbsp

    Nutmeg                           1 tsp

    Chia seeds                      1 1/2 tbsp

    Banana                            1

     

    WHAT TO DO

    • Mix all the ingredients except bananas in a jar
    • Cover it and refrigerate overnight
    • Add additional milk in the morning if the oats has become too thick
    • Top it with banana slices
    • Enjoy!

    DSC_1218This is my post for the Mega Marathon for the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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