Monday, July 28, 2008

Its Raining!!!

The moment it starts raining, two things hit my mind the fastest; the sweet aromatic smell of the parched earth after the first few drops, and the urge to eat something spicy and, still better off, fried.

Weather has been quite pleasant in Chennai for the last 4 days. It was raining on the weekend and so I started evaluating my options to munch on, as I should get it ready before it stops raining, being the major criteria :)

Most of the street food in India is spicy and oily, does it taste good? Must be kidding, it is awesome. Some of the common street food in Mumbai would typically consist of Paav Bhaji, Vada Paav, Daabeli, Onion Pakodas, Bhel Puri, Paani Puri, while in South you normally see varieties of Dosas, Idlis and Sambhar Vada being sold on carts. North displays variety of Chaats on its streets like Gol Gappa, Dahi Paapadi Chaat, Dahi Bhalla, Aaloo Tikki; so also, you cannot miss the sight of Samosas, Bread Pakodas, Jalebis, Mix Veg Pakodas in any of the streets in Delhi.

Onion Pakodas came to our rescue.

Onion Pakodas
1 Onion
½ tsp Chilli Powder
2½ T Gram Flour (Besan)
Salt to Taste
Oil to fry

Cut the Onion into julienne and add salt and chilli powder to it.

Onion julienne
Let this stand for 10 mins, so that Onion will give away its extra water and the pakodas will turn out crispier. Add the Besan to form a thick mix. Normally the water left by the Onion would be enough to form the mix, only if required add some water to it

Heat oil in a wok. Take some of the mix in your hands and drop little by little in the oil.

Onion Pakodas
They taste great with Tomato Ketup and a big cup of Hot Tea.

Hot Cup of Tea

We finished them really fast, I am going to make it with 2 Onions next time. Meanwhile I'm off to pray to the Rain Gods :)

To err is Human

How much time does one take to be successful at a dish?
A week's try, or may be a month or few. I have gone way beyond this benchmark and took almost 2 1/2 years to get one of my favorite breakfast right. Mix Veggie Oothapams that my Mom made always topped my list. I was never into cooking until 3 years back, and cooking was the activity I did only when my Mom was out of station.

It was when I moved out of my house to take up a job, cooking caught up with me. Initially, to save myself from getting ready day after day, walking to the nearby restaurant and eating, the almost same tasting food, irrespective of what you ordered. Expectedly, cooking started off as a bit of cumbersome job; to fill my and my roomies (She didn't know to cook much) stomach and eventually it started relaxing me after the day's work. Now it is something I look forward to. Anyways I think I got a little sidetracked, back to the Oothapams. I made several attempts to make Oothapams, but they Never seemed to turn out fine. I never gave up however, until my husband started avoiding them :)

So this time when I was visiting my mom I asked her to show me how she made them, and I realized I was making too many mistakes in the proportion of the ingredients. I have learnt my lesson the hard way (Though my husband feels he has had it the hardest, eating up those unsuccessful Oothapams).

Mix Veg Oothapams are fast to make, very healthy and you can always experiment with the vegetables depending on your choice or even availability.

Mix Veggie Oothapam

1/2 Capsicum finely diced
1 Tomato finely diced
1 Green Chilli finely chopped
10 Coriander leaves chopped
10 T Rava
1 1/2 T Curd
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
200 ml Water
Salt to Taste

Mix the capsicums, tomatoes, green chillies, coriander, red chilli powder and salt.

Add the Curd, Rava and Water to this and let this mix stand for 10 mins. Heat the tawa. When the tawa is ready, add the baking soda to the rava mix. Just mix it a little. Put a portion of the mix on the tawa and flatten it using your fingers, depending on how thick you like it, 1/2 cm thick should be good.

Put some oil and roast. Take care while flipping the Oothapam, it can be very tricky. I still land up breaking them while flipping.

Enjoy it with Green chutney or Tomato Ketchup.

Incase you don't have capsicum, try it with cucumber. I have never done this personally, but my mom makes this combination as well.

I am sending this to Weekend Breakfast Blogging, WBB July'08 which is being hosted this month by Sia of Monsoon Spice.


In her own words, this event was started by Nandita from Saffron Trail to popularise breakfast among food bloggers.

