Vegetable Biryani in Rice Cooker

>>  Thursday, January 24, 2013

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Given the fact that we have so many different ways to cook a dish, we mostly resort to the most easiest and fastest method that can get us the dish done. We have been using Rice Cooker for over two decades. I remember Amma having about 3 different sizes for different occasions. Each one makes its appearance during a party or when we have more relatives visiting us.

The same happened with me as well. During the initial period of setting up my kitchen, parents took me for shopping and got me various appliances without which you can't run a kitchen. I got my mixer, grinder, stove top, Rice Cooker, Blender and some more. Trust me I have them all even now. The Rice cooker that Amma got for me was for 5 litres and over the years I have got 1 litre and 2 litre as well.
With the smallest kitchen possible, I have stocked up enough that I actually can't share the space with another person. Anyway the point is, for cooking we have ended up being dependent on so many Electrical Appliances. I remember Amma having those stone grinders, Mortar and Pestle made of stone. We used these stones for all sort of grinding and somehow dishes turned out great.


In the modern times that we unfortunately find ourselves, we do not have enough space to keep these nor have enough time to spend grinding on the stones. So we resort to Electronic Appliances that are helpful in grinding, mixing and what not.

For the final Week of BM # 24, I took up Cooking with Electrical Appliances, where we have to showcase a dish that's prepared using any of the Electrical Appliances. For the first day, I took up making Vegetable Biryani from the Nippo Rice Cooker. The recipe book that accompanied the cooker, has some very pretty and tempting pictures.

If you must know the entire Cooking took only about 30 mins. We have a power shut down for 2 hrs and I remembered I had to make use of this just about 30 mins before the cut off time. I ran like an obsessed person, cutting everything and grinding the paste etc in record time. Athamma was surprised that I hadn't made the Vegetable Biryani from this book till date, I clarified that I may have cooked and even shared, but the fact is for this theme I got to show pictures with the cooking. She didn't understand of course, knowing it's another one of my mad thoughts taking flight!












Vegetable Biryani 
Cooking Time : 30 Mins
Electrical Appliances used : Rice Cooker
Mixer

Ingredients Needed:

Rice - 1 & 1/2 cup
Water 3 cups
Mixed Vegetables - (Cauliflower, Beans, Carrot, Potatoes, Peas)
Onion, Juliennes -2 medium
Bay Leaf - 1 long
Shahjeera - 1/2 tsp
Mint and Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp chopped
Ghee - 2 tsp
Salt to taste

To be ground to a paste
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Green Chilies - 3 long
Poppy Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fennel Seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Cloves - 2
Cardamoms - 2
Cinnamon - 2"

How to make the Biryani

Wash and soak rice for 10 mins. 

Grind the masalas to be ground to a fine paste

In the Rice cooker pan, make sure to place the plate, Transfer the rice to the cooker. Pour water and switch to the cooking mode.

Then add salt and diced vegetables. Add shahjeera, bay leaf. Replace the lid.  Heat ghee in a kadai, brown the onions till brown. Pour this over the rice and cover again.

Add the ground masala, mint, coriander leaves to the rice. Stir and close the lid again. 

When the rice is cooked, the switch automatically goes to keep warm position.







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Tandoori Aloo Recipe | How to make Tandoori Aloo ~ Step by Step

>>  Sunday, January 20, 2013

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For the final day I did things in reserve. I had planned to do this for the first day and ended up making it for the last day and that too a day behind the schedule. The thing was I had to do a post on masalas as well. So you know you are going to get a theme on Indian Masala Powders! Anyway coming back to this recipe, I simply used the same recipe that I use for Tandoori Paneer and made with Aloo.

The masala was simply irresistible and the tandoori masala can be stored as well. This dish though normally baked, I had to make do with stove top to dance in tune with the Madras power cuts. Of course I feel worse when I think of other cities having longer power cuts. I am not sure when we will overcome the shortage.

That's not in our hands, so lets talk about things that's in our hands and this recipe is surely something we can make pretty often! 







 Tandoori Aloo

Ingredients Needed:

Aloo / Potatoes - 3 medium
Tandoori Masala - 3 tsp
Curds - 3 tbsp
Lemon Juice - 2 tsp
Chat Masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 3 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp

How to make the Tandoori Aloo 

Peel and prick the potatoes well. In a bowl, take the aloos, tandoori masala, curds, chat masala, salt and mix well.

