Aug 5, 2010

Batata vada!!

Sorry peeps! 5 months have gone by without a word from me. Finally got my craft stuff and been crafting ever since..This is where you'll find me most of the time - Tejal Creates.

Anyhow, with the rains here, DH has been pestering me for something fried. And you might not belive me, but I have never made any fried food..I do eat it outside, but making it at home!! I generally gag at the thought of so much oil..And then I happened upon Dhivya's recipe (I hope I got your name right, never seen a mention of it, only DK) and therefore was totally inspired to cook hubby some fattening food with less oil..nothing better than batata vada for the true blood mumbaikar!!

I took the process but made it with the stuffing of a batata vada, with loads of garlic and chillies. And please forgive the photos, these are all I could take with DH standing behind me sneaking one vada at a half of them are gone before I could photograph them..

List of ingredients ( made 10 vadas )

  • 4 med size potatoes -boiled
  • 4 large cloves of garlic (you can add more or less)
  • 2 green chillies
  • salt to taste

For tempering
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp urad dal (split black lentils)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • pinch of asafoetida

For the batter :

  • about 2 tbsp channa flour (Besan)
  • 1  tbsp rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder, or as per taste
  • little salt to taste)
Method :

  • Mash the potatoes well.
  • Mash the garlic and green chillies to a fine paste, add it to the potatoes.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • For the tempering, heat the oil, add the urad dal, as soon as it turns pink add the mustard seeds.
  • Let them crackle, then add curry leaves, and asafoetida. add turmeric in the end and take of the flame immediately, lest it burn. Adding the turmeric  in the tempering reduces the raw taste of turmeric which I generally don't like.
  • Add it to the potatoes and mix well. 
  • Shape into small balls, that should fit into the wells of the appe pan.

  • Mix the ingredients of the batter and make a thick batter so that it can coat the vada's well. Add less salt in the batter, since the vada's already have salt 

Add 1 tsp oil into each well of the appe pan, let it heat up. Dip  the vadas into the batter and then drop it into the well of the pan. Let it brown on the underside before you turn it. It should take about 5-6 min for the vada to be done perfectly. Keep turning, so that it cooks well on all sides. And when frying for the next batch, put some more oil in the appe moulds, let it heat up and then add the rest of the vadas to cook.

Sadly this is the only photo I managed of the vadas. The rest were gone!! Enjoy on a cold rainy evening!

Mar 23, 2010

In the mood for some Thai?

I love thai red curry with some steamed is heaven. Haven't yet tried the yellow or green Thai curries. Will do sometime soon.

I am a lazy bum..most of you know that(those who didn't, now you know). If there is a way with a short cut, I will do it. So also with this recipe, I don't make the curry paste. I have a box of ready made curry paste, also don't bother extracting coconut milk..cartons or dehydrated powders to the rescue. There are several traditionalists who believe that everything done from a scratch gives you the best taste..I fully agree, so the next time you make something from a scratch, call me..I'll come over for a bite...As for me..I still love my shortcuts!

I had been over to Pune, to meet my in-law cousins..and there is a very famous shop over there..Dorabjee's. Went hunting there for some herbs, sauces and brought the Pantai Red Curry paste . Its superb. I've had no complaints so far...

Whenever H comes home grinning having spotted a perfect packet of white mushrooms, I know next day it is going to be Thai Red Curry with rice. And he slurps over every last bit of gravy...

If you have the short-cuts ready, this dish is ready in flat 15 more...

I'm giving you a recipe for Red curry paste for the ones who love making it at home..(its from a nita-mehta book..I've tried it once!)

Thai Red Curry

For the red curry paste

4-5 Kashmiri Red chillies - soaked in 1/2 cup of warm water for 10 min
1/2 onion - chopped
8-10 garlic flakes - peeled
1 1/2 slice ginger - sliced
1 stalk lemon grass or rind of 1 lemon
3-5 stalks of coriander
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin
6 peppercorns
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vinegar

6-8 babycorn - slit lengthwise
1 medium broccoli- cut into florets
5-6 mushrooms - sliced
1/2 red, yellow, green capsicum - cubed 1"
2 small brinjals - sliced (optional)

Other ingredients
3 cups coconut milk mixed with 1 Tbsp cornflour
1/2 tsp soya sauce
10 basil leaves - chopped or use coriander leaves
salt to taste
1/2 tsp brown sugar/ regular sugar

Grind all the ingredients of the red curry paste along with the water in which you've soaked red
chillies. Grind it to as fine paste as you can.

