Paneer roll-up

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Paneer roll up is a very easy snack to prepare and an easy grab for the kids. You can make this as breakfast or as an evening snack or pack it for lunch!

I loved the crunch on the outside of the roll. Using butter for roasting it, gives it a nice flavor too 🙂

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INGREDIENTS:

Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Paneer(crumbled) – 1 cup
Onion – 1/2 no of medium size, chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 1/2 tsp
Green chilli – 1
Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala – 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves – 6-7 strands
Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Bread slices – 5-6 nos
Salted butter – 1 tbsp

METHOD:

1. Heat oil in pan and add cumin seeds. Once it splutters, add chopped onion, ginger garlic paste, chopped green chillies and salt.
2. Once onions turn light pink, add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and garam masala.
3. Saute till the spices cook well and oil starts to separate. Then add paneer and mix well with the spices.
4. Cook for 3-4 mins in medium high flame. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
5. Slice off the sides of the bread slice. Using a rolling pin, roll out the bread slice.
6. Sprinkle some water on the bread slice and spoon in 1 tbsp of filling on the bread slice.
7. Firmly roll the bread and using some water, try to stick the end of the bread, so that it doesn’t roll out.
8. Repeat steps 5-7 for each slice of bread or till the filling is used up completely.
9. Heat butter in a pan. Pressing lightly, roast both sides of the rolled bread till the bread turns light brown, to form slightly crispy paneer roll-ups.

Enjoy with ketchup!

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Idiyappam(Steamed Rice noodles)

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Idiyappam is yet another rice based breakfast item of Kerala. To give you some idea about the dish, this can be described as steamed rice noodles. As plain as it sounds, it is that simple in terms of the ingredients that go into making this breakfast item.

Just few days back I realized that Idiyappam is one of DD’s favorite breakfast items. Though I also like it, I had never made it before myself. I didn’t even have Sevanazhi(idiyappam maker) with me. But I was now keen on attempting to make this thing. So I borrowed the Sevanazhi from my friend last day and thankfully, my first attempt was successful. I might buy one Sevanazhi for myself coz of that. But I must say, it isn’t that easy to make the dough, especially if you are doing and seeing it for the first time, like me 😛 It is little tricky the first time. But I think it will get easier as you go and in the next few attempts, you will become an expert 🙂

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INGREDIENTS:

Rice flour – 1.5 cups
Water – 1.5 cups
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
Oil – 1 tbsp

METHOD:

1. Heat a pan and roast the rice flour lightly.
2. Meanwhile, boil the water.
3. Once the rice is roasted, mix the boiling water to the flour and keep mixing with a spoon.
4. Make a dough/ball out of the rice flour mixture. This can get tricky if you are dealing with it for the first time.
TIP: 1. Since you are using boiling water, don’t use your hands to make the dough immediately. Initially use a spoon to mix the flour. After it cools down a little, wet your hands with cold water and try to make the ball.
2. Keep wetting your hand with the cold water. This helps in dealing with the sticky nature of rice flour also.
5. Grease idli plates with little bit of oil. Put small amounts of grated coconut on the idli plates.
6. Fill the Sevanazhi/Idiyappam maker with half the portion of the dough. Rotate/Press the sevanazhi/idiyappam maker in a circular motion and fill the idli place(into each slot so that it looks like an idli or make one big idiyappam).
7. Put a generous pinch of grated coconut on top of the idiyappams.
8. Stack the idli plates and place into the steamer and steam it for 5-6 mins.

Serve with egg roast or stew.

Vattayappam

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Vattayappam can be described as a steamed thick rice pancake. Its main ingredients include rice and coconut. A simple dish, used mainly as a tea time snack or breakfast in most Kerala Christian homes. DD usually doesn’t ‘demand’ or ‘request’ me to make anything particular. Its very rare that he would ask me to make something FOR him. Whenever I ask him what he wants me to make, his default reply is, “Anything that’s easy for you to make is fine”. Isn’t he a loving husband 🙂 No pressure on me whatsoever! I know that vattayappam is one of DD’s favourites. Its not hard to remember his favourites, given that he has very few items in his list, unlike me or most foodies 😛 So when he asked me to make Vattayappam, I was more than happy to make this for him.

