Sunday, January 30, 2011

Orange Cold Coffee

Orange cold coffee4

I'm not addicted to coffee or tea. Infact would never prefer it unless it is some special flavored one or cold coffee. Doesn't it sound like a good Girl!! :P

As I said, I love to experiment new flavors and combination of exotic flavors are welcomed with a big bright smile :)

The climate is quite pleasant here and lovely ARR melody is running in the background. I'm on my recliner, sipping in a super cold creamy cappuccino with a kiss of orange.... This is sheer bliss :) Wat a start to a long week ahead :)

Orange cold coffee1

Ingredients:

Instant cappuccino powder
Milk
Orange
Orange zest - Optional
Brown sugar(Demerara)
Whipped cream

Orange cold coffee

Method:

Stir in a spoon of instant cappuccino powder and a spoon of demerara sugar to a cup of hot milk to make fresh cappuccino coffee. Allow it to come to room temperature and put it in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.

Remove from refrigerator and add two tsps of fresh orange juice to the coffee and stir it immediately. Beat in a tsp of whipped cream and a pinch of orange zest as well.

Extremely aromatic orange flavored cappuccino coffee is ready :)

Serve topped with few cubes of ice and decorate it using a slice of orange.

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You can make orange flavored black coffee as well by stirring in two tsps of orange juice in coffee decoction and top it with some ice cubes.

Absolutely tasty and flavorful coffee is done :)

Sip in and enjoy :)

Orange cold coffee2

Tips:

You can use orange juice syrup instead of fresh juice.

You can also use two drops of orange essence to make flavored coffee.

Mixing orange juice with hot milk will curdle the milk. So make sure you add the orange juice only when the coffee is cold.

You can also try orange tea just like how you make lemon tea :)

Orange cold coffee5

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gits - Product Review

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I have never had a serious thought about reviewing products until last week when I got a mail from Gits company asking me to review their product.

Usually the ready to eat stuff don't impress me at all, since they are loaded with preservatives and the veggies are not fresh etc. But then I just thought of checking out with their website to know about their product and was pretty surprised to see a striking statement saying - "No Preservatives and shelf stable at room temperature for 12 months!! " WOWWW but how?!! was the question in my mind and I instantly agreed to review their product.

I got a package in a weeks time which included four of their products - Veg pulao, Undhiu, Paneer Makhani and Handvo. I was damn inquisitive to read the cover and know about it as well as taste test it.

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Veg Pulao

The first product that I tasted was Veg pulao.

Its a pretty common dish at my place and we have loved the home made version than the restaurant style. But then I should say Gits veg pulao was really good and my parents agreed to it too.

The quality of basmathi rice and the subtle spices were making it appealing to the tongue. There are limited quantity of veggies in it and were well cooked too. I found it a little greasy but the box reads the fat level to 0.05g per 100gms of the food which sounds pretty acceptable.

The pack weighs 265 gms which would suffice one person or two poor(diet) eaters of my kind ;)

Verdict - Tastes good and for sure a keeper on busy days.

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Undhiu

Undhiu is a specialty dish from the western Indian state of Gujarat. This dish is entirely new to me and I wasn't sure how the traditional one tasted.

Its basically a combination of winter vegetables combined with baked chickpea flour fritters(koftas), greens and then garnished with freshly grated coconut. Reading the combination made me literally drool.

The dish did keep up my expectation and dint fail in any way. The spices were unique and the soft koftas were melting in the mouth kind. It went really well with hot chapathis.

The pack had 300gms of Undhiu and this was pretty sufficient for three of us.

Verdict - A good one to depend on lazy days.

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Paneer Makhani

Paneer makhani is our darling delicacy of Punjab. This is my personal favorite out of the four I received. I simply loved it. The paneer cubes were so soft and delicate and the rich and creamy gravy made it all the more yummy. The spices again were subtle and perfect for my taste buds.

They matched so well with roti for dinner.

The pack contains 285 gms and is sufficient for two people.

Verdict : Creamy and yummy.

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Handvo

Handvo is a traditional Gujarati savory cake and is suppose to be a difficult one to make I guess. "Guess" is because I have never heard about it before and of course this was the first time I tasted something of this kind. ;) It wasn't hard to make since Gits had done it all simple. In spite of all the troubles taken by Gits, I wasn't able to get the so called "perfect" consistency since I dint have the right equipments to make it.

