Monday, June 30, 2008

Baked Eggs

What do you do when the rest of the family (which is just 1 and a quarter members anyway) wants to eat cornflakes and oats for breakfast on a Sunday morning when you are in the mood for something more elaborate? - Why?! Go right ahead and make something just for yourself.

And its even better if it is something which can be specifically be made in portions for just one person; that way when its time to eat breakfast with everyone else, you don't have to "share".
*evil grin*

Wicked thoughts aside, I was really in the mood to have some eggs for breakfast, but making an omelet with just one egg was not fun while two eggs were too many for a single person. So I baked myself an egg in a ramekin.

The fancy name for this is Eggs en Cocette. Cream, ham, veggies and cheese with just set eggs make a perfect breakfast for one in about 15 minutes. Of course, you can make as many as the people at your table.

I used cream cheese, tomatoes, coriander and LOTS of pepper for my version of this protein packed breakfast. It goes to Weekend Breakfast Blogging's (WBB) second anniversary edition being hosted by Raaga of the Singing Chef - this month focuses on Express Breakfasts. WBB is originally the idea of Nandita of Saffron Trail.

Baked Eggs

1 Egg
1 tbsp Cream Cheese
Half a tomato chopped
2 tbsp coriander leaves

1. Preheat the oveen to 220C
2. Lightly grease a ramekin and fill the bottom with the cream cheese
3. Top the cream cheese with tomatoes and chopped coriander. (If you want to add other veggies like mushroom, zucchini etc, just saute them a bit before adding)
4. Carefully break an egg into the ramekin on top of the tomatoes and coriander.
5. Add salt and pepper - grated cheese can be added at this stage.
6. Place the ramekin into a baking dish with water in it which covers 3/4 th of the ramekin.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, I cooked it till it was firm and set.
8. Eat it from the ramekin with toasted bread while other members look on wide eyed :)

Elaborate versions here and here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


One of my favourite street foods while in college in Mumbai, Dabeli or Double Roti or Kutchi Roti was a filling snack and delicious too! A mixture of mashed potatoes, a tangy date and tamarind chutney, spicy garlic chilli sauce and the crunch of pomegranates and peanuts sandwiched between a pav - I haven't had this in about twelve years and it tasted as lip smacking as I remembered!

Meera of Enjoy Indian Food has a variety of food on her blog - Gujarati, Maharshtrian, Parsi - you name it! Love going through her postings and finding familiar food made easy. This recipe is from her blog - we made a meal of it on the weekend for dinner. Next time I hope to bake the pav too - so much better than the ready made stuff.

So here it is then - Dabeli or Kutchi Roti from Enjoy Indian Food. This goes to Monthly Blog Patrolling (MBP) - this month's edition centres on Street Food. MBP was started by Coffee of The Spice Cafe who has now passed the baton to other food bloggers and this one is being hosted by Sia of Monsoon Spice.
Thanks you Sia for extending the deadline to the 30th, what would we tardy bloggers do without that consideration!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thai Noodle Soup

I thought I was more or less done with soups once the dog days of summer began. But surprise, surprise! summer this year was much kinder than it usually is. We had lots of showers and cloudy days, cool evenings with a light breeze, balmy mornings with a hint of rain. Perfect weather for soup!

Lisa and Holler's blog event No Croutons Required is a perfect place to look for some great soups; check out the round ups here, here and here for some fabulous ideas.

I did, and came across this delicious soup posted by Pixie of You Say Tomato....which is actually a One pot meal in itself.

A few variations to the original recipe and I had a delicious meal in a bowl! The flavours of coconut milk, the vegetables, peanut made it so appetising and the best part of the whole meal was the lemon leaf my friend gave me; its called Gandhraj (Gondraaj by the Bongs!) and is comparable to the Kaffir lime leaves in flavour - just one leaf lent an incredible aroma to this dish.

Thai Noodle Soup goes to this month's edition of A Fruit A Month (AFAM) which is being hosted by Suganya of Tasty Palettes. June's chosen fruit is the Coconut and the originator of this event is Maheswari of Beyond the Usual.

