BWW – Muffins

Linked to Susan’s Black and White Wednesdays.

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Potatoes and Phone calls

Ring Ring Ring… That’s the imaginary phone ringing. “Hello” says Mittu, pretending to pick the call.

Now this is when I start listening, cause unlimited fun comes from these phone calls. I wasn’t disappointed.

“That was grandma”. Said Mittu to me. “Oh How is she?” I asked.

“Not good. She fell down and broke her hand”. “I am so sorry, how did it happen?” I asked.

Mittu : “Grandma fell from the top of a mountain!”

Me: “Huh!!! What was she doing up there?”

Mittu: “Grandma doesn’t like her kitchen since there is no fan in there. So she went to the top of the mountain and finished her cooking there. When she was bringing the food to the table, she stumbled over a chair and fell flat.”

Me: “How did she get the table there?”

Mittu:”Oh, grandpa carried a ladder and a slide on one hand, and the table on the other.”

Me: “A slide and a ladder!!??”

Mittu: “Yeah, Don’t you know how difficult it is to climb a mountain!! Ladder makes it easy. And slide is so that you can come down pretty easy and quick.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s really clever.”

Mittu:”Now, I gotta go and see grandma in the hospital. Hope they have a spare hand to replace the one that broke.” And off she goes in her scooter to our sofa (the hospital apparently). She talks softly to her grandma and reports that things are fine.

In the background, my son is now picking up another imaginary call. I bet that is going to be fun too!

You have no idea how difficult it is to keep a straight face during these conversations. A hint of smile in your face and they run away, accusing you of mocking them. I am storing my laughter and would go to the bathroom and laugh it till tears roll from my eyes.

All this happened while I was making Kumbhakonam Kadappa for Radhika’s Blog Hop Wednesdays.

Another edition of Blog Hop Wednesdays and my blog for this week is the awesome Bon Appetit by Priya Sreeram. I had chosen at least six recipes before finalizing on this Kumbhakonam Kadappa recipe. Hop on to her place for a menu with so much of variety that its confusing to choose one!

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes                     :    3 medium
  • Moong Dal                 :    1/2 cup, uncooked
  • Onion                           :    1, chopped
  • Garlic                           :    2-3 pods, chopped fine
  • Green Chillies           :    3, chopped fine
  • Curry leaves             :    1 sprig
  • Mustard seeds          :   1 tsp
  • Water                           :    2-3 cups, adjust according to the consistency required
  • Oil                                  :   1 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
Grind Together
  • Roasted Bengal Gram  :  1 1/2 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds                   :   1 tsp
  • Coriander seeds            :    1 tsp
  • Coconut                            :    1/4 cup, scraped
  • Tomato                             :    1 medium

Method:

  1. Wash the dal and potatoes. Skin the potatoes, dice them into big cubes.
  2. Pressure cook potatoes and dal with enough water (about 1 1/2 cups) for three whistles.
  3. Once done, mash the dal fine, but keep the potatoes a bit chunky. Keep aside.
  4. Grind together the items under the list for grinding.
  5. Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter add the curry leaves, onion, chillies and garlic.
  6. Once the onions turn brown, add the ground paste and fry for 2-3 minutes till the raw smell goes off.
  7. Add the mashed dal and potatoes. Add 1-2 cups of water and cook for about 10 minutes.
  8. The consistency should be fairly thick, but not too thick either.
  9. Optional step : Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan, add a chopped onion and 2-3 chopped green chillies. Saute till onions are done and pour on top of the prepared curry.
  10. Serve with dosa or idly. Serves 6 – 8.

Note:

These taste the best with dosa or idly. With rice, it tastes no different than a dal.

And does anyone have a grandma who goes to cook in the mountains because they don’t have a fan in the kitchen?

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Croissants – Daring Bakers Challenge, Sep 2011

The scales had given the warning (a long long time ago), but I was in the denial mode. I am just pleasantly plump, not fat at all. But I couldn’t turn a blind eye when I was no longer fitting into old garments of mine. Forget old ones, I was not even fitting into some of my new ones!!

So there is no other go, but to accept that I may be a teeny tiny bit overweight. Solution : Butter & Sugar Break (I still have lots of dresses in which I fit in, so exercise and diet are not in the current picture at all).

