Pizza!

Pizza is a popular dish/pie which does not need any formal introduction. Its a much loved food globally! I love pizza, and I was initially intimidated to try it out myself. It's usually a take-out staple but if you try making it at home, then, you might stick to your home made pizzas. It does not take much time and effort to bake a pizza, and once you are comfortable making one, you will prefer baking one at home and not order it from your local pizza shop! The below recipe is from a good friend of mine, and it makes a very good pizza crust. I usually make mine without sauce, but just vegetables, seasoning and cheese.

Ingredients:

3 cups of flour/bread flour

1 cup of water (warm) - adjust accordingly

1/4 cup olive oil

one package instant yeast

salt to taste

Method:

1. Add 3 cups of flour, salt, yeast, and 1/2 cup of warm water into the work bowl and stir to combine (just briefly). Let it stand for about 15 minutes (this process is called autolysing).

2. Once you let it stand, slowly add the rest of the flour while you knead. You may need more water and flour as you knead the dough. Knead it well for about 15 minutes. Punch it down, and done. Knead with olive oil at the end.

P.S:For Best results, its good to make the dough the day before and let it rise in the fridge overnight).

For toppings:

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 medium tomato, chopped

4 or 5 garlic cloves, minced/sliced

1/2 cup chopped capsicum/bell pepper

2 tbsp Italian Seasoning

Crushed pepper

Salt to taste

Olive oil

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Making Pizza:

1) Preheat the oven to 450°F for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.

2) On a flat surface, sprinkle some flour and take the dough and flatten it with your hands, or use a rolling pin, roll it out until it forms in to 1/2 inch thick circle until it reaches the desired diameter - about 10 to 12 inches. You can turn and stretch the dough, too. It can be a bit challenging to get the right shape at first, so do not worry about it. Mine always comes in an oblong shape and it is actually perfect for my pan.

3) Add the toppings as per your taste. I prefer without the sauce so I just go with Onions, bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, and lots of cheese, Italian seasonings, and drizzle olive oil at the top. Bake it for about 15 minutes, and then turn the oven to Broil mode for last 5 minutes so that top gets nice and brown.

Enjoy!

Ashgourd cooked in a spicy, sweet and tangy sauce/Puli koddel

This is a quintessential konkani recipe. It is a very popular dish prepared during special occasions as it doesn't have onions or garlic in it. Also no function or ceremony would be complete without this dish. Growing up, I was never really fond of this dish, but of course, now, I love it.

This dish has very unique flavors from the roasted coconut, varieties of spices roasted in oil, and the sweetness from jaggery and sourness from tamarind, and the toasted sesame seeds complements all the flavors making it an unique dish.

Typically, this dish is prepared using Winter Melon or Ash gourd. However, you can also prepare this using pumpkin, zucchini or cucumber, and it tastes equally great.

Ingredients:

Ashgourd/Winter melon peeled and cut into cubes about 2 cups

For seasoning:

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Curry leaves 1 sprig/5 to 6 leaves

Cooking oil about 4 tsp

Salt to taste

Tamarind 1 medium sized lump

1/2 tbsp jaggery

Salt to taste

Coconut gratings about 1/2 cup

Fry the below items in 2 tsp oil:

Coriander seeds 1 tbsp

Red chillies 6, or more if you want to make it spicy

Bengal gram dal/Chana dal 1 tsp

Fenugreek seeds or methi 1/4 tsp

Turmeric powder/haldi 1/4 tsp

Asafoetida a pinch

Raw rice washed 1 tsp

Black sesame seeds/til 3 tsp

Method:

1) Cook Ashgourd with little turmeric and jaggery/brown sugar.

2) Meanwhile, in a saute pan, toast/roast the coconut gratings until light brown. Be careful not to burn.

3) Fry ingredients from Coriander seeds to raw rice in little oil, and keep aside.

4) Wash the sesame seeds and drain the water and and roast till dry.

5) In a blender, add the roasted coconut, fried ingredients along with sesame seeds and tamarind and blend to a paste using little water - the masala need not be very fine.

6) Add the masala/paste to the cooked ash gourd, add water, salt and water to make a thick gravy and bring it to good rolling boil.

7) Heat oil in a small pan. When heated through, add mustard seeds; when it starts sputtering, follow with curry leaves and add this over the curry.

Serve hot with rice.

Chinese style noodles

Here is a simple recipe to make noodles Indo-chinese way. All you need is some egg noodles, veggies of your choice. Makes a tasty and wholesome meal.

Ingredients:

Egg Noodles about 4 individual pieces (looks like Maggi noodles pack)

3/4 cup chopped Bell pepper aka Capsicum

1 cup Shredded cabbage

1 medium onion sliced

3 cloves garlic

1/2" ginger

3 or 4 green chillies

Salt to taste

Oil for cooking

Method:

1) Boil water and cook the noodles as mentioned on the package. When done, drain and set it aside.

2) Make a coarse paste of Ginger, garlic and green chillies using a mortar and pestle.

3) Heat oil in a wide pan/wok, and add sliced onions and ginger, garlic, green chili paste and stir fry until golden.

3) Add the shredded cabbage and chopped bell peppers and stir fry for few minutes on high heat. Add salt and mix well.

4) Now add the boiled noodles and combine everything together.

Serve with Gobi Manchuri.

