Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fancy Crepes - Banana, Strawberry and lots of Nutella

J'adore les crêpes

 Crepes are my one of my most favourite fancy desserts. My first crepe tasting was in Chennai, India when my bestest friend Rupa wanted me to try this whole French thing. Back then as a teen, we were into trying foreign foods and all, for the foodies we were. This was just the sweet buttery with whipped cream, and I liked it. Next, was in Pune, India at this really fancy restaurant ( I dont recall the name) a sweet one with strawberries and powdered sugar and I loved it even more. Then years later during one of our team lunches at work in San Francisco, USA  at this authentic French creperie Their banana, roasted almonds and honey crepe with nutella is to die for. The husband does not have a sweet tooth, so I would pass that on. Until recently, my trip to New York unraveled the sweet tooth for crepes in me. Max Brenners and Viva de la Crepe became my favourites, and all I ate was Nutella and chocolate crepes with banana/strawberry and almonds. I wanted to take this back to the Bay Area too and hubby sure promised to get my fill there as well. However, I couldnt wait to go to a creperie, so I blogged for the recipe and made it myself. Voila! I can make these fancy ones too. One trip to Safeway, got Nutella, strawberries, bananas and sliced almonds and it was on the crepe for dinner later that night. The recipe follows:

Serves: 4-6 (depending on the size of the pan)
Prep time: 30 mins

All purpose flour: 2 cups
Eggs: 2
Milk: 2 cups
Sugar: 1.5 tbsp
Butter/Oil: 1 tsp
Nutella: 2-3 tbsp (add as much as you want)
Strawberries: 4
Banana: 1
Sliced Almonds: 1tbsp

1. Prepare the batter. Beat the eggs into the sugar and oil. 
2. Slowly add the flour and mix in till it runs smooth without any lumps
3. Take a flat pan and heat it on medium flame
4. Meanwhile, slightly warm up Nutella, till its smooth and easily spreadable
5. Slice the bananas and strawberries
6. Once, the pan is hot, pour a laddle full of the batter on to it and gently tilt the pan from all sides, until the batter spreads out
7. You may add a little bit oil on the edges so that it comes of nice and easy
8. When you see it browning a little bit, tilt onto the other side. After 30 secs - 1 min take it off the pan

1. On one half of the crepe, spread Nutella
2. Layer it with banana slices and almonds. Slap more Nutella if you want
3. Close the crepe. Dip a spoon in Nutella and squish it all over it. Layer it with strawberries
4. Add more Nutella if you want and devour.

Bon Appetit!!!


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Kacchi Dabeli

Thanks to my post MBA days in Pune, I got myself acclimatized to the much renowned Maharashtra cuisine and it's street food. Batata Vada, Misal Pav, Vada Pav, Ragada Pattice and Kacchi Dabeli were the ones I cringed for. Everyday in the evening after 6pm, a street food hawker would park his 4-wheel setup outside the Symbiosis Institute and all the students would swarm that place. He did have heavy sales for sure. One of my favorites and thanks to my Marathi friend Shubhangi for introducing me to this scrumptious snack is Kacchi Dabeli. Priced at Rs 4 for a plate of 2 it was a fulfilling snack during my student life. The layers of of flavors and the significant garlic-coriander chutney was outstanding. Revisiting old memories, I tried to recreate the same here. Recipe follows.

Serves: 2
Prep time: 30 mins

1 pack of Pav
Sev (store bought)
Pomogranate seeds (optional)
Chopped onions: handful
Butter/oil: to toast Pav

Dabeli Masala:
Dry red chilies: 3
Coriander seeds: 1tsp
Cumin seeds: 1tsp
Garam Masala powder: 1/4tsp

Potato filling:
Potatoes: 2 big
Onions: 1
Coriander: 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Chili powder: 1 tsp (as per taste)
Salt: as per taste

Savoury groundnuts:
Roasted groundnuts: 1 cup
Asafoetida/Hing: a pinch
Chili powder: 1tsp
Oil: 1tsp

Green chutney:
Garlic: 4-5 cloves
Chillies: 3-4 (depends on the heat)
Coriander: 1/2 bunch

Boil the potatoes, on the side you can dry roast the groundnuts, and start prepping for the dabeli masala. On another pan, slightly roast the contents under the dabeli masala except the garam masala powder. Once cooled down, grind them to a fine powder.

Meanwhile start preparing for the potato filling. Once the potatoes are boiled and cooled, peel them and mash them. In a separate pan, add oil and coat the hot oil with the mashed potatoes, mix in with salt, turmeric, chili powder, dabeli powder and garam masala powder. Mix till well coated for 2-3 mins. Add chopped coriander while removing off the flame.

Once the groundnuts are roasted, add oil to a pan, When the oil is hot, add asafoetida and drop the groundnuts. Now add, the chili powder until the groundnuts are well coated. On the same pan, you may also toast the insides of the pav when you cut it midway in half.

Now assemble: Spread the green chutney on the insides of the pav. Put some potato filling, top it off with chopped onions, sev and roasted groundnuts. You may add pomegranate seeds, (gives that tinge of sweetness against the spicy roasted groundnuts) I skipped here. Its ready to devour.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Da(a)l mein kuch kaala hain!

                        Tomato Dal aka Tomato pappu/Tomato with lentils

One of the most healthiest of all the lots, lentils. Dal is a basic staple for every Indian home. A meal is incomplete without it. I have my own stories of how I disliked it as a kid considering the different types ( read add anything and everything to it) they make at my place. A lot of drama to avoid it. Its only when I started getting aware of the good nutrition value and its benefits, I started to relish it. I started liking the same stuff I used to hate. I add any green leaf I find in the market, I remember adding the fresh carrot leaves I got from the Farmer's market. It was not bad. Since, this is one of my husband's favorite dish too, I started making it more often, specially with tomato. I have tried different recipes, pressure cook, just stove top etc.  but then gave in to the good ole recipe my mom gave me. How wonderful are mothers? Love them. 

