Archive for Recipes

How to make tofu stir fry, rice and lassi

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Five easy steps to make eggless banana cake

A usual lament of vegetarians, especially of the strict variety, is that they have far fewer options unlike their  carnivorous counterparts. While the non-vegetarians tuck into this, that and the other, vegetarians are left making strange noises. The problem gets worse if even eggs are a strict no-no.

HEMLATA MORO whips up an easy 5-step recipe for eggless banana cake that should answer the prayers of some vegetarians.

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Ingredients

2 cups wheat flour

2 table spoon baking powder + half tea spoon baking soda

3 tea spoon cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

Half a cup oil (any refined oil)

Half tea spoon salt

Condensed milk half a tin

3 ripe bananas of bigger variety, which can be mashed easily

A little warm milk

Half a cup of small pieces of cashewnuts

Method

1. Sift slowly the first three items i.e. flour, soda and cocoa powder 2-3 times

2. Mix the sugar and oil well with a little salt till the sugar starts melting. Add this to the sifted flour

3. Mash bananas very finely, add half a tin of condensed milk, mix well. Add this to above mixture. Add cashew pieces and stir well. Add little warm milk and blend well so that you can pour it in a bowl to be put in the microwave oven.

4. Grease bowl with oil, and dust it with flour, before pouring cake mix.

5. Put it in the Microwave oven on a rack for 8 minutes. Five minutes to cool off. Take it out and cool it well to cut it into pieces.

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The holige is better than the sum of its parts

NAGARATHNA SITARAM writes: At a time when most women (and certainly a few men) find it easy and convenient to hop across to the store and buy readymade holige to kick off the festive season, it is touching to see shuddha Kannadigas googling for “holige recipes” and in one case “obbattu recipes for two”.

So here goes: Five easy steps to make kaayi holige

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INGREDIENTS

One coconut; 250 gram jaggery; 5 cardamoms or one spoon of cardamom powder; 250 grams of rava (semolina); 250 grams of maida flour; 50 grams poppy seeds (khas-khas)

HOW TO DO IT

1) Grate the coconut, and grind the grated coconut without adding water.

2) After cleaning the jaggery, prepare a syrup. Put all the jaggery in a pot of about half a litre of water and boil it. Add the ground coconut and cardamom powder to the jaggery syrup. Take the boiling concoction off the stove once it begins to harden. Keep it aside, and allow it cool. This is your hoorna.

3) Prepare a dough of the maida and rava with required quantity of water. Add a dash of oil/ghee along with salt to taste. The texture of the dough needs to be similar to your chapati/poori dough. Do not let the dough to dry up; keep it soaked in a small bowl/plate of oil/ghee for about 12 minutes.

4) Make a lemon-sized ball of dough. Leaven it like you would a chapati on a plantain leaf or a sheet of thick aluminium foil (use a biscuit wrapper or a Kellog’s sachet). Spread the dough to the size of a small poori. On top of it, now place a small ball of hoorna. Let the quantity of the hoorna be slightly less than the quantity of dough you have chosen.

While you place the hoorna on top of the leavened dough, hold the edges of the dough and wrap the hoorna around it. Roll it like a stuffed parantha not like you would roll a chapati. Which means roll it from the centre, not the edges. For best results, dip your hand/fingers in a little oil, and pat down the dough-and-hoorna combo.

5) Pat some poppy seeds on top of the leavened dough and cook on the pan on both sides, smearing ghee as required, for about 3 minutes. With the dough you have made, you should be able to make 7-8 holiges.

HOW TO EAT IT

Serve cool, preferably with a little ghee, although there is nothing to stop you from eating it hot. But if you microwave it, make sure it doesn’t get roasted like a papad!

Happy Ugadi

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Email me if you have any specific culinary issues, problems or queries: nagarathna.sitaram@gmail.com

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Also read: Mavinakayi chitranna in five easy steps

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Chicken soup for the soul about to catch a cold

“Everyone has a signature dish, a meal they secretly think they’re quite good at making. The man who sits next to me at work says his speciality is tuna surprise. He brings it every day for lunch. Every single day. To mix things up a bit he uses different kinds of pasta. But the less said on tuna surprise, the better.”

Read the full article here: Tuna surprise vs Mexican chicken soup

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GEORGE ORWELL: 11 rules for a nice cup of tea

Should you add tea decoction to milk or should you add milk to the decoction before you serve? It’s an endless debate and George Orwell (born in Motihari, Bihar) controversially gave the first theory some legitimacy 60 years ago in an landmark essay for the London Evening Standard.

