Easy Basundi Recipe (With Condensed Milk)

When I think of the years we lived in Ahmedabad, I cannot not think of basundi. It used to be a favourite, favourite sweet dish, rich and creamy without being overly so, loaded with nuts. This cousin of the North Indian rabri is something I associate with festive times, specifically Diwali.

It isn’t easy to find good basundi in Bangalore city, so we prefer making our own at home. Traditionally, this sweet dish is made by boiling milk and cooking it constantly, reducing it and reducing it and reducing it till it becomes thick and creamy and utterly delectable. The recipe that we use, though – the cheat’s basundi or the easy basundi recipe, as I refer to it – is super simple. It uses condensed milk for the thickening, and doesn’t require standing by the stove for hours on end. It might not be the authentic recipe, but this version tastes just as delish, I can vouch for that.

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Let’s check out our easy basundi recipe, shall we?

Ingredients (makes about 6 servings):

  1. 1 litre full-fat milk (I used Nandini)
  2. 400 grams sweetened condensed milk (I used Amul Mithai Mate)
  3. 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  4. 1/2 teaspoon rose essence (optional)
  5. 7-8 cashewnuts, chopped finely
  6. 7-8 almonds, chopped finely

Method:

  1. Take the milk and condensed milk in a heavy-bottomed pan. Mix well.
  2. Place pan on high heat and bring to a boil, stirring intermittently.
  3. Now, turn down the heat to low. Add in the sugar. Mix well.
  4. Cook on low-medium flame till the mixture reduces to about half of its original size – 10-15 minutes. Keep stirring intermittently, to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cream will begin to form on the edges of the pan – keep scraping it back down into the pan with a spoon.
  5. When the mixture has reduced, add in the chopped cashewnuts and almonds. Mix well.
  6. Cook more on low-medium heat till the mixture reduces further. Meanwhile, keep stirring intermittently and scraping the cream back into the pan.
  7. When it reaches a thick but still runny consistency, add the rose essence. Cook for a couple of minutes more, stirring intermittently, continuing to scrape the cream back into the pan. Switch off gas.
  8. Serve piping hot, warm or after chilling in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Personally, I think the basundi tastes best when chilled.

Notes:

  1. Increase or decrease the quantity of sugar you add, depending upon personal tastes and preferences. If you think the sweetness of the condensed milk is enough, you could skip adding sugar altogether. Personally, though, we prefer adding 2 tablespoons of sugar, considering that we have huge sweet teeth.
  2. Intermittent stirring throughout the process of making basundi is necessary, to prevent too much sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. The rose essence can be omitted altogether, if you don’t want to add it.
  4. Cardamom powder can be used in place of rose essence. Add it in at the same time when you need to add the rose essence – it adds a beautiful fragrance and taste to the basundi. We like both versions, but I am slightly biased towards the rose essence one.
  5. You could slightly roast the almonds and cashewnuts before chopping them and adding them to the basundi, too. I usually add them raw, though.
  6. It is important to keep scraping back the cream from the sides of the pan, into the pan, throughout the proceedure. This is what will give a beautiful, creamy consistency to the basundi.
  7. You can keep the consistency of the basundi as thick or as runny as you like. We like it slightly thick, still runny. The basundi thickens slightly on cooling.

Do you like basundi? How do you make it? Do you like this easy basundi recipe? I hope you’ll try this out!

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Foodie Monday Blog HopThis post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Diwali recipes’.

 

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Methi Nu Shaak| Fenugreek Green Curry With Chickpea Flour

A dry curry with fenugreek greens (methi) and chickpea flour (besan) is a traditional Gujarati preparation. You will surely find this dish on the dining table of a Gujarati household, especially during the winters. The chickpea flour and the sugar added to the curry even out the bitterness of the fenugreek greens, making the taste absolutely fantabulous. It is a great, great way to incorporate the greens in your diet, I think.

