January 31, 2012

Hurali Saaru | Horse Gram Rasam - A Guest Post for Just Home Made

I've been visiting Just Home Made for quite a while & the recipes & beautiful photographs there have never ceased to amaze me .. I was thrilled to bits, when Radhika - The author & the photographer behind, Just Home Made, invited me to do a Guest Post .. Believe me, it couldn't have got more exciting than this ..

There are very few blogs, that entice you with beautiful writing & rich photography .. Just Home Made is one such. Its a pleasure to be writing for you, Radhika ..

Hurali Saaru - Horse Gram Rasam

Radhika asked me to pick a childhood favorite recipe & I just had to chose Hurali Saaru - Horse Gram Rasam as it is family favorite & since its winter here, I couldn't have got a better excuse to make this one.

So just Hop to Just Home Made & take a look yourself. Also, follow Radhika's Blog on Facebook & Twitter

Hope all of you enjoy reading this post ...

January 24, 2012

Sundried Orange Peel & Cinnamon Infused Chai

It's raining Oranges everywhere & we are enjoying every bit of it. Have I told you before that Orange is my
favorite fruit & I can eat upto almost a dozen oranges in a day ?? Really, I am not kidding .. 

Loads of Oranges means, loads of Orange Peel as well. I normally Sun dry orange peel & store it in an airtight jar & use it for my cooking. It can be used in soups, stews, infusions & in our Good old Masala Chai as well ..

Orange Peel

How To Sun Dry Orange Peel:

  • Tear orange peel into tiny pieces. Arrange them on a tray & dry them in the sun, covered with a mesh for about 2-3 days. Store them in air-tight jars. You can even store them in the powdered form
  • You can also dry them in the oven .. But when you have some good sun, why would you need an oven, right?? Go Make full use of the sun

Now that I have plenty of sun dried Orange peel, thanks to my Orange eating spree, I have been making Orange peel infused Masala Chai lately. And, it is making my mornings, just lovely.

Sun Dried Orange Peel & Cinnamon Infused Chai

Looks lovely, Isn't it?? The idea is let the flavor of Orange peel rule .. So, I just added a hint of cinnamon, because the citrusy flavor of orange peel & cinnamon go very well together.

Here's How to Make a citrusy Masala Chai

In case you are wondering whether, boiling orange peel along with water & milk, makes the tea bitter & causes milk to split, Do Not worry, It does not .. Go Ahead, Make yourself a cuppa & let me know, if you enjoyed the goodness of fresh citrusy flavours in your chai .. Enjoi !!!

January 21, 2012

Chickpea Soup

Here's an Old recipe with a better picture .. Remember, I told you about my love for Chickpeas?? I made this awesome Chickpea soup, yet again for lunch today & here it is ..

Winter is slowly slipping away from us. Though the evenings are a little cold & breezy, days are getting warmer & the woolen clothes have gone back into the closet. In a month's time, it will be Summer already & I dread the typical tropical summer heat.

We are enjoying this pleasant weather while it lasts. This is prefect for some piping hot Chickpea Soup. This is very filling by itself. Serve with some toasted bread & it makes a great weeknight dinner.

Chickpea Soup

You Will Need:
  • 1 cup Chickpeas - washed & saoked overnight or for 6 hrs
  • 1 big Onion - Diced
  • 1 Tomato - Diced
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • Garlic - 4 pods
  • A small sprig of  fresh Rosemary
  • A Bit of fresh Thyme
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • Salt as per taste
  • Fresh Parsley for garnish
How To:
  • Add a tsp of salt & pressure cook chickpeas until soft. Set aside
  • In a pan, heat olive oil, saute diced onions, tomato & garlic until soft. Add Rosemary & Thyme as well
  • In a blender/mixer, blend onion, tomato & 1/4th of the cooked chickpeas into a smooth paste.
  • In a pan, Add the paste, red chilli powder, tomato puree, chickpeas,  & water. Add salt as per taste & simmer for about 10 mins.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley
Serve HOT .. Enjoi with some homemade Garlic Bread !!!

  • You can used canned chickpeas as well. This saves the soaking &  the cooking part.
  • Use Vegetable Stock instead of water. It gives a better flavour. Since, I didn't have any on hand, I added water

January 18, 2012

Cinnamon Spiced Hot Chocolate & The Giveaway Winner

Its suddenly very cold in Bangalore again .. Quite strange because, its supposed to get warmer after Sankranti  .. But, I totally love the weather here right now .. Its so cold that I felt like a really good cup of Hot Chocolate  .. Not the sort of Hot Chocolates that you get in packets, but the old fashioned kind..