Marinate for 15 mins. Heat a non stick pan, grease with oil and transfer the aloo along with the marinade and cover with lid and cook till tender.

After 10 mins, remove the lid and start sauteeing. When the outer is nicely browned, add a tsp of ghee and cook on high. You should get a nice browned effect on the top.



Notes

This is normally baked. If you are baking, then grease a baking tray and tranfer the content and bake for 15 - 20 mins at 185 deg C.


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 24

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Aloo Chutney Pulao | Potato with Green Chutney Pulao ~ Easy Kid's Lunch Recipes

>>  Saturday, January 19, 2013

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For the second day I planned to make Chaawal Ki Deg Se from the India Palace Restaurant Menu. I found the Aloo Chutney Pulao to sound interesting and went through couple of recipes. Thinking about the name, I decided it must be one of those last minute rustled up dishes that a innovative cook must have thought, having too much of green chutney on hand. Else how else would you explain the ingredients, right?

Anyway I am not somebody who has never ending supply of this green chutney, so I naturally had to make it afresh. After planning and planning, I finally ended up making it during the week day. I was thinking if it would really be liked. I cajoled my kids to taste, and guess what they liked it so much that nothing was left and what was made for them was not touched at all. 
This rice is almost like the Coriander or Mint Rice in the Pulao style. Since we add whole spices, this rice ends up being quite mild and easy to make. Now that I know my kids would love to eat this, I have another easy to make rice dish that I can pack for their lunch box.

And if you want to make it more spicy, then increase chiles. However I was okay with how this rice tasted this time and won't want to change anything.












Chutney Pulao

Ingredients

For the Rice

Rice - 1 cup
Ghee  - 1 tbsp
Cinnamon - 1”stick
Cloves  - (3-4)
Black Cardamom - 1 
Bay Leaf - 1 
Potatoes - 2 small
Salt to taste

For the Chutney

Fresh coriander leaves - 1/2 cup tightly packed
Mint Leaves - 1/2 cup tightly packed
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Green chilies - 4
Pomegranate seeds or anardana - 1/2 tbsp
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp

How to make the Pulao

Wash and soak the rice for 15 mins.

Wash the leaves and make a paste with all the ingredients as chutney

Peel the potatoes and marinate the peices with green chutney after picking with fork. Keep it aside.

Take a pressure cooker, heat ghee in it. Add bay leaves, black cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves and fry them for few seconds. Now add the baby potatoes, remaining chutney, mix them and cook them for 5 minutes.

Drain the rice, add to the pan and saute them for 5 to 7 minutes. Add salt, 3 cups of water to the pan. Cover the cooker with lid, cook for 3 whistles or till the rice is cooked. 

Once the pressure is off, serve with Onion raitha.


Notes:

Instead of the ginger garlic paste, you can add as whole. Once the rice is cooked and pressure falls off, you can sprinkle a tsp of lemon Juice.


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Paneer Achari | Achari Paneer ~ How to make Paneer Achari

>>  Thursday, January 17, 2013

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We are starting the third week of Blogging Marathon and going by my recent online activity, looks BM is saving the blog from not going into a deep slumber. Imagine it felt like yesterday it was the beginning of the month and now it already so many days passed. I know I will always end up feeling as if I am not doing anything and nothing to stop the days from flying. And I end up feeling I wasted the day. How do you measure how effective you spent your day? If you are not up to my rants today, please ignore my banter and go ahead to check out my recipe of the day.

However if you are okay reading and empathising, then be my guest. Why is that we feel 24 hours is not just enough? How do you really measure how much we did in a day. There have been days when I wake up and plan as I carry on my morning cooking, on the tasks that I need to complete. I diligently write them down on a paper, always carry that paper wherever I go and keep striking out things that got done. After a while I was feeling I was simply passing my life on the tunes of that paper. Then came some days, when with vengeance I vowed to just enjoy my present. I used to stay up the whole night sometime, reading or watching what I wanted to catch up. At about 5 in the morning, I realise I still got to cook, report to work and most important get the kids ready for school. Exactly at that point something sort of heaviness settles down and I force myself to simply carry on. Life went on for a while like this. Then again I got back my vigour and wanted to cook and keep updated. And yes, for a while you saw posts that were not BM related.

