Tag Archives: chutney

How do you Chai?(Tea)

3 May

When I read the title of a book called, ‘Coffee, Tea or Me’, the first thought that crossed my mind was, may be it is a debate between tea aficionados or coffee addicts. But the book was completely different. Ha ha, well since then, this topic has been brewing in my mind, that how do you prefer to make tea? Honestly, I would have indulged in a long debate on handling tea and its contents. But as time has passed, we are not reserved anymore about certain methods, like tea should be made in this specific way, there are so many flavors, so many new experiments with tea or coffee and so many beverages that are now easily available. Well I am a fan of Chai Tea Latte myself. But in olden times in India, people say it was one of the tests that the bride-to-be was secretly given, to make tea, if you passed the test, you were supposed to be shortlisted as an eligible wife. He he. Sure, I get it, tea is THAT important. Tea is definitely something that can uplift my mood and I am sure a coffee lover can relate to the feeling as well. However, coffee is not my department. I have had long chats on tea with friends and family. And the last conversation I remember with my dad before he passed away was he told me to buy Orange Pekoe tea leaves and make tea. So let me share my method of making basic English tea that my dad taught me and his update as well with tea.

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Tea served with paniyaram or appe and green chutney

Tip: Remember, more ‘tea-dust’ in the tea, the stronger it is. Do not leave the tea for long. The longer you leave the tea the stronger the taste. Too long is also not good for health. Generally the sugar and tea leaves are to be used in same quantity so if the tea mixture is too strong, use as many teaspoons as the servings. If the tea leaves are light use one teaspoon more to the entire servings. Sweeter the sugar, lesser quantity should be used.

For eg: If the number of people to serve are 6, stronger the tea use 6 teaspoons or even less, lighter the tea, use 7 teaspoons or 8 teaspoons.

If fine sugar is used it is already too sweet so use 6 teaspoons in this instance, if crystalized sugar is used  use 7 teaspoons.

Pour just about the amount of milk that will make the color of the tea change from darkest brown into a medium caramel color, like they will describe ‘tan’ in foundations . Ha ha.

All you need:

Servings : 2

  1. Tea leaves (loose) 3 teaspoons
  2. Sugar in crystal form 3 teaspoons (if fine sugar is used reduce one teaspoon)
  3. Water : Use 1/3rd cup of water per serving
  4. Milk as required (I prefer boiled hot milk because if the milk is raw,you can taste the raw milk in tea)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. In a deep vessel pour 1/3rd of a the cup of water used for measurement.
  2. Add sugar. Stir until dissolved.
  3. Let the water boil.
  4. Add tea leaves and remove the vessel off the heat and keep it covered.
  5. Steep the leaves until they settle at the bottom. Do not uncover the lid many times just to check. Leave it for a while.
  6. Uncover, strain the leaves through a strainer dividing equally in two cups.
  7. Pour milk only as required. Do not overpower the milk or else it will be too milky, do not pour very less or it will be too strong.

Update: So my dad told me smaller the tea leaves stronger the tea, meaning more dust stronger tea, so I buy loose Orange Pekoe tea leaves that are not the strongest of tea leaves. So for example I have to make myself some tea, I will need 1/3rd cup of water, 2 teaspoons of crystalized sugar and 2 teaspoons of tealeaves. Earlier I would use one teaspoon for one cup of tea. That’s just the update of my own method of making tea.

P.S: There are many methods and flavors of tea. Many people just put all ingredients together and boil it until the tea becomes darker. Some also add ginger to their tea for medicinal or health benefits. Some add even more spices like cardamom, saffron, etc. Some people just boil the water sugar and tea first and then add milk and boil it further. Some people prefer cold milk in their tea. Some people use sugar cubes and boil ingredients without sugar and add it later. To each his own. Happy Tea lovin’!

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Chai from a local tea stall

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Tomato Chutni

31 Aug

Tangy, spicy with a hint of sweetness and most of the times a great accompaniment like salsa which goes with Idli, Dosa, Chapati, Rice and Dal or Puri. Most Indian recipes need tomatoes, what better way than using them all in one recipe! There are a few variations but finders keepers losers weepers, just kidding. Here’s the recipe that my mom makes and its her birthday this month so Thank you and Love you mom.