Once we were at our friend’s place and they got some snacks. I think it was mini samosas and idlis. All of us sitting there except DD, realized after a while that what we thought was Idli was actually Vattayappam in the shape of Idli. So for fun we demanded the hosts to serve chutney/sambar to eat along with ‘Idli’. After some time also, when I saw that DD wasn’t taking his favourite item kept in front of him, I asked him why he isn’t taking one of those. I knew for sure that it wasn’t for courtesy sake 😉 His next statement, put me rolling on the floor laughing. Very innocently he said, “I am waiting for the chutney”!!!!!! That was hilarious. We all had a good laugh that day 😀 So this one is for you my dear DD 🙂 Presenting your favourite vattayappam!

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INGREDIENTS

Note: The cup used for this recipe is US measurement cup(1 cup = 237 ml)
Rice flour – 1 cup
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Cooked rice – 1/4 cup
Sugar – 3 tbsp
Salt – a pinch
Water – 3/4 cup(apprx. amount)
Raisins – 2 tbsp
Cashews – 7-8 nos
Cardamom – 4-6 nos
Ghee – 1 tbsp

For fermenting yeast:-
Yeast – 1/4 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Lukewarm Water – 1/4 cup

METHOD:

1. In lukewarm water, mix sugar and yeast(mentioned under ‘For fermenting yeast’ section). Keep it covered and undisturbed for 15-20 mins until foamy.
2. Meanwhile, in a blender/mixie put rice flour, grated coconut, 1 tbsp sugar, cooked rice, salt and enough water. First put 1/2 cup water. Blend/Grind it to a smooth paste. Add remaining water only if required.
NOTE: The batter shouldn’t be too watery. It should be just slightly thinner than an idli batter. Remember that the water used for fermenting yeast will also get added to the batter. So add water carefully.
3. Transfer the batter to a bowl. Once the yeast gets foamy, add it to the batter. Give it a good mix. Cover with a lid and let it stay in a warm place overnight(or for 7-8 hours) for fermenting. The batter will rise well, so use a bowl which is large enough to contain the batter even if it rises 2 folds.
4. After the batter rises, add the remaining sugar(2 tbsp) to the batter. Remove the skin of the cardamom and crush the seeds using pestle and mortar and add it to the batter and mix well.
5. Prepare for steaming the batter. Grease a flat cake pan or round glassware(with a flat surface) with ghee. You could also use idli plates for making the vattayappam if you do not have a flat tray that you can use for steaming. I used a 6-inch pan and 1 idli plate for making mine.
6. Pour half the batter to the greased pan. Split the cashews into halves. Garnish with raisins and cashews. Steam it for 20 mins on medium high flame. Let it cool for 10 mins and then transfer to a plate.
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the remaining batter(if you split the batter to make 2 vattayappams). If using idli plates, you can steam it in one go. Depending on what kind of pan you use and the depth of your cooker/steaming pot, you can prepare all the vattayappams in one go or by repeating the steaming process.

Cut the vattayappam into small slices and serve warm or cold as per your preference 🙂

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Stuffed Braided Bread

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I was just browsing through, to see what can I make completely different and new. I got inspired by my friend’s recent post in Roshni’s Kitchen. I thought it was interesting to make something that I have had only from bakeries in India. It was there at the back of my mind to make this stuffed bread. But I didn’t have the right stuffing for it that day. Then one day when I made Achari Chicken, I got reminded of this recipe. I thought it would be perfect for a stuffing.

That evening, being a weekend, our friends had visited us. While the guys were busy watching TV, me and my friend, were all set to do the experiment. It came out well. All of us really enjoyed having a snack that was super delicious and looked even more beautiful :-). Well, for the bread, I took the recipe from Hilda’s Kitchen! I have made some adjustments to the measurement as per what we used at home.

