Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 10 Recipes of 2011


Zoom Zoom and it's yet another year to wrap up!

Year 2011 had been quite eventful with active blogging; varied recipes, a balanced attempt of traditional dishes and bakes, owning a new dslr and a bunch of new friends!

To my surprise, the year toppers  are puddings and cakes on the contrary to the usual traditional recipes in Spicy Chilly. Again, the top five are sweet dishes!! High time I changed my site name to something 'sweet' than spicy and chilly, I believe ;)



        Tender Coconut Pudding has its credits to top the year.
   The photography and the step wise pictures were much appreciated by my dear friends and readers :)




                      The Devil's Food Cake comes next!





      Godhumai Jira, the Maharashtrian sweet I learnt from my in-laws had been tried by many who wrote back to me positively! The step wise illustrations were said to be easy to follow.




        The Homemade Donuts I tried from Swapna's were appreciated for the perfection and photography!

           


                      The rich and creamy Almond Carrot Kheer, I learned from amma comes next!

                   


    Parotta posted step by step was much appreciated by the readers and regarded as the most practical recipe!



                             Vella vadai, for its novelty




         Veechu Parotta, a recipe made easy, again with step step by step illustrations..




                                Stuffed spicy baby brinjals 




                     and when my little one's favourite pizza turned out to be your favourite too :)



The top non-recipe post and also the one which received the most number of comments is Ode to my Angel  for my sister!

I am glad about my blogger buddies who never fail to appreciate the posts and leave encouraging comments, even though I delay visiting their lovely spaces  in return. I know I had been lethargic in blog hopping.
I hope I never failed to encourage the budding bloggers and a few lovely readers who gave tips to improve a recipe, pointed out errors and threw light on things which were new to me!

Thanks for being so sweet! :)  

Happy Holidays and Wishing you all a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous 2012


Cheers,
Bharathy :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rice Wine ~ for Christmas!




I just got back after a short break in Pondy and Chennai.
So what did I make special this Christmas?
Yup! home brewed wine!

When I went through my friend Swapna's post a month ago, I believe I started to prepare this one the next minute I finished reading the post!
The simplicity, the availability of the ingredients and the classic end product was more than tempting.


I quartered the original recipe; brewed 750 ml, since both of us don't take wine.

Anyway, here's the verdict of our best friends, who tasted this!

Verdict 1- A strong wine with a wonderful woody flavour!

Verdict 2- The drink that tastes between toddy and fruit wine. The best wine I've ever had!



Even if you have not brewed wine at home, you can easily try this, coz you can never go wrong with the recipe!

Note:

I used basmati rice.

The suggested quantity of yeast in the original recipe is a bit overpowering and it needed only 7 days to ferment (14 days in the original recipe).You can reduce the quantity of yeast and ferment for a fortnight.
The filtered wine would be cloudy. It took 15-20 days for the sediments to settle down. I placed the jar over the refrigerator and the mild vibration of the machine accelerated the sedimentation! ( now, do you hear me shout E-u-r-e-k-a!! :-D )



                                                The clear rice wine is light amber coloured!

                                                        So, Here's Wishing You all a Very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thakkali Kuzhambu / Tomato Coconut Curry


                             
                                 Tastespotted,  Foodgawked
I have brewed my Christmas wine, baked the cookies today and will be ready with the cakes next week!
      Hope you too are catching up with the festival with loads of homemade goodies..

Something which excites about past week is that my traffic has peaked up in spite of  being the dullest month of the year. In fact the past two weeks had earned the most hits ever!
I had always consoled myself and thought December is the right month to take a break from blogging with less visitors coming in because of fun and festivity and holidays all around. But alas, the opening of the month is here with all the pleasantest surprises!

In between making the wine and cookies , I made this tomato coconut curry for dinner, hot and spicy with crispy dosas. The crepes and the curry went extremely well and was apt for the winter evening!
As most of the recipes, I learnt this from my in-laws and is a regular dish at least once a month for dinner. The curry goes well with steamed rice but my in-laws strictly have the curry with dosas / idlies.




Here goes..