Imagine I am still shocked at how I managed seven day BM, all of them being done on the previous day and clicked and shared the same day. Guess we humans are funny creatures!

Now enough of my ranting, if you felt I spoke what you thought, then you have my heartfelt thanks and I feel little relived for having some company. It does feel lonely to think I might have been the eccentric one.

Coming to the recipe of the day, I had this earnest wish to cook from restaurant menus. When ever I glance through the menus, I read more in detail to see if I can decipher what exactly goes into that dish. Most times one is stumped. Nevertheless, I have attempted this exercise with Amma and Athamma for the entire time long. While Hubby dear would be entertaining and playing with kids, this used to be our pass time. So when I decided that I wanted to do this as a theme, I searched for many sites that share their menus.

I selected some with different combinations. I decided to do the menu from India Palace Restaurant

This is a simple and delicious Paneer gravy in a Achari style. Now don't ask me how this name came about, for I have no clue.


 Very blurred but couldn't miss this step!






Paneer Achari

Ingredients Needed

Paneer - 1/2 kg
Oil - 2 tps
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Black mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds 1/4 tsp
Nigella seeds 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Ground onions 4 nos
Chopped green chillies 8 nos
Turmeric a pinch
Ginger Garlic paste 1 tsp
Whipped Curd  - 1/2 cup
Dry mango powder 1 tsp
Kashmiri mirch 2 tsp / Or regular Chili powder - 1 tsp
Sugar  - 1 tsp ( I didn't add)
       
How to make Paneer Achari

Heat the oil and fry the fennel, fenugreek, nigella and cumin seeds.

After few seconds, add onions and green chillies. Stir and fry until golden in colour.

Add turmeric powder, garlic and ginger pastes. Fry for a minute.

Pour in the yoghurt, dry mango powder, chilli powder, sugar and salt.

Cook until oil separates.

Add paneer with about 150 ml water. Allow it to heat through. Season and serve.

Notes:

In the hurry, I forgot to grind the onions as we have power cuts. So I chopped it very fine and add.

The reception was very excepted and pleasing. Parents loved it so much. If you are not used to eating kalonji you might need a while to get used to it. 

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Blogging Marathon # 25 - 3 Day Marathon for 4 weeks!

>>  Wednesday, January 16, 2013

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I feel so proud writing this post. Nothing short of being surprised and happy that we are here after 25 months of having started something tangible, something so wonderful that has bound so many bloggers around the globe. There have been some bloggers who did some, some who did many, some who did all the editions. You know who you are, I am so glad this Blogging Marathon caught on your fancy as it has me. 

February marks the 25th Edition and we have planned on a large scale to celebrate this occasion. I would not reveal the plan right away, would want to have the surprise till the end and share the joy with you all. So stay tuned for that!

In fact I spoke about it last month when I was happy marking the 2nd year of BM being started. Hope you read again and be part of this wonderful event. 


Okay, coming back to the regular stuff, for those of you who are landing here for the first time, then please check out these posts on Blogging Marathon, you can read about all the history, the thought process that's gone in everything in one place in the BM#18 intro

For details on BM held every month, check out the Blogging Marathon page. Once I get all details I will be updating this page. Bloggers taking part in this marathon need to just link back to this page.

The entry is again by Sign ups and each theme will again have only 4 bloggers on first come first basis. 

And because of the new rules I will not be able to accept late sign ups as it will become extremely hard for me to manage otherwise. If you feel you want to do it, please decide ahead, else you can join later.

Commenting on the week blogger's post is mandatory.

And subscription to the group will be monthly basis. 

If you want to know how the Blogging Marathon started, read the first edition

So the 25th edition will 
3, 4, 5 February 
10, 11, 12 February 
17, 18, 19 February 
24, 25, 26 February 

Please email me at spicingyourlife@gmail.com latest by 23rd January along with your theme.

FYI:  Requests to join after 23rd January will not be accepted.

