Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Palak and Black Eye Pea Vadas

Here is another dish with Black eye peas. You can call it vadas if you shape it or just drop it in oil without shaping it- you have fritters. This vada tastes very differnt from the channa dal vadas. It is crunchy on the outside and so soft on the inside. Recently I saw these pea fritters in one of our fellow bloggers blog. But I'm so sorry. I forgot who it was. Anyway, that's how I was reminded of this dish that I had made years ago... maybe 4 years back.

I saw this dish in the 'melting pot' foodtv show. A carribean cook did this. I don't remember her name. She served it with cucumber raitha. Initially, I was doubtful of the combination , but I remember that my hubby really enjoyed that combo. I tried to locate the recipe from 'Food TV' but couldn't find it. So, I recreated the recipe to best of my knowledge. Also, I added palak for my touch. It tasted sooo good.

Hey, I know what you are thinking. You might wonder what am I doing with fried foods when I'm bragging that I'm on diet. Actually, I didn't eat even one. Just tasted the batter for seasonings before frying it. 'B' wanted a tea time snack, so it was made just for him. He relished all the vadas without any one to compete for it. Didn't have time for the raitha. So I served it just with tomato ketchup and sweet tamarind sauce. My hubby liked it both. Ok, it's time for the recipe. Here goes.

Black eye peas- 1 cup (soaked overnight)
onion- 1/2 (finely chopped)
clove- 1
saunf- 1 tsp
ginger- 1/2 "
green chillies- 3
salt- as needed
palak- 1/2 cup (chopped. can add more if needed)


Drain the soaked peas. Grind it with clove, saunf, ginger, chilli and salt to a coarse batter. Do not add water. Otherwise the batter will become runny and you can't shape it. Scoop out the ground paste and add chopped onions and palak. Mix well. Test for seasoning level. Finally shape them into vadas and deep fry in oil. Serve it hot with cucumber raitha, sauce or mint chutney.

Here is another look....

Black Eye Peas Kurma

Well, I'm including a lots of legumes in my diet now. Most of the time I just boil them and eat it without doing any extra work. But I still have to cook for 'B'. So, the other day I made a simple kurma with the Black eye peas. It turned out pretty good. I was tired to make chappathis , so I made cumin rice instead. The next day, I served it for breakfast with dosas. It was a perfect accompaniant for both. So, here is the recipe. Nothing fancy. Just the regular kurma but it has black eye peas instead of the vegetables. But each dish looks and taste different because of the variation in the ingredients we use. Don't you agree?

Blackeye peas- 2 cups (soaked and pressure cooked for 1 whistle)
cloves- 2
elachi- 1
Onion- 1/2
tomato- 1
ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
corriander leaves- 2 tbsp
green chillies- 4
saunf- 1 tsp
corriander seeds- 1 tsp
cinnamon- 1/2 "
grated coconut- 1/4 cup
cashews- 4 (optional. I did not add in mine)
Poppy seeds- 1 tbsp (soak for 15 mins in water before grinding)
water- 1 1/2 cups

Soak black eye peas overnight and pressure cook it with some salt and turmeric for 1 whistle. If your cooker needs more whistle time cook accordingly. Grind everything from green chillies to poppy seeds. Then heat oil in a kadai and fry the cloves and elachi. Can use bay leaf also. Then add onions and saute until golden brown. Next add ginger garlic paste and turmeric. After that add tomatoes and cook until soft. Now add the ground paste and saute until the raw smell goes. Maybe 5 mins. Then add water, salt and bring to a nice boil. Taste the gravy and add more salt or chilli powder if needed. Finally add the boiled peas and corriander leaves. Bring to one more boil and serve hot with rotis, rice or Dosa. It can be had like a soup too. It's so wholesome and fulfilling.

Note: If you don't have time to grate coconut and grind it, just use canned coconut milk. Also you can omit coconut if you don't want that fat. In that case you can add some rice flour or some corn flour to thicken the gravy. Either way it tastes good.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Peas Masala

Here is another simple dish that goes very well with chapathi, naans and Ghee Rice. Yes, it it Peas Masala or Mattar Masala. You can use the frozen peas for this dish if you are running short of time. But I like the fresh ones or the dry ones the most for this dish. Here I have used the dried ones. I soaked them overnight and boiled them the next day. It's tastes so different from the frozen ones. So, let's go to the recipe.


Green Peas- 2 1/2 cups
Onion- 1 (small or medium)
ginger- 1"
garlic- 3 pods
fennel seeds- 1 tsp
cumin- 1/2 tsp
corriander seeds- 1/4 tsp
corriander leaves- a small fistful
mint leaves- 2 or 3 (optional)
green chilli- 1
tomatoes- 1 big
turmeric- 1/2 tsp
chilli powder- 1/4 tsp
chicken masala powder- 1/2 tsp(can use garam masala or any other masala powder)
salt- as requiredwater- 1 1/2 cups.


Soak dry peas overnight. Next day boil until just done with some salt and set aside.
Heat oil in a kadai. Grind everything from onion to green chillies. Add this paste to the oil and fry until you get a good smell or until the raw smell goes away. Then add finely chopped tomatoes and all the curry powders. Saute for 5 mins until the tomatoes gets all mushed up and the oil spots appear on top. Then pour water. The measure for water is approximate. You can add more or less as needed. Bring it to a nice boil. Then add boiled peas and boil one more time. Garnish with corriander leaves. You can add some cream or malai to make this gravy rich. Adding some cashew nut paste makes the gravy rich too. I've not used any of those here. But you can try it if you want. These can make your dish taste the best only setting apart the calorie aspect. I served mine with roti on the day I made. Next day I served it for Dosas. Tasted great with both.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Channa Pulav / Biryani

In the past week some of you might have seen that my blog went topsy turvy. That's b'coz I made a bad decision of changing my template. Although I really liked my new template , it was too hard for me to make the alingment and colors work right. I spent an entire day experimenting and finally I gave up. I decided to stick to my original one atleast for the time-being.