Thai Noodle Soup

100gm Rice noodles halved
4 babycorn sliced lengthwise
1 carrot sliced thin
5 spring onions sliced thinly, greens chopped fine
1/4 cup mixed sprouts

1 tsp oil
2 dried red chillies
Half a coconut grated
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
1 tsp chilli powder
4 cups vegetable stock
juice from one lime
1 or 2 Gandhraj lemon leaves (I keep these frozen and they keep very well)
handful of chopped coriander leaves

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan.
2. Add the dried red chillies and the garlic and saute for half a minute.
3. Put in the sliced spring onions and saute for 2 minutes.
4. In the meantime, add one cup of warm water to the grated coconut and blend in the mixie. Remove from blender and strain well to extract the coconut milk. This is the first extract and is thick.
Add one and a half cups of warm water and return the strained coconut gratings to the blender and run it one more time. Run it through the blender again to get the second extract which will be much thinner.
5. Add the second extract of coconut milk, peanut butter, chilli powder, vegetable stock, babycorn, sprouts, carrots and salt and bring to a boil.
6. Reduce flame and simmer for about 10 minutes till the vegetables are cooked.
7. Add the first extract of coconut milk and the noodles and simmer on a low flame for another 3-4 minutes, then add the lemon juice and Gondhraj lemon leaves and cover tightly and leave for about 5 more minutes till the noodles are cooked through.
8. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and spring onion greens. Serve warm.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Potato Pasta Soup

A very kiddie friendly soup and definitely comfort food at it's best - this creamy soup is great for a rainy night and for a sore throat which won't accept any solid food but needs some soothing nourishment

Potato Pasta Soup


Potato - 1 big cubed
Cauliflower - 5-6 big florets
Onions - 2 medium chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves finely minced
Bay leaf - 1
Oil - 2 tsp
Pasta (preferably macaroni or any other small shapes) - 1/4 cup
Vegetable stock - 500ml
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup
salt to taste
crushed black pepper corn

Wheat flour (or plain flour) - 2 tsp
Butter - 1 tbsp
Milk - 1 cup
Grated cheddar cheese - 4 tbsp


1. Heat a pressure pan and pour the oil into it, drop the bay leaf and when it changes colour, add the onions and saute till transluscent. Add the garlic and fry 1 minute.
2. Toss in the chopped potatoes and cauliflower, fry for 2 -3 minutes, then add the stock, uncooked pasta and salt and pressure cook for eight - ten minutes (2 whistles and 3 minutes on low).
3. Meanwhile in a heavy bottomed pan, make the white sauce; Melt the butter on a low flame and add the flour, fry for 3-4 minutes till it changes colour, then add the milk slowly stirring constantly to make a smooth sauce without lumps. Take off the pan from the flame in between if needed and cook till it thickens. Then add salt and pepper and the grated cheese, mix till it all melts and comes together. Add a little more milk if it is too thick.
4. When the cooker is cool enough, open it and strain the liquid and keep aside. Discard the bay leaf and remove the pasta and keep aside separately.
5. Blend the vegetables with the reserved soup liquid to a creamy puree adding a little water if needed.
6. Add the pureed vegetables and the pasta to the white sauce and return to the stove again, adjusting the salt as needed. Simmer till the pasta takes on the creaminess of the soup. Garnish with coriander leaves.
7. Set aside portions for kids and mix in freshly crushed black pepper and coriander and serve hot.
Sorry for the poor picture quality, I'm not sure what happened there between editing and loading!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nupur's Goan Egg Curry

The monsoon has set in 2 weeks earlier in Delhi and we are enjoying some glorious weather - temperatures in the 30s and even late 20s (celsius) and gentle morning showers - nothing like the furious monsoons I am used to in Mumbai.

With weather like this, it's quite normal for thoughts on a lazy Sunday morning to stray to some exciting food to eat. None 0f the light food we have been sticking to for the summer days, what we need is some spicy, chatpata food.

Egg curry is one of our favourite dishes and I love trying out new versions - always searching for the "perfect egg curry". Looks like I have found it now!

