Friday, 13 April 2012

A celebration with Eggless Carrot and Raisin Muffins

Happy Birthday to you... Happy Birthday to you... Happy Birthday Dear PRATEEK... Happy Birthday to youuuuuu. You must be wondering who's Prateek. Well, he's the most obedient cousin I could've ever asked for. I can't say he'll go out of his way to do something for me as "out of his way" will be an understatement. You get my point right?

Our Cherished World

It's a special birthday as well. He's 25. He's hit quarter of a century. Knowing him, he'll be slogging all day behind his desk in his Wall Street Office. So I thought I can do something special for him. I obviously can't go to NYC so I thought I'll celebrate it at home, bake something for him and post it on his birthday.

Our Cherished World

When Kalyani announced Carrots and Raisins for this month's Magic Mingle, I knew I had to bake something. Since I had never baked muffins, I thought this is the best time to try it. And when I decided to celebrate Prateek's b'day on my blog, I did think of making a cake. But I settled with my first thought of muffins.

Our Cherished World

Makes: 12 - 14

80 gms Raisins
2 cups Coarsely Grated Carrots
2 cups Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 cup Sugar
70 gms Unsalted Butter - at room temperature
1 cup milk - at room temperature

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC.
  2. Sift Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Ground Cinnamon.
  3. Beat Butter and Sugar until creamy and fluffy.
  4. To this add the sifted dry ingredients and milk alternately and keep beating till everything is incorporated well.
  5. Add the Carrots & Raisins and fold in gently.
  6. Line the muffin tray with muffin cups and scoop the mixture into the cups.
  7. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or till a knife inserted comes out clean.
  8. You can have it with tea, for breakfast or as a dessert.

Our Cherished World

This goes to the following events:
Kalyani's Magic Mingle #4 - Carrots & Raisins
Radhika's I Love baking #3
Vardhini's Bake Fest hosted by Sumee
Sumee's Bon Vivant Moments #3 - Breakfast Ideas
Sameena's Snacks Recipes
Chandrani's Lunch Box Recipes
Raven's Cook Eat Delicious Desserts hosted by Geetha

Our Cherished World Our Cherished World Our Cherished World Our Cherished World Our Cherished World Our Cherished World Our Cherished World

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Alu Matar - take 2

This week, I am paired with Nisha of Nisha's Kitchen for Blog Hop. She has very simple, delicious and homely food on her blog. Very comforting indeed. As I was going through her blog, I wanted to make something with potato as it had been some time since I cooked this versatile vegetable.

Our Cherished World

I am sure potato has a soft corner in most of our hearts & palates. Unless you are on a diet or watching your carbs. Even then, its difficult to resist. After searching, I settled on this Aloo Parwal Curry. The only issue was, I didn't have Parwal. So I settled for Green Peas.

The result is that I have another Alu Matar recipe - totally different from mine. Its a quick, easy and tasty dish that goes perfectly with rice and roti. Here's my recipe:

Our Cherished World

Serves: 4 - 5

700 gms Potatoes - boiled and cubed
1 cup Fresh / Frozen Green Peas
1 Onion - finely chopped
1 Tomato - finely chopped
2 Green Chillies - finely chopped
1 tsp Ginger Paste
1 tsp Garlic Paste
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
2 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

  1. Heat Oil in a pan. When hot, add the Cumin Seeds and let them splutter.
  2. Add the Onion and Green Chilli and fry till the Onion turns golden.
  3. Add the Ginger & Garlic Pastes and fry till the raw smell goes.
  4. Now add the Tomato, Salt, Red Chilli Powder and Turmeric Powder and cook till the masala comes together.
  5. Add the Potato and Peas and cook till the peas are cooked.
  6. Serve hot with rice / rotis.
Our Cherished World

This goes to the following events:
Radhika's Blog Hop Wednesdays #16
Ayesha's Healthy Morsels - Pregnancy
Priya's Healthy Diet Event hosted by Vardhini

Our Cherished World Our Cherished WorldOur Cherished World

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Bagara Rice / Annam

When blog hopping, have you ever felt that you want to bookmark an entire blog (atleast almost the entire blog)? I have a few blogs like that and one of them is Zaiqa. I am sure most of you know about this blog. For the others, this is a "Pucca" Hyderabadi blog with amazing recipes. Do check out the blog.

Coming to today's recipe, this is a typical rice dish served with Mughlai food. I personally feel this goes with all the curries, but can still be eaten on its own. The spices in the rice make it a Pulao type of dish - but without the vegetables.

Bagara Rice

This has been lying in my drafts from Christmas 2011. On Christmas Day, I made this and Dum Ka Chicken from Zaiqa's blog and both were perfect with each other. I am finally blogging about the Bagara Rice. I'll post the Dum Ka Chicken very soon (hopefully).

I avoided the ghee from the original recipe, added chillies and changed the quantities of some of the ingredients.

