Ciabatta!!!!!



I finally nailed it!!!! After about 4 years and 2 dozen failed attempts at making restaurant style succulent Italian bread, I had completely given up on bread making. We had resigned to a mindset that you needed Italian blood flowing through your veins to get it just right. and we couldn't find an iota of Italian DNA in either the Thirunelveli or the Thanjavur roots we had at home. But 3 weekends ago, we were watching our favorite food channel and America's Test Kitchen had a bread special episode going on. For the first time I came across a recipe demonstration to that detail with real temperature settings and exact timings and of course a visual of the dough at all stages. And then it dawned upon us...there is no shortcut to good bread. The recipe itself called for about 8+4 hours of just waiting at different stages for fermentation. And then the baking time of course. So we decided to try it one more time with a very low expectation level since I have fallen on my face multiple times before. We were so desperate to find the key that we went and bought the exact same mixing equipment they had on the show. So I followed the recipe to the tiniest detail and voila we actually landed a really good loaf indeed....but it was still missing the ZING. It was by far the best bread I had made but still not restaurant style. So I tried again a week later. This time the bread was so stiff and dense, and I thought I lost it again! And then I pondered another week over what I was doing differently and it dawned upon me. I was so fixated on the recipe that I had lost sight of the most important advantage of a visual demonstration. The look of the dough at every stage! I compared and saw that my dough was a lot less wet and had too few bubbles compared to that the video. Now I knew I had to tweak something and the most key step occured to me. The fermenting does not happen on a cold counter top. I had to set the dough in a temperature controlled area for the fermenting to happen just right. So at every stage of fermenting, I made sure I set the oven to a 100 degrees Fahrenheit and let it cool to a warm temperature like 80 degrees. I also tweaked the amount of water and kneading time resemble the dough in the video. Finally, I landed the PERFECT restaurant style Ciabatta I had been itching to make for years!!!!!!!!!! Deliciously airy and light inside and a golden crisp crust outside.
I was almost in tears of joy at the success. We couldn't believe our taste buds!!! I am jotting down the recipe with all the tweaking I had to do to make it work for me. I would however first like to credit America's test kitchen because the basic recipe came from them and there was no way I would have landed this without their video. To check out the original version, please go to their website at America's Test Kitchen



Ingredients

MainSpices/Flavouring
~5 cups All Purpose FlourSage/Rosemary
1 sachet Active dry YeastGarlic Herb Butter(Optional)
Salt
2 oz 2% Milk




Method
To make the Biga:
Pre-heat oven to 100 degrees and let it cool down with the door half open for 3-5 minutes.
Take 1.5 cups of flour in a big round bowl and add 1/4 tsp of yeast in it.
Blend it with 8 oz of water using a heavy spoon.
This is a very wet dough and will be very sticky to work with your hands.
Cover it tightly using a cling wrap and leave it in the oven closed for about 8 hours.



To make the dough:
The biga would have fermented and should be a little bubbly and clinging to the sides of the bowl.
I used a Kitchen Aid mixer to make this dough.
In the mixing bowl, transfer the biga.
Add 2 cups of flour, 1/2 tsp yeast, 2 tsp salt, 2 oz milk and 8 oz of water.
Finely chop an herb of your choice like sage or rosemary and add about a tbsp of it into the dough for flavor.
Mix it on the lowest speed using the mixing ladle attachment for about a minute.
Pause and scrape the dough from the sides into the center and mix again on medium low speed for about 4 minutes.
Pause and scrape the dough again and swtich the attachment to a dough hook.
let it knead this dough at medium low for 10 minutes and then on medium for an additional 7-9 minutes.
Transfer this dough back into the glass bowl without stretching it too much. It will be very very sticky. Using a silicone spatula would be a good idea.
The transfer should be quick and in a big lump so we do not loose the structure we built with the kneading.
Again pre-heat the oven to 100 degrees and let it cool off for 5 minutes.
Put a cling wrap back on and set the dough in the oven for an hr.
Remove the wrap and do about 8 to 10 turns on itself to lightly mix the dough without breaking any bubble.
GENTLE is the key.
Put the wrap back on and set it back in the oven for another 30 mins.
Redo the 8-10 turns and set it back for another 30 minutes.
The dough is now done.
It will be one helluva sticky dough and we will need to flour it up a lot to handle it.
Flour a smooth working surface and transfer the dough into it without stretching it., We want all the fermented bubbles to stay in place to make this a light and airy loaf.
We will be dividing this dough into about 6 portions using a pizza cutter or a bowl scraper.
Very lightly work each portion into a flat 5x4 size and fold it on itself 3 times .
Do not break any bubbles in the process.
Take a baking sheet and set a parchment paper sheet on it and flour the surface.
Place the dough portions about 2 inches apart.
Cover the sheet with cling wrap (yes..again!) and let it sit for about 30 mins.
In the meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 460 degrees.
After 30 mins, remove the cling wrap and spray the loaves with with a little water and put it in the oven.
Do the water spraying 2 more times at 2-3 minute intervals.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the loaves are well puffed up and a golden crust has formed.
They should have at least doubled in volume.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack immediately.
Smear some herb/garlic butter on top and let it melt on the surface.
Let the loaf relax and cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it.