Nupur of One Hot Stove was one of the first food bloggers I came across and at that time her wonderful event A to Z of Marathi dishes was on and that's how I stumbled upon the wonderful world of food blogging! Each of the dishes on Nupur's blog is an individual effort to explore the wonderful world of food. Traditional Indian dishes are made simple and easy to understand while newer cuisines are also tried out and adapted with her usual eagerness to experiment and learn. The recipes are simple and she always talks to her readers - talking down is just not her style!

But behind that modest person, lies someone who has the gifted knack of getting her culinary creations just right. Whether its lip smacking street food like pav bhaji, a "crowd pleaser" like vegetable biryani (this is one dish which I have made on several occasions when we have had people over and its never failed to delight!), Perfect Sabudana or the light as air Vietnamese Summer Rolls, Nupur has been a prolific blogger with a wide variety of dishes on her blog and I am very thankful that not only does she take the time and effort to figure out the best way to make certain dishes, she then comes back and shares it with us!

So when I saw this delicious egg curry she posted for this month's edition of Click, I just knew I had to try it. I didn't have the Goan fish curry masala, so I ground my own from an approximation of what she suggested, using red chillies, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, coconut and garlic. Nupur used coconut milk and since I was using grated coconut I ground the paste really really smooth to make up for that ; while the final outcome may have been a little different from what she had made I must say its by far the most delicious egg curry we have had!

Definitely a keeper of a recipe and I am sending it in to the Tried and Tasted June event being hosted by dear Zlamushka of Burnt Mouth. This is a new event where every month one blog is chosen to be "Tried and Tasted" by trying out recipes.

I also made the Onion Cheese Kulcha, cut down the cheese in it and added a potato in the filling - it was absolutely delicious and made for a wonderful meal paired with the egg curry. Unfortunately, no pics because the dough took a long time to rise in this cool weather and by the time it was baked in the oven we were too hungry to wait and just dug into these hot, filling and absolutely flavourful breads!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sundakkai Vatral Kozhambu - Sundried berries in a tamarind gravy

Vatral (which is colloquially pronounced as "vathal") is the Tamil word for anything sundried and preserved - ranging from vegetables -like onions, brinjal, cluster beans or even bitter melon - to berries like sundakkai (turkey berry) and manathakkali (sunberry).

I acquired my taste for vatral kozhambu from my mother who used to love making different types of kozhambu; when I was old enough to appreciate the sourness of these tamarind based gravies and stand the heat with a bit of sesame oil poured over it she introduced me to puli kozhambu, poondu (garlic) kozhambu, vendhiya (fenugreek) kozhambu, vendakkai kozhambu and vatha kozhambu.

It was a pleasure to have one of these on Saturday afternoons with rice, a porial and lots of appalams to go with it. Sometimes my brother, Mom and me used to sit in a circle on the kitchen floor and she used to mix the rice with the kozhambu and feed us - we used to end up eating double the quantity of food we would normally eat!
When I started making this after getting married, hubby suggested making plain tur dal with a minimal tadka to balance the sourness and heat of the kozhambu, so a new tradition joins the old.

The trick to getting vatha kozhambu right is to make sure that the gravy doesn't become too thin especially if you are making the version which has only tamarind water and red chilli powder. But usually, people add rice flour or roast and grind dals or even add sambar powder to thicken it. I have tried all these but decided that rice flour and dals can kill the heat quite easily and sambar powder changes the taste.

So, what I have arrived at finally is to:
Grind my own masala - which includes red chillies, dals, black peppercorns, fenugreek seeds and a bit of coconut.

Soak a big ball of tamarind in lots of water to get almost 2 cups of thick tamarind extract.

Boil the gravy for almost half an hour and reduce it down ta nice thick consistency; preferably
make it 4-5 hours in advance of the meal so that the flavours are just right.

This time I also added shallots and garlic to the gravy, but it isn't part of the original recipe and can be omitted. I had this for lunch with rice, some keerai masiyal (spinach with lentils) and kovakkai kari(ivy gourd vegetable). Comfort food on a lovely rainy day in Delhi when a creamy pasta or a bhunaoed sabji just won't cut it!