Serves: 2
Prep time: 30 mins

Toor dal/yellow lentil: 1/2 cup
Tomatoes: 3 big ( the more the better) sliced
Chillies (green) : 4 
Onion: half, sliced
Tamarind: 1/2 tsp pulp

Seasoning aka tadka:
Mustard: 1/2 tsp
Jeera: 1/2 tsp
Hing: a hint
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Red chillies: 4-5 
Garlic: 4-5 thinly sliced


Wash the dal thoroughly till you see clear water running. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles depending on the consistency you want. If you cook for 3 whistles, dont forget to mash the dal, otherwise it remains flakey.

Meanwhile, take a deep bottomed pan, add oil and heat in medium flame. Add onions, fry for a min. Then add tomatoes to it and let it cook with lid on. Once, the water release from the tomato, add salt and turmeric. Stir for a min or so, and then add the pressure cooked dal. Mix well, add water depending on how you want to eat, like a soup or mix with rice. Let it simmer for about 5 -10 minutes and then add the tamarind pulp. Check for taste. Lower the flame. 

In a separate seasoning pan, add some oil and let it heat really well. Once hot, add mustard seeds first. When you hear them splutter, add red chillies, then curry leaves and in the end Jeera. Let it be in the pan for about 10 secs, make sure the jeera does not burn. Add hing and garlic. Give it a stir and add it to the dal in the pan. Mix the dal well. Take some dal and add it to the seasoning pan, it ensure that you have got all the seasoning flavor stuck to the pan. Close the lid and put it aside. 

It goes well with rotis, rice and even as a simple soup. Hearty. 

Bon Appetit!

Something Fishy!

                                     Fish Curry aka Chepala Igguru/Fish Igguru

Fish Curry (whatever fish it is) always reminds me of home in Vizag. Such fond memories, where my Mom would wait for the fishwife (read Chepala ammayi in Telugu, yes she would shout her name from the balcony) every Sunday, to get the best ones. I would always join her, selecting the fish and I knew nothing about the skill. Vanjaram, Sandua, Bocchu, Gurivindalu, Sorra (all Telugu names, dont ask me what they are called in English) are the fish she would cook at home in pulusu, igguru or just pan fry. Till date, I cannot identify which is what, but I can sure taste the difference. Moving to US, I crave and miss all the Indian fish. All I could try was Seabass( not good for Indian cooking), Catfish, Salmon, Tilapia and yes Sardines( bad choice, learnt my lesson). Out of this, Tilapia and Catfish (the most unhealthy) are my favorites as they taste somewhat close to the Indian variety. This is a recipe I learnt from my Mom over our long phone calls during the 1st month of my marriage. Long distance calls, long chats, mom and daughter gossip, WHAT FUN!

Posting this on Husband's request from Manila. He better take good pictures for me to add to this post, as this is my first one.

Serving: 2-4
Time: 10 mins pan fry + 20 mins prep/cooking

To marinate:
Catfish: cut in small pieces horizontally (steak cut) 1 whole
Turmeric: 11/2 tea spoon
Chillipowder : 4 tea spoon (adjust to spice level)
Lemon: 1

To grind:
Onions: 2big chopped
Ginger and Garlic: 4 table spoon

Cinnamon: 1/2 inch
Cardamom: 6 pods
Cloves: 4
Tomato: 1
Curry leaves: 1 sprig (add more for that distinct flavor)

Clean the fish under running water really well. Take a bowl and add 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt, 2tsp chili powder. Squeeze one whole lemon, it helps the piece to stay intact, without breaking. Mix gently, make sure the mix is applied to the fish. Leave it aside for 30 mins. Even better if it is 1 hr.

Meanwhile, take a pan, add little oil and fry the onions till golden brown. Once done, let them cool. Grind it till smooth paste.

After the fish is marinated, take a flat pan, pour some oil and heat it with a sprig of curry leaves. Drop the fish pieces onto the pan, turning them once a while till the fish gets half cooked and its base is seared (approx. 5-8 mins, depends on the cut). Keep the fish aside.

In a deep pan, add enough oil so that it covers the whole surface and heat it on medium flame. Add Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cloves. Once you get the aroma, add onion paste and mix thoroughly. Since, the onions are already cooked and ground,  just make sure that it blends well with the spiced oil. Stir for  5 mins. Now add the ginger- garlic paste. It usually sticks to the bottom of the pan,s o keeping stirring frequently, so it does not stick and burn. After you no longer smell the raw ginger garlic, add 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric. Mix. Once you see oil leaving the masala paste and moving to the edge of the pan, add 1 chopped tomato. Mix and close the pan with a lid for 5 min, till the tomato gets cooked and the juices blend well.

To the masala paste, add the marinated pan fried/seared fish. Do not mix, as the piece will break. Add 1 cup water (200 ml, if you want more gravy add more) and gently shake the vessel by holding its handles so that the fish gets mixed well with water and the masala paste. Let it cook for 10 mins in the gravy. Once, you see oil seeping up, consider it done.

Check for salt, chili powder. You can add garam masala too. Finally, add finely chopped coriander leaves and switch off the stove. Leave it covered for 5 mins.

Devour it with hot steamed rice, with chopped onions and squeezed lemon.

Bon Appetit!