Tomato Coconut Curry
To serve 2-3

Ingredients:

Roast and grind to a smooth paste:

Oil- 2-3 tsps
Big onion- 1 medium sized, sliced lengthwise thinly
Pottukadalai / roasted gram - 1 tbsp
Red chillies- 4 nos or chilly powder-3/4 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Ripe red tomatoes - 2 medium, sliced to bite size pieces
Coconut- 1/2 cup

To season:

Oil - 2-3 tsps
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
Sliced small onions- a tbsp
Curry leaves- one sprig

Cubed potatoes- 1 cup
Salt- to taste

Method:

Heat oil (to roast and grind) in a thick bottomed kadai. Roast the chillies and keep aside. (if you use chilly powder you can use it later) Throw in onions. While it is translucent add in roasted gram. Sauté both, followed by the powders (chilly powder, if you use instead of chillies, coriander and turmeric) in a very low heat taking care not to burn the powders. If you feel the heat is too much, put off the stove and mix.
Sauté sliced tomatoes and while it is mushy and cooked, mix in the freshly grated coconut. Mix it along well for just a few seconds(say, 30 secs) and switch off the stove. Let it cool.

In the meanwhile, heat oil (for seasoning) in a larger vessel ( because we are going to mix the ground paste  after the seasoning and make the curry in this one). Splutter mustard seeds, caramelize the onions, throw in the curry leaves and pour 1/2- 1 cup of water. Add the potatoes, once the water simmers and close it over low heat. Add salt. Switch off when the potatoes are half done.

Or, while it gets cooked, grind the roasted ingredients to a smooth paste adding a little water.
Mix in the paste, carefully without lumps, along with the potatoes in the pan . Check the consistency. It should neither be too thick nor thin. Check salt. Simmer the curry  gently for  5 minutes. Serve warm with dosas/ idlies!




I am off to Pondy and Chennai for the weekend. So I may not be able to blog hop in return.
See you next week :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My son's favourite Pizza




My son's pizza is all about a 'fusion'. A medley of olive oil, pizza sauce with an 'Indianish' touch, a mix of mozzarella and cheddar, fresh coriander leaves to flavour and chilly flakes to top for that 'Indianish heat'.

I had planned to bake and post this pizza when sweet punch announced the recipe for the same, from scratch, if I am not wrong, for the month of April adapted from the celebrity blogger The Pioneer Woman. I couldnt do the post then due to a serious ligament sprain followed by a 45 days' cast. Whatever attracted me to this immensely was that, a chance to try her foolproof  'crust' recipe and the flexibility regarding the choice of toppings!

I had made pizzas with this topping on a ready made pizza base so far, but ever since I tried this one a quarter ago, I have been baking this every month whenever my son is home from his school hostel. Every time he loves it all the more thus making me a contented mom!



Now, to start with ,we need to get ready with the ingredients for the pizza base.
2 cups of flour (I had halved the original recipe), olive oil, instant yeast, sugar and  Kosher salt.




I knead along with my hands to a soft dough. Yes, it is sticky but the olive oil helps.Transfer to another bowl, as in the picture, which is smeared with olive oil, liberally.


 

Wrap and cover with cling film. Refrigerate at least for 24 hours. The dough ferments and stays good until 3 days if stored in a chiller than the regular refrigerator compartment. Choose where to store planning when to bake.




The dough which has risen more than double the size after 24 hours straight out of the fridge.




Peel off the film and




punch down the dough giving a gentle knead. It's extremely elastic and sticky at this point and you may smear fingers with olive oil again, to avoid any further sticking.




Halve the dough, spread gently on your oil smeared baking pan. Poke small holes as you see with the back of a spoon. Drizzle olive oil.




I mixed a spoon of  tomato-onion preserve with pizza topping for the sauce. A weird combination, but that's how he prefers!




As you see, I spread a layer on the flattened dough..




The cheese used here is Brittannia cheeza, cheese for pizza, which is a combination of cheddar and mozzarella. Almost 70 gms was used up for one pizza.




Now, the turn for the flavorful Indian herb, freshly chopped coriander greens! 




I sprinkled finely chopped mixture of  garlic and shallots (a tsp altogether) with a final touch of chilly flakes for the 'Indian heat!'.
Bake in a preheated 500-degree oven for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the crust is golden.. but not too brown.



                                                                  Out of the oven!
                                                         It was HOT when I shot this.                                                 



     Slice into wedges and serve warm. It turned out to be a little 'bready" rathen than a thin and crispy one this time but the boy loved it with lots of potato chips!

To have the recipe in one place...



Pizza Crust

Adapted from  The Pioneer Woman
Makes 4 large round crusts

1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast ( I used DCL instant yeast )
4 cups All-purpose Flour
2 teaspoons sugar (the actual recipe doesn't call for this)
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
⅓ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil


To make the Crust

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.
Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you need it.
It’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.