1. Heat a non-stick pan, add about 1Tbsp oil, add the paste, fry for a few seconds on low heat.
( you can make this oil-free by omitting the oil and adding the paste straight into the difference in taste). Since I use the ready-made paste, I add about 2 Tbsp of the paste..I like it a bit on the hotter side..

2. Add 3-4 Tbsp of coconut milk (can use fresh coconut milk, straight from the carton or mix water and dried coconut powder-Maggi). Add vegetables and cook for 3-4 minutes.

(Love the green color of broccoli in this...and the crunch..yumm..Thank God broccoli is cheap now.)

3. Add the rest of the coconut milk, soya sauce, chopped basil leaves.

4. Cover and simmer on low heat for 5-8 min, till the vegetable are tender (Do not over cook them, they should still have a crunch)

5. Add salt and sugar to taste. Bring to a boil, let it boil for 1-2 min. Take off the heat and serve hot with steamed rice.

These days, this recipe is not so frequent. With the temperatures hitting the 40C mark, its tough to work in the kitchen. So most days food is something cold- Curd Rice, Dahi Vada - which I learnt from Arundati's..made in an appam patra..sometimes its cold pani-puri..some cold salads..

Still searching for some cold foods to make.

Mar 15, 2010

Mushroom Capsicum

One fine day, H came home with a big grin on his face. And then proudly showed me what he got. A packet of button mushrooms. Make something nice for me baby, he croons. I’ve never liked mushrooms and at my mom’s place we never even bought mushrooms. And in this one year of marriage, I’ve had to dig through the net and search and search for recipes. So then I found this one by Nita Mehta. 7am, and I’m digging through my recipe books for a recipe. Confirm that I have all the ingredients and then set out to prepare this for the first time to give it to him in his tiffin.

I applauded my own guts, what if it wasn’t good enough? More on that later.

Here’s how it goes,


A cup full of mushroom- wash, dry and cut into thick slices.
1 big onion- finely chopped
3-4 garlic flakes- crushed
1 green chilli- finely chopped
1” ginger-shredded
2 tomatoes-blanched, peeled and then finely chopped
1 capsicum- cut into thin long strips
1 Tbsp tomato ketchup
¼ tsp chilli pwd
Salt to taste
1Tbsp oil
½ tsp ajwain (carom seeds) can use oregano too.

Heat oil, lower the flame and add ajwain.
Add onion and cook till slightly transluscent.
Add garlic, stir.
Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chilli and ginger.
Cook on low flame till tomatoes are dry (takes about 5-8 min)
Add mushroom, salt and chilli pwd. Cook till mushrooms are done.
Add capsicums just before the mushrooms are done.
Cook for a few minutes and you’re done.

Things I learned during this process, mushrooms shrink if cooked for too long. My 1” mushrooms became so tiny, I had to search for them. Let the tomato gravy cook well and then add mushrooms.

And then during his lunchtime, H texts me " just had one bite and I love it. "
So much for risk taking at 7 am, It worked. And when the tiffin box came home in the evening, H had practically licked the tiffin clean. I wondered if he’d washed it and brought it back!!

It was the best compliment he gave me, besides some obnoxious loud belches on the phone.

Feb 23, 2010

A take on the good ol' tomato soup

I'm not a fan of the ready made soups. And I don't have patience to make soups from a scratch, especially if I'm making only for me. But recently, I have fallen in love with the Knorr classic thick tomato soup. Inspite of the fact that tomato soups of any kind give me acidity and reflux. I'm popping antacids after any meal that has tomato gravy. Yet I added a bit here and there and I can tame the acidity of this soup.

I have a confession to make. I love making food, but I hate taking photographs of food. So most of my good recipes end up in my diary. (Yes, I do keep a diary of my favorite dishes, and hope to pass it on to my kids. That is, if in their time, they even learn to cook!) So I have to search for photos off Corbis. Thank God for Corbis.