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Tip: You can keep roasted peanut powder handy, it tastes great when added as a garnish.

All you need:

  1. 4 medium sized ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  2. 1 large onion finely chopped
  3. 2 green chilies slit and chopped
  4. 4-5 curry leaves (optional)
  5. 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  6. pinch of asafoetida(optional, can be found in Indian stores)
  7. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  8. 1 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  9. 1 tbsp coriander powder
  10. 1 tsp garam masala(optional)
  11. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  12. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  13. 1 tsp sugar(optional)
  14. Salt (as required)
  15. 2 tbsp oil
  16. 2 tbsp cilantro chopped (garnish)
  17. 1 tbsp roasted peanut powder (optional garnish)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat oil in a wok or sauce pan on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, as soon as they pop add cumin and let it sizzle and change color.
  2. Add asafoetida, curry leaves, let them crackle, add green chilies and saute for half a minute.
  3. Add chopped onions and saute them until they are pink in color. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute it until raw smell disappears.
  4. Toss in spices one by one except the garam masala. Stir well. Let this mixture fry well and keep stirring in between making sure nothing sticks to the pan. If you feel the mixture is sticking add a tablespoon of water. Cook it until it starts leaving oil on the sides about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes finally, make sure they get covered with all the spices. Mix well but gently.
  6. Add salt and sugar.
  7. Cook the tomatoes for about 5-7  minutes or until they just begin to soften. You can mash a few pieces gently. I leave them this way, you might choose to cook them down entirely, you will need to cook them for a longer time.
  8. Add garam masala as a finishing spice and let it cook for a minute or two. Skip this step if you are not using garam masala.
  9. Turn off the heat and add the garnishing. Combine.
  10. Serve hot with chapati, roti or naan.

Stuffed Egg & Cheese Paratha

2 Mar

I have been lazy in posting and lagging behind with my posts, thanks to my cake decorating class for the last month I have been busy baking and baking and baking! Phew! Well, I just wanted a break from all that baking and since I fell short on time with all the yoga, baking, reading, catching re-runs of FRIENDS and Pinterest, I could manage finding eggs and cheese in the refrigerator and nothing else. So I decided to share the stuffed egg and cheese paratha recipe. Enjoy! Wish me luck, just so  😉

Tip: You can make simple ‘Anda Bhurji’(recipe will follow soon) and stuff it in the paratha.

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All you need:

1)      4 large eggs whisked, reserve two separately in a large plate.

2)      2 cups whole wheat flour, additional for dusting.

3)      1 cup water

4)      100 grams shredded cheese divided in 4 equal parts (I used a mix of Monterey jack and cheddar)

5)      1 medium sized onion chopped

6)      2 green chilies finely chopped (adjust as required)

7)      2 tbsps Cilantro chopped

8)      2 tsps turmeric

9)      2 tsps red chili powder (you can skip this if the green chilies are hot)

10)   1 tsp ajwain seeds (carom seeds help in digestion)

11)   Oil for frying

12)   Salt as required

Ready, Set, Go:

1)      Prepare the dough : In a large bowl, mix the flour, 1 tsp turmeric, carom seeds, pinch of salt, few drops of oil and slowly add water, keep kneading into a pliable smooth dough, not too hard not too soft until it easily comes off the bowl. Wrap it up with a muslin cloth or plastic wrap and keep aside for about 20 mins.

2)      Prepare the eggs : Whisk eggs, add turmeric, chili powder,cilantro, green chilies, salt, onion and set aside.

3)      Divide the dough into 4 parts. On a rolling board, roll out the dough with a rolling pin or your hand until it has equal thickness on all sides,make sure it is not too thick or thin and about 6-8 inches wide. Dust flour as needed.

 Method 1:

4)      Heat a flat pan or skillet. Pour about a tsp of oil on the pan. Dip the rolled paratha in the reserved egg in the plate on both the sides and place it on the pan. If you are scared the paratha will tear, just place it on the pan and pour a little bit of the reserved egg and spread it evenly on the rolled paratha only on one side. Flip it immediately so the other side is not cooked entirely.

5)      Pour a tbsp.or two of the whisked egg mixture with onions, etc on the paratha and spread it out evenly.

