Thursday, March 31, 2011

And the Winner is........

First of all Thanks to everyone who participated and sent out the beautiful and colorful entries for the "It's Spring" event. I totally enjoyed reading all the entries, staring at beautiful pictures and mouthwatering recipes. I wish I could taste each and every dish.

We had a difficult time picking the winner since each and every dish was lovely and worth it. My in-laws, husband and I sat down together and picked the winner. But before I announce the name....Let's have a roundup of the event and see all the entries...Shall we?

Shylaja of South Indian Home sent this Beautiful Eggless Princess Cake . I felt like a little girl myself wanting to have this beautiful princess cake for my birthday :)


Namitha and Sunitha of Collaborative Curry sent the Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake and Almond Cookies. Both the entries look so scrumptious and colorful.



Krithi of Krithi's Kitchen sent this bright and pretty Mango Cupcakes. Mango- I say king of all fruits and I say bring it on :)


Divya of Dil se sent these 2 healthy, colorful and lovely entries- Tropical Fruit Salad and Whole Wheat Pasta Salad. I guess these should motivate all of us to eat healthy and stay healthy.



Richa of Ambrosia sent this Papaya and Papad Veggie....I say...very unique..a veggie with ripe papaya and papad!


Priya of Now Serving sent a delicious full meal.....Coconut Rice and Kala Chole! Lovely..Isn't it?


Priya of Priya's easy and tasty recipes...(one of the most active blogger in the blogging world) sent these fruity delicious entries....One is Mango Ice-Cream and the other is Sugarfree Mint and Kiwi Juice. Priya....We have the perfect weather here in Austin right now for the ice-cream and Juice...Mind sending?? :)



Sanyukta of Creative Sanyukta sent this beautiful, very creatively done Spring Beans Salad...It looks sooo appetizing and I am so impressed with the decoration!


Sukanya of Saffronstreaks sent these delicious 2 entries....She sent one savory "Hariyali Methi Chaman" and one sweet.."Mango Kheer".....Perfect combo! Right?



Mahimaa of Indian Vegetarian Kitchen sent this very refreshing and perfect for the weather drink- Strawberry Ginger Lemonade! What r u waiting for? Pick up the glass and gulp it down :)


Smita of Tastebuds sent everyone's favorite....very soft, moist and delicious..ladies and gentlemen....have a look (stare if u please :) ) at Pineapple Pastry!!


Mythreyi of Yum Yum Yum sent this yummy yummy tasty tasty Dill flavored spinach aka Green Rice.


Swapna of Swapna's Cuisine 2 entries-- both gorgeous and delicious looking. I would love to try her Tomato Spinach Cheese Swirl Bread ..it looks so yum! I bet Orange and Cocoa Cake taste as good as it looks...



Aren't all the entries are so lovely and delicious! Don't you just wanna get into your kitchen and try these? I do!

And now the time has come for the announcement ....And the winner to receive a $35 CSN gift card is Sanyukta of Creative Sanyukta!! Congratulations Sanyukta! Your Spring bean salad is beautiful. Everyone in my house is bowled by your creativity. Please look for my email in your inbox.

To all other participants: A big applaud for all of you. We loved your recipes. Thanks for participating.

Enjoy!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dahi Bhalla Chaat

Dahi Bhalla- Deep fried balls of urad dal (black no-skin split gram), spiced, soaked and served in dahi (yogurt). This is one of the most famous street foods of India. These hot deep fried balls are first put in cold water for about 30-40 minutes which makes them super soft and when served in yogurt,spices and chutney, they literally melt in the mouth.


These dahi bhalle were made specially for my father-in-law and I was hoping that they turn out perfect i.e... soft and delicious and they did! Everyone in the family enjoyed these dahi bhalle so very much. I still have some unsoaked one's in the refrigerator, which we can eat whenever we want.


All we gotta do is take them out and soak them in warm water about 30-40 min before adding to the yogurt and they will be ready to serve.
I am sure you can figure out the softness by this pic
These are very easy to make and not much time consuming. Ready for a recipe?