Real Chocolate, melted with some warm milk, A dash of spices & some marshmellows .. A mug of warm Hot Chocolate that instantly lifts your spirits after a day's of hard work .. The kind that makes you forget the world  .. Yes the Real Hot Chocolate with Cinnamom .. BLISS

Cinnamon Spiced Hot Chocolate

You Will Need
  • 1 Cup Full Fat Milk
  • 20g Bittersweet Dark chocolate - chopped/grated
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamom
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

How To:
  • In a small pat, heat half the quantity of milk alongwith dark chocolate. Simmer on low flame until the chocolate melts completely.
  • Add the remaining milk, sugar & cinnamon
  • Heat on low flame until the hot chocolate is warm enough for you to enjoy
  • Pour into your favorite mug & Enjoi !!!

  • You can top with some whipped cream as well .. Since, I used full fat milk, I didn't use it
  • Add a few marshmellows if you like .. I am not very fond of them,  so I chose not to
  • You can even add grated ginger or orange zest for a different flavor

I used a random no. generator  And the winner of  Laxmi Hiremath's 'The Dance of Spices'  is
Deepa - Hamaree Rasoi

Congratulations Deepa .. I hope you enjoy reading the book. Mail me your contact details  at vegetable.platter@gmail.com 

January 13, 2012

South Indies: Sakkare Achchu | Sugar Candy for Sankranti

Sankranti  is here again .. Which only means, its time for Ellu Bella, Sakkare Achchu & some good Pongal ..

Ellu Bella 2012

Just like every year, my Grandmother made some gorgeous Sakkare Achchu to be distributed amongst family & friends .. And, without these, Sankranti,  in Karnataka would be incomplete. Those of you who do not know, Sakkare Achchu are little sugar candies of different shapes made especially for Sankranti

sakkare achchu

Sakkare Achchu

This recipe makes about 50-55 Sugar Candies depending on the size of your molds

To Make Sakkare Achchu :
  • 3 cups or 1 kg  Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • Rubber Bands
  • Sakkare Achchu Molds
  • Muslin Cloth

To Purify Sugar:
  • Soak sugar in water for an hour. For every cup of sugar, use half a cup of water
  • Soak the molds in water & set aside
  • In a heavy bottomed pot, add the dissolved sugar alongwith water & bring it to a boil. Sieve with a clean muslin cloth. Repeat the process twice.
  • Now add milk alongwith sugar & bring it to a boil. Sieve again
  • Repeat the process with yogurt as well .. This removes any impurities present in sugar

To Make Sakkare Achchu:
  • Wipe the molds clean & secure with rubber bands at the ends. The molds must be slightly damp
  • Work 1/4  a cup of sugar mixture at a time. Add the mixture into a heavy bottomed pot & keep stirring continuously on very low flame until the sugar muxture gets frothy & turns white in color.
  • Arrange about 5 molds at a time & pour the mixture into the molds. Tap the molds as you pour the mixture. Leave it undisturbed for about  5 mins.
  •  Gently remove the sugar candy from the mould & if the candy does not de mould easily, gently poke the edges with a safety pin
  • Once done, soak the molds again & pat them dry & use them again
  • Repeat this process for the rest of the sugar mixture
  • Store them in air tight jars

Sankranthi Collage

Ellu Bella in little Earthen Pots

  • It is said that, the older the molds are, better are the results .. So if you are making these for the first time, borrow from your granny or an aunt
  • Once the sugar syrup crystallizes after it is poured into the molds, do not leave them for more than 5 mins. They harden very fast, making them very difficult to unmould
  • You can add food color to make colored candies, but I love White ..
  • If you are looking out to buy Sakkare Achchu molds, you must be able to get it almost anywhere in Karnataka, especially around the Sankranti season
  • If you live in Bangalore, you should be able to find these easily in Malleshwaram, Jayanagar Market or Gandhi Bazaar circle. My Grandmother told me that you get excellent molds in Tamil Nadu as well

Ellu Bella Sakkare Achchu 2012

Wishing you all a Very Happy Sankranti/Pongal

January 9, 2012

South Indies: Akki Tari Uppittu | Broken Rice Upma

Akki Tari is 'Broken Rice' & those of you who are not familiar with it, It resembles broken wheat in texture. It is very common to make Upma or Uppittu with Broken Rice in most Kannada households .. You add Avarekai or Flat beans & it becomes even more special ..