Bagara Rice

Serves: 3 - 4

1.5 cups Basmati Rice - washed and soaked for atleast 20 minutes
1 Onion - finely sliced
2 Green Chillies - slit vertically
1 tsp Shahjeera / Caraway Seeds
2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 tbsp Coriander Leaves- finely chopped
1 tbsp Mint Leaves - finely chopped
4 Cloves
3 Green Cardamoms
1 inch piece Cinnamon
1 Bay Leaf
3 Cups of Water
2 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Salt

  1. Heat Oil in a pan. When hot, add the Onions and fry till brown.
  2. Now add the Ginger Garlic Paste and fry till the raw smell goes.
  3. Add the Coriander Leaves, Mint Leaves, Green Chillies, Cloves, Green Cardamoms, Cinnamon, Bay Leaf and Caraway Seeds and fry for another minute.
  4. Add 2.5 cups water, cover and bring to boil.
  5. In the meantime, drain the rice completely.
  6. Once the water is boiling, add the rice and bring to boil once.
  7. Now mix the rice gently, cover the pan and cook till the rice is half done.
  8. Open the lid, add the remaining water, mix and cook till the rice is done.
  9. Now turn off the heat and leave it covered for atleast 15 minutes.
Bagara Rice

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Pappulusu - Moong Dal with Lemon

Pressure Cooker - the basic appliance in most of the Indian households whether they are in India or abroad. When someone is going abroad for the first time, every one asks them to take the pressure cooker without fail. That's the importance of this appliance in the Indian Kitchens.

Most of households have more than 1. I myself have 3. One is in the garden shed as it a huge one. I use the other 2 regularly. Pressure Cookers cut the cooking time by less than half (in most cases) - making them ideal if you want to save on your energy bills.


It takes time to get used to the pressure cooker times. Once you are used to it, you will wonder how you ever got on without it. Since I never cooked before moving here, I didn't know how to use it. When my mother came here during my delivery, I saw her and learnt about the whistles and everything.

I remember when me and my mom used to cook (OK I admit it was only my mom who cooked and I would just stand there and see) after my delivery, my dad would keep V on the dining table (also in the kitchen) and play with him. Every time the whistle went off, V would give a jerk and howl. He was scared then and still is after 3 and a half years. He does an about turn from the kitchen when he sees it on the hob. His nightmare??? Seeing both the Pressure Cookers on the hob side-by-side. So no "help" from him on this dish. It actually finishes fast for me. :D

I am not sure how many of you make this - but this is a regular (and cherished) dish in our house. The preparation is similar to Sambar but without the veggies and sambar powder. You also add lemon juice instead of tamarind pulp to give the tanginess. You can have it with rice or roti (my father swears by it). You should be able to have this as a soup - I haven't tried it, so I can't be sure of this. I like it best with Rice.

This was another dish I never enjoyed so much as sambar when I was growing up. I used to eat it but like it the most with Potato Fry. I enjoy both equally now. The other thing about this dish is that you don't have to soak the tamarind in advance. Just cut a lemon and squeeze the juice. I hate the soaking tamarind bit. I can never remember to do it.


Serves: 6 - 8

1 cup Moong Dal - washed
1 Onion - sliced
5 Green Chillies - Slit vertically
1 Tomato - chopped
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Dry Red Chilli - torn in 2 pieces
1/2 tsp Methi Seeds (Fenugreek Seeds)
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
10 - 15 Curry Leaves
4 - 5 cups Water
2 tbsp Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
Salt to taste
Chopped Coriander Leaves for garnish

  1. In a Pressure Cooker, take the Moong Dal, 3/4thof the Onion, Green Chillies, Tomato,Turmeric Powder and 2 cups of water and cook till the Dal is cooked - I generally cook it for about 2 whisltes depending on the dal.
  2. In the meantime, make the popu or tarka.
  3. Heat oil in a pan.
  4. When hot, add the Dry Red Chilli, Methi, Mustard and Cumin Seeds.
  5. When they start spluttering, add the leftover Onion and Curry Leaves and fry till the Onions turn golden. Take the pan off the heat.
  6. When the pressure goes down, mash the dal to a smooth, creamy consistency.
  7. Now add the salt, 2 cups of water (this depends on the consitency you are looking for), the popu / tarka and mix well and bring to a boil.
  8. Add the Chopped Coriander Leaves, mix well and turn off the heat.
  9. Add the fresh lemon juice, mix well and cover and let it rest for atleast 10 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
  10. Serve hot with Rice and a side dish. I love my Alu Fry with this.

Note1: If the Dal is not mashing up easily after cooking, it means the dal is not cooked properly or you have used too much water. If you are sure the dal is cooked, you can blend it using a hand blender. Or put it back on the stove for a couple of more whistles.
Note2: There is absolutely NO SUBSTITUTE for Fresh Lemon in this recipe. I admit I used to do it with the concentrate one but it s just not the same. Trust me on this.

This goes to the following events
Krithi's and Denny's Serve It - Pressure Cooked / Slow Cooked
Priya's Healthy Diet Event hosted by Vardhini

Pappulusu Pappulusu