Cook's Hideout: June 2013

June 26, 2013

Dal Biryani

It's been a while that I sent an entry to Susan @ Well Seasoned Cook's famous My Legume Love Affair (MLLA) event. This month's edition is being hosted by lovely Nupur @ One Hot Stove. I love legumes and they are integral part of my cooking. My 5 year old LOVES dal chawal and I'm very glad that I can sneak in any veggie in to a dal and he'll eat it without complaining. So much for little victories :-)
This Dal Biryani recipe is adapted from one of the Telugu cooking shows that I recently watched. I really loved the idea of using dal in biryani, it makes it a complete dish with the required carbs, protein and fat. It is filling and delicious to boot.
Dal Biryani
The original recipe was for 'Panchratan Dal Biryani' with 5 different legumes. But I remember a nutrition expert on one of the other cooking shows saying that 'adding more good things to a dish is not necessarily good for health'. She mentioned that using a lot of different beans/ nuts/ oils/ seeds (anything for that matter) slows down the body from absorbing the good nutrients from each of the ingredient. I don't know if that is true or not, but I used only 3 legumes -- Chickpeas, Adzuki beans and Moong beans. But the recipe is versatile and any sturdy legume that doesn't become mushy when cooked can be used.

Eggless No-Bake Mango Cheesecake (using Agar-Agar)

Blogging Marathon# 29: Week 4/ Day 3
Theme: Bookmarked Recipes
Dish: Individual Eggless Mango Cheesecake without Gelatin based on Nags recipe @ Edible Garden
Day 3 of BM# 29 and today I have made a delicious No-Bake Eggless Mango Cheesecake that is to die for. I actually made it 3 times to get the measurement of agar-agar (Chinagrass) right (and to gobble it down of course). Nags original recipe used gelatin and the first time I tried I added the same quantity of agar and the result was rubbery mango jelly. As I said it took me two more attempts to get the right quantity for soft and smooth mango layer.
Eggless No-Bake Mango Cheesecake (using Agar-Agar)
This dessert is a crowd pleaser. I made it for my blog buddies and also for another get-together party. This is one recipe that looks sophisticated, but it takes very little time to put together.

June 25, 2013

Hokkaido Milk Bread with Tangzhong Starter (Eggless)

Blogging Marathon# 29: Week 4/ Day 2
Theme: Bookmarked Recipes
Dish: Hokkaido Bread from Sandhya's My Cooking Journey & Aparna's My Diverse Kitchen
For day 2 of BM# 29 under 'Bookmarked Recipes', I made a bread that was featured on almost all of the food blogs. Every baking group in the blog world baked this amazing Hokkaido Milk Bread using Tangzhong starter. I've drooled over the pictures of a ton of my favorite bloggers and finally I made it and enjoyed it at home. Like the saying goes, "it's better late than never".
This bread uses 'Tangzhong Starter' unlike Sourdough this is a cooked starter and keeps well only for 3-4 days in the fridge. The resulting bread is super soft and stores well for a longer time.

June 24, 2013

Sorakaya Pesarapappu Podi Kura (Lauki/ Doodhi Moong dal Subji)

Blogging Marathon# 29: Week 4/ Day 1
Theme: Bookmarked Recipes
Dish: Soraka Podi Kura from Sharmi's Neivedyam
We are in the final week of June (can't believe we are about to hit the mid year mark soon--this year seems to just fly past) and also the final week for this month's BM# 29. My theme for this week is 'Bookmarked Recipes' and I tried 3 different recipes that have been in my bookmarks folder for a very long time.
Sorakaya Pesarapappu Podi Kura (Lauki/ Doodhi Moong dal Subji)
For the first I made this dry Sorakaya curry from Sharmi's blog. What caught my attention was the addition of roasted pesarapappu (moong dal) powder to the curry. I knew the combination would taste great, but it took me all these years to actually make it -- not sure why I kept postponing it. If you notice in her post I was the first one to comment, so it has been in my bookmark folder for as many years as the post on Sharmi's blog.

