Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Eggless Coconut Cranberry Cookies

These coconut cookies are easy to prepare and turn out to be super tasty. I have used half of fresh grated coconut and half of dried coconut powder in this recipe.Fresh (or frozen) coconut renders great taste to these cookies. This recipe makes 15-17 cookies.

You will need:

1 cup All purpose flour
1/2 a cup of fresh finely grated fresh coconut
1/2 cup of dry coconut powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cranberries
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 tsp cardamom powder
A pinch of saffron
pinch of baking soda
Sugar for dusting

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 375 F, and lightly grease a baking tray.
  2. Mix together all purpose flour, 1/4 cup of dry coconut powder, cardamom powder, baking powder.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together till it becomes light and creamy. Add saffron and fresh coconut to the butter and sugar mixture and mix well.
  4. Now add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, fold in the cranberries and mix everything to make a very soft dough.
  5. Divide this dough in 15-17 parts and make rounds with a circular motion of your palm. Roll this round in the remaining dry coconut powder, flatten it slightly and place on baking tray. Dust the top of the cookies with some powdered sugar.
  6. Bake the cookies in pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes till they are golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven when done, cool and enjoy with milk or coffee this winter :-)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Paav-Bhaji- - With homemade Paav

I had paav-bhaji in US at a friends place who is from Maharashtra. It is the most popular street food of Mumbai. But after eating it at my friends place I realized its a complete meal. I badly wanted to make it at home and went searching for paav. But the US dinner rolls in the stores mostly said eggs in ingredients. So it was not possible for me to buy those. I had to make paav at home. Now this was a little daunting, but I thought of giving it a try after I found a recipe for paav.

So for Paav(bread) you need:

5 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups water
1 packet active dry yeast(7 gm)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoon butter melted

Preparing the paav dough....

Mix sugar and yeast. Heat the water to 80 degrees centigrade. It should be warm but not feel hot when you dip a finger. Add a little water to yeast and sugar first and mix. Let it stand for a minute. Add all the water to the yeast mixture after a minute.

Now make the dough by slowly adding the water to the flour. Try to utilize all the water. The dough will become very sticky but if you continue to knead it, the stickiness would soon reduce. This is a time consuming process as you have to be patient with the dough. You should try to utilize all of the water, the dough should be very soft.

Now incorporate the melted butter in this dough. Add a little and then knead for a minute. keep on adding till you use up all the butter. Once the dough is done, knead it for about 5 minutes.

Keep this dough in a bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. keep the bowl in a warm place. I usually turn on the oven lights and keep the dough inside the oven.

Let the dough proof for and hour.

After 1 hour take out the dough, it would have risen to double its size. Punch it and knead just a little. Now grease and flour a baking tray. Make about 15 pieces of the dough and make rounds in a circular fashion and keep it in the baking tray. Arrange the rounds as shown in the picture, let them touch each other a little. Cover the tray with a plastic wrap loosely and let the dough rise for another 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes the dough would have risen as
shown in the picture. Take some milk and brush the top of the rounds with it.

Preheat oven to 400 F. bake the paav for 25 mins at 400-375 degrees F. Check after 25 mins, if the top is golden brown and the paav seems baked well, take it out and cool on a rack. Brush the top with some butter so that it does not dry out. Serve warm with Bhaji.

Bhaji Recipe:

For the Bhaji, you can use any number of vegetables that you like, potatoes, cauliflower, beans, peas, carrots, turnips, corn. Whatever you have in the refrigerator just get it.

So here is what you need:

4 cups of chopped vegetables
1 big red onion chopped fine
5 medium sized tomatoes chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 heaped tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1/2 cup chopped capsicum
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
2 teaspoons paav bhaji powder(MTR, Everest, MDH brands available in Indian stores)
3 Tbspns of butter
salt to taste

Pressure cook the vegetables with 1/2 cup of water for about 10 mins.
Heat 2 Tbspns of butter in a deep pan.
Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
Add ginger-garlic paste, onions and capsicum and let it cook till the onions are translucent.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are very tender.
Add the paav bhaji masala and red chilli powder and cook for another 2 mins.
Now mash all the boiled vegetables and add to the gravy. Add salt and mix well. Add about 1 cup of water and 1 Tbspn of butter and let it simmer. The gravy will become of saucy consistency.

Serve hot with paav garnished with chopped onion tomatoes and a dash of lemon juice.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tea -time wonders -- Eggless Scones

Tea-time had always been a very special part of the day for me. Even as a kid I looked forward to evening tea with the entire family since that is when I used to get to eat some of my favorite cookies and cakes. My Dad used to often get certain triangular shaped nutty delight from his favorite bakery. Years later I learned that those were the scones that the British introduced into the Indian tea-time.