Ok , I hear you all saying.... "What's cooking ?". So, let's move to it. Today it is Channa Biryani or Pulav. The recipe is not any different from our regular pulavs. But adding channa instead of the vegetables is the only variation. It's quite a change from the usual dish. My normally complaining hubby itself enjoyed it. So, you can get the idea that it was pretty good. Now to the recipe....


Basmathi Rice- 2 cups
water- normal ratio is (1: 1 1/2) where 1 is rice and 1 1/2 is water. But my cooker needs a little more water, so I follow (1 : 1 3/4)
Oil- 2 tbsp
cardamom- 2
cloves- 2
bay leaf - 1
cinnamon stick - 1"
fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp
star anise- 1
Onion- 1/2 (sliced)
Tomato -1
mint leaves- chopped (handful)
corriander leaves- chopped (handful)
Potato- 1 (skinned and cubed)
Channa - 3/4 th cup
ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
green chillies- 2 (slit)
turmeric- 1/2 tsp
chilli powder- 1/2 tsp
salt- as per taste
coconut milk- 1/4 cup (optional)


Soak channa in water overnight. Next day boil it in a cooker until 3/4 th done. Drain and keep aside.Heat oil in a cooker and fry all the spices. Next add the onions and saute until golden brown. Then add ginger garlic paste and green chillies. After a minute add potatoes and fry for another 5 mins. Next add tomatoes, mint and corriander leaves. Saute until the tomatoes are mushed up. Then add turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Saute until the raw smell goes. Next add coconut milk and water. If you are adding coconut milk count that also as water and measure it accordingly. Close the cooker and allow the water to come to a boil. Don't put the vent yet. After a few minutes add rice and channa. Mix well and close the cooker again. When you see the steam coming up consistently put the vent on and keep the flame in medium. Set the timer for 8 minutes and then switch off the gas. Wait for the steam to subside. Open the cooker and give a good mix. Add some lemon juice (1 tbsp) and corriander leaves. Serve it hot. I did mine with cucumber raitha and some chips.

Here is another closer look. Hope you give it a try and enjoy it too!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Breaking the Break with a Cake

Well...I'll start with an apology for disappearing out the blogsphere without any notice. Initially it was my son and the holidays that kept me busy. After awhile, I kind of became a little lazy to blog. Also, like most of the people I chose the "weight loss" as my New Year Resolution. So all my favorite and comfort foods are off-limits for now. That's why I didn't check any of your blogs either for the fear of facing temptation. I'm so sorry that and I promise to check all of your posts soon.

Although this was a long break, I have accomplished a few things with Kavin. He has started eating normal foods without pureeing. In just 2 weeks his diet has changed completely. He now eats a wide variety of food and I have become tension free. I consider this as my "8th World Wonder" as I have been thinking when that "time" would come for Kavin to stop gagging on foods and eat normally. I also feel that ever since I posted the info about
Kawasaki disease many people had been sending their prayers and blessings for Kavin and that seems to have changed him sooooo much. I have no words to express my THANKS to each and every one of you for all your support.

Coming to the cooking part, I have been doing it everyday but rarely took pictures of it. Anyway, here is my first cake that I baked for "B" for his b'day. He is not a big fan of frostings. So I chose this pineapple upside-down cake and I followed the recipe from my Southeren Living Cookbook. The cake turned out really good and we enjoyed every single bite of it. It tasted exceptionally good with some ice cream on the side. For a amature baker like me this recipe turned out to be a great success. I hope you try it too if you haven't baked this cake before.

Butter or margarine- 1/2 cup
Brown sugar - 1 cup (firmly packed)
pineapple slices - 3 (8 1/4 oz) cans undrained
Pecan halves- 10 ( I did not use it as I didn't have it)
maraschino cherries- 11 (cut into halves) (use more like me if you want to)
large eggs - 2 (seperated)
egg yolk- 1
sugar- 1 cup
All-purpose flour - 1 cup
baking powder- 1 tsp
ground cinnamon- 1/2 tsp
salt- 1/4 tsp
vanilla extract- 1 tsp
cream of tartar- 1/4 tsp

This recipe calls for using a cast-iron skillet. But I had only cake pans so I went ahead and used it. First you melt the butter in microwave and pour it in the cake pan. Spread it evenly. Then sprinkle brown sugar and press it to the bottom.
Drain Pineapple, reserving 1/4 cup juice. Set juice aside. Arrange pineapple slices in the pan as desired. You can keep it whole or cut it up. Place a cherry half in the center of each pineapple rounds. Other than that you can arrange cherries as you like.
Beat 3 egg yolks at high speed with an electric mixeruntil thick and pale. Gradually add sugar and beat well. Combine flour and the next 3 ingredients. Stir well. Add to egg mixture alternately with reserved 1/4 cup pineapple juice. Stir in vanilla.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into batter. Spoon batter evenly over pineapple in the cake pans. Bake at 350 deg for 45 to 50 mins or until the cake is set. You can tell that the cake is done when you see that the toothpick you insert in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Rest the cake for 10 mins and then invert it. Pour any remaining glaze on the top of the cake. Cut it into wedges and enjoy it while it is still warm with some cold vanilla ice-cream.
I hope not to take a break anymore. But I'm going to limit my blogging hours as I don't want to sit in my couch all the time. I'll visit all of your blogs in the weekend and make up for the lost time. Take care guys and have a great weekend.