It is pretty delicious as it is but you can always dunk into some warm marinara or olive oil for the indulgence.

Sabudana Wada and a Birthday...



This weekend my little munchkin turned 3 and I have spent the last 4 odd days just getting overwhelmed at how fast the past 3 yrs have passed. He turned from a tiny 6lb-15ounce ball of sweet smelling cotton candy into a 3 & 1/2 ft tall bundle of mischief in the blink of an eye! So apart from just smothering him all weekend and sucking in all his cuteness, we decided to spend the weekend enjoying his day doing stuff he loved. He crawled into our bed on Saturday morning around 10-ish with a very matter-of-fact "There you are!". After an hour of chitchat and about 4 rhymes, we got ready to start our day with his favorite breakfast - MAGGI. He can have this just about anywhere anytime! He just recently started Montessori and very adorably showed off how to twist and scoop noodles on his own using a fork. After breakfast we headed out to the city and visited the Aquarium of the Bay by Embarcadero. He loved looking at all the fish and other creatures that were on showcase and had a wonderful time running about the place. He freaked a little around some crabs/octopuses but overall had a ball. Then we stuffed ourselves in about 4 different flavors of ice cream and enjoyed some live dancing/music on pier 39. We headed into The Rainforest Cafe and ordered the three vegetarian items they had on their menu for a late lunch/early dinner. So all in all nice day out in the city, great drive and fabulous memories of fun.
On Sunday, very close family friends of ours visited us and we had tea with sabudana wada with them. Here is my version of this all time favorite snack and some pictures.

Ingredients

MainSpices/TadkaGeneric
1 cup Sabudana1/2 tsp TurmericOil
2 large Potatoes1 pinch HingSalt
1/2 cup Peanuts1/2 cup Dhania
2 tbsp Bread Crumbs1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 tbsp Maida8-10 Green Chillies

1 tbsp Grated Ginger






Method
Soak the sabudana in just enough water to immerse it for about 2-3 hrs.
Boil the Potatoes, peel the skin and leave it in the fridge for about 2 hrs. This will harden it up a little and make it easier to grate later.
Coarsely break the peanuts in a processor and roast them for just a couple minutes.
Once the sabudana has soaked in all the water, sprinkle a little water on top and microwave for about 2 minutes on medium.
In a bowl, grate the potatoes.
Add the semi-cooked sabudana, finely chopped green chillies and dhania, peanuts, bread crumbs, spices, maida, salt to taste and blend with the back of a heavy spoon until well mixed.
Make equal sized balls with it and flatten them on your palm and set aside on a plate dusted with some flour.
Heat oil in a wok and deep fry them on medium heat until nice and golden on both sides.
Serve hot with a side of chutney of choice or sweetened yogurt sprinkled with a pinch of elaichi.