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Amma learnt how to make this curry from one of our Gujarati neighbours, back when we were staying in Ahmedabad. And then she went on to teach me how to make it. This curry has always been a hot favourite with me, and it still is.

Ingredients (2 servings):

  1. 1 large bunch or a medium-sized serving bowl of fenugreek (methi) leaves
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. Red chilli powder, to taste
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 2-3 tablespoons sugar, or as per taste
  6. 4 tablespoons chickpea flour (besan)
  7. 4 tablespoons oil
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing)
  9. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Method:

  1. Place the fenugreek leaves in a colander. Wash them thoroughly under running water, ensuring that no dirt remains. Keep aside, and let all the excess water drain out.
  2. Meanwhile, dry roast the chickpea flour in a pan on low-medium flame, till it turns slightly brown and begins to emit a nice fragrance. Stir constantly. Take care to ensure that it doesn’t burn. Transfer onto a plate. Keep aside.
  3. Squeeze out any excess water from the fenugreek leaves. Chop finely. Keep aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds, and allow to splutter. Add in the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds.
  5. Now, add in the chopped fenugreek leaves to the pan. Turn flame to low-medium, and cook till the leaves are well wilted. This should take 3-4 minutes.
  6. To the pan, add salt and red chilli powder to taste, sugar, turmeric powder and roasted chickpea flour. Mix well.
  7. Cook on low-medium flame for about 2 minutes more, ensuring everything is well incorporated together. At this stage, if the curry feels too dry, you could lightly sprinkle some water or add a spoonful of oil to the pan. Done!
  8. Serve hot or after bringing to room temperature, with rotis and daal or kadhi.

Notes:

  1. This is a dry curry and, hence, best served with a liquid-y accompaniment.
  2. Initially, you might feel that the quantity of fenugreek leaves you are using is way too much. When you start cooking them, though, they really wilt down to a very little quantity.
  3. While this is a very simple curry that needs very few ingredients, getting it right might need a bit of practice. I would strongly suggest you keep at it, though, for the taste is totally worth the effort you might be putting in.
  4. Using slightly more oil will give you a curry that isn’t very dry. I try to limit it to about 4 tablespoons, though, usually.
  5. This curry tastes best with sugar. Trying to substitute sugar with jaggery alters the taste of this curry, so that isn’t something that I would recommend.
  6. A dash of coriander and cumin powder OR garam masala can be added to the curry, too, but I like keeping it simple.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme this week is ‘cooking with greens’.

 

Pressure Cooker Sem Ki Sabzi| One-Pot Double Beans (Lima Beans) Curry

I am a big, big fan of double beans in the dried form. Recently, I spotted fresh double beans (also called sem or lima beans) at the Jayanagar market, and couldn’t resist picking up some. I used them to make this beautiful pressure-cooker curry to go with rotis, for lunch today.

The curry tastes absolutely delectable, if I may say so myself. I made it in a pressure cooker, something I often do with curries, a super-duper easy way to cook stuff. And.. the best part? The curry used just 1 teaspoon of oil in all its entirety!

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Let’s check out the recipe now, shall we?

Ingredients (makes 4-5 servings):

  1. 3/4 of a medium-sized serving bowl fresh double beans (aka lima beans or sem)
  2. 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  3. 1 medium-sized onion
  4. 1 teaspoon oil
  5. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida (hing)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  7. 1/2 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
  8. Salt, to taste
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. Red chilli powder, to taste
  11. Sugar, to taste
  12. 3/4 tablespoon chana masala, to taste
  13. A few fresh coriander leaves, to garnish

Method:

  1. Wash the double beans thoroughly under running water. Place in a colander, and let all the excess water drain out.
  2. Chop the tomatoes into large pieces. Puree in a mixer. Keep aside.
  3. Finely chop the onions and coriander leaves. Keep aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a 3-litre pressure cooker bottom. Add in the mustard seeds, and let them sputter. Add the asafoetida and cumin seeds, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  5. Add the chopped onions. Saute on low flame till they begin to turn brownish.
  6. Now, add the tomato puree, along with salt and red chilli powder to taste, as well as the sugar and turmeric powder. Mix well. Cook on low-medium flame for a minute or so.
  7. Add in the washed and drained double beans, along with the chana masala.
  8. Add about 1 cup water. Mix well.
  9. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Turn the flame to high. Let the curry cook for 4-5 minutes on high flame. Let the pressure come down naturally.
  10. Once all the pressure has come down, add in the finely chopped fresh coriander. Mix well.
  11. Serve hot with rotis.

Notes:

  1. Garam masala or pavbhaji masala can be used in place of chana masala.
  2. Omit the sugar if you don’t like a hint of sweetness in your curry.
  3. You could add a dash of lemon juice to the curry after preparation, too.
  4. After preparation, if you think the curry is too thick, you could add some water, adjust spices and salt, and let it simmer on low-medium flame for a few minutes.
  5. A tablespoon of thick curd added to the curry (while adding the tomato puree) will improve the taste drastically. You could add a dollop of fresh cream, instead, as well.
  6. If you are afraid of burning, you could add slightly more water to the curry. Post cooking, you could simmer the curry on low-medium flame to make it thicker.
  7. If fresh double beans aren’t available where you stay, you can use dried ones to make a similar curry. Just soak the dried double beans in water overnight, discard the water in the morning, pressure cook them for 4 whistles in just enough water to soak them, and then proceed with the above recipe.
  8. If you want, ginger-garlic paste can be added in the curry, while adding the onions.
  9. You could even add in a 1-inch piece of cinnamon, a few cloves, cardamom and a couple of bay leaves, to make the curry more flavourful. If using, add these in along with the chopped onions.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Recipes with just 1 teaspoon oil’.

Strawberry Bhapa Doi| Strawberry-Flavoured Steamed Yogurt

We knew absolutely nothing about Bengali food a year ago. Our only exposure to the cuisine had been via a visit to Oh! Calcutta! years ago. Then, a trip to Calcutta happened. Food blogging and cooking challenges happened. Interactions with Bengali food bloggers happened. Durga Pujo pandal hopping happened. Visits to Bengali festivals happened. Today, we are much more aware of various Bengali dishes than we were earlier – we don’t know everything about the cuisine yet, but we surely know more than what we used to.

The husband and I are constantly amazed by the huge variety of sweets that the Bengalis make using curd in various forms. We discovered bhapa doi (Bengali steamed yogurt) last year, and have been in love with it ever since. I went on to make a pressure-cooker bhapa doi, and it turned out to be a hit. When ‘Durga Pujo recipes’ was announced as the theme for this week’s Foodie Monday Blog Hop, I decided to try making bhapa doi again. This time around, I made it a strawberry bhapa doi, in my Morphy Richards OTG. I must say, it turned out absolutely beautiful!


The texture of this strawberry bhapa doi is so, so, so good – we gobbled it all up spoonful by spoonful. It was so easy to make too. I am pretty sure this isn’t the last time I have made this.

Here’s how I made the strawberry bhapa doi.

This recipe has been adapted from Piyali Sekar Mutha’s raspberry bhapa doi post at My Tryst With Food And Travel.

Ingredients (makes about 6 servings):

  1. 1 cup thick hung curd
  2. 1/4 cup full-fat milk
  3. 200 ml sweetened condensed milk
  4. 4 teaspoons strawberry conserve

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.
  2. Take the hung curd, full-fat milk, condensed milk and strawberry conserve in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk gently, ensuring everything is well combined together.
  4. Pour the mixture into a baking tray. There’s no need to grease the tray.
  5. Cover the top of the baking tray, tightly, with aluminium foil.
  6. Place the baking tray into a larger vessel about half filled with plain water. The tray should be about half immersed in water.
  7. Place the vessel in the pre-heated oven. Bake at 160 degrees for 35 minutes or till a knife inserted in the centre of the bhapa doi comes out reasonably clean. If the bhapa doi looks like it isn’t done yet, bake for 5-10 minutes more.
  8. Let the vessel rest as is till it comes to room temperature and is cool enough to handle.
  9. Now, remove the baking tray from the water and let it chill, covered, for about 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  10. Serve chilled, for best results.