The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!

Now comes the toughest decision of this month, to bake or not to bake Croissants. Making croissants is time consuming process, depends to some extend on the weather and is full of butter! BUTTER!

I am not great friends with butter now. Also, I am not a great baker, so I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull these off. What if, after completing all the 57 steps in the given recipe, my Croissants fail? Knowing my cooking skills, you cannot rule that possibility out!

I was wondering whether I should sit this one out. But then, as I was looking at the completed challenges, I knew I had to give this a try. It was really inspiring to see so much of enthusiasm and talent in there. You rock, Daring Bakers!

I am glad I tried this, because though the procedure seemed scary at first, the actual work wasn’t that difficult. Its just that you have to chill the dough many times in between. I was really proud of myself when I finally took these out of the oven. They are not perfect or really great, but for a first attempt, they are quite decent.

My husband doesn’t have a sweet tooth and it takes a lot of bugging to get him eat a piece of cake or cookie I make. But he really loved these and polished off four of these in one sitting. Between him and my son, I could stick to my ‘butter break’ to a good extend(Ok – I cheated a bit, but only a tiny bit!).

Ingredients

  • Dry-active yeast                :  1 tsp
  • Warm water                         :  3 tablespoons (45 ml)  (less than 100°F/38°C)
  • Sugar                                      : 1 teaspoon
  • Strong plain flour              : 1 3/4 cups
  • Sugar                                      : 2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm)
  • Salt                                          : 1½ teaspoon (7½ ml/9 gm)
  • Milk                                         : ½ cup (120 ml/¼ pint)
  • Oil                                            : 2 tablespoons
  • Butter                                     : ½ cup/115 gm chilled, unsalted
  • 1 egg, for egg wash

Method:

  1. Mix the yeast, warm water, and first teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Leave aside for the yeast and sugar to dissolve and the yeast to foam up a little.
  2. Heat the milk until tepid and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar. Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour. Mix until all the flour is incorporated.
  3. Knead the dough eight to ten times. Place the dough in the bowl, and place the bowl in a plastic bag. Leave the bowl at approximately 75°F/24°C for three hours, or until the dough has tripled in size.
  4.  After the dough has tripled in size, place the dough on a lightly floured board or countertop, and use your hands to press it out into a rectangle about 8 by 12 inches.
  5. Fold the dough rectangle in three, like a letter (fold the top third down, and then the bottom third up). Place the dough letter back in the bowl, and the bowl back in the plastic bag. Leave the dough to rise for another 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size. This second rise can be done overnight in the fridge.
  6. Once the dough has doubled, place the block of chilled butter on a chopping board. Using the rolling pin, beat the butter down a little, till it is quite flat. Use the heel of your hand to continue to spread the butter until it is smooth. You want the butter to stay cool, but spread easily.
  7. Spread the dough using your hands into a rectangle about 14 by 8 inches. Remove the butter from the board, and place it on the top half of the dough rectangle. Spread the butter all across the top two-thirds of the dough rectangle, but keep it ¼ inch (6 mm) across from all the edges. Fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third of the dough up. Turn the dough package 90 degrees, so that the top flap is to your right (like a book).
  8. Roll out the dough package (gently, so you don’t push the butter out of the dough) until it is again about 14 by 8 inches. Again, fold the top third down and the bottom third up. Wrap the dough package in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge for 2 hours.
  9. Roll the dough package out till it is 14 by 8 inches. Fold in three, as before. Turn 90 degrees, and roll out again to 14 by 8 inches. Fold in three for the last time, wrap in plastic, and return the dough package to the fridge for two more hours (or overnight, with something heavy on top to stop it from rising).
  10. Roll the dough out into a 20 by 5 inch rectangle. Cut the dough into two equal rectangles. Place one of the rectangles in the fridge, to keep the butter cold. Roll the second rectangle out until it is 15 by 5 inches. Cut the rectangle into three squares. Place two of the squares in the fridge. The remaining square may have shrunk up a little bit in the meantime. Roll it out again till it is nearly square.
  11. Cut the square diagonally into two triangles. Stretch the triangle out a little,into an isosceles triangle. Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle up towards the point, and curve into a crescent shape.
  12. Place the unbaked croissant on the baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining squares of dough, creating 12 croissants in total. Leave the tray of croissants, covered lightly with plastic wrap, to rise for 1 hour.
  13. Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F/240°C. Mix the egg with a teaspoon of water. Spread the egg wash across the tops of the croissants. Put the croissants in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are browned nicely.
  14. Take the croissants out of the oven, and place them on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Note:
You can find the original recipe here.  I found this post on Croissants extremely useful.
Props and setting by my son!
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Missi Roti