Handvo is generally made in a specially designed Handvo cooker or a heavy bottomed non-stick saucepan. I don't posses both, so tried to bake one portion of it in the oven and steam cooked the other. I found it absolutely yummy both the ways and had no regrets with it except that I wasn't able to make it the traditional way.

This pack comes under the instant mixes category and requires few steps in the process. The recipe calls for 100ml of oil for 500gms of mix, which is quite a lot. But after some googling, I found that comparatively less than the traditional recipes. Sometimes a little guilt is worth the taste ;)

Verdict: A traditional recipe made simple and handy.

Highlights of the product:

  • 100% vegetarian.
  • No preservatives.
  • Low cholesterol.
They claim that their products are hot filled in laminated multi-layered aluminum foil pouches which are able to withstand thermal processing temperature in excess of 100°C at the specified pressure required for sterilization. And hence they have a shelf life of 12 months in room temperature.

The price of the products range from 50-60Rs.

Checkout their website for more products and details here.

Sounds good enough for me and mom to lock the kitchen and leave for a vacation leaving dad alone with gits :P










Disclaimer: This is an unpaid and unbiased review. My review depends totally on my taste and choices.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Republic Day

Republic day

In triumph & in tragedy
One Nation, under God
Indivisible.
And pledge allegiance to the flag of our Motherland.
And to the republic for which it stands,
With liberty and justice for all,
United we stand.

Republic day2

Freedom in Mind.
Faith in Words.
Pride in our Heart.
Memories in our Souls.
Lets Salute our Nation on REPUBLIC DAY.
Jai hind!

Republic day1

Wish you all a very happy Republic day :)

I have made healthy oats dosa(pancakes) representing Indian flag. :)

Checkout for the recipe here.

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Eggless Orange Cup Cakes

Orange cup cakes

Sweet and juicy oranges and the vibrant orange color are such a fantastic match by God. I love oranges for their flavor, taste and color :)

I have been having an orange every afternoon for the past few weeks and a sudden though arose last day and was debating with mom about the number of segments an orange would have ;) I was bidding for 10 and she said its 11 and justified saying that is the reason behind the name Orange(In tamil orange translates to numbers 6 and 5 which adds to 11) :P The debate is still on and google dint give me a convincing answer. So you guys can share your thoughts too ;)

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I recently got these cute little oranges in the market and was so trilled about it. Sometimes in large oranges there might be a small segment in between two segments and if at all I get one of those, I would be so thrilled and happy to call it baby orange and have it with cheer ;) Now that these oranges were small and cute, I could not stop getting excited ;)

Decided to make something out of it and ended up with the cute looking cup cakes which have joined my favorite list in the recent past :)

Orange cup cakes1

Ingredients:

Orange juice - 1/2 cup
All purpose flour(maida) - 1 1/4 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Powdered Sugar - 3 tbsp
Condensed milk(milk maid) - 200gms
Butter - 1/2 cup
Orange zest - 1/4 tsp
Whipped cream

Orange cup cakes5

Method:

Sift the maida, baking powder and baking soda together and keep it aside.

In a bowl, beat butter and sugar together for a min and then add the condensed milk and orange juice to it and mix well. Now beat in the flour mixture slowly and whisk until everything comes together. Finally add the orange zest to the batter.

Orange cup cakes4

Preheat oven to 375°F or 190°C. Line the muffin tray with liners.

Fill muffin cups with batter upto 3/4th and bake it for 15-20 mins at 375°F or 190°C. Adjust the time according to your oven settings.

Check if cooked by inserting a skewer in the center. Once done, allow it to cool on a wire rack for a while.

Orange cup cakes are ready.

Now beat the fresh cream until it forms peaks and pipe them on the cakes.

Decorate with some fresh oranges and serve.

This quantity would make around 10 cup cakes.

Orange cup cakes6

Tips:


I used whipping cream powder available in the market this time for my cream and the whipping was simply magical and yummy as well.

You can use two tsp of orange concentrate instead of orange juice and use little less than half cup of milk or water while making the batter.

The cake would be in pale orange color. You can use a little food color and make it look brighter.