I recently came across a recipe for scones and decided to make my own. They had to be egg-less for me so I modified it according to my taste. I added the quintessential Indian flavor of saffron and cardamom to these legacy delights of the Raj!

Here's what you'll need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk or yogurt or whole milk+ few drops of lemon
5 Tbsps of butter
1/2 cup of chopped almonds
1/4 cup of dried cranberries
1+1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp saffron
1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Pre-heat the oven at 400 F.

Soak the saffron in 1 table spoon of milk.

Sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt in a mixing bowl.

Cut butter into the flour mix to get a crumbly texture.

Mix in the sugar first then add the almonds and cranberries.

Now add the saffron and the buttermilk(or yogurt) little by little to get a soft yet manageable dough. Do not add all 3/4 cup of buttermilk, the dough should be soft but not runny. Grease a baking tray with butter and with oiled hands shape the dough into a 1/2 inch round.

Now take a knife, apply some oil to it and cut through the shaped dough to make eight triangular pieces.

Brush the top with some milk and sprinkle some sugar.

Bake for 15 mins or till it turns light golden brown.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Microwave Rava Dhokla

The presence of a microwave and the absence of specialized Indian dishes used for cooking certain items led me to try microwave cooking. Since I did not have any stovetop steel dish to steam my Dhoklas traditionally I tried this recipe because I was craving for them. And to my delight they turned out so soft and puffy. My microwave dhoklas were very well received at a potluck at my community classes. They go very well with the green coriander chutney.

You will need :

2 cups Rawa
1 cup plain Yogurt
1 cup Water
1 tsp Haldi (if you like your Dhokla yellow)
Salt to taste
2 tsp Eno Fruit Salt

For Tadka:

2 tbsp Cooking Oil
Handful of Curry leaves
2-3 Green Chillies diced lengthwise or dried red chillies
1 tbsp of black Mustard seeds
2 tbsp Water
1/2 bunch chopped Cilantro
2 tbsp shredded Coconut

Soak 2 cups rawa, 1 cup yogurt and 1 cup water for 30 minutes.

Grease a microwave proof pan (corning ware with a cover). I use a long
pyrex dish with a cover because you should spread the mixture not very thick
but in a thin/medium layer for them to be soft and pliable.

Add two tsp of Eno to the rawa mixture and pour immediately in the greased pan cook it in the
microwave covered for 10-12 minutes.

After the dhokla's are done. Heat 2 tbsp oil, add black mustard seeds, curry
leaves and green or dried red chillies to the oil. Once the ingredients start spluttering, add
the water and immediately pour the tadka over the dhokla.

Cut the dhokla into pieces and garnish with cilantro and coconut.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pleasures of a gourmet dish--Stuffed Tomatoes

Things have been a little hectic in the preetibhoj household. Four of our friends were paid a visit by the stork and we have been busy welcoming little bundles of joy. It is amazing to see the face of a newly born, it fills you with so much more faith in life. And since babies are being born, grandparents from India have been visiting, which gives me more reason to invite people over for food, chit-chat and memories. I have been busy looking for new recipe with each new dinner and wanted to include something different each time. And my search led me to gourmet cooking and stuffed tomatoes were served and well-received in one of the gatherings.
I have had baked tomatoes at parties and always liked it. This recipe includes making a stuffing and baking tomatoes at 350 degrees F. It is easy to make, yet delicious.

You will need:
5 ripe but very firm tomatoes

...and for stuffing:
1 can whole kernel corn, 1/4 cups finely chopped cauliflower, 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, 1/4 cups of cooked beans(i used edmame beans), about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, 3/4 cups of bread crumbs, 1 tbspn of lemon juice, 2 green chillies finely chopped, salt and pepper.
...preparations for stuffing:
Drain the corn of all water. Put a tsp of butter in a pan and roast the corns for about 3-4 mins so that they turn a little crunchy.
Cook the cauliflower in the microwave for 2 mins so that it looses some of its water.
Now mix all the ingredients of the stuffing together.

..preparing the tomato:
lightly spray the tomatoes with olive oil, then cut off a round cap at the top of tomato. Spoon out the seeds and water(can be used in soups) to make a hollow in the tomato. Now take spoonfuls of stuffing and fill liberally into the tomatoes. Bake these at 350 degrees F for 20-25 mins, till the skin of the tomato starts shrinking. Serve it warm and while basking in the pleasure of being a gourmet cook!