A Classic Breakfasts must be eaten in leisure along with some strong Filter Kaapi which is why it is reserved for weekends at home ..

Avarekalu - Flat Beans

It's raining Avarakai everywhere .. Do you need a better reason to make this??

I add a bunch of finely chopped Dill leaves, which lends a very beautiful flavour to the Upma .. This is optional though but Highly recommended, if you love Dill leaves

Akki Tari Uppittu

Broken Rice Upma takes longer to cook than the regular Rava Upma & it needs more water too .. Every cup of broken rice needs a little more than 2 cups of water to cook completely

Let's Make 'Akki Tari Uppittu' with 'Avarekai' .. Shall We??

How To:

  • Pressure cook or boil Avarekalu or flat beans in salted water. Drain & set aside
  • In a pan, dry roast Broken Rice for a couple of mins .. Don't allow it to change color
  • Heat Desi Ghee in a heavy bottom pan/kadhai .. Splutter cumin seeds & half of the cracked pepper. Add green chilies too & saute for about 20 secs.
  • Add Dill leaves & saute for about 2 mins. Add 2 cups of water into the pan, Add salt & bring it to a boil. As the water begins to boil, slowly add the beans & gently add broken rice as you keep stirring the mixture continuously to avoid any lumps.
  • Stir the mixture well. Add additional water if needed & cover with a lid for about 2-3 mins.
  • Add grated coconut, remaining cracked pepper & mix well to incorporate. Turn off the stove & transfer to a serving bowl .. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander

Serve HOT with a dollop of Desi Ghee  .. In Karnataka, it is very common to serve some Yogurt/Chutney Pudi/Pickle along with Upma .. Enjoi !!! And, Don't forget the Filter Coffee ...

January 5, 2012

A Cookbook Giveaway

Hope everyone's had a wonderful start to the new year .. Now, Here's something that is going to make 2012 even better .. Yes, A Giveaway on Vegetable Platter !!!

I am delighted to giveaway a copy of the book 'The Dance of Spices' - Classic Indian Cooking for Today's Home Kitchen  by Laxmi Hiremath, to one lucky reader

The Dance of Spices by Laxmi Hiremath

Read more about this book Here

  • It is Open to Residents in INDIA Only !!! For people outside India, you may still enter & have it mailed to a person of your choice anywhere in India

  • Anyone (Bloggers & Non- Bloggers) can enter this giveaway.

To Enter To Win: -

  • Please leave One comment on this Blog post telling me, what kind of recipes would you like to see on Vegetable Platter next & any suggestion/constructive criticism to help me improve this blog further ( No Nasty Comments Please, they will be promplty deleted )
  • The contest ends on 15 January 2012, 8 PM IST
  • One winner will be picked randomly. Be sure to check back  for an announcement of the winner so I can get your mailing information

Good Luck !!!

January 4, 2012

Sweet Corn Soup

2012 is here !!! Sparkling, Warm & Heartfelt New Year wishes to everyone ..  May Happiness, Success, Love & loads of Good Food come your way ...

I love Soups & What better way to start the new year than with a bowl of warm soup, Right?? ..  Thanks to Cyclone Thane, it rained last week in our neck of woods & there's nothing like a good cup of soup to warm the bones on a rainy night And, its Sweet Corn Soup this time ..

Sweet Corn Soup

Serves 2

You Will Need
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet corn - I used frozen or 2 ears of fresh sweet corn
  • 1 small white onion
  • garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp corn flour dissolved in 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup vegetable stock/water
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp butter

How To:
  • Cook corn kernels on stove top or in a microwave until tender
  • In a pot, melt butter, add garlic & chopped onion & saute for about 3 mins
  • Blend onion & boiled sweet corn into a smooth paste using very little milk/water
  • Return to Soup Pot, Add corn flour paste, milk, water & salt .. Simmer gently for about 10-12 mins. If you find the soup thick, add some more milk/stock/water
  • Top with freshly cracked pepper before serving

Enjoi with some nice crusty bread on the side :)