I baked 6 cup cakes and baked the rest of the batter in small tartlet mould. They were more attractive and cute :)

Orange cup cakes3

Just a click ;)

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Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mysore Bonda (Fritter)

Mysore bonda3

I almost all the time try to avoid deep fried items like vada, bajji or bonda(fritters) for snacking, naming it "fatty or oily stuff". But would happily consume chocolates and cakes :P I believe this is the same with a lot of youngsters around too ;) Its a pure inhibition that deep fried items contain more calories and fat than pastries and chocolates ;)

I would even resist eating these kind of fried stuff to treat myself with pastries. But.. But for this mysore bonda!! This fritter is simply irresistible and too tasty to avoid.

The crispy outer layer with soft and crumbly inner part makes it totally yummy and irresistible. And this fritter when compared to others is less greasy and doesn't consume much of oil too. So you can partially forget the guilt of eating these ;)

I am really not sure of the reason behind the name and I don't claim this one to be the authentic Mysore bonda too. But this is what my mom called as Mysore bonda and I have had this from childhood and loved it ever since I had it first time :)

We also call it Medhu pakoda or Patnam pakado.

Mysore bonda1

Ingredients:

Rice flour - 2 cups
Roasted gram flour(Pottukadalai flour) - 1 cup
Vanaspathi - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 3
Onion - 1
Cashews - few
Curry leaves - few
Cooking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - for taste

Mysore bonda

Method:

Beat vanaspathi and cooking soda on a plate. Chop chillies, cashews, onion and curry leaves and add them to the vanaspathi mixture. Mix in the rice flour, roasted gram flour and salt until it forms crumbs. Add water little by little and mix it to make soft dough. Do not kneed the dough too much.

Pinch small portions of the dough and roll it into balls and deep fry in low flame until it turns golden brown and well cooked.

Yummy Mysore bonda is ready to eat.

Serve it hot with coconut chutney :)

Mysore bonda5

Note:
Do not mix the entire mixture into dough at one stretch. Doing that would lead to change of color of the dough when left alone for a long time. So divide it into portions and make the mixture into dough by adding water as and when required.

Mysore bonda2

Tips:

You can even soak these in hot rasam and eat :)

Mysore bonda4

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pongal / Sankaranthi Celebration

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Wish you all a very Happy Pongal :)

Iniya Pongal Nalvazhthukkal!

Sankaranthi Subhakanchalu :)

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The beautiful harvest festival is celebrated in a grand manner all round south India.

As ever our house was filled with festivity too :)
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Starting from a thematic kolam in the entrance by me, making of chakkara pongal, paal pongal and pongal kozhambu followed. It is considered auspicious to let the milk over flow and this is when all of us would start saying pongalo pongal :) Finally a small pooja to god was done by mom. :)
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I have put down the recipe for Chakkara pongal and Paal pongal along with a lot of details about the festival last year. Check out the post here. :)

Along with the two types of pongal we also make this kozhambu specifically on this day.

This pongal Kozhambu goes really well with paal pongal and is one of the best combination ever.
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Ingredients:

Red pumpkin(Parangikai) - 1/4 kg
Sweet potato(Sakarai valli kelangu) - 1/4 kg
Broad beans(Avarai) - 1/4 kg
Field beans(Mochai) - 1/4 kg
Tamarind pulp - 1 cup
Jaggery - 1 tblsp
Green chillies - 2
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Bengal gram dhall(kadali parupu) - 1 tblsp
Black gram dhall(ulutham parupu) - 1 tblsp
Coriander seeds(Dhaniya) - 1 tblsp
Cumin(Jeera) - 1 tsp
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek(vendhayam) - 1/2 tsp
Red chillies - 10
Salt - for taste
Curry leaves
Coriander leaves
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Method:

Pressure cook sweet potato, broad beans(Avarai) and field beans.

Take a vessel and drop the diced pumpkin and add salt, jaggery, slit green chillies, finely chopped ginger, curry leaves and tamarind paste along with it. Add enough water and cook until the pumpkin becomes soft. Now add the other pressure cooked vegetables to it.

Take a tsp of oil in a pan and roast bengal gram dhall, black gram dhall, coriander seeds, cumin,
pepper, fenugreek and red chillies for just a minute.

Grind all these along with coconut into a smooth paste.

Add this paste to the vessel with cooked vegetables. Allow it to boil for a while stirring it now and then. Finally season with mustard and garnish with coriander leaves.

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This is my mom's bommai pongal collection ;)
Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Methi Rice / Fenugreek Greens Rice

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I was attracted to methi greens from childhood. Definitely not for the taste but for its cute tiny look :P

Mom usually used to make methi greens sambhar with small onions or she would go for methi paratha.