Here it is (Click here for the printable version)

Ingredients:
1 cup urad split no-skin dal 
4 cups yogurt (whisked well)
salt- to taste
red chilli powder- to taste
a pinch asafoetida
15-20 raisins
tamarind chutney (See recipe here)
1/2 tsp of  roasted cumin powder
1 tsp mango powder
fresh coriander leaves (chopped)
fresh mint leaves (chopped)
Oil- to deep fry

Method:
1. Wash and soak the urad dal in 3 cups of water overnight. Drain off the excess water the next day.
2. Grind the dal to a smooth paste. Whisk some salt, pinch of asafoetida and raisins in the batter.
3. Heat sufficient oil in a deep fry pan or kadhai. Keep the flame to medium low. Drop batter in tablespoon-fulls in the oil carefully and fry until light golden.
4. Drain onto absorbent paper. These are called "Bhalla's".
5. Now soak warm bhalla's in cold water for 30-40 min.
6. In a bowl, whisk yogurt well with some salt and cumin powder. Keep serving bowl ready.
7. Squeeze bhalla's to remove excess water out of them and arrange them in the serving bowl. Cover the bhalla completely with salted yogurt.
8. Sprinkle some red chilli powder, mango powder and cumin powder on the top.
9. Then add some tamarind chutney and finish by sprinkling some chopped coriander and mint leaves.

Enjoy the finger-licking Dahi Bhalla Chaat!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stuffed Bitter-Gourd Stir-Fry

I started eating bitter-gourd since last year only. Since childhood, the name of this vegetable didn't please me and I never got through the idea that why on earth people want to eat a bitter stir-fry!! All my childhood and till last year, I stuck by my thinking until my husband once asked me at-least taste it. He told me that you cook it for me but never eat yourself. You should at-least try it once and if you don't like it, don't eat. I tasted, I liked (and thought to myself.....not as bitter as I thought, in fact it's tasty bitter) and I started eating.

Stuffed bitter gourd (called Karela in hindi) served on bed of stir-fried onions makes them a delicious side-dish for your lunch or dinner. Cooked bitter-gourd stays good in refrigerator for about 7-10 days.





Bitter gourd is claimed to stimulate digestion and also help in treating constipation, diabetes, immunization and there are many other medicinal properties. You can read more about it here.

Here is the recipe (Click here for printable version)

Ingredients:
6-7 pieces of bittergourd (the thinner the gourd is, the better it is)
1 large onion (chopped thin and long)
1 small onion (finely minced)
3/4 tsp mango powder (amchur)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
3/4 tsp coriander powder
salt and red chilli powder- to taste
4 tbsp vegetable oil

Method:
1. Peel the serrated cover of bitter-gourds and make a lengthwise slit in the center. Do it with all the bitter-gourds. Rub some salt in and outside of bitter-gourds and put them in warm water for about 2 hours. This process will take care of removing the bitterness of the gourd.
2. Take the bitter-gourds out of water and let them dry a bit.
3. In a small bowl, add the finely minced onions and mix all the dry spices to it including salt and red chilli powder.
4. Using small spoons or hands, stuff the bitter-gourds with the onion mixture. Then tie the gourd with the thread so that the stuffing doesn't come out when we stir-fry it.


5. First heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and stir fry the long-thin onions with little bit of salt and red chilli powder until they turn translucent. Remember to put less of the salt and chilli powder as bitter-gourd stuffing too has the spices.
6. Take these onions out of pan and spread them on your serving plate.
7. Now heat the remaining 3 tbsp of oil in the pan, and stir fry the bitter-gourds while turning them in between, till they get tender and get black marks all over.

Serve the bitter-gourds on the bed of fried onions and enjoy with your favorite Indian bread.


PS: Remember to remove the threads that were tied on the bitter-gourd before eating.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

10 days left for the "$35 Giveaway Spring Event"

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Spring Event is going to end in 10 days! 30th March is the last day. I am sure you all will love to compete for a $35 gift code to shop at CSN Stores.

I am posting the "It's Spring" event details once again here for you.