Notes:

  1. I hung 500 ml store-bought curd (Nandini) in a cotton cloth atop my kitchen sink for about 3 hours, and got 1 cup of thick hung curd.
  2. I used Nandini full-cream milk and Amul Mithai Mate (sweetened condensed milk) to make this dish.
  3. I used whole strawberry conserve by L’ Exclusif to make this dish. The whole strawberries in the conserve take the flavour of the bhapa doi to a whole new level.
  4. You can use any other flavoured jam in place of the strawberry one. Mango, blueberry, raspberry.. the list is endless!
  5. This dish can be served with strawberry syrup and fresh, cut strawberries too. I didn’t have any of these things, and hence served it as is.
  6. I made the bhapa doi in my Morphy Richards OTG, but you could use a steamer or idli cooker to make it as well.
  7. Don’t miss out on chilling the bhapa doi in the refrigerator, after it is cooked. This is an important step, which will help it to set better and add to its taste.
  8. Baking times might vary from one person to another, depending upon the type of ingredients used and the oven. My bhapa doi was done in exactly 35 minutes.
  9. Don’t worry if the bhapa doi looks a little jiggly in the centre, after baking. It will set further on chilling, and it will taste good any way!
  10. It is important to cover the vessel in which you are baking with aluminium foil, to ensure that no water enters it. Ensure that the foil is tightly covered, without any tears.
  11. It is natural for a little water to accumulate around the bhapa doi, while baking. Just tilt the vessel slightly to remove it, before chilling.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This is my submission for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘Durga Pooja Special’.

Simple Moong Dal Tadka| One-Pot Moong Dal Tadka

This moong dal tadka is comfort food for the husband and me. The recipe has been in our family for ever, and it has helped us sail through several rainy nights, tough days, sicknesses and bad moods. It is a super easy thing to make, taking bare minutes to put together in a pressure cooker. It is a life-saver on the days when you need something comforting to eat, but are pressed for time. Try it out, with either parathas, rotis or plain rice!

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Ingredients (about 4 servings):

  1. 1/2 cup moong dal
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 3 medium-sized tomatoes, or as per taste, finely chopped
  5. 3-4 green chillies, or as per taste, slit length-wise
  6. A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  7. A few fresh curry leaves

For the tempering:

  1. 1 tablespoon oil
  2. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  3. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  4. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  5. Juice of 1/2 lemon, or as needed
  6. A few stalks of fresh coriander, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Wash the moong dal under running water a couple of times or until the water runs clear. Drain out all the excess water.
  2. Take the drained moong dal in a pressure cooker container, along with salt to take, slit green chillies, turmeric powder, chopped ginger, tomatoes, and just enough water to cover all of it.
  3. Pressure cook these ingredients on high flame for 5 whistles.
  4. When the pressure has come down entirely, mash the ingredients together roughly.
  5. In a pan, heat the oil and add in the mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter. Add the asafoetida and the cumin seeds. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds.
  6. Now, reduce the flame to medium, and add in the cooked moong dal. Add about 1 cup of water,or as needed to bring the dal to the consistency you require. Remember that the dal thickened slightly on cooling, so it is better to keep it runny at this stage. Mix well.
  7. Adjust salt if needed. Cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  8. Add the finely chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice. Mix well.
  9. Serve hot with plain rice, rotis or parathas.

Do you like moong dal tadka? How do you make it?

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week – the 110th edition of the blog hop – is ‘lentil-based dishes’.