The Topping
(not from Pioneer Woman)

When you are ready to bake the pizza, take out the prepared dough from the refrigerator.Remove the film and punch down the raised dough. Give it a gentle knead with oil smeared fingers.
 Divide the dough and flatten one portion on olive oil smeared baking pan. Let it be as thin as possible may be with slightly thicker edges. The dough will be very sticky and elastic but you can manage with oil coated fingers.
Top it with pizza sauce of your choice, followed by the cheese/cheeses and herbs you prefer.
Bake in a preheated 500-degree oven for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the crust is golden.. but not too brown

Remove from the pan after it cools down a bit, carefully on a flat surface.
Slice into wedges and serve warm!



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sothi - A mildly spiced yellow curry with sliced onions cooked soft in coconut milk



                                   
                                Tastespotted ,  Foodgawked

The weekend kept my hands full, son's visit, cooking up family favourites, doctor consultations, a weekend break in Tanjore where I could chill out with books, and some gardening.

Now, did you ask me about the weight loss programme?
Believe me, losing the first 2 kgs is never an issue, which you can easily achieve within a week (of course by cutting down food to about 50% and still not saying a complete no to the' irresistibles') and for the every single gram to continue, you may need to 'starve' or 'run' at least an extra kilometre on the treadmill, a day!

So, soon after clicking the publish button here, I am off to today's session after a week! (eating less whatever I cook isn't an issue, again, but staying away from the favourites in Tanjore needed some real self control!)

Sothi, is a dish I learnt recently, which isn't a regular dish at home, out of interest for the love of coconut milk curries! This mildly spiced curry is again a request from one of my friends, kept as a long pending one...




Sothi 
Serves 2-3

Get ready with:

1 cup of coconut gratings, firmly packed

To season in order

2 tsps oil
1/2 tsp fennel seeds /sombhu
1 tsp of ginger and garlic - julienned
2 green chillies sliced lengthwise until 3/4th
1 big onion - sliced thin, lengthwise
1 small tomato - chopped
A sprig of curry leaves
1/4-1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

Preparation of Coconut Milk


We need 1 1/2 cups on the whole. 3/4 cup, thick and 3/4 cup thin.
Prepare coconut milk by extracting 3/4 cup (of thick creamy milk) as the first extract from the fresh coconut gratings and 3/4 cup thin milk as the second / third extractions. (You can combine second and third milk).

Method:

1. Heat oil in a kadai , splutter the fennel seeds.

2. Sauté in the julienned ginger garlic immediately, followed by onions, saute for a few mins until translucent.

3. Add in tomatoes, ginger garlic paste and chillies until they turn soft.

4. Pour 1/2 cup of water and close the pan adding salt and turmeric powder. Throw in the curry leaves.
Simmer until the onions are cooked soft and the water is reduced to 1/4 cup.

5. Stir in the 3/4 cup thin coconut milk.

6. Bring it to a slow boil with controlled flame. After a minute or two switch off the stove (too much boiling curdles the milk).

7. Add along the 3/4 cup thick milk and check salt  before transferring to your serving dish.



Sothi goes well with Idiyappam.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Picture of the week ~ Body wash. And a Saturday Rant!




  The beauty of these simple bottles tempted me to click.
        Yet to use this product that arrived from London.


Now,  those who can really put up with my rants / non foodie posts can continue..

..........

Disappointments of the day!

~ Cooked and mashed palak remains 'inedible' and aloo becomes reluctant to get into the slimy base.(Even a kitchen can be the background for an encounter of a Beauty and a Beast!)

~ Incredibly shooting up weight in spite of the third session in slimming centre.

~ The naughty girl next door breaks the glass (that successfully with stood all my crazy stamps for the past 4 years) that topped the (sentimental- since it was gifted by my brother ) weighing scale. On a serious / hopeless hunt for toughened glass, which measures a square foot, in town.


Pleasant moments of the day!


~ Received a courier package from childhood mate, though aware of what was inside, couldn't stop opening like a million dollar/surprise gift!

~ Son's home coming after a month and a half long hostel stay.

~ Cheese pizza (made from the scratch doesn't let me down for the third time) baking in the oven, spreading aroma in the whole house..smells heaven...all for 'The Son!"
Hopefully I'll do the post on that without much delay.

"Doesn't let me down" in the previous sentence in reference to the uncared baking due to 'un-put-downable' read "Keep the Change" is being offering! (So there goes the clue about the morning's courier package).

   Since at at least one sub point has overtaken the unpleasant ones, enjoying the beautiful day!

   Wishing you all a Wonderful Weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tribute to Jayasree - Maa Vilakku


                                                 
                                                                    Maa Vilakku




Jayasree, it's the 50th day you left us!
You had always been closer to God ;
Now that we realise you are resting in his abode with much peace!
Still, you left us calm and quiet
And
The grief still lingers in our hearts.

Though you had lighted fond memories like an ever glowing lamp..
we miss you.. 
Always!