Event rules:
1. Two entries per person are allowed. Archived entries can be used only if they are reposted with a new date and a link to this event.
2. Link you entry to this page.
3. Use of logo is mandatory.



4. Only vegetarian entries are allowed (eggs are fine)
5. Submit your entries to my email vbhutani03@gmail.com with the following details:
Your Name:
Blog:
Post title:
Post url:
Image: (size should not be more than 300 pixels)

I will post the round-up on 1st April 2011 and announce the winner. HURRY!! Send your entries and enjoy the SPRING :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Strawberry-White Chocolate Pound Cake!

Today I baked this delicious pound cake because I didn't have anything else to do. Yah....I have so much sweets already at home and I just made an addition by making 1 more for our sweet tooth. I first thought of baking a Lemon Pound Cake but since didn't have any lemons at home and just the extract, I decided to do some alterations and make use of fresh strawberries. Since strawberries and chocolate have always been each other's companion, I decided to add some white chocolate chips to keep strawberries company and ofcourse to satisfy the chocolate craving ..LOL.


Cake turned out super-moist and delicious. We enjoyed the cake with tea in the evening. Fresh strawberries are definitely more flavorful than frozen ones and tastes so much better.


Recipe partially adapted from Joy of Baking. (Click here for printable version)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
6 tbsp butter (softened, at room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1/3 cup white chocolate chips

Method:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Keep aside.
3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating lightly in between. Whisk in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
5. Blend in the flour mixture and milk alternately in 3 additions, ending with flour.
6. Add the chopped strawberries, white chocolate chips and mix gently, do not over mix.
7. Grease and flour the loaf pan and pour the prepared mixture into the pan.
8. Bake in pre-heated oven for about 50-55 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
9. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, invert on a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Slice and Enjoy! ......Did u just say ...."Yummy"?? :)


Also, Spring Giveaway event is still going on until 30th March 2011.....Rush in your entries!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sarson ka Saag & Makki ki Roti

Let me first explain the people who are wondering the meaning of "Sarson" "Saag" "Makki & "Roti" :)
Sarson is "mustard", Saag means "thick curry", Makki is "corn"and Roti is "Indian flat bread". Sarson ka saag (mustard leaves) cooked with spinach leaves and spices is served with makki ki roti (uneven-corn flat bread) topped with butter :)  Yummy! This is one of the most famous dishes served in North India.


We all had a wonderful lunch with saag, makki roti both topped with butter, radish and green chillies on the side. Typical punjabi platter. The mustard leaves that we get here in USA are a little different in taste than what we get in India. I also add a small turnip to the "saag" to reduce the bitterness of the mustard leaves.
While I made the "saag", my mother-in-law made the "Makki ki Roti".

Here is my recipe (Click here for printable recipe)

Ingredients:
For Sarson Ka Saag
1 bunch mustard leaves (stems cut and washed thoroughly)
2 cups of spinach leaves (thoroughly washed)
1 small turnip (peeled and washed)
1 cup water
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp chopped ginger
2 green chillies
pinch of asafoetida
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 medium tomato (chopped)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
salt and red chilli powder - to taste
2 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)
butter cubes- to top on saag and makki roti (optional)

For Makki ki Roti
2 cups corn flour 
1 tsp ajwain (carom) seeds
1 tsp salt
Water- enough to knead a soft dough
Some oil to cook the roti (bread)

Method:
For Saag
1. Pressure cook the mustard greens, spinach leaves and the turnip with just 1 cup of water. About 5 min is good.
2. Open the cooker and let the leaves cool down a bit. Then put the mixture along with green chillies and garlic into your blender/chopped and process to a slightly coarse mixture.
3. Heat ghee in a fry pan. Add asafoetida and cumin seeds. When cumin seeds starts to change the color, add ginger and stir fry for a 15-20 seconds. Add in chopped onions and stir fry until onions start to change the color and then add the tomatoes and fry until they are tender and oil starts to leave the sides.
4. Add the dry spices and stir for a few seconds and then add the mustard leaves coarsely blended mixture.
5. Mix well and let it cook on low while stirring in between for about 10-12 minutes until its well cooked.