Vegetable Parathas




Ingredients

MainSpices/TadkaGeneric
2 large Potatoes1 pinch TurmericOil
1 cup Peas1 pinch HingSalt
1 cup Corn1 tsp PanchpuranGhee
Fresh Dhania1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
Fresh Pudina5-7 Green Chillies


Method
Prepare dough for Rotis. (See here)
Steam the potatoes, corn and peas for about 3 whistles in a pressure cooker.
Mash them up in a bowl and add all the spices.
Add finely chopped green chillies, fresh Dhania and Mint and salt to taste and let the filling cool for about 15-20 minutes.
Take a ball of dough about the size of a lemon and roll it out to about 4-5 inches in diameter and 1/2 cm thick.
Take a tbsp of the filling in the center and seal it up into a ball again.
Roll it out gently dabbing enough flour to make a paratha about 7-8 inches in diameter.
Heat a tawa and cook the paratha with ghee until nice and golden on both sides.
Serve hot with a side of pickle and/or raita.

Vegetable Biryani





Like I mentioned in my previous post, we had a nice Sunday lunch a couple weekends ago with family that featured some delicious Makai Bhari Mirchi, Vegetable Biryani and some soothing Gujrati Dal. My version of vegetable biryani doesn't call for any yogurt (like traditional ones do) because DH is not a fan of the flavor it brings to the biryani. Here are some pictures from the family table and the recipe for the biryani.




Ingredients

MainSpices/TadkaGeneric
1/2 head Cauliflower2 Bay LeavesGhee
1 cup Peas1 Moti ElaichiSalt
1 cup Carrots 1/2 tsp Kalo JeeraSugar
1 cup Beans1 tsp Jeera
1 cup Bell Peppers1/2 tsp Whole Black Peppers
1 large Onion1 tsp Biryani Masala
2 large Tomatoes1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 cup Paneer1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
2 cups Basmati RiceGaram Masala

Cashews

Fresh Dhania

Saffron




Method
Cook 2 cups basmati rice with 1 and a 1/4 cup water in a rice cooker. Add a tsp of ghee so the grains do not stick together.
As soon as the rice is cooked, spread it on a wide plate and let it cool.
Cut the cauliflower head into medium florets.
Cut the rest of the vegetables into long thin strips.
Finely slice the onions lengthwise.
Finely chop the tomatoes.
In a pan heat 2-3 tbsp butter/ghee and roast the bay leaves, moti elaichi, jeera, kalo jeera and black peppers on low-medium heat for a couple minutes.
Add all the vegetables except onion and tomatoes and saute on medium heat.
Add the biryani masala, salt, turmeric, and red chilli powder. Keep tossing.
Add the grated paneer, finely chopped tomatoes, salt to taste and cook only till the vegetables are half cooked.
Carmelize the onions with a tsp of sugar in 2-3 tbsp of butter. Cook on low heat until they are dark brown. Take care not to burn them.
In an oven safe pot, grease the sides with some ghee.
Spread a layer of rice topped with a layer of the vegetable mix.
Sprinkle some garam masala on top and again add a layer of rice.
Continue until all vegetable and rice is used up.
Add a few strands of saffron to a tbsp of warm water and let it sit for a couple minutes.
Sprinkle some saffron water on the top and spread the carmelized onions as the top most layer.
Cover with an oven safe dish cover or just aluminium foil.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the biryani in the oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Garnish with roasted cashews, fresh dhania and serve hot.

Makai Bhari Mirchi



A couple weekends ago, we enjoyed dinner at a local Indian joint and they had some very new dishes on the menu. We particularly liked a corn based dish of stuffed peppers and the very next day at lunch, I tried to recreate the dish with my own twists. I served it with vegetable biryani (recipe and more pictures to follow) and some gujrati dal. The sweetness of the gravy from sweet corn and onions perfectly complimented the heat from the peppers...overall, this recipe was a keeper and here I am jotting it down before I forget..

Ingredients

MainSpices/TadkaGeneric
3 large Anaheim Peppers1 tbsp Panchpuran MasalaOil
1 large Potato1 tsp Dhania PowderSalt
2 cups Corn1 pinch Garam MasalaButter
1 medium Onion2 Green Chillies
2 tbsp Fresh Cream1 pinch Turmeric
1/2 cup Grated Paneer1 pinch Hing

