Veg Uthappam

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Uthappam can be described as a pizza made of rice flour topped with your choice of toppings. It can be visualized as a savory pancake with some toppings too :-P. It is again a South Indian breakfast which is a popular item in all the tiffin type restaurants like Saravana bhawan, Uduppi etc. Uthappam is made using regular dosa batter. And though dosa was literally the breakfast in our home as far back as I can remember, Uthappam was never a part of our menu. We used to have it once in a while, during our road trips, when we make a stopover at one of those ‘thattu kadas’ (roadside fast food stalls) 🙂

One summer break, we were in our native place at my uncle’s house. And one morning, for breakfast, my ammayi(aunt) presented ‘Mama special breakfast’. And that was the first time I had a homemade uthappam and it tasted pretty good. We all praised his cooking talents and saw how easily he was making the uthappams 🙂 Well, after that, I have never had uthappams from restaurants. When I feel like having an uthappam, I make it at home 😀 The good part about uthappam is that you could customize it to your taste. That is, you could put the toppings of your choice. It could be just onions or onion and tomato uthappam. If you want to eat more vegetables with your uthappam, you could also try putting some grated carrots to your uthappam 🙂 Doesn’t it sound very simple?? Believe me, it is as simple to make it as it sounds 🙂

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

Dosa Batter –click for recipe – 3-4 cups
Onion – 1/2 of a small sized one, chopped
Tomato – 1/2 of a large sized one, chopped
Bell pepper/Capsicum – 1/4 of a medium sized one, chopped
Green chilli – 1 no, chopped
Coriander leaves – 4-5 stands, chopped
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/4 tsp)
Oil – as needed

METHOD:

1. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except, dosa batter and oil and give a good mix.
2. Heat the dosa tava/griddle. To check if your tava is at the right temperature, sprinkle some water drops on the tava and it should sizzle away and dry up immediately.
3. Grease the tava lightly with oil. Pour 1 ladle of dosa batter to the tava. Do not spread it like you would otherwise do for regular dosa. The dosa should be thick. Lightly spread it to look like a pancake.
4. Now, take a spoonful of the mixed vegetables and top it on the dosa so that it is spread out evenly. Gently press the toppings to the dosa.
5. Cover the dosa with a deep steel/glass lid/cover and cook in medium high flame till the dosa cooks through and it gets a light brown color at the bottom.
6. With an oil applicator, grease the top of the dosa and vegetables with little oil.
7. Turn the dosa over and let it cook for few seconds till the onions(and other veg) and dosa brown a little and get slightly crispy. This is why greasing the vegetables and the top portion of the dosa becomes important. If you do not grease it, the dosa will stick to the tava and the vegs won’t get the desired texture.

Serve with sambar and coconut chutney 🙂

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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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Vada Pav(Mumbai style)

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Vada pav is yet another street food in India. Mostly popular in the streets of Mumbai, Vada Pav can be considered as an Indian Burger. Strangely enough, I had never tried vada pav when I was in India. I got introduced to this dish when I visited a Maharastrian family while I was in Michigan. At that time, when I didn’t know the basics of cooking, I had never thought I would ever make this delicacy by myself ever 😛

Well, last day I got some pav(unsweetened bun) from the store thinking I would make pav bhaji(which is what I usually make when I buy pav). But since I had a lot of potatoes at home, I thought, for a change, I will try making vada pav. I never thought that this dish would become a huge hit. Personally, I liked it a lot and to my surprise, without even being asked a question about it, DD came and told me 3-4 times that he really liked this thing!!! 😀 For those of you who don’t know the history, the last thing DD would voluntarily come and appreciate would be any kind of food!! So then I knew that this is one of those things that I am going to be making more often than I thought I would! And pleasantly so 🙂

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INGREDIENTS:

Potato – 3 medium sized
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
Asafetida/Hing – ¼ tsp
Red chilli powder – ¼ tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Green chilli – 2 nos
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Curry leaves – 7-8 leaves
Lime juice – 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves – 5-6 strands
Salt – to taste(apprx. ½ tsp)
Oil – 1.5 tbsp
Oil – 1.5 cups – for deep frying the vadas

For the batter:-
Gram flour/Besan – 1 cup
Rice flour – 1/2 cup
Red chilli powder – ¼ tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. ½ tsp)
Baking soda(Optional) – ¼ tsp
Water – a little over ¾ cup

Other ingredients:-
All the below ingredients can be bought from stores(I used home-made coriander chutney). Also, use the measurements as per your taste. I like more of coriander and dry garlic chutney in my vada pav. Those who like more sweet and sour taste, can use more of tamarind-date chutney.
-Pav
-Coriander chutney-recipe here
-Dry garlic chutney
-Tamarind-date chutney
-Chopped onion

METHOD:
1. Boil potato in a cooker/microwave and remove the peel. Mash the potato gently(Don’t make it into a smooth paste, but gently mash it to form small chunks).
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and when it crackles, put cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds also splutter/get brown, add asafetida, chopped curry leaves, chopped green chilli and grated ginger.
3. Saute till ginger becomes light brown. To this add turmeric powder. Saute for few seconds and then the mashed potato.
4. Mix well so that the seasoning is spread evenly over potato. Sprinkle salt and red chilli powder to the potato and mix well. Cook for another minute or 2.
5. Remove from heat and garnish with lime juice and chopped coriander leaves. (You could get the batter ready while you wait for the mixture to cool down).
6. Once the potato mix cools down a little, make lemon sized balls with it.
7. In a deep kadai/sauce pan, heat oil for deep frying the vadas.
8. For the batter, in a bowl, mix all the ingredients listed under ‘For the batter’ section. (I had not used baking soda and it still came out well). To avoid lumps in the batter, mix it thoroughly till it becomes a smooth paste. The easiest way is to whisk the batter. The batter shouldn’t be too runny. It should be of thick consistency.
9. Dip a potato ball into the batter and coat it well with the batter.
10. Slowly drop the dipped ball into the hot oil and fry it. Fry in medium high heat. When the vada becomes light brown, you know that your vada is ready. Gently remove the vada from oil and put on a kitchen towel/cheesecloth to drain excess oil. Repeat this for the remaining balls(You can fry upto 3 vadas together).