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INGREDIENTS:

Yeast – 1.5 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 tbsp
Milk – 1/3 cup
All –purpose flour – 1.5 cups
Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Yogurt – 1 tbsp
Butter – 1 tbsp
Egg -1 nos
Sesame seeds – 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves – 2 strands

For the stuffing:-
Achari Chickenrecipe here
You could use any stuffing of your choice. I had made achari chicken and it went really well with the bread. If you have any left over gravy, ensure that you heat it in a pan and make it dry.

I used 2 cups of Achari chicken, mostly the chicken pieces. Made it into a dry dish and roughly mashed the chicken pieces.

METHOD:

1. In warm milk, dissolve sugar and yeast. Keep covered and undisturbed for about 15 mins till the yeast rises well.
2. Meanwhile, mix all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. To this add yogurt and butter. Mix well.
3. Once yeast rises, pour it into the flour mixture and knead. I used food processor for kneading. You can knead using hands till the dough binds together and feels soft.
4. Grease the dough with 2 tsp oil and transfer to a lightly greased bowl and keep covered in a warm place for the dough to rise.
5. After an hour, the dough would rise to double its size. Gently knead it and divide into 2 portions.
6. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into oval shape using a rolling pin. Transfer the rolled out dough to greased baking sheet/tray.
7. Make same sized slits/strips on both sides of the rolled out dough retaining the center of the dough for the filling. (I had added a photo for a better understanding.)
8. Spoon the filling of your choice to the center of the dough and start braiding. For braiding, start from one end. Take one strip and take it over the filling, across to the other side. Do this alternatively from either side.(Photo attached for better understanding).
9. Braid the entire dough such that the filling is completely covered and close the ends properly by either sticking the dough to the corner or cut out the remaining part of the dough to give it a proper finished look.
10. Place your stuffed dough in a warm place and let it stay for another 30 mins so that it rises again.
11. Preheat the oven to 320 deg F. Meanwhile, prepare the egg-wash.
12. Beat the egg properly and brush the loaves/stuffed bread with the egg.
13. Sprinkle sesame seeds and chopped coriander leaves on the loaves/stuffed bread.
14. Once the oven is heated to the desired temperature, bake the loaves for 20-25 mins. It should have a golden brown color once done.
15. Let it cool for 5-10 mins before serving.

Enjoy the evening with freshly baked stuffed braided bread and a cup of tea/coffee.

Photos to explain the steps above. Because it was the first time trying, its not perfect in terms of shape and braiding. Am sure I will do better in the next attempt. Can’t wait to take perfect picture to share this wonderful recipe though 🙂

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photo 2

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Chicken/Paneer Pesto pizza(Whole wheat pizza dough)

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Pizza..and does anyone really care to make it at home?? Oh well, let me start explaining the reasons to make pizza at home. All the pizza base that we get in stores, in restaurants etc. are all made of all-purpose flour. Now if you don’t know already, all-purpose flour is not one of the healthiest options. So that’s the first and foremost reason to try this whole wheat flour pizza. Even if you find a recipe which claims to be whole wheat dough, its usually not 100% whole wheat pizza dough. I am sharing 100% whole wheat dough recipe 😛 Then comes all the other reasons which are my main reasons not to buy pizza much. The pizza bases are usually too oily, it has too much cheese in it, the pizza sauce is not always the way I like it, so on and so forth.. 🙂

Having said that if you do not want the pain of making the pizza dough by yourself, you could just buy pizza dough from stores and make this yummy pesto chicken/paneer pizza. Pesto sauce works really well for pizzas. I have been a fan of pesto pizza from the day I first had this pizza @ work.