Mandatory rules for this Blogging Marathon are as below:
  • Should take up 2 weeks of BM without fail. It can be any two weeks.
  • Will have to post on all 3 days with 2 weeks without fail
  • Same theme can't be taken by one blogger.
  • Should follow the accepted theme all 3 days, meaning if you choose one topic like Rice, you should post all rice based recipes all 3 days.
  • Should link to the Blogging Marathon page.
  • Is expected to actively give feedback on others post.
  • Mandatory reading and commenting on fellow participating member.
Each theme can be selected by four bloggers on first come first bases. 

Other rules will be mailed to the individuals.

Themes for BM # 25th will be the following:

Since having this theme is to make sure my Kid's Delight event gets good entries, I thought it makes sense to have two themes based on the hosting time.

Kid's Delight - Lunch Box Recipes (3,4,5 and 10,11,12)
Kid's Delight - Back to Hostel Food (17,18,19 and 24,25,26)

Kid's Delight - Lunch Box Recipes (3,4,5 and 10,11,12)


PJ is starting the new year with a request for all to make Lunch Box recipes suitable for kids. These recipes needless to say, should be Kid approved and appropriate to be packed in a box for school. 

Depending on your child's age group, please mention in the post and along with other things that you will be packing for the kid.

Kid's Delight - Back to Hostel Food (17,18,19 and 24,25,26) 

As always Kamalika thinks differently. This edition she is calling for ideas to pack back to your kids who go back to hostels to study. As hard it will be to send away kids to hostels, it's always done with best intentions. So they might as well enjoy their hostel again with foods packed from home. So from Feb to Mar 15th, you can prepare any food that would stay good for kids who carry back food with them that would have longer shelf life etc.. that would make Back to hostel Food


Cooking from a book

As the name says, you can cook anything from a book. Only requirement is you got to give reference to the book, either online or hard copy. You can simply click a picture of the book, without any copyright infringement. If you select three different cooks for all three days.

How to make - Basics Liquids

Under this you can make anything like sauce, be sweet or savoury  anything that can be used a topping, sauce. It can't be paste, powder etc. Should be in liquid form and no powder. Should essentially have steps and clear method to make it.

North East Indian Cuisine

Look up Internet to check out which all states will fall under this cuisine and cook three dishes from it.

Baking with Whole Grains 

As the name says, you can bake anything with whole grains. It can be unleavened bread, oven baked, stove top or tandoor. But different grain each day.

Cooking with Alphabets

The dish can start in any language. Only condition all three should fall be either baked, steamed, or cooked on stove top from the below list

K, M, I

A, L , F

O, R, V

S, G, N

Breakfast on the run

Meaning the breakfast should be fixed within 30 mins if cooked from scratch or 15 mins if assembled. It can be open toast stuffed sandwich, rotis and rolls.

Special Theme -  

1. BM 25th Edition Special
2. Any one of the above editions that is eligible

Option is for those who are part of the 25th Special event. Others who want to do the 4th week can opt for the second option.


Do three weeks and for the 4th week you get to do the special theme.

This is accepted only for the 4th week.


********************************
Please spread the details if you want your friends to be part of this marathon.

Let's gear up for another non stop blogging!

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Microwave Eggless Chocolate Cake

>>  Saturday, January 12, 2013

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For the finally day under making desserts for kids, I decided on making this quick eggless version of chocolate cake in microwave. It takes just about 2 mins to get done. I used a Silicone pan, which was really so flexible, that you can just tilt it down. The cake turned out really so soft that you can bake two of these and sandwich with cream if you so wish.

Konda took these for snacks and really loved them. So when you ever feel like indulging in chocolate treat, this is very simpe to make. Knowing that I might as well have a recipe with these proportion, I replaced the cocoa powder with drinking chocolate powder. I don't remember how it was with cocoa powder, if I have the same measurement. However with drinking chocolate, it was good.

Sending this to Veena who is hosting my Kid's Delight Edition


Eggless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients Needed

All purpose flour / Maida - 1 cup
Sugar, powdered - 3/4 cup
Butter, melted - 1/4 cup
Drinking Chocolate powder - 1/4 cup
Baking soda  3/4 tsp
Baking powder  1/4 tsp
Salt  a pinch
Milk   1/2 cup

Icing Sugar for Dusting

2 x 9 inch round or square microwavable cake dishes

How to bake Eggless Cake

Sift the flour, chocolate powder, baking soda and powder and transfer into a mixing bowl.