Fresh Dhania Leaves


Method
Slit the Anaheim peppers lengthwise from one side.
Boil the potato and mash in a bowl.
Roast 1 cup of corn until golden and add to the mashed potato.
Add the grated paneer.
Dry roast the panchpuran masala for a couple of minutes on medium heat and grind it to a coarse powder.
Add the powdered panchpuran, some turmeric, a pinch of hing and salt to the mixture and blend with the back of a heavy spoon.
Stuff this mixture ino the peppers loosely. Stuffing them too tight will make the pepper break while cooking.
In a pan, heat 2-3 tbsp butter and set the stuffed mirchis to shallow fry.
Keep turning every couple of minutes to fry evenly until the skin turns golden brown and shrinks well.
Transfer the mirchis directly to the serving dish and do not drain the excess butter from it.
Roughly chop the onion and green chillies and roast them in the pan with the butter left over from frying the peppers.
Add the remaining 1 cup corn and continue cooking on medium heat until the onion turns translucent and corn becomes golden.
Puree this in the blender with 1/4 cup water. Do not make the gravy very runny or it won't adhere to the peppers.
Transfer the puree back to the pan and add a pinch of turmeric, garam masala and salt.
Add the fresh cream and bring to a boil for just a minute and turn the heat off.
Cut the slightly cooled cooled mirchis into 2-3 pieces.
Pour the gravy on top of the mirchis.
Garnish with some grated paneer and fresh dhania and serve hot with Rotis or Rice.

Methi Ghia Subzi

Turns out the scheming elves of fate read my blog and found out that I was having a record start of summer picnicking with my favorite people and decided to play games with my upcoming programs. Saturday morning I woke up super excited about a day drenching in the cool water park sipping a nice ice cold slush and had a bummer of a running nose. But we were not to be beat so easily. We picked up a new plan and spent the day at the Golden Gate Park. We rented a paddle boat for an hour and enjoyed boating on Stow Lake. And then we rented a family cycle kinda like the cycle rickshaws of previous centuries and rode the park for an hour. To see an image of our cycle rickshaw, check out the single surrey image at: http://www.wheelfunrentals.com/Content/WhatWeRent.aspx
Had a decent Italian lunch on North Beach and even managed to catch "The A-Team" in action before we headed home. The best part of the exercise was discovering how sportive Gutloo was throughout the day enjoying every bit of the day's activities and the movie. We came back to a nice cool curd rice dinner and went to bed all exhausted. I couldn't help flashing a smug smile at my cold symptoms!
And for a new recipe after a long time,here is a low carb version of the usual Aloo Methi. Its a very simple concoction, takes 10 mins to make and is very wholesome to eat with Rotis, Bread or Rice.



Ingredients

MainSpices/TadkaGeneric
1 bunch Methi Leaves1 tsp JeeraOil
1 Medium Ghia2-3 Green ChilliesSalt

1 pinch TurmericSugar

1 pinch Hing

1 tbsp Lemon Juice




Method
Peel the skin and dice the Ghia into small cubes.
Finely chop the Methi leaves.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadhai and splutter the Jeera until dark.
Add the slit green chillies and saute on low for 1/2 a minute.
Add the Ghia, salt to taste, turmeric and hing and saute for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add the methi leaves when the ghia is half cooked and continue cooking on medium until the ghia is translucent and the methi wilts and cooks.
Garnish with a dash of lemon juice, sprinkle a little sugar and serve hot.



I concocted this combination for Preeti's Green Gourmet event. Follow the link to see a wonderful compilation of some very innovative green recipes!

Summer At Last!!!

