Friday, January 29, 2010

Something Special........29th January...

29th January is Special ....... Especially to me as it happens to be my Birthday......:)))

People generally say
Happy Birthday!!
And ask what's the special plan for the day?
Well, say, if I may,
Its the fact that today,
I am blessed the whole day
By Near and Dear Ones in Very Special Way!!!!!!

Its my first attempt at trying something that is remotely lyrical so please excuse me........
I thought that today is the perfect day to try out something...and also the fact that I know .... I will only be encouraged and motivated in this space.... :))

People generally ask me .......... so whats the special plan for the birthday..... I know normally the answer to that question is presents, new clothes, going out to movies, parties, lunches, dinners, restaurants and all ......

But personally the best part about birthdays for me has always been the countless good wishes and blessings that I get from near and dear ones who without fail, remember this day and wish me ..... Making it so special for me......

Each and every wish and blessing is truly treasured as it comes straight from heart...

Family and friends scattered in different parts of the globe make it a point to remember and call me on my each and every birthday.... Even people I felt had drifted apart, who I was not in contact with on regular basis also make it a point of wishing on birthdays....

I know that its important to connect and stay in touch with everyone...... But seriously, we lead such a fast paced life and are so caught up on our daily routines that at times its not possible to stay in contact........Its occasions like these when we get connected again and its actually because of occasions like these that we stay connected ..........

Just the fact that one has taken an effort to remember an important date/milestone is someone else's life makes one feel special.... After all isn't that what makes the day special.........

After all birthdays are not always special because of the restaurants , the cuisine , the party or the trip that one took on one's birthday....... Its about the people who were present or people who wished or people who called......

Sometimes, its a distant cousin or relative or an ex-colleague who suddenly remembers your birthday and calls and makes your day.......A good friend whom you haven't spoken in a really long time or a sister who stays continents apart but who you are sure will remember your birthday and call you and have a great conversation.........

Memories of my birthday are always the phone calls....... My phone is always ringing and always busy....... There is a standing joke in the family that even the President would not be getting as many calls......

So what are your favourite memories of your birthday..........are they about the dress that you wore or the food that you eat or the shopping that you did.......or was it the friend who called and made your day.....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sheera - Sweet Comforts: Sugar High Friday #61

Sheera (Sweet Semolina) is generally the desert made at lot of Indian homes for occasions, be it a special one like Satyanarayanchi Pooja or dinner of Sheera Puri which is a must for Simantpujan ( the rituals that take place on eve of wedding).
It is a simple sweet dish which is easy to make and the ingredients that are required are generally ones which are easily available in most Indian homes.

Though I don't have a sweet tooth, Sheera remains one of the few deserts that I at times venture eating. Especially the sheera which is given as prasad during Satyanarayan Puja is sometime that I find hard to resist.

For Sheera prepared for Satyanarayan Pooja, all the ingredients listed below are to be taken in equal measure of 1 and 1/4 cups. Banana is also added to the sheera and few strands of saffron can be added to give it royal look.

Here's how I made Sheera at our home -

Ingredients -

  • Rava /Semolina / Sooji - 1 cup
  • Sugar - 1/2 cup ( more or less as per individual taste and preference)
  • Ghee - 1/2 cup
  • Cloves / Lavang / Laung- 2/3
  • Mixture of Water and milk - 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Nutmeg / Jaiphal powder - 1/4 teaspoon

For garnishing -

  • Cashews - 4/5
  • Almonds - 4/5

Method -

  1. Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan / kadhai .Add cloves/ lavang for flavour.
  2. Then, add rava and roast the rava/Semolina / Sooji till it turns brown and your kitchen is filled with its lovely aroma.
  3. Heat the mixture of water and milk till the mixture is warm (do not boil).
  4. After the rava/Semolina / Sooji is finely roasted in ghee, add warm water and milk mixture.
  5. Stir the mixture well and cover it with lid for couple of minutes.
  6. When the mixture is properly cooked, add sugar and stir the mixture continuously.
  7. Cover with a lid and let it cook for some minutes.
  8. Switch off the gas and add nutmeg powder for fragrance.
  9. Garnish with cashews and almonds.
  10. Sheera is ready to be served.

This lovely sheera goes to Sugar High Friday #61 : Sweet Comforts hosted at A Merrier World

Sugar High Friday (SHF) was created by Jennifer, the Domestic Goddess and is a monthly desserts extravaganza.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Methi Corn Rice - reposted for Anita's APS Rice Event

I had posted " Methi Corn Pulav" on 26th December,2009
The same is re-posted and sent to wonderful Anita of "Anita's Kitchen" who is hosting her first ever , APS Rice Event.

This is my second entry to her lovely event.