Assembling the Vada Pav:-
1. Slice the pav/bread into halves.
2. Spread your preferred quantity of coriander chutney on inner side of either halves of the pav.
3. Pour the required quantity of tamarind-date chutney also on either halves.
4. On the bottom half, put the dry garlic chutney and chopped onion.
5. Place the vada on the bottom half and place the other half of the pav on top.

Serve with extra dry garlic chutney, chopped onion, roasted green chilli and a lime wedge on the side. Enjoy this lip smacking vada pav with loved ones.

NOTE: 1. I didn’t use baking soda for the batter. It still came out well.
2. Rice flour makes the vada crispy.
3. For deep frying, put the vadas into the oil only when the oil is heated well. If not, the vadas will drink a lot of oil. You can do a test to check if the oil is ready, by putting a drop of the batter to the oil. If the batter goes down into the oil and comes back up quickly and turns brown immediately, it means that the oil is heated well.

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 🙂

Shrimp Quesadilla

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I love Mexican fast food. But for some reason, I don’t buy quesadilla a lot. It could be the abundance of cheese in it that makes me avoid it. One day I happened to buy quesadilla from our cafeteria. They served chicken quesadilla with sour cream and salsa. That day I absolutely loved the quesadilla and I enjoyed it more coz of the tangy salsa that was served along. I thought to myself that I should try making this at home one day. Usually you see a lot of cheese quesadilla or chicken quesadilla. I thought that when I am trying something, let it be ‘not so usual’ afterall 🙂

So I decided to try making Shrimp Quesadilla. The day I decided to make this, I went all out in buying everything that would go well with it. The grocery list was huge 😛 (chips, soda, sour cream and everything required to make salsa, guacamole etc etc 🙂 ). DD pointed it out to me that buying a quesadilla from a restaurant would have worked out cheaper 😛 LOL! All I can say is that all the effort and money that went into making it was definitely worth it!!

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INGREDIENTS:

Tortilla – 4 large sized
Shrimp – 20 nos
Onion – 1 nos small sized
Garlic – 5-6 pods
Green bell pepper – 1/2 of a small sized one
Red bell pepper – 1/2 of a small sized one
Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Cream cheese – 1.5 tbsp
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Shredded Cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese – 1/4 cup
Coriander leaves – 2 or 3 strands
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1/4 tsp)

METHOD:

1. Mince shrimp in a food processor/grinder.
2. Heat oil in a pan and put finely chopped garlic. When the garlic turns light brown, add chopped onion and salt.
3. Cook till onion turns light pink. To this add pepper powder and cumin powder. Saute for few seconds.
4. Add finely chopped bell peppers. Cook till the bell pepper is little soft.
5. Add minced shrimp and sauté till the shrimp cooks through. It wouldn’t take much long to cook.
6. To this add cream cheese and mix well. Saute for 3-4 mins. Garnish with chopped coriander/cilantro leaves.
7. To make the quesadilla, take tortilla and layer the tortilla with the filling. Spread the filling evenly. Top it with some cheese.
8. You could either spread the filling in half the tortilla and fold in the other half. Or alternatively, place filling in one tortilla and place another tortilla on top of the other and press it together.
9. Once ready, heat a pan and toast the quesadilla till it becomes slightly crispy and brown on both sides. Alternatively, you could bake it in the oven at 375 deg F for 10 mins .

Serve warm Shrimp Quesadilla with sour cream, Guacamole and freshly made salsa.

Kappa Vevichathu(Seasoned Boiled Tapioca)

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If you ever happen to ask any of the typical mallu, what is the most famous ‘Kerala Special’ delicacy they can think of, I bet 90% are going to tell – Kappa Vevichathu(Boiled and seasoned Tapioca/Yucca root) and Meen curry (Fish Curry) . Now everything else pretty much you would get in most other places. But I haven’t seen this combination or even any variation of this combination in any other cuisine.

The most authentic version of this lip smacking dish can be bought from any toddy shop in Kerala 😛 For those who do not know what toddy shops are: they are roadside shops that sell local alcoholic beverages(palm toddy). I know of people who go to these shops just to have awesome spicy fish curry with kappa 🙂 Unfortunately, I haven’t got an opportunity to try so called best version of this dish 😉

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INGREDIENTS:

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

Tapioca – 2 lbs
Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
Curry leaves – 2 strands
Dry red chilli – 2 nos
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1 tsp)

To grind:

Grated Coconut – 1/2 cup
Shallots – 10-12 nos
Garlic – 5 pods
Green chilli – 3 nos
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp

METHOD:

1. Boil small cubes of tapioca with enough water(apprx. 1.5 cups), turmeric powder and salt. If using cooker, give about 4 whistles and keep in simmer for 2-3 mins. Once done, mash the tapioca roughly.
2. Grind the ingredients under ‘To grind’ section in a mixer to form a coarse paste.
3. Heat coconut oil in a pan and put mustard seeds. When it splutters, add dry red chilli and curry leaves. Once it splutters, add the mashed tapioca to the pan.
4. Add the ground mixture and mix well with tapioca. Saute for 4-5 mins and remove from heat.

Serve hot with Fish curry