So I am back after absconding from the blogosphere for about 2 months. I cannot particularly say that I have been very busy but occupied for sure. I had a whirlwind of an India trip end of April, which I won’t quite qualify as a vacation since I was trying to keep my sanity through a toddlers tantrums, the mother of all sore throats, a never ending jetlag, a family function, the “husband not traveling with me” syndrome and still squeezing in about 8 hours of shopping and 8000 calories of junk food inside a two week window. People might call it insane, but I have chosen to call it a productivity increase workshop. The best part of my workshop was the surprise my mom had for me that she was flying back with me. That definitely spared my DH from dealing with my crankiness coz my son was determined to pull my hair apart one strand at a time…what to do! Occupational hazards of motherhood! The one thing that I should most certainly add after all this whining is the my little bundle of joy is a whole different avatar in his familiar surroundings. I just tend to forget that a 24 hour flight followed by erratic sleep cycles and dozens of new people in a place where heat and humidity are trying to one up each other must be a little overwhelming for a 2 yr old...
So after I came back, we dealt with our annual supply of the cold, cough, viral fever and flu germs. Having survived a three week blur caused by cough syrup overdose, we bid them goodbye and managed to dry about 8 loads of laundry sanitizing the house. We finally decided to take control of our lives from the rigid holds of our insane routines and resolved to use every weekend this summer enjoying the outdoors and spending some quality family time. And I am proud to say that we have sustained on our “Enjoy Life” program 3 weekends in a row!
The first weekend we went camping with my cousin and her family. We packed enough food to feed a village for a week and camped for one night. It is only fair to add that we ended up eating half the village’s food to battle the cold. Our fault for trusting that summer is here to stay! It was gorgeous the day before and after we camped and freezing on the day we were on the campsite. The kids however had a ball…one snuggled warm in a bunny suit and the other keeping warm by hiking up and down every visible slope on the campground. We did have a great time though and clicked some memorable pictures.
The next weekend, we had family over for memorial day and my husband and I spent the whole weekend glued to the delightfully soft, sweet smelling cheeks of our 7 month old niece while discussing world politics and the solution to technological clashes (Read As: school highlights and deciding between a Nintendo and an Ipod Touch) with the 9 yr old munchkin. We hiked up coyote hills with the whole gang and some friends from the neighborhood and they all had an amusing time looking at me dealing with my vertigo on the way down.
The third weekend we went cherry picking with family friends and had a super time enjoying a sunny day in the farm. Junior picked two cherries and ate one and spit half of it out. It was fun nonetheless.
And the coming weekend we plan on visiting one of the local water parks and sun bathing and maybe sneaking out to a romantic anniversary dinner to celebrate our 7th year of wedded bliss…..
I have been resolving every week to make sure I send in entries to a couple of blogosphere events I have been tracking (a clean up your pantry event by One Hot Stove and a Green Gourmet event by Write Food) both of which I think I have missed the deadlines on. I did however clean up my pantry and I did whip up a very green Methi Ghia Subzi but haven’t posted the recipes with pictures yet. Will do ASAP (Notice how I am not committing to a date? Chances are it might get done by the end of summer!)
So watch out folks for more updates on my “Weekends of Summer 2010” memoir!!!!

Chaat n Chai with friends...

Yesterday, my friends S, P and I got together to spend the evening making and eating some spicy Chaat and sipping on some good old masala chai. We had a terrific time making Pani Puri and Vada Pav and boy!! did they come out good!!!!! S made the puris for Pani Puri from scratch and it made a whole lot of difference dunking crunchy puris filled with hot vatana and chutneys into spicy chilled pani.....yummm! Click here and here to check out the pictures....

Updates without goals....

I am pretty surprised I did some food photography without an agenda a couple days ago and updated some pictures. Click on the name to check them out....... Stuffed Eggplant, Limbu Rasam and Morchaar...

Goal #2 Down!



I did manage to make and click all the Raitas except one....Pudina Raita....I guess its starting to become a pattern to always leave something undone. I will finish it in a couple days though...The fun part was that after making all the Raitas last night, DH and I gobbled them up right away coz we knew if we didn't eat it right then, it would sit in the fridge forever. Check out detailed recipes and more photos under each individual recipe.

Boondi Raita



Ingredients

MainSpices/TadkaGeneric
2 cups Yogurt
Chat MasalaSalt
3/4 cup Spicy BoondiRed Chilli Powder(Optional)
Jeera Powder


Method
Whip the yogurt with some salt to make it smooth and creamy.
If using Spicy Boondi, we can omit the red chilli powder.
Just before serving, mix in the boondi and sprinkle with jeera powder and chat masala.
Serve before it gets soggy.

Lunch today....



Phulkas, Gobhi Tamatar, Tendli Bhaji & Salad....



Phulkas



Ingredients


MainGeneric
4 cups Wheat FlourSalt
1/4 cup Warm MilkWarm Water
Oil




Method
Mix a tsp of salt with the wheat flour and knead it in a bowl with the milk adding a little water at a time.
Keep kneading until it becomes soft and pliable.
Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes.
Roll out 1-2 mm thin rotis about 6-8 inches in diameter.
Heat a skillet and place a roti on it when hot.
Let it cook on one side for 1/2 a minute and then flip and cook the other side for 1/2 a minute.
Then slide it into the open flame and let it puff up, turning once.
Apply a dash of ghee and serve.
Store in an airtight container lined with aluminum foil if not eating right away.