Sometime back, I had came across a Marathi cookbook having recipes with Methi and Palak. (unfortunately, I am unable to remember the name right now) In that book, I came across an interesting Methi Pulav recipe. I say interesting because generally in the methi rice recipes that i had come across earlier, the rice is usually cooked separately and then methi and other ingredients are added to the cooked rice.But in this particular recipe, the methi and rice are cooked together in pressure cooker. This is also adapted from interesting simple yellow fried rice with sweet corn and turmeric recipe from Live to Eat. The original recipe is here. I liked the use of turmeric powder in methi rice.However, the flavor of methi is bitter so I thought of adding something sweet to the rice hence I thought of adding sweet corn to the methi rice to give it bitter-sweet taste.
I have mixed and modified both the recipes by adding sweet corns.I felt that the combination of the sweet taste of sweetcorn and the bitter taste of methi will come out nicely in the Pulav. The Pulav was a instant hit with my family and guests when I made it for dinner.
Here's how I made the Methi Corn Pulav -
Ingredients - Methi(Fenugreek) Leaves - One cup ( cleaned, washed and cut)
Basmati Rice - One cup
Fresh Sweet corn - 1 cup
Potato - 1 (peeled and chopped)
Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Tomato - 1 (finely chopped) This is optional.
Few cloves of garlic
Ginger - Finely shredded or cut into small pieces (alternatively use 1 teaspoon of ginger & garlic paste)
Oil - One tablespoon / Ghee Salt as per taste
Cloves / Lavang - 5/6
Black Pepper / Kali Miri- 7/8
Cinnamon/Dalchini - 1 inch stick
Bay Leaves / Tamal Patra- 2
Black Cardamom/ Badi Velachi - 1 2 green chillies or one teaspoon red chilli powder
Curry Leaves (optional)
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai).
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (jeera powder) (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
Water - 2 cups
Fresh green coriander leaves for garnishing
Method -
Wash and soak one cup basmati rice .Drain the excess water and keep the washed rice aside for at least half an hour.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil (alternatively ghee can be used) in pressure cooker.
When the oil is heated, add 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai). When the mustard seeds start spluttering,add cumin seeds,asafoetida,Cloves,Black Pepper,Cinnamon,Bay Leaves and Black Cardamom.
Add finely chopped onion & curry leaves and stir till the onions turn translucent.
Add turmeric powder, chopped potato and tomato.Then add ginger and garlic.
Alternatively ginger garlic paste can be used.
Add one cup basmati rice and one cup washed & finely chopped methi leaves and stir well.
Add 2 green chillies or one teaspoon red chilli powder, coriander powder , cumin powder and garam masala powder. Stir well.
Add salt as per taste and 2 cups of water.
Add one cup of Fresh Sweet corn and stir well.
Close the lid of pressure cooker and pressure cook for 2 whistles on medium flame.
After 2 whistles, keep on low flame for 5 minutes and then switch off the gas.

Garnish with fresh green coriander leaves and serve hot steaming Methi Corn Pulav with raita.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mushroom Rice

Here's Wishing All of You A Very Happy & Prosperous New Year!!!!!!
May The New Year Bring Lots of Joy, Happiness, Health, Wealth, Peace and Prosperity to All of You!!!!!!!!
After taking a breather from the 7 days 7 recipes marathon hosted by Nupur, I am back to blogging in this New Year 2010!!!!
That I completely enjoyed the recipe marathon would be an understatement.
I also got a chance to meet so many lovely and wonderful fellow blogger and I have bookmarked so many amazing recipes to try out.....
Today I am posting a quick fast mushroom rice recipe.
As you can see that my affection for quick and easy to make single dish meals continues in the New Year as well.........
Actually, we had some renovations done in our house recently and our kitchen is still not completely set up. This led to lot of stuff like masale being stuffed away in "good place" which as usual cannot be recollected later.
How often does this happen that when one does need a particular thing and one is in great hurry, it is nowhere to be found as the thing has been put in "good place" so that it does not get misplaced :))
To cut a long story short, that's exactly what happened with me today........ I had some cousins over for dinner and I had decided to make Mushroom Rice which happens to be the hot favourite of my sister....The mushroom was there and so was the rice (thank God for small mercies) but my jar of whole spices ( Black Pepper / Kali Miri ,Cloves/ Lavang and Cinnamon /Dalchin), which forms my base of making Mushroom Rice,was nowhere to be seen. Since I did not have much time on hand, I decided to make the rice using Biryani Masala Powder to give it rich taste......... But the comedy of errors does not stop there, Biryani Masala Powder was prizes for guessing this one.........conspicuous by its absence in the kitchen..........
Stuck with this wonderful situation of not having the ingredients and time running out, I decided to experiment...... as they say Necessity is the Mother of Invention....... so here's the way I made Mushroom Rice using (believe it or faint) Chaat Masala......... No......its not a typing error .....that's exactly what I used and the rice turned out to be wonderful according to my two Guinea pigs......err.......i meant my cousins..........
So here's my quick fix Mushroom Rice (with chaat masala) which I made in pressure cooker-
Ingredients (Serves four)
1 and 1/2 cup of Basmati rice
Mushrooms - 250 gms (chopped in small pieces)
Onions - 2 medium size ( chopped finely)
Potatoes - 2 medium size ( cut in small cubes)
Ghee - 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai).
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (jeera powder)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
Bay Leaves / Tamal Patra- 2
Salt as per taste
Chaat Masala - 1/2 teaspoon
Water - 3 - 4 cups
Method -
First wash and soak the basmati rice in water.Drain the excess water and keep the washed rice aside for atleast half an hour.
Heat ghee in pressure cooker. When the ghee is heated properly, add mustard seeds (rai)
Ensure that the mustard seeds splutter properly and then add cumin seeds (jeera) , asafoetida (hing) and bay leaves.
Add onions and stir them till the onions turn translucent.
Then add potatoes and keep on stirring.
Add rice and then add coriander powder (dhania),cumin powder (jeera powder) ,garam masala powder and red chilli powder. Garam masala powder is optional.
Mix well and add chopped mushrooms . Then add chaat masala and salt.
Add water as per required consistency. Generally double water is added for basmati rice but at our home, everyone prefers the consistency to be more watery hence I added 4 cups of water.
Pressure for 3 whistles on medium flame and after 3 whistles, cook on low flame for 5 mins and then switch off the gas.
Mushroom Rice is ready to be served.
I am sending this recipe to Anita who is hosting APS Rice Event