Easy Chocolate Fudge From Leftover Cookies| Using Up Leftovers

Have some cookies lying around in your kitchen? Want to give them a makeover? Try using them to make this very simple but delicious fudge! Cut into squares or served on sticks, your guests will surely love these beauties.

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*Recipe adapted from Akila’s blog Morphy And Me*

Ingredients (makes 12-15 pieces):

  1. 10-15 leftover cookies (I used Marie biscuits)
  2. 1 cup milk chocolate, grated (I used Amul)
  3. 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk, or as needed (I used Amul Mithai Mate)
  4. Unsalted butter, to grease your hands (I used Amul)

Method:

  1. Powder the cookies in a mixer. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Keep aside.
  2. Fill a large pan up to about 3/4 with water, and place it on high heat. When the water comes to a boil, take the grated chocolate in a smaller pan and place it inside the boiling water. Turn down the heat to low-medium. Stirring intermittently, let the chocolate melt completely (double boiler method). Switch off heat.
  3. Transfer the melted chocolate to the mixing bowl. Mix well.
  4. Add in condensed milk, in just enough consistency for the mixture to reach a fudgy consistency. Mix well.
  5. Grease your palms with a little unsalted butter, and use them to shape small balls out of the mixture. Set a toothpick into each ball.
  6. Place the balls in an air-tight box lined with butter paper. Refrigerate them for about an hour, by which time they will set.
  7. Once the fudge is set and ready, serve them either chilled or after bringing them to room temperature. I dusted the balls with a little powdered sugar and cocoa powder before serving.
  8. Store any leftover fudge in the refrigerator, to keep it firm and fresh.

Notes:

  1. You could use any type of cookies and chocolate to make this fudge. Try out different permutations and combinations for different-tasting fudge every time.
  2. Chopped nuts can be added to the fudge as well.
  3. Add just enough condensed milk for you to be able to form balls out of the mixture. Adding too much condensed milk will make it difficult for the fudge to set.
  4. If you feel the mixture is too runny, you could add in a bit more biscuit powder to adjust the consistency.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This is my entry for the 109th edition of the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘Food On Sticks’. Very interesting theme, indeed!

 

 

 

Proso Millet Savoury Pongal| No-Rice Proso Millet Khichdi

This khichdi aka savoury pongal is made with no rice, which has been substituted entirely with proso millet. It is a healthier version of the rice-based khichdi, just as delicious and much more nutritious. Do try it out!

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Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. 3/4 cup proso millet
  2. 1/4 cup moong daal
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 2-3 green chillies or to taste
  5. 2 tablespoons ghee
  6. 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  7. 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing)
  8. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 2 tablespoons sugar
  11. 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and cubed
  12. About 3 tablespoons of shelled green peas
  13. 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  14. 1/2 medium-sized capsicum, chopped
  15. 2 medium-sized tomatoes, finely chopped
  16. A few stalks of coriander leaves, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Wash the proso millet thoroughly in running water a couple of times, or till the water runs clear. Drain out all the excess water. Soak the millets in just enough water to cover them, for at least an hour. Keep aside.
  2. When the millets are done soaking, wash the moong daal in running water a couple of times, or till the water runs clear. Drain out all the excess water. Keep aside.
  3. Set a pressure cooker bottom on high flame. Add in the ghee, and let it melt. Add in the mustard, and let it splutter. Now, add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  4. Drain out all the water from the soaked millets, and add them to the pressure cooker.
  5. Add in the washed and drained moong daal as well, along with salt to taste, turmeric powder, sugar, chopped onions, carrot, capsicum, green peas, tomatoes and green chillies.
  6. Add in 5 cups of water. Mix well.
  7. Close the pressure cooker, and put the whistle on. Allow 5 whistles.
  8. Let the pressure release naturally. When the pressure comes down entirely, open the cooker. Mix in the finely chopped coriander.
  9. Serve the khichdi piping hot, with raita of your choice or curd.