Kid Friendly Pasta



It is an everyday challenge to come up with a nutritious yet colorful and appetizing meal for a toddler. Especially when the toddler tends to change his tastes every week. Last nights's concoction for my 2 year old was thankfully in line with his demand for pasta and I tried to get his vegetables, protiens and carbs all in a one pot dish. It came out pretty well and I ended up eating quite a bit under the pretext of tasting. This recipe can be easily tweaked into a quick 30 minute lunch or dinner fix for adults as well. I would recommend using olive oil instead of butter though and maybe a little more spices based on your taste. I used Paneer because I did not have Feta cheese at home. So without much adieu, here comes pasta sauteed with fresh vegetables in a light herb butter sauce.



Ingredients

MainSpicesGeneric
2 cups PastaBlack PepperOlive Oil
½ Bell PepperBasil pasteButter
1 cup BroccoliSalt
1 cup Squash
1 cup Paneer
1 small Tomato




Method
Boil the pasta for about 8-10 minutes until cooked. I used some fusili and rotini.
Cut all vegetables into 1/2 inch cubes. The idea is to make it bite size for kids.
In a heavy bottom pan, melt 1 tbsp butter and add a tsp of basil paste and let it diffuse in the butter on low heat for a minute.
Saute all the vegetables until well cooked, yet crisp and crunchy.
Add the paneer and saute until it roasts to a golden color.
Add salt and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.
Drain the pasta and add it to the vegetables and toss on medium heat for a coupleof minutes.
Serve hot with a side of fruit juice or milk.

Update on My Goals...

I just vaguely remembered having assigned myself some blog related goals eons ago..(Read as: I didn't quite finish my assignment from two weeks ago!). I did cook a lot of rice dishes and take pictures but unfortunately, couldn't finish all of them. I got through all but one - Ven Pongal. I promise to cook that next weekend. Time for a new goal I guess...

Target: Assemble (coz there isn't much to cook) all the Raitas/Salads and photograph them.
Time Frame: Sunday March 7th, 2010.

Good Luck to me!

Crispy Golden Rawa Dosa



This is a signature recipe of my mom who learnt the secret to a crispy golden rawa dosa from her uncle. As the story goes, whenever she visited home from her hostel during her college years, her mama would try to get her to eat some idlis and she just wouldn't go for it knowing that there is always a dosa option available. Turns out, he was so persistent on getting her to appreciate the sheer deliciousness of piping hot spongy soft idlis that he would not let her nudge him into making dosas until she finished all her idlis...he would send her on errands, make her go chat with everyone on the block, give her hostel life updates to her grandma and after every errand, he would make her eat an idli. My mom asked him why he is making her do all these silly things to get a meal and he said..."Appo thaan unakku pasikkum...nalla pasicha thaan nee idli chapudivai!".

Translated as: "Only then will you get hungry enough to give idlis a fair shot!"

Even today my mother gets super nostalgic when she talks about her childhood growing up with her parents, uncles and aunts and a dozen cousins in the same block. Her uncles were in the restaurant business and she always got her special snacks delivered home specially marked with her name in all corners of the packet as if to say..."Nobody else touch it!" ...and of course she also had some marked for her in the packets that came for everybody else! Now I know the source of the "I gotta be Pampered" gene in me. This post is dedicated to my mom and our super amazing Radhakrishnan Thatha (her uncle)...We totally cherish your rawa dosa recipe!!

Ingredients



MainSpices/TadkaGeneric
3 cups Rice Flour1 tbsp JeeraSalt
2 cups Rawa1 pinch HingOil
1.5 cups Maida3-4 Green Chillies


Method
Blend in all the flours with about 6-8 cups of water and beat it until completely lump-free.
Finely chop the chillies and add it into the batter.
Add the jeera, hing and salt to taste.
Cover the batter and let it sit for at least an hour.
Heat a tawa and smear 2-3 drops of oil on it.
Gently pour 2-3 ladles of batter around the tawa into a thin dosa. Do not spread the batter with the ladle on the tawa.
Tilt the tawa if needed to spead the batter.
Spray a tsp of oil on the dosa and let it cook for about a minute and a half on medium high flame.
Turn and cook the other side.
Remove when crisp and golden and serve hot with sambar, chutney or gothsu….