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INGREDIENTS:

For Whole Wheat Pizza Dough:

1. Wheat flour – 1.5 cups
2. Active dry yeast – 1.5 tsp
3. Olive oil – 2 tbsp
4. Sugar – 1/2 tsp
5. Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)
6. Warm water – 3/4 cup

For Pesto Chicken(or Paneer) pizza topping:

1. Pesto Sauce – 1/3 cup
2. Baby Spinach leaves – 1 cup packed
3. Grilled chicken breast(cubed) – 3/4 cup
(or Paneer cubes)
4. Grated cheese – 1/4 cup
(I used Mozzarella cheese)

METHOD:
For the pizza dough:-

1. In warm water, add sugar and yeast. Close the lid and let stay for 15 mins until foamy.
2. In a stand mixer/food processor with dough blade, pulse the wheat flour, salt and olive oil well. To this add the foamy yeast mix and mix/blend well.
3. Add 2 tbsp water in case the dough is not binding well. Once done, knead by hand for 5 minutes.
4. You could skip Step 2 and 3 if you prefer to knead the dough using hands. Combine the flour mixture to form slightly firm dough(Similar to chappati dough).
5. Grease a bowl and cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rise for 2-3 hours. After 2 hours, knead the dough for 5 mins again and let it rise for another hour.
6. Once the dough rises, knead the dough using hands for 2-3 mins.
7. Spread the dough by hand onto a baking sheet/tray greased with oil/cooking spray. Alternatively, you could use a rolling pin. When you spread the dough by hand, you could make it into any shape you want. I had made a square base.
Tip: Once you have rolled out the dough, using a fork, tap the dough here and there. This will prevent any bubbles being formed while baking the pizza.

For Pesto Chicken/Paneer pizza topping:-

Skip the steps to make the pizza dough(step 1-6) if you are using store bought pizza dough. Once you have spread the dough, its time for the toppings.

8. Spread pesto sauce on the base.
9. Evenly place the spinach leaves and put the chicken/paneer cubes on top.
10. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the pizza.
11. Preheat the over to 400 degree F and bake for about 15-20 mins or until the crust is golden brown.

Easy Sandwich using Cilantro/Coriander spread

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Looking for something healthy, easy and tasty to make for snack? Whenever I come back home after work, I get so hungry. I would remember the good old days, when I would come back home after school and tempting snacks would be waiting for you. Samosas, puffs, vadas, bajjis and what not. Sigh!!! 😦 Well, then to comfort myself, I would think that anyway those snacks are not healthy. So why bother to make them 😉 So I remembered some sandwich I had once had at a friends place. All I knew was that it had a spread made of coriander leaves, mint leaves and there was some amount of mayonnaise in it.

So I thought of giving it a try. It came out pretty well. Now, there are some advantages to this snack. 1. You can make this spread and store in the refrigerator and it stays fresh for a week. 2. It is healthier than other Indian snacks you could possibly think of. 3. It is very easy to make. 4. Most of the times you would have a packet of bread and some coriander leaves at home. So no extra shopping required for making this spread 🙂 I hope I have given enough reasons to try this out. This has become one of my favorite snacks and easy to make recipe. Pack it as lunch or grab it when you rush to work in the morning or serve it when you come home tired. It is very refreshing to have any time of the day.

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INGREDIENTS:

Coriander leaves – a handful/bunch(approx 30-35 strands)
Green chilli – 2 nos
Lime juice – 2 tbsp
Onion – 1/2 nos
Mayonnaise – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste(apprx 1/4 tsp)

METHOD:

1. In a blender, put all the ingredients mentioned above expect Mayonnaise. Blend it into a smooth paste.
2. Add the Mayonnaise and mix well.
3. On a slice of bread, spread about 2 tsp of the spread and make it a sandwich by placing on it, another slice of bread.

And the tasty and healthy sandwich is ready for a bite 🙂

Appam/Paalappam

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Appam or Paal-appam is one of the most popular breakfast items in Kerala. Like other breakfast items, appam also is a rice based pancake made by fermenting the batter using active yeast. It gets its fair amount of richness from the coconut milk. As opposed to its counterparts like dosa, idli, etc. , appam is predominantly sweet in taste. It can be considered as a type of pancake.