June 22, 2013

Masala Murmure/ Mandakki Usal

My partner for this month's Taste & Create is PJ @ Seduce your Tastebuds. PJ has a ton of quick and easy recipes and I tried quite a few from her blog in the past. But for this month's Taste & Create, I chose a very quick and easy Mandakki Usal aka Masala Murmure from PJ's blog.
Masala Murmure/ Mandakki Usal
I wanted to make something quick for my lunch one day and happened to this recipe on PJ's blog. As she says, it takes no time to put together and is spicy and delicious. Since murmure don't need to be cooked for long, the only time consuming part of the dish is chopping and cooking the veggies. I thought the addition of grated ginger really made the dish taste spicy and yummy!!

June 19, 2013

Brown Rice Green Pulao (Brown Rice & Mint Pilaf)

I love the nuttiness of Brown Rice and cook with it quite often. I usually make plain brown rice and make side dishes, like Thai Panaeng Curry or Tempeh Rendang. Basically I like to pair brown rice with spicy Asian dishes and rarely with Indian curries. So when I saw this recipe for flavored brown rice recipe on one of the Indian cooking shows that I'm obsessed with, I know I had to make it. The original recipe used cilantro, but I used mint instead. A combination of mint and cilantro would be yummy too.
Brown Rice Green Pulao (Pilaf with Brown Rice & Mint)
This is a very flavorful and healthy one-pot dish. Soak brown rice for at least 5-6 hours or even overnight for better taste and texture. Right now my mint plants are growing wild and I'm looking for variety of dishes to use as much of it as possible. This is the first in the series of mint/ pudina recipes that I've been trying in the quest for using up my excess herb.

Misal Pav

Blogging Marathon# 29: Week 3/ Day 3
Theme: Course Wise Meal from any State - Maharashtra/ Lunch Dishes
Dish: Usal-Misal Pav
After 2 days of easy one-pot Maharashtrian dishes (Masala Bhath & Vaal Khichdi), today's dish is slightly elaborate and spicy. It's a great dish to entertain as well. I remember one of our dear Marwari friend serving this for dinner and it was probably one of the best tasting Misal Pav I've ever had. Being a rice obsessed South Indian, I was initially skeptical if that sprouts curry with bread on the side is going to fill me up -- but I was really surprised how filling and delicious that combo can be.
I referred to quite a few blogs for the recipe, but in the end I stuck with Sangeetha @ Kothiyavanu's recipe. Her pictures were gorgeous and I loved her step by step explanation. This dish is a little time consuming with quite a few steps involved, but the final dish is well worth the effort. I've tried to explain the process as clearly as possible.

June 18, 2013

Vaal dal Khichdi

Blogging Marathon# 29: Week 3/ Day 2
Theme: Course Wise Meal from any State - Maharashtra/ Lunch Dishes
Dish: Vaal Dal Khichdi 
Day 2 of BM# 29 and I'm doing 'Maharashtrian cuisine-Lunch dishes' theme. Today's dish is also another one-pot meal, but this time its a legume and rice combination, Vaal Dal Khichdi. Nupur @ One hot Stove is one of my favorite bloggers and she happens to be a Maharashtrian. So I have perused her blog a lot for this week's theme :-)
Vaal dal Khichdi
When I saw her post for Vaal Khichdi, I went out and bought Vaal dal to make the dish. Vaal is slightly bitter, but the addition of tamarind and jaggery tames it a little bit in this dish. My 5 year old didn't dig the bitterness, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. So thanks to Nupur for introducing a new legume. Here's the picture of Vaal dal.

