Archive | January, 2014

Vanishing oats Raisin cookies

19 Jan

Don’t ask me why the “vanishing” in the name. I do NOT know – it was just at the back of a Quaker Oats box, this recipe. So since I was feeling stressed out on a Saturday evening – I turned to my stress busting hobby – cook :). Here’s my modified recipe in short:

– Take half a cup of canola oil and about 3/4 cup of brown sugar. Mix the two really well till the sugar is not visible.

– Add 3/4 cup of yoghurt to the mixture. Mix well till you can barely see the yoghurt. Well, you can see a little (pieces really) but mix it so the size of the yoghurt pieces are as small as possible.

– Add a little baking soda and mix again. Just a 1/4 spoon maybe. I think this is for making the cookies rise – never understood why baking powder and soda are different – except that one is sweet and the other is salty. Mix again.

– Add all purpose flour about a cup and a bit more and keep mixing. The aim really is to thicken the mixture so you can take it out spoon by spoon and have it NOT pour.

– As you’re mixing the flour add a few raisins, cranberries and some nuts to the flour and mix well. The aim really is that these nuts are spread evenly and don’t just stay at the surface – you want them in every cookie. Mix well.

– Take a cookie tray, grease it very very lightly with about 1/4 spoon of oil. Use your fingers to spread the oil around. NO need to use butter paper or any of that fancy stuff.

_ Make the cookies in whatever shape you want (Dinesh did this this time) and put it onto the cookie tray(s).

– Cook it at 350 degrees F for well around 30 minutes I guess. I don’t want to mention the exact time like a million other blogs because it differs from oven to oven and none of the measurements have ever worked for me. It invariably takes longer. So really, use your common sense..if you see it turning brown/black it’s too hot – poke it with a fork and see if the fork comes out clean – if it does switch the oven off. If the fork comes out with some mixture sticking to it AND the bottom is dark brown, it’s too hot – the oven. So reduce the temperature and hope that the center of the cookie cooks :). Play around really till YOU understand your equipment better, no one can teach you this.

Here’s a pic – these have increased since Dinesh came around – it’s useful I guess although I’m not a huge fan of pictures – I much prefer my writing to talk. Oh well.. it has its benefits 🙂



Alu Palak

19 Jan

This was an easy one really. I looked at Tarla Dalal’s site a bit, but by now I’d got exactly what needed to be done for all these “gravy vegetables”. So largely I followed what she did. In a nutshell though, for any vegetable which is cooked with gravy, here is what you do.

– Chop and boil the gravy base, Palak/Spinach in this case.

– Wash it in cold water to cool it down, and stop it from cooking even more.

– Chop a few onions into smallish pieces, also chop tomatoes if you want the taste of tomato in your gravy. If not just the base veggie and the onions is good.

– Grind it to a fine puree (pourable and NOT rough) in a mixer.

– Chop the other vegetable up after boiling it a bit to soften it. In this case potato – chop it into slightly biggish pieces.

– Heat a little oil and fry all your usual dry spices for a bit. Once that’s done, Fry the potato along with the spices till everything is mixed up and the potatoes are coated nicely.

– Pour the puree in and mix. Add any other masalas and cook till ready. End 🙂

Vada Pav

16 Jan

Really making Vada Pav is super simple. Here’s a few quickfire steps to make a few. Ate these after nearly a year or so..or more maybe – loved them 🙂

– Boil a few potatoes. How many is up to you – 1.5 large potatoes made for 6 vadas.

– Chop an onion into small pieces..really small pieces and also chop some corriander leaves into small pieces.

– Mash the potatoes and mix it with the onions and the corriander leaves. Add some salt to this mixture. It’s up to you if you want to add any other dry spice at this point – ginger, garlic, dry mango, garam masala..take your pick.

– Mix some besan (chickpea flour) in another bowl with some salt, chilly powder, pepper powder and water. Stir the besan well so that there are no lumps in it. The end batter should be pourable into a glass but not too thin. As soon as it becomes thin enough to pour, stop adding water.

– Heat some oil in a pan. Make balls out of the potato, onion mixture and dip it into the besan. Make sure it’s coated really really well – you shouldn’t be able to see the potato at all.

– Deep fry it until it turns yellow on all sides. If the oil is too hot, it’ll cook everything too well and it’ll become crispy throughout. You don’t want that. You only want your vadas to be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, so cook it on a medium flame.

– Take it off and serve with bread, sweet and sour sauce, raw chillies and onions. Next time I make it I’ll make sure I make all those sauces, or better still delegate that to Dinesh – he loves his sauces 🙂

Here’s a pic of the vadas. We also made a few onion and palak pakodas. The instructions for those are very similar to the way I made corn fritters.

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Sooji Halwa/Sheera

11 Jan

So we continued our sweet making at home instead of buying all those overpriced chocolates (which are quite delicious at times..but still..not as healthy as home food :D). This time we tried making Sheera or Sooji Halwa from this website. We followed it exactly except that we used brown sugar and half the quantity of what was mentioned, as brown sugar is very sweet. Turned out quite well. Here’s a pic from Dinesh’s phone



Update: Since I ran out of milk one day I started Googling for recipes without milk instead and found this one. Instead of a half cup ghee, I used 1/4 cup canola oil. Since I was out of cashews and raisins, I used almonds instead. Instead of 3/4 cup sugar, I used a little less than 1/2 cup sugar. I also used less water than was mentioned – although that really depends on the quality of the rava that you use. Came out really really well – next time I’ll use even lesser oil and see how it turns out 🙂

Gajar Halwa

10 Jan

So while eating dinner at 11:30 in the night, we tend to watch cooking shows all the time to get new ideas and new dishes. Today we ended up watching a recipe from the VahReVah site. It looked relatively easy to make – so we finished dinner and made it immediately. It’s not too hard at all and the only real effort is in grating the carrots.

That apart here were the few things we did slightly different to this site.

– Used brown sugar. Brown sugar is much sweeter than white sugar, so if recipe books say ‘Use 1 cup sugar’ but you only have brown sugar, use 1/2 a cup of brown sugar.

– Dinesh didn’t want to put black cardamom in the recipe because it would spoil the taste as per him :D. He also took great care in powdering the green cardamom well as he wanted to replicate exactly how it was made back home.

– We put just a little piece of butter and a couple of spoons of canola oil instead of deep frying everything in ghee.

– We didn’t put any paneer or mawa in it as we didn’t have it. As it turns out it still tasted really nice, as per Dinesh anyway ( I haven’t yet tasted it due to it being nearly 1 am when we finished and it would get converted into fat for sure :D)

Here’s a pic that Dinesh took. Looks quite close to the real thing, if you ask me.


Boiled red radish

10 Jan

I was making a round of which veggies I hadn’t eaten after coming here and noticed that I hadn’t eaten red radish. Today I tried making them the same way I make any other dry vegetable. It turned out to be reasonably okay, albeit a little too soft – maybe I should have kept it for a few lesser whistles in the cooker (I kept it for 5 thinking it would be at least as tough as carrot – but 3 whistles is probably around okay). The rest is the same really.

It turned out to be quite soft (like boiled potato) but with a slightly different taste – mildly bitter maybe. Overall I wouldn’t particularly love to make it again this way – maybe roast it next time and see how long it takes to cook.

Capsicum rice

7 Jan

Pretty much reused the recipe from here. Not too many changes at all – all credit to the original blogger.