I had never tried my luck with appam because I don’t like the preparation that is required for making the batter. Dosa and idli being more popular, I would get the ready made batter from the grocery store. I feel lazy when I think that I have to soak the rice for 5 hours or more and then grind it and then wait for its fermentation for finally getting the batter ready. Appam is kind of getting popular atleast in the Bay Area, because I see many restaurants having a live counter for appams for buffets!!! 🙂 That encouraged me to try out an easier version of making the batter. I thought of atleast dropping/eliminating the first round of preparation(of soaking rice). So I tried my version of appam using rice flour!!! 🙂 Yaayy..What a success the first time. I was so happy and thrilled. But the second and third time, it was not all that great. The culprit was yeast. I probably used hot water for soaking yeast. But ever since I have got it right and it tastes absolutely marvelous with any spicy gravy/curry. I usually make it with egg curry or pepper chicken. I have seen that kids absolutely love appam because of its sweetness. I personally love it ‘coz of its golden brown outer frill which is crispy and yet has a soft and tender center part that makes it perfect!!!

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INGREDIENTS:

Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Rice Flour – 2 cups
Cooked rice – 1/4 cup
Coconut milk – 1 cups
Active Dry Yeast – 1/4 tsp
Water – 2.5 cups
Sugar – 3 tbsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp

METHOD:

1. In lukewarm water(1/4 cup), add 1/2 tsp sugar and yeast. Close it with a lid and let it stay for 10-15 mins until foamy.
Note: If the yeast doesn’t get foamy after 10-15 mins, it is because the water wasn’t warm enough or too warm. So it is totally worth it, to throw this batch that didn’t get foamy and start all over again. Try again and again till you hit the right temperature for the water and the yeast gets foamy. This is THE trick to get the appam soft and fluffy. Otherwise, it will get hard. Unless the yeast gets foamy, it will NOT ferment your batter nicely. If it gets foamy, it doesn’t matter if its summer or winter, it will still ferment it if you place the batter in a relatively warm place(like inside an oven!)
2. In a grinder, grind the cooked rice into a smooth paste using less water(apprx. 1/4 cup water).
3. Take rice flour and mix it well with coconut milk, ground cooked rice, salt and remaining water. You can whisk the batter well to avoid any lumps.
4. Now add the yeast solution to the batter and give a light stir. Once you stir in the yeast, keep the batter undisturbed, for fermenting. Leave it overnight or for about 8-10 hours. It might take longer during winter.
5. Once the batter rises, it is ready to be used. Add the remaining sugar just before using the batter. Adding the sugar prior to this could lead to over fermentation, which will make the batter loose its sweetness. If needed, you can add water to bring to a right consistency(The batter should be of as much or more running consistency than that of a dosa batter).

To make appams:-

1. To make appam, in its actual form, you would need appachatti(A variation of a kadai, which is used specifically for making appams). It is a wide kadai and comes with a lid. If you do not have an appachatti, you can use any skillet. The only difference would be that you wouldn’t get it as shown in the picture but more in a pancake form.
2. Heat the appachatti. If the appachatti is non-stick, you don’t need to use oil. Otherwise, grease the appachatti with oil.
3. Pour a laddle of batter and take the appachatti in your hands. Rotate it clockwise so that the batter is spread evenly to all side of the chatti.
4. The remaining batter will come and settle in the center of the appachatti.
5. Now cover it with a lid and let cook in medium high flame. Let stay for over a minute or so.
6. The appam is ready when the sides get a golden brown color and the sides start sticking off from the appachatti.
7. Take the appam out of the appachatti and serve immediately.

Tips:
1. Adding sugar to the lukewarm water and closing the lid helps in better foaming of yeast.
2. Too much yeast will ferment the batter to an extent that the sweetness of appam would be lost.
3. For better fermentation of the batter, especially during winter, keep the batter in an oven with the oven light on.
4. If you are keeping the batter for fermentation in a closed environment like an oven, keep the vessel uncovered. This will help the batter to rise better.
5. The batter while rising can spill. So ensure to use a vessel that will be just over half full after the batter is poured into it.
6. While the appam is cooking, do not lift the lid of the appachatti many times to check if appam is ready 🙂 This will prevent the proper cooking of appam in steam.
7. Don’t stack the appams one on top of the other. It will be sticky when warm and so they will stick to each other.

Serve hot with pepper chicken, mutton stew or egg roast .

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