June 17, 2013

Maharashtrian Masala Bhath

Blogging Marathon# 29: Week 3/ Day 1
Theme: Course Wise Meal from any State - Maharashtra/ Lunch Dishes
Dish: Masala Bath
Today we start 3rd week of Blogging Marathon (BM# 29) and my theme for this week is 'Course Wise Meal from any State'. I wanted to try dishes from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or Uttar Pradesh. Luckily I found a newspaper cutout with Maharashtrian recipes that my MIL got for me 3 years ago.
Maharashtrian Masala Bhath
For the first day I made Masala bath from the paper. It is a one-pot dish, that is spicy, filling and packed with vegetables. I love these kind of dishes where you put all the ingredients in one pot and don't have to worry about side dishes, convenient for weeknight meals.

June 15, 2013

Dapka Kadhi (Gujarati Kadhi with Moong dal Dumplings)

It has been quite some time that I made anything for Indian Cooking Challenge. When I see Valli's email announcing the dish of the month, I get excited and plan on making it, but some time between the announcement and the actual date of posting I either completely forget about it or don't find the time to make it.
Dapka Kadhi (Gujarati Kadhi with Moong dal Dumplings)
Anyway I didn't want to miss this month's challenge because kadhi is one of my favorite dishes, But I don't make it often because my husband doesn't eat milk/ yogurt based dishes and so I avoid making them when he's around. Lucky for me, he's been travelling and I went ahead and made this yummy kadhi with moong dal dumplings.

June 13, 2013

Avocado Raita

I recently borrowed 'My Indian Kitchen', by Hari Nayak from the library. This is one of the beautiful Indian cookbooks I've ever seen. All the food photos are so colorful and well captured that it makes me want to cook each and every recipe in the book. I've to return it soon, so I'm trying to cook as many dishes as I can.
Avocado Raita
This avocado raita caught my attention because it sounds so different and tasty. Creamy avocado with yogurt and some spices, that's it--that's all there is to this simple Raita, but it tastes amazing. Author suggests serving it with Kebabs and Rotis, but I've eaten it with rice and just as is -- it tastes great any way.

June 12, 2013

Chana Dal Payasam (Bengal Gram Dal Kheer)

Blogging Marathon# 29: Week 2/ Day 3
Theme: Pick 2 Ingredients & Cook from a Book
Ingredients/ Cookbook: Chana Dal & Jaggery/ Dakshin 
Dish: Chana Dal-Coconut Payasam
Dakshin -- Vegetarian Cuisine from South India is one of my go-to cookbook when I'm looking for a South Indian dish. This book has many easy to make recipes mostly from Tamil Nadu and few from the other Southern states. I was hoping to find a kuzhambu or sambar recipe with the ingredients from Valli's list.
Chana Dal Payasam (Bengal Gram Dal Kheer)
But to my surprise, I stumbled upon this Payasam (Kheer) recipe with chana dal and jaggery. It sounded different and delicious. I had all the ingredients on hand and I made it right away. I wasn't disappointed at all, this is one of the tastiest payasams I've ever made. Its creamy, not too sweet and tastes great hot, cold or at room temperature (I know because I ate it at all temperatures :-)

June 11, 2013

Strawberry Mango Gazpacho

Blogging Marathon# 29: Week 2/ Day 2
Theme: Pick 2 Ingredients & Cook from a Book
Ingredients/ Book: Strawberry & Mango/ Vegetarian Times
Dish: Strawberry Mango Gazpacho
I didn't have to look hard for today's recipe. As I was browsing through this month's Vegetarian Times magazine, I saw a very vibrant picture of this Strawberry Gazpacho and I really wanted to make it because the picture was so appealing and I had all the ingredients in hand. This was even before Valli announced this month's BM themes. So I knew right away that one of my combos was going to be Strawberry & mango.
Strawberry Mango Gazpacho
I made this dish twice already and it is so refreshing that I can't stop myself from eating the while bowl all by myself. This is a no-cook recipe and all the ingredients go right into the blender. Lime cilantro cream topping is completely optional, gazpacho tastes great without it as well.