Here's what you need:

1 packet of Knorr Classic Thick Tomato Soup
2 slices bread (a day old would do great)
1/2 cup milk
a few sprigs of coriander
a pinch of pepper

Make the soup according to directions. When the soup is almost done,add the milk,the coriander leaves, pepper.
Cut the bread into 1" squares, and add half of it to the soup. Give just one boil and take it off the gas.

To serve:
Ladle the soup into the serving bowl and top with the rest of the bread.

For me, the milk and the bread cut down quite a bit of the acidity of the soup. There can be many variations to this.

You can add leftover plain rice to the soup. Makes a filling meal.
Add some cheese on top while serving.

I got this idea from Suganya of Tasty Palettes. I have had her recipe for Tomato bread soup bookmarked for a long time. I figured this was a shortcut for me.

In my last post I mentioned I was going to meet Arundati, a fellow food blogger. It was fantastic to meet her. It is always a pleasure to meet someone so confident and assured of themselves. Their positive outlook on life leaves a mark on you, that confidence rubs off onto you. She is all that and more.
The funny part of it all, we did not talk of food! It did weave itself into the conversations but not recipes or methods or ingredients. How that one hour went by, I just didn't know.

It was the best girl time I had in ages! Here's hoping you visit soon, or I make a trip down south.

I just whined about being lazy to take pics of my food, and the web-surfing Gods brought me to this page..Is there such a thing as web-surfing Gods?

Jan 28, 2010

Mushroom Matar Malai

H loves mushrooms and I can't stand them. But Ido my best to make some for him. Scouring the net, the books for something to make for him. Recently my MIL had bought a book by Nita mehta. Saw something interesting and so decided to make it for him.

And on a completely different note, I'm meeting a fellow food blogger Arundati of Escapades in Ahmedabad. will let you know how the madness goes. Talking food and shopping .. what could be a better combination.
The weather is losing its chill now..last few days before we can savor hot soups, hot biryani's before the heat becomes unbearable. And then it shall be time for cold curd rice, cold soups.

Getting ready for some more food. My younger brother's wedding is in two weeks. Food and more sweets..outfits for me are going to be re-cycled. I've just worn my wedding outfits once, that too just a year why waste money on something new. Its the age of recession, the age of spending wisely. Will def post some photos of that..

Here's the richest recipe for mushrooms..with butter, cashews, cream and some more cream...good for when you want something rich once in a while..

you will need :

200 gm small mushrooms
1 cup peas - boiled or frozed
4Tbsp kasoori methi (this is a must, gives it fabulous flavor)
1tsp ginger-garlic paste
pinch of pepper
1 Tbsp butter (I used one tsp)
2 onions - ground to a paste
1/4 cup malai -mix with 1/4 cup milk and blend or 1/2 cup thin cream
salt to taste
1/2 tsp chilli pwd
1/2 tsp garam masala
pinch of dry mango powder (amchoor)
1/2 cup milk (use as needed)

Dry masala
1/2 stick cinnamon
seeds of 2-3 green cardamom (chhoti elaichi)
3-4 cloves
4-5 pepper corns
2 tsp roasted cashew nuts


Trim the stem of mushroom. If they are big, cut into two, else leave them whole.
heat 1Tbsp butter in a kadhai and add mushrooms. Stir fry on high flame till mushrooms are dry and golden. Add 1tsp ginger-garlic paste, 1/2 tsp salt and pinch of black pepper. stir for another minute and remove from flame. Keep them aside

Grind all the ingredients of the dry fragrant masala to a powder in a mixer..

Heat 3 tbsp of oil, add the onion paste and cook on low heat till oil seperates. Don't brown the onions.

Add the ground masala powder. cook for a few seconds.

Add kasori methi and malai and cook for 2-3 minutes till malai dries. keep on low heat.

Add salt, chilli powder, garam masala, dry mango powder. stir for a minute.

Add the boiled peas and mushrooms.

Add 1/2 cup milk to get a thick gravy. Add few tbsp of water if the gravy is too thick. Boil for 2-3 minutes and serve hot.

If you omit the mushrooms, and add more kasoori methi and increase the amount of peas, you can make matar methi malai. Tastes great..

More later about when Tejalcooks met Escapedes...