6)      Sprinkle the shredded cheese.  Flip it and cook until golden brown on both the sides.

7)      Use a tsp. of oil or as needed on the sides to make sure the parathas are well greased to cook the paratha and that it is not dry otherwise the eggs might stick to the pan and burn.

8)      Serve hot with ketchup or any sweet chutney or Indian pickle.

 Method 2:

4) Heat a shallow pan. Pour oil and add the egg mixture. Cook like scrambled eggs whisking the mixture in the pan and breaking it down into small pieces. Cook entirely. Divide mixture in 4 equal parts.

5) On the rolled paratha, place one part of the cooked egg mixture and sprinkle cheese. Pick up the edges of the paratha and pinch them together in the center and twist the peak removing extra dough and press it down gently in the centre. Roll it out smoothly again making sure you are not rolling with too much pressure or the stuffing will come out and start sticking to the rolling pin. Dust as much flour as needed. Make sure you roll it out wide and not too thick.

6) Heat a flat pan or skillet. Pour about a tsp of oil on the pan. Dip the rolled paratha in the reserved egg in the plate on both the sides and place it on the pan. If you are scared the paratha will tear, just place it on the pan and pour a little bit of the reserved egg and spread it evenly on the rolled paratha only on one side. Flip it immediately so the other side is not cooked entirely. Now pour some on the other side and spread it out evenly.

7)Cook until golden brown on both the sides. Use a tsp. of oil or as needed on the sides to make sure the parathas are well greased to cook the paratha and that it is not dry otherwise the eggs will stick to the pan and burn.

8) Serve hot with ketchup or any sweet chutney or Indian pickle.

Bread Pakoda (spicy fried bread with potato filling)

16 Oct

A little rain is enough to trigger your taste buds to want something spicy and add to it a cup of tea and you are right up there, even above those dark black thundering clouds! So this was during the rains that I had to experiment a little. I made these pakodas. Although fried, I have read in a book that home-made snack even if it is fried if consumed immediately will not deposit as much fat as other fried stuff does. You should only re-use the remaining oil once. That’s it. Ok, so enough information for the calorie conscious people, and here is the recipe for all you food lovers like me.

Tip: The batter can be used for all types of Pakodas , Bread, Onion, Potato, any other vegetables or even hard cottage cheese.

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All you need:

For the Batter:

1. Chickpea flour/Besan 1 cup

2. Rice flour 1/4 cup

3. Turmeric 1/4 tsp

4. Red Chilli powder 1 tsp

5. Green chilli (finely chopped) – 1 ( I use 2 because I love spice)

6. Carom seeds 1/4 tsp

7. Salt (as required)

8. Water

For the Filling:

1. Potato Boiled and cut into small pieces

2. Mustard Seeds 1 tsp

3. Cumin seeds 1 tsp

4. Turmeric 1/4 tsp

5. Ginger Paste 1 tsp

6. Garlic Paste  1 tsp

7. Green Chilli – 1 finely chopped

8. Cilantro 2 tbsp finely chopped

9. Chaat Masala 1 tsp

10. Oil – 2 tbsp

11. Salt (as required)

Other :

1. Bread Slices – 4

2. Oil for deep frying

Ready, Set, Go:

1. First prepare the filling by heating oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and once they pop add cumin seeds along with ginger garlic paste and saute for 30 seconds.

2. Add chilli, potato, turmeric, chaat masala, cilantro and salt. Combine well. Turn off heat.

3. Now prepare the batter by mixing all dry ingredients together and then add water little by little till you form a smooth batter.

4. Finally cut the bread slices into half in the form of triangles. Place the potato filling on the bread. Press gently.

5. Heat oil almost till boiling point. Test by dropping in a drop of batter, if it sizzles and comes on top immediately, its ready to fry. Maintain the heat on medium flame.

6. Dip the slices in the batter using a spoon or if you don’t mind getting messy, get your clean hands in there. Make sure you coat all sides with the batter.

7.  Fry the slices till golden brown turning once.

8. Remove on an absorbent paper.

9. Serve hot with ketchup or chutney.

P.S : For those who do not know what a Pakoda is, it is a fried snack made out of a batter of gram flour also known as ‘Bhaji’. It is similar to french fries. We can use any sort of veggies and make a Pakoda out of it.

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