June 10, 2013

Mango-Chocolate Marble Bundt Cake for Home Bakers Challenge

For this month's Home Baker's Challenge, Sangeetha @ Spicy Treats picked an interesting cake combination with mango and chocolate. I was skeptical on how this combo would turn out, but the end result was moist and delicious cake that the whole family loved.
Mango Chocolate Bundt Cake
I baked it in my 6 cup bundt cake pan, but this cake can also be made in a 9x5" loaf pan or a 8" round pan. Also I added some wholewheat pastry flour to add some fiber and nutrition to the cake.

Potato Paneer Methi Curry (Alu Paneer Methi Curry)

Blogging Marathon# 29: Week 2/ Day 1
Theme: Pick 2 Ingredients & Cook from a Book
Ingredients/ Book: Paneer & Greens/ 660 Curries
Dish: Potato Paneer Methi Curry (Alu Paneer Methi Curry)
My theme for this week's BM is 'Cook from a Book'. But to make the theme a little more challenging Valli asked us to pick 2 ingredients from a list and then find a recipe from a cookbook. I got lucky and found the recipes quite easily this time (unlike the last time). 
Potato Paneer Methi Curry (Alu Paneer Methi Curry)
The ingredients I picked for the first day are 'Paneer & Greens". I found a very simple and delicious recipe in 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer. 660 Curries is usually the first cookbook I refer to when I'm looking for an Indian dish. As the name suggests there are 660 recipes to choose from and it is always tough to pick just one dish.

June 05, 2013

Strawberry Shrikhand

Blogging Marathon# 29: Week 1/ Day 3
Theme: Cooking with Colors
Dish: Strawberry Shrikhand -- Red
For the final day of this week's BM, I made a delicious and colorful Shrikhand with Strawberries. Shrikhand  is nothing but sweetened strained yogurt that is usually made in Maharashtra and Gujarat. At one point in my life, I would have said a "BIG NO" to Shrikhand because I considered yogurt savory and it was sacrilege to add sugar to yogurt. Now that I'm older and wiser I know how tasty this combination could be.
Strawberry Shrikhand
To add some color and sweetness to plain shrikhand, I added some strawberry pulp to yogurt and then to make it even more fancy, I layered yogurt with strawberry puree. This combination was so amazing -- both in the looks department and also in the taste department.

June 04, 2013

Dahiwale Poha (Atukula Daddojanam/ Mosaravallaki)

Blogging Marathon# 29: Week 1/ Day 2
Theme: Cooking with Colors
Dish: Dahiwale Poha (Atukula daddojanam/ Mosaravallaki) --- White
After yesterday's colorful and slightly elaborate curry recipe, today I am making a simple dish that is White. Just 'white' dishes can be sometime boring -- think of just 'white' rice or 'white' milk (I h@%# white milk -- both the color and smell make me t^$*#^$ up). So jazzing up a plain white dish by adding colorful veggies or flavorings is a way to make it more eye appealing. (I jazz up my milk with a tiny bit of coffee granules.)
Dahiwale Poha (Atukula Daddojanam/ Mosaravallaki)
Today's dish has 2 white components -- Poha & Yogurt, but to give some color and add nutrition I've added some grated veggies. This is probably the easiest dish I've ever made.

June 03, 2013

Soy Nilgiri Kurma and Dal Rotis

Blogging Marathon# 29: Week 1/ Day 1
Theme: Cooking with Colors
Dish: Soy Nilgiri Kurma --- Green
Today we are starting the 29th edition of Blogging marathon and my theme for this week is "Cooking with Colors". We can all agree that we eat with our eyes first and the more colorful a dish is, the more healthier and appealing it is. So for the next three days, I'm going to post dishes that have one featured color ingredient.
Nilgiri Kurma with Soy
For the first day, I'm cooking with the color 'Green'. I saw this dish being made on a Telugu Cooking show (abhiruchi) and it looked very appealing, so I jotted down the recipe. As I was looking through my notebook for ideas of dishes to make for BM, I saw this recipe and thought this will highlight the color green really well. 
This dish tastes very earthy and is quite delicious. It is a little time consuming to make, but ones all the components are ready, the curry takes no time to finish.


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