Top it off with butter while serving.

Makki ki Roti 
1. Take corn flour in a mixing bowl and add ajwain and salt to it. Mix well.
2. Adding little water at a time knead a soft dough. Divide dough in 8-9 parts and shape them into a ball.
3. Now dip your hands into dry flour and take one flour ball in your palm. Now start pressing the ball slightly in between your hands slowly.

I am posting this picture below to show how my mother-in-law made it. You can see how soft the corn dough is and how it is made. Since the dough is very soft and tough to handle, this flat bread is usually uneven and small in size.
4. Heat up a griddle and put the roti on it. Cook both sides by spreading some oil on it and turning with a spatula until well cooked.

Serve it hot topped with butter and Sarson ka Saag.....some green chillies (only if u can handle :D ) and red radishes go so well with it as salad. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Reminder about $35 Giveaway Event and some awards

Hello Friends......

I hoping you are enjoying the spring and making lovely dishes as always. I wanted to remind you all about the on-going "It's Spring" Giveaway Event at my blog. Earlier I posted the end date of this event as 15th of this month but now I am extending it till the 30th of March as the spring has recently kicked in and as it blooms to its full swing, I am sure it will bring out more lovely dishes from all of you. Winner will receive a $35 CSN Stores gift code. :)


Please read the rules of the event HERE. Once again event end date is extended till 30th of March, 2011 !

Now time for some Thanks to my buddy bloggers- Indrani from Recipe Junction and Oureyeseatfirst  have passed me with this beautiful STYLISH BLOGGER Award.


Thanks guys..I am happy and over-whelmed. Now according to the rules, I have to share seven things about me, which I have already shared and you can read about them HERE.

I would like to pass on these awards to these fellow bloggers:

1. Sanjana from KO Rasoi
2. Priya of http://priyaeasyntastyrecipes.blogspot.com/
3. Swapna of Swapna's Cuisine
4. Priya of http://priyasnowserving.blogspot.com/
5. Gulmohar at http://www.collaborativecurry.com/
6. Ria Mathew at http://riascollection.blogspot.com/
7. http://wildeinthekitchen.blogspot.com/
8. Divya of http://divyascookbook.blogspot.com/
9. Nithya of http://www.4thsensecooking.com/
10. Krithi of http://krithiskitchen.blogspot.com/

Guys, Congratulations. Please collect the award and pass on to 10 bloggers you love and appreciate. And do write 7 thing about yourself so we all can get to know you better :)

HURRY!! Participate in the Spring Giveaway Event!! :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Banana Walnut Muffins


Re-doing my post on these yummylicious Banana Walnut Muffins. This was one of my earliest post which totally got unnoticed since I was new to the blogging world and had not come to know all you lovely bloggers. Today when I saw some overripe bananas sitting on my counter, I decided not to let them go waste. My husband loves banana muffins and breads and I wanted my in-laws to try it too so I baked these super soft and delicious banana walnut muffins.

 I can't believe I baked these muffins after so long today. Although I couldn't eat any of these since I just got my oral surgery done and my mouth is still sore from the 4 extractions. Hoping these wisdom teeth have not taken my "wisdom" away. LOL 
Everyone in the family seemed to enjoy the muffins and that also sets my husband's breakfast for tomorrow morning. :)



Also these are by far the EASIEST and BEST Banana Muffins. This is a fool proof recipe. You gotta try this!


Ingredients:
2 large overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon
1 tsp banana extract
1/2 cup white sugar
1 slightly beaten egg [if you want to make eggless; replace egg with 1/2 a more banana, simple!  :) ]
1/3 cup melted margarine or butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Method:
1. Mix the mashed banana, sugar, egg, banana extract and margarine together. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and flour.
3. Mix wet and dry ingredients all together, be careful not to over-stir!
4. Throw in the walnuts and mix.
5. Pour into greased muffin tins, or use paper liners and bake in pre-heated 350 degrees oven for approximately 20-25 minutes. Toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

Enjoy as is or spread a layer of butter on warm muffins....Uff Heavenly!! Aren't they?

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