I am a person who loves rice varieties more than the traditional sambar and rasam kind of lunch. So this time when I picked these greens, I was determined to make a variety rice with it and for my surprise the greens that is normally a little bitter was tasting so good when mixed with other spices and rice :)

A yummy and super healthy methi rice was too good for a wholesome lunch :)

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Ingredients:

Methi greens(Vendhaya keerai) - 1 cup
Rice(Basmathi) - 1 cup
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Green chillies - 2
Onion - 1
Tomato - 1
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Dhaniya powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Chilly powder - for taste
Salt - for taste
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Method:

Wash and soak the rice for ten mins.

Meanwhile add a spoon of oil in the pressure pan and drop in the ginger garlic paste. Fry for a min and then add the split green chillies and chopped onion. Once the onion becomes transparent, add the diced tomato and the greens and continue frying on medium flame.

Now add salt, chilly powder, cumin powder, dhaniya powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder to it and mix well.

At this stage add the rice to the pressure pan along with adequate water and close the lid of the pan. Allow it to get cooked for two whistles.

Tasty methi rice is ready to serve :)

Serve it with onion raitha.

Methi rice
Tips:

Replace methi with greens of your choice.

Instead of pressure cooking the rice, you can make the curry base separately and mix it with cooked rice.

You can skip the rice and use the base as a curry for chapathi as well.

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Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Winning Moment - Oats Cookies

Oats cookies5
Competitions always help me boost my spirit and the winning moments challenge me to keep the spirit going on. :)

Yesterday was one such occasion that made me feel good about what I am doing :)

The popular brand Saffola had challenged a contest on cooking with Oats.

After rambling for a long time with mom and few friends of mine, I decided to go for "Oats cookies" as my entry to the contest. :)
Oats cookies6
The contest comprised of a quick quiz on oats as the first round, slogan writing contest as the second, a 10 min vegetable carving contest as third which was followed by the display of our prepared oats dish.

“The real contest is always between what you've done and what you're capable of doing. You measure yourself against yourself and nobody else.” - Geoffrey Gaberino

True to the saying, I have always tried only to give my best in what I do and don't expect the results.
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Fortunately my hard work paid off and I won the contest under all the categories. :)

Won the first place for vegetable carving and first under the oats sweet category.

And my slogan "Vote is for a healthy nation! Oats is for a healthy human!" won the third place too.

I also bagged the over all title "Miss Saffola Oats Queen 2011" and was crowned by the renowned cooks Mrs. Mallika Badrinath and Chef Damodaran.

I was on cloud 9 and it would remain in my memories as one of the best moments of my life :)
Oats queen
I made this oats cookie house for decoration and this center piece was the special attraction to my entry.
Oats cookies3

Ingredients:

Oats - 1 cup
Brown sugar - 1/4 cup
All purpose flour - 3 tbl sp
Butter/cooking oil - 1/4 cup
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Chocolate chips
Raisins

Oats cookies

Method:

Grind the oats and brown sugar separately into a fine powder.

Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until it turns smooth and creamy.

Mix the powdered oats, salt and all purpose flour together and gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Now flatten the dough into a smooth disk shape with your hand and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for 15 mins.

Oats cookies2
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Take out the dough and pinch off equal little bits of dough and roll them into smooth balls. Press them a little flat with your palm. Now dip a fork in flour and press it slightly on the biscuits to get the tine marks on top giving it a decorative look.

Place them on lined baking trays.


Oats has the ability to puff up hence remember to leave enough space between each other when you place them on the tray.

Place the tray with cookies and bake for 15-20 minutes, watching closely so that they don’t get too brown. 18 minutes did is perfectly in my convection oven.

Cool them on the wire rack for a while and enjoy eating :)

This quantity would make 15 medium sized cookies.
Oats cookies1

Tips:

I made 4 variations of oats cookies for the contest.

* Added chocolate chips and chopped raisins to the dough and made cookies.

* Sandwiched two cookies by applying melted chocolate or chocolate butter cream or nutella and made creamed cookies.

* Salted cookies(White ones in the below picture)

Ingredients:

Oats(powdered) -1 cup
Oats(whole) - 3 tblsp
All purpose flour(maida) - 1/3 cup
Butter - 1/4 cup
Salt - 1 tsp

Follow the same method as above and bake salted cookies :)
Oats cookies4
Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

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