Cabbage Pakoras

Pakoras are nothing but fritters which are usually prepared using Chickpeas flour or Besan and Rice flour, shredded vegetables like Onions, Cabbage, Spinach etc., along with Chilli powder, and other spices and deep fried until golden. The recipe that I am sharing is an instant recipe which can be made in few minutes, really. Growing up, my mom always made 2 varieties of cabbage pakoras. She prepared the instant pakoras whenever we craved for it, and she made another recipe by soaking rice and toor dal for few hours and blend it to a coarse paste with dried red chillies and add crushed coriander seeds and deep fry. Both has its own unique taste. The coriander seeds definitely gives a nice flavor and taste in each bite. Below is the recipe.

Ingredients:

2 cups of shredded cabbage

1 medium onions chopped

1/3 cup rice flour

1/4 cup besan/chick peas flour

2 tsp red chilli powder or as per your desired spice level

salt to taste

2 tsp fresh coriander seeds, crushed

Cooking Oil for deep frying

Method:

1)In a mixing bowl, add the shredded cabbage, onions, salt and red chilli powder and mix everything together and set it aside for about 15 to minutes. This will help release all the excess water from the cabbage and onion which will help when adding the flour and mixing the batter)

2)Add rice flour and besan and mix well. The water released from the vegetables will be sufficient for the pakora batter which should be dry and thick and not watery.

3)Add crushed coriander seeds and mix again. Check the salt and spice level and adjust everything accordingly.

4)Make small balls and flatten it a bit and deep fry until golden brown.

Enjoy with a hot cup of tea!

Batate Vaagu Or Potatoes in a Spicy Coconut sauce

Batate vaagu is a very popular dish among GSB Community, and its more prominent during festivals, weddings etc., as this does not have garlic or onions. Batato in Konkani means Potato and vaagu is tiger. I don't know how this dish derived this name, but I would think the the color and the spiciness this dish gets from the chillies makes it quite obvious to call it 'Vaagu'. There are many different ways to prepare this dish. Some fry/roast coriander seeds along with coconut gratings till brown, and then make a smooth paste along with Byadgi chillies which gives that red color, richness and that fiery look.

The recipe below is pretty easy and its delicious, too.

Ingredients:

2 or 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces (you can also use boiled potatoes)

1 medium tomato chopped

Salt to taste

Oil for cooking

2 tsp mustard seeds

4 to 5 curry leaves

For masala/paste:

3/4 cup fresh coconut gratings

2 tsp coriander seeds

4 or 5 roasted red chillies (a combination of regular and byadgi would be best)

Method:

1) In a blender, add all the ingredients listed under "For masala/paste" and make a smooth paste using water as needed.

2) Heat oil in a kadai/deep wok. When hot, add mustard seeds and let it splutter, follow by adding curry leaves and chopped tomatoes. Fry the tomatoes till they are mushy and pulpy for about 4 to 5 minutes.

3) Add the chopped potatoes and enough water for the potatoes to cook. If you have boiled potatoes on hand, then, you can use it as well. Mix everything together and cover with a lid and let the potatoes cook thru.

4) When the potatoes are cooked through, add the ground paste, salt and mix again and let it cook well. If its too thick, add water to get a good consistency.

Serve with rice or rotis.

Back in the blogosphere, finally, and a Recipe!

I have been completely out of the blogging world, that is, posting recipes, and making updates to my blog. Life has been on a fast pace since last 2 years or so. First it was the job that made me slow down, and then it was the 'new person' in our life. We were blessed with a baby girl almost 2.5 years ago, and she is not a baby anymore, but an active toddler who never fails to keep me on my toes! Anyway, a lot happened in this past 2 years which were all very exciting stuff. I tried to update this little space of mine when my mom was here to help us with the baby, but after parents left, life has been so demanding in so many different levels. Thank you to all from the bottom of my heart who enquired about this blog!

I am making a come back with a nutritious breakfast recipe which was a regular in our household. This has to be made using Rosematta rice (the one we get in India). Here, I have tried using the ones we get in Indian stores and it was quite good. Of course, the taste it definitely not as good as the ones we ate growing up. The recipe can be used in 2 different ways. You can make pancakes like I have mentioned below, or you can steam them in plantain leaves and it makes a wonderful breakfast. We served the steamed idlis or cakes with coconut oil and mango pickle and, it was just the best thing ever! Since its difficult to find plantain leaves here in the United States, I usually steam it in a regular dish and it comes out well.

Recipe follows:

1 cup rosematta rice, washed and soak it for at least 4 to 5 hours.

½ cup fresh grated coconut

salt to taste

1 tsp brown sugar or jaggery

1 medium red onion finely chopped

1 medium boiled potato chopped

3 to 4 green chillies chopped

½ cup finely chopped coriander leaves

Oil for frying the pancakes.

Method:

1) In a blender, add the rice, and coconut and grind it using little very little water. The batter should be very thick. More like Idly batter, a little coarse and thick. Add salt and jaggery and mix well and set aside in a bowl.

2) To this, add the chopped onions, potatoes, chillies, coriander leaves and mix everything together.

3) Heat a griddle/tava, and add a wee bit of oil and make sure its coated all through out the pan. Using a spoon, pour the batter and flatten it using the back of the spoon. Drizzle oil over the pancakes and on the sides. Cover it let it cook for about 30 to 45 seconds on a medium. Open the lid and the flip the dosas, and cook on the other side for about a minute of 2 until its nice and golden. Serve with garlic chutney/pickle or butter.

You can also steam the plain batter into plantain leaves, or just a deep dish in the Idly steamer (skip the onions, potatoes etc.,) and steam for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until cooked. It takes a little longer to cook than the regular idly. Also, this batter does not need to be fermented.