Add the salt, sugar, fat, milk. Beat the mixture using a wooden spoon or a beater till well blended.

Pour the batter into microwaveable baking tray.  Microwave for 2 minutes.

Rotate again and bake 1 minute.

Let stand for five minutes then turn cake out of the tin.



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Eggless Microwave Chocolate Muffin all in 2 Minutes!

>>  Friday, January 11, 2013

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As I said yesterday I wasn't really sure if I will be able to make the rest of the two day posts. However after reading Pradnya's comment that she was sure I would be able to make it, I wasn't about to let her down. So even though these were not what I had originally planned for these two days, I ended what was easy for me, in terms of both cooking and getting disappeared. Microwave Chocolate based dishes.

These two recipes were adapted from what I recently saw in NDTV came as life savers. I didn't even bother to check if I had the same measurement already. Microwave cooking ensures you have your goods in as short as 2 mins. When you are making muffins, make sure you add more liquid in terms of milk and cook for just about a minute or two. It's all its needed for the cake to get done. 


We are leaving on our Annual visit to my sil's place and I wanted to make sure I do these two posts. I had even procrastinated the biscuits I normally make. Ever year it's something new that I make. However this year it again was based on the Butter Biscuits that I had already done.

Now coming back to the muffins, here you go. I didn't even notice that these muffins didn't call for cocoa powder, I simply assumed and went ahead as Chinnu won't even touch if it was otherwise.

Sending this to Veena who is hosting my Kid's Delight Edition

Microwaved Eggless Muffins

Ingredients Needed

All purpose Flour - 2 cups
Cocoa powder - 1/4 cup
Baking powder    2 tsp
Butter    1/2 cup
Sugar-powdered    1/2 cup
Milk -  1 cup
Vinegar - 2 tsp

About 20 microwavable muffin moulds
Method

Mix the flour, baking powder, melted butter and sugar.

Add the milk, vinegar, vanilla and mix.

Beat the batter smooth. Transfer onto the muffin moulds.

Microwave for 2 minutes. Check and bake 1 minute. Let stand for 5 minutes then take out of the oven.

Notes:

I used Microwavable Silicone muffins, which was so easy to handle. Amma got these from UK so I was happy finally using what she got for me.


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 24

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Caramel Custard | How to make Caramel Custard with Chocolate topping

>>  Thursday, January 10, 2013

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We are starting the second week of BM # 24 and I decided to do Dessert, thinking that would be easiest to please with my kids. Little did I know I would end up being so confused with what to make. Of course, anything chocolate will disappear no time. Even though I have loads of chocolate recipes to try, I really wanted to try something different and see if my kids like it.

I had this Caramel Custard in mind for a long time and I simply had to do this. I made this over the weekend and wanted to make the rest as well. Guess I was being too optimist. I did only one and never came around the rest. I am not sure if I will be able to manage this week. Let's see how things go.

Sending this to Veena who is hosting my Kid's Delight Edition


Coming back to this recipe, I made the caramelised sugar, wanted to do an exclusive post on that. So once I do that, I will update this post with that details. Till then you got to just know that sugar is melted directly and then water added and cooked on high to get that brown liquid. I topped with chocolate scrapping, some ended up being little chunks, no doubt it surely added to the final taste.

I made it in individual serving bowls and it was really so delicious! I even kept some in freezer and served it couple of days later, well I completed it all myself. Konda liked it and I liked it even much better.


Step by Step Pictures








Caramel Custard with Chocolate scrapping.

Ingredients Needed

Sugar - 1/4 cup
Milk - 1/2 litre
Custard Powder (Vanilla flavored) - 4 tbsps
Chocolate - 3 teaspoons (scraped or powdered)
Vanilla essence few drops

How to make Caramel Custard
       
Make Sugar Caramelize and keep it aside 

Mix custard powder with 20 ml milk and keep it aside. Make sure the milk is not hot, else you won't be able to make a smooth paste.

In a thick bottom pan, boil milk and add sugar. Reduce the flame.

Now add the custard milk mixture to the boiling milk. Cook for 5 minutes till it thickens.

Now add vanilla essence and remove from fire. In individual serving bowls, add the caramelized sugar first.

On the caramelized sugar add the custard mixture and add the chocolate powder on the top.

Cool it and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Serve as such or reserved.



Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 24

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