Last year, the Royal Chemical Society of Britain, after years of “research”, said Orwell was wrong—you should add milk to tea, but the 11-point recipe for making a nice cup of tea is a classic piece of writing by a political polemicist otherwise famous for 1984 and Animal Farm.

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A NICE CUP OF TEA

By George Orwell

If you look up “tea” in the first cookery book that comes to hand, you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.

This is curious, not only becase tea is one of the mainstays of civilisation in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than 11 outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial.

Here are my own 11 rules, every one of which I regard as golden:

First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays—it is economical, and one can drink it without milk—but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who uses that comforting phrase, “a nice cup of tea” invariably means Indian tea.

Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities—that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while Army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britannia-ware pots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse: though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad.

Thirdly, a pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.

Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing this is not an ideal that can be realised on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than 20 weak ones. All true-lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes—a fact which is recognised in the extra ration issued to old age pensioners.

Fifthy, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout, to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly.

Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle, and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that this makes any difference.

Seventhly, after making he tea, one should stir it or, better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle.

Eighthly, one should drink out of a breakfast cup—that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one’s tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.

Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.

Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain ther are two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and then stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk, whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.

Lastly, tea—unless one is drinking it in the Russian style—should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea-lover if you destroy hte flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt.

Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.

Some people would answer that they don’t like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need the sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight, and it is very unlikely you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.

First published in the Evening Standard, London, on 12 January 1946. Excerpted from Essays by George Orwell, Everyman’s Library, 2002

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‘Mavinakayi Chitranna’ in five easy steps

For most people, obbattu marks the high point of Ugadi, but allow me to strike a seriously contrarian note: It’s the mavinakayi chitranna that really gives the Kannada New Year the eating edge.

I mean, you can pick up a packet of holige, and pretty decent holige at that, all year round from Nalpak or from Kamat Lokaruchi. But ever seen any restaurant in any city serve you good mavinakayi chitranna?

Tomato rice, our bhattaru are masters at, and masters they will be because the stuff is so darned cheap these days that the Corporation authorities are encouraging tomato farmers to crush them on the road so that the potholes remain hidden till monsoon.

Ditto, coconut rice.

But, this is the point, most of the “rice items” our restaurants serve these are characterless, assembly line productions, which any Ramya, Rita or Rehana can make.

Puliyogre, you can get any time because of MTR.

Likewise, BBB.

But mavinakayi chitranna is, as intellectuals like Prithvi would posit, is “predicated” on the availability of mavinakayi, and that my dears is thankfully not so across the country or across the year.

Id est, it is namma speciality, guru.

I was thinking about all this when young Nikhil called from Poona around noon to wish us HNY and all that. “What are you doing for habbada oota,” I asked, “has some Maharashtrian classmate invited you over for Gudi Padva?”

“Nope,” he said, “we are all outsiders here, etc.” (U.R. Ananthamurthy, please note)

So, I asked Nagu (nagunagu@rediffmail.com), who makes the most divine mavinakayi chitranna on the third rock from the sun, just what magic she worked on it.

Here is what she says she would recommend to feed three hungry stomachs, pining for a slice of home in lands, far and near.

Ingredients: Mukkaal paav rice (approximately 200 grams); one full green raw mango; half a coconut; 3 tea spoons of oil; 2 tea spoons of mustard; 1 tea spoon each of bengal gram, urad dal and methi; 2/3 tea spoons of ground nuts; 10 pieces of red chillies; 2 sticks of curry leaves; half a spoon of haldi; hing and salt to taste.

Method:

1) Cook the rice in a cooker and allow it to cool naturally by spreading it out on a plate. Once it has cooled, add salt and a spoon of oil to the rice. Forget about it for a while.

2) Grate the mango and the coconut, and grind it with one spoon of mustard and 8 red chillies. This is the chutney for the chitranna.

3) Now prepare the seasoning. Take two tea spoons of oil, and add mustard, urad dal, 2 red chillies, the groundnuts, hing and haldi. Add the seasoning to the rice.

4) To the empty baandli, now add one tea spoon of oil and fry the grated ‘chitranna’ chutney for 3 minutes. Pour this on the rice and kals it with your bare hands, repeat bare hands.

5) Dry roast the methi, crush it with a lattange, and sprinkle the powder on top of the chitranna before serving.

First posted on churumuri on Ugadi 2006

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