Isn't the logo by Sia wonderful?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Missing the chinese

Veg American Chopsuey has always been one of my favorite dishes since my college days in Goa. I suddenly started missing it a lot, may be bcoz I have not had it after I moved to Chennai, as far as 3 years back :( For some reasons I have not found this dish in Chennai’s Menu card.

Anyways, I decided to give American Chopsuey a try. I tried to Google for the recipe but they seemed very different from the ones I loved in Goa. So I decided to go by my instinct and try to make it from whatever I remembered of it. So I do not know how authentic this recipe is :)

Incidentally I have also come across a lil different (In fact very different) recipe for Hakka Noodles in a small restaurant here, Noodles floating in Milk puddle. When the waiter had placed our order on the table, we were shocked to say the least and thought he had a mistake in taking down the order. Later we were told, that slimy dish on our table was in fact our Hakka Noodles (:sigh).

Since then every time before ordering it, I ask them for the preparation of it.

American Chopsuey

100 gm Noodles
Water to Boil
1/2 T Salt

2 Tomatoes
1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 T Corn flour
2 T Sugar
1 tsp Salt
250 ml Water

1. Boil the water in a vessel and add salt to it.

2. Add the noodles. Boil it till al dente (little kachcha). Do not over cook it. This should take 2-3 mins only.

3. Strain the noodles and wash it under running water. Sprinkle 1 tsp Oil over it to protect them from sticking to each other. Let them to cool.

4. For the sauce heat oil in a pan. Add black pepper, sugar, salt and the diced tomatoes. Cook for a min and add water to it. Make cornflour paste by adding 3 T water in it. After a boil, sim the gas and continue stirring as you add the corn flour. Cook for another 2 mins and the sauce is ready.

Tomato Sauce for Chopsuey
5. Heat oil in a wok. Fry the noodles till crisp. Remove it on a paper towel.

6. Once you are done place some of the fried noodle on each plate and press it against the plate, leading to the crumbling of the noodles a little bit, just for the ease while eating. Do not over do it, else you will land up with tiny bits of noodles.

Fried Noodles
Once done, heat the sauce a little and generously sprinkle it over the served noodles.

American Chopsuey
I liked it and was simple to make as well. But I would like to try the other ways of making it also. How do you make your chopsuey?

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I am kick starting my blog with a food blog event, Monthly Blog Patrol (MBP). This event was started by Coffee , and involves browsing through the food blogs and picking recipes to cook.

This month's MBP is being hosted by Nupur of One Hot Stove and the theme is Less is More . Bloggers have to choose recipes, calling for 5 or less ingredients only, from other food blogs. To make things simple salt, water (or stock) and fats are excluded from the count of the ingredients. Also tempering or tadka can be counted as one ingredient.

MBP: Less is More
It gives me a big high to start off with an event hosted by Nupur, because it was with her blog several months ago that I started browsing the food blogs.

Recipe for Spaetzle (pætsl) was shared by Arundhati. I also got some very good tips and tricks for it from ChezTeddy. I have put down my version of the recipe.

1 C All-purpose Flour
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Milk
2 tsp Oregano
1/2 T Oil
1 T Butter
Salt, to taste
1.5 L Water

In a bowl mix the flour, eggs, milk, oil and salt, to form a smooth paste. Leave it to rest for 15-20 mins.
To cook the spaetzle, bring the water to boil in a vessel (I used a wok for it), add 1 T Salt to it. Wipe a flat board (cutting board would do) and a scrapper with water. Put the mix on the board to make a flat strip of about 5 cms width and 4 mm in diameter, this will solely depend on weather you like your spaetzle thick or thin. I like mine thin.

Spaetzle can be made either By Hand, scraping the dough strip from a board into the boiling water, or with a Spaetzle Press, the shape will hence differ based on the method you used. The ones made with the press will look just like noodles, as for the ones made with hand...keep reading.

Hold the board at the edge of the vessel at an angle, and scrap small pieces from the dough into the boiling water. Make sure you had your hands washed with water before starting with this; it will protect your hands from the steam of the boiling water. Once they are cooked they will float on the surface. Remove and put into cold water. Leave them in there for 5 mins.

In a pan heat the butter and add oregano to it. Add the cooled spaetzle, toss for a minute and Voila! It's done. I garnished it with the greens of the spring onions.
While making the second batch I grated some cheddar cheese on them. Cheese enhanced the flavor of Spaetzle. By the time I realized I had to take a photo of it, we were nearly done with it.