Hubby was working late this entire week and he is at the office this weekend too. So I am taking life easy, with no or little cooking at home. If kiddo was not at home, I would have survived the week solely on chocolate biscuits and chips! But since that is not an option (sigh!), I made these Missi rotis than give the dinner a miss.

I saw the recipe here and gave it a try. The roti was like eating an onion bajji. It tasted absolutely fantastic.

Now I know what to do with the extra bag of Besan sitting inside the pantry!

Ingredients:

  • Wheat Flour                           :      1 1/2 cups
  • Gram Flour (Besan)            :      1 cup
  • Onion                                        :      1 small, chopped fine
  • Green Chilli                            :      1-2, chopped fine
  • Coriander leaves                 :       2 tbsp, chopped fine
  • Kasoori Methi                       :       1 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder                :       1/2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder               :       1 tsp
  • Fennel Seeds Powder         :       1 tsp
  • Chaat Masala                         :       1 tsp
  • Water, to make the dough
  • Ghee, as required
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Mix everything together, except water and ghee.
  2. Add water in 1/4 cupfuls and kneed to get a smooth chapati dough.
  3. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 15 minutes (at least).
  4. Take a small ball of dough, dust with flour and roll out into a 5″-6″ circle.
  5. Heat a tawa and cook the roti for a minute. Flip over and cook the other side too.
  6. Take off the tawa, spread ghee on top.
  7. Serve with yogurt and pickle (if you are lazy, like me, to cook a side dish)

Linked to:

  • Susan’s MLLA, hosted by Cathy for September

Hot, Sweet and Sour!

As usual, I was standing in the bus stop, to pick up kiddo after school. The school bus came, dropped him and dropped a bomb shell along with that : Kiddo’s mid-term vacation starts from Saturday, not from Tuesday as informed earlier.

Technically if you look at it, its just Monday that they have declared a holiday. But there was so much of hope in that one day, that I cannot express in words! I stood there rooted for a whole minute before I could move.

Any way, now that I know, the next step is to lure my next door neighbor Mittu (6 year old girl) to play with my son. I do everything short of putting candies in a line from her place to mine, to get her to play with my son. I have volunteered with full enthusiasm to baby sit her for the holidays.

So as I am preparing myself for nonstop noise, house full of clutter, ‘(S)he did it first!’ complaints, crying & fighting episodes and damage to the house (yet to fix the curtain rod from last time), I am sharing a recipe here that has a bit of everything going through my mind – sweet, spicy, salty and a bit tangy, but something that you won’t mind doing again and again.

Ingredients: 

  • Baby Potatoes                :    12 – 15, cut into wedges
  • Sesame Oil                       :     2-3 tbsp
  • Onions                               :    1, sliced thin
  • Garlic                                 :    1 -2 pods, crushed and chopped
  • Tomatoes                         :    2, chopped
  • Capsicum                         :     1/2 of a big one, chopped
  • Chilli Powder                 :      1 tsp
  • Soya sauce                      :      1 – 2 tsp
  • Sugar                                 :      1 tsp

Method:

  1. Cut the potatoes into wedges and shallow fry in sesame oil. Drain and set aside in a paper napkin.
  2. In the remaining oil in the pan, add the onion, garlic and capsicum. Cook till onions are done.
  3. Add the tomatoes and chilli powder. Cook till the tomatoes are done.
  4. Add the Soya sauce, salt and sugar. Cook for 2 minutes more and take off the heat.
  5. Add salt to the potato wedges and mix thoroughly. Serve with the hot and sweet sauce over it.
  6. Perfect with rice varieties, rotis or noodles.

Note:

I found this recipe here, who found it in my namesake’s site :)

I spooned the sauce over plain rice and served with potatoes on the side for my son. He loved it that way.

And yes, its really heavenly!

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