Notes:

  1. Omit the sugar entirely, if you think slightly sweet khichdi is not your thing.
  2. You can add in any vegetables of your choice. I used the veggies that I had handy in my kitchen.
  3. You can add a dash of garam masala or chana masala to the khichdi too, for added flavour. I skipped that.
  4. You can make the khichdi using toor daal instead of moong daal, too.
  5. A mixture of ghee and oil, or just 2 tablespoons of oil, can be used to make the khichdi as well.
  6. Increase or decrease the number of green chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the khichdi to be. If you like, you can add a dash of red chilli powder as well.
  7. Other kinds of millet – foxtail millet, kodo millet, little millet, barnyard millet, for instance – can be used in place of proso millet. A mix of two or more types of millets can be used as well.
  8. Soaking the millets for about an hour helps make a soft khichdi. If you’d like the khichdi to be a tad grainy, you could skip the soaking altogether.
  9. This khichdi turns out slightly runny, the way we like it.
  10. You could add ginger and/or garlic paste as well.

You like? I hope you will try making this out too, and that you will like it as much as we do!

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This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Millet-Based Recipes’.

Foodie Monday Blog Hop

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Check out the other millet-based recipes on my blog!

Easy Cheesy Nachos| Nachos And Cheese

Doesn’t a well-made plate of colourful, cheesy nachos just lift up your spirits? It surely does, for us. We are known to dig in to a platter of home-made ‘loaded’ nachos often, on weekends. I also make them when we have guests over, and they always bring a smile on their faces.

My go-to recipe for nachos and cheese comes from Richa Gupta’s famous blog, My Food Story. This recipe has been tried and tested by me several times over, with slight variations here and there, and it has never failed me. The proceedure for making these nachos is super simple, and the end result is utterly delectable. You have to try these nachos out to believe just how easy-peasy they are to put together, and yet, just how flavourful!

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Cheesy ‘loaded’ nachos!

Now, let’s see how to make these easy cheesy nachos, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

For the tomato salsa:

  1. 2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
  2. 1/2 of a big onion, finely chopped
  3. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  4. 2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
  5. 1 green chilli, very finely chopped
  6. Salt, to taste
  7. Lemon juice, to taste

For the refried beans:

  1. 1 cup rajma (kidney beans), cooked
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  5. 1 teaspoon oil
  6. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  7. 1/2 cup water

For the cheese sauce:

  1. 2 cups milk
  2. 3/4 cup grated cheese (I used Amul processed cheese)
  3. 1 teaspoon butter (I used Amul salted butter)
  4. 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  5. 1 green chilli, very finely chopped

Other ingredients:

  1. 320 g nachos (2 packets of 160 g each)
  2. 1 cup sweet corn, cooked with salt to taste
  3. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Let’s first make the refried beans, so that they get a chance to cool down while the rest of the components of the nachos are being assembled. For this, heat  the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the finely chopped garlic. Let it stay in for a few seconds. Now, add the cooked kidney beans, water, salt to taste, cumin powder and red chilli powder. Mix well. Cook on medium flame till the mixture thickens a little. Switch off gas and allow to cool down.
  2. Next, we will prepare the cheese sauce. Dry roast the flour in a pan till it turns slightly brown in colour. Mix the flour in about 1/2 cup of milk, ensuring that it is completely dissolved and no lumps remain. Keep aside. In the same pan, heat the butter and add in the green chilli. Let it stay in for a couple of seconds, and then add the remaining 1-1/2 cups of milk. Bring to a boil. Turn the flame down and add the milk-wheat flour mixture to the pan. Mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce thickens a bit. Switch off the gas, and add in the grated cheese. Stir, ensuring that the cheese has completely melted. Let the cheese sauce cool down a little.
  3. Now, we will make the tomato salsa. For this, mix together the chopped tomatoes and onions, salt to taste, chopped garlic and green chilli, lemon juice, and coriander. Ensure that everything is well combined together. Keep aside.
  