This dish goes to JFI - Tamarind being hosted by dear Sig of Live to Eat . There was nothing else which came to mind when I thought of tamarind - for me, it had to be one of these fiery tamarind based kozhambus. Jihva for Ingredients is the brainchild of Indira of Mahanandi

Sundakkai Vatral Kozhambu


Tamarind - a big lime sized ball
Shallots (Madras onions) - 8-10 peeled
Garlic - 3-4
Oil - 2 tsp
Sesame oil - 2 tsp
Mustard - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds (methi/vendhiyam) - 5-6
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Tur dal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 6-7
Asafoetida (hing) - pinch
Ground masala Urad dal - 1 tsp
Chana dal - 1 tsp
Tur dal - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 4-5
Black peppercorns - 7-8
Fenugreek seeds - 2-3
Grated coconut - 1 tbsp

1. Soak tamarind in 2 cups of warm water for about 15 minutes and the extract pulp. Mix with another 2 cups of water and keep aside.
2. Soak the sundakai vatral in a little warm water to get rid of any dust or dirt. Drain.
3. Roast all ingredients of the masala in a tsp of oil till they change colour, adding the coconut right at the end for about a minute. Grind to a powder.
4. Heat the oil for tempering in a large kadai and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the dals and curry leaves. When they change colour, add the fenugreek seeds and asafoetida.
5. Put in the vatral and fry for about 2 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and continue frying for another 4 minutes
6. Add the ground masala and saute one minute, then pour in the diluted tamarind extract and bring to boil. Add salt and simmer covered for about 20-30 minutes depending on the consistency you want.
7. If it gets too thick and is still a bit too sour for your taste, add a little more water and simmer.
8. Serve with steamed rice.

Related Posts
Vendakkai kozhambu
Puli kozhambu

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Celebrations, Cake & Click Yellow for Bri

I have been back a week now but have hardly had time to breathe. My daughter's 3rd birthday on the weekend gave me only a week to scramble and get everything done in time. There were only six children this time so I decided to do everything at home , including the cake and of course it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be!

I should have expected the madness, considering the fact that I haven't ever iced a cake before. I'm not a great fan of butter sugar icing and don't know the first thing about fresh cream icing. But Birthday baby wanted a "Pink butterfly Cake" so the theme of the party was chosen automatically though I didnt have a theme for even her first and second birthdays! - there were Butterfly invitation cards, butterfly games and even a butterfly cake
- I drew the line at Pink icing for the cake though; instead I made pink marzipan butterfly and flower decorations to put on the icing.

Her best friend's mother got her a pair of pink wings and she was thrilled to bits. This was her first birthday party she really enjoyed; the highlight of the evening was the cutting of the cake of course and she beamed as everyone sang for her!! All that slaving at above 40C temps and 80% humidity was so worth it for that bug eyed look on her face when she saw her cake!

I thought I would never be able to get the marzipan right nor the cookies, the butter and sugar were simply melting and oozing out of everything. I somehow managed to get them both done but I was a puddle of sweat myself by the end of it.

The next day I got a bit smarter, when it was time for the icing I put on the air conditioning in my bedroom and did it all there!! And helping me through it all was Deeba of Passionate about Baking on the phone! - Thanks so much D, I really managed because you kept telling me it would work!

The menu in fact was like a Blog Patrol event I was conducting!!
The basic sponge cake was adapted from this recipe of Deeba's and then I made a butter and sugar icing tinted yellow. The marzipan I adapted, again, from Deeba's recipe, I cut out the flowers and leaves and shaped the butterfly by hand. The stained glass cookies are from her recipe and were much appreciated.

I made these chocolate cupcakes from Cooker's recipe and made some marzipan flowers and leaves to put on them.

I adapted this recipe from Farmgirl Fare to make some delicious carrot and herb rolls. And there was salami and cheese sandwiches, mini idlis and macaroni and cheese.
And then for me to relax after all the sugar fuelled hyperactivity, we had dinner with a few close friends at home - some chilled minty caipiroska, grilled chicken with mango salsa, pesto pasta, dinner rolls and a roasted salad and good company - it was a perfect evening.