Breakfast today..



This morning we had rawa dosa with coconut chutney for breakfast...Recipe and more pictures coming soon!

Two more down!!



As you can see above, we had some snow and some sunshine for lunch today....the combination of the mellow sweetness of the coconut rice with some tangy tart lemon rice was yummy and filling. For the recipe and some more pictures, look here & here...

My Maiden Attempt...

...at GULAB JAMUNS!!!!!



I do not really have a recipe here. But definitely have a "Tried & Tested" certificate for the folks at Gits. I followed the recipe on the back of the box. Used whole milk instead of water as suggested, fried the Jamuns in ghee instead of oil and voila!!! The Jamuns turned out great and DH, junior and I pounced on them right away!



Some notes:
The dough took some serious kneading to become soft and pliable.
I had to be real careful not to leave any cracks on the surface when moulding them into balls.
I added some saffron to the syrup to add fragrance and color.

Evolution

As much as I would like to think that my generation of women are extremely accomplished and have survival instincts to get through any tornado that life throws at us, I do not feel confident enough to say that we have "evolved" into a stronger breed. My generation, for the most part, comes fully armed with top class education, tremendous self esteem and a very limited threshold for unfair treatment. We are capable of multitasking 10 jobs at once, confident enough to handle the family's finances, have a say in every decision and the place in society to attract awe and attention.
However, we really seem to lack the soft skills our previous generations had. Although they probably had those skills because their situation drove them to develop those for survival through their times, i believe that all the tools that the women of today have, to make them stronger and independent people have actually kind of diminished the capacity to have the soft skills that make a big difference in the harmony of a family. The level of humility, patience and tolerance that paves way for spiritual growth is subdued by the demands of the busy routines we impose on ourselves.
I believe that genetically, humans evolve with modifications to every version. Any tool that is not used or is getting in the way gets wiped off from our DNA. Fish lost their gills when they evolved into amphibians becuase it was not needed anymore for survival.As soon as humans evolved a strong spine, they lost the tail. It was getting in the way.
I do not think we need a male dominated society of the previous centuries to teach us these soft skills but I do firmly believe that these aspects of a woman's personality are what separates us as the emotionally stronger gender. We have the capacity to ease anyone's pain with compassion and unconditional love and we need to keep these skills alive and not let the fast paced lives we speed through take these away from our genes.
We need to make room for compassion and tolerance in our lives and maybe then we can claim to have become a stronger generation than our ancesters...
I wonder if my kids will have the same compassionate image of me that i have of my mother and grandmother. I hope that beautiful memories like these do not get tainted with images of frustration and intolerance in our childrens' minds just because we did not take the time to understand that sometimes a kid just needs to be kid..

On a lighter note, we have one more rice dish done....check it out here.

One Down!!!

Alright...so I managed to make Tomato Rice last night...check it out here...

A Goal for me!

When I started this blog, it was purely meant to be a record of all my recipes for me to refer to without worrying about my computer crashing. Believe me; I have learnt that lesson the hard way! I used to save all recipes on a folder in the laptop and keep backing them up in disks I could never find later. So having them stored on the WWW seemed like an easy solution to my paranoia of losing them someday. And ever since I have them uploaded, it is so much easier to share them with friends and colleagues. But now that I am making it a public blog, it really seems so dry with only a few pictures and no text at all. Just a couple weeks ago, I saw the movie Julie & Julia and am kind of inspired by the marathon cooking Julie undertook to give herself a purpose. Although I have my hands full with a home, a toddler and a full time job, I do feel that I should undertake a marathon cooking challenge to update pictures on all my recipes. (There is no way I will get around to it otherwise!!!) So I am going to pick each category of recipes and give myself a time frame to cook them all and take blog worthy pictures.
Since both I and my DH are suckers for rice dishes, I believe I have found where I need to begin. So here goes....

Target: All rice dishes on the blog to be cooked and photographed.
Time Frame: Finish by Sunday 2/29/10

Wish me luck!!!