ETA: I have just come back and catching up, came across the fund raising for Bri - I am entering this cake in the Click! Yellow for Bri event being hosted at Jugalbandi. I have participated in Click just once before this, frankly my photography skills leave a lot to be desired.
BUT this event is special and is being organised as a fund raiser for Bri of the blog Figs with Bri .
She is waging a second battle against cancer and we are all hoping that she wins this time too. In the meanwhile she needs to pursue all options including alternative therapy which is not covered by health insurance.
Been there, done that and still recovering from the financial effects of battling a major illness, though mine was not cancer. Its amazing to see the outpouring of support and I hope it helps her in as many ways as possible.

If you want to help the fundraiser, you can participate in Click Yellow for Bri at Jugalbandi till the 30th of June. OR you can Make a Donation OR Publicise the fund raiser by writing about it on your blog or website. You can use the HTML at this page.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Coriander Pesto Yogurt Bread

I finally managed to buy a lot of baking stuff I needed and I'm quite happy that for keeping to my New Year's Day resolution of increasing my baking proficiency! One of my buys was a loaf tin (I know, some baker I am, didn't even have a loaf tin for so long!) I a

I had to use it right away of course; suddenly I couldn't find all those loaf recipes which would haunt me when I didn't have a loaf tin- there were all kinds of free form breads but hardly any loaves. One can use the same recipe of course, but I didn't want to take a chance...

Finally, I gave up and decided to just tweak the recipes I have already tried out. A bit of coriander walnut pesto remaining from this dish went into the bread and also yoghurt I had seen so many recipes using buttermilk (different from our "mor" or "chaach").

I was quite worried when the liquid proportion seemed too much and the dough was much stickier than anything I had handled before. After almost 4 cups of flour totally, I finally stopped and just put it aside to rise. Good thing I had a loaf tin, since a free form bread would have been a small nightmare!

The dough rose beautifully both the times; I left it for almost 2 hours and 15 minutes the first time and the second time for about 50 minutes.

Hubby though, was a bit worried that he wouldn't get a "tall bread" and insisted we should have bought a taller tin - I was already a bit stressed about the dough being so sticky so I told him the comments section was closed at this time!!.

The bread was fine though, I needn't have worried; this is how I have always wanted my bread to be - those lovely holes and soft insides.
This is a nice bread - good crust and crumb and just the right texture - not too dry and crumbly and not too dense. The pesto wasn't enough to make a mark on the bread (though the bread did look greenish) but I could taste the faint hints of coriander. Next time I won't rely on leftovers and make the pesto for this dish itself!

We had the bread for breakfast - as many versions as the people at home - plain with cheese spread for my daughter, sandwich with green chutney, potato and tomato slices for the husband and toasted with home made butter and strawberry and mint conserve for me.

I don't think there's anything to compare with the aroma of freshly baked bread and the pleasure of cutting your own thick slices - I am definitely going to be baking more bread!

Coriander Pesto Yogurt Bread

Active dried yeast - 2.5 tsp
Warm water - 1 cup ( I would cut this down to half a cup and then add more water to the dough later if needed.)
Sugar - 1tsp

Wheat Flour (atta) - 1 cup
Refined flour (AP/maida) - 2.5 -3 cups
Yogurt - 1/4 cup
Coriander Walnut Pesto - 1/4 cup (can increase it to 1/2 a cup)
Salt - 2 tsp
Veg oil - 3 tsp


1. Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water and set aside for 10-15 minutes till the mixture is foamy.

2. Take the wheat flour, salt, yoghurt, yeast mixture, pesto, oil and 2 cups of the refined flour in a bowl and mix till well combined. Add refined flour a tablespoon at a time till the dough comes together.

3. Knead the dough till smooth and springy (5 minutes), transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for about 1.5 hours till it doubles in volume.

4. Transfer the dought to a lightly floured bowl or surface and lightly flatten. Put into a lightly greased and floured loaf tin or shape into a free form loaf; cover with a damp kitchen towel and set aside for another 45 minutes to an hour for the second rise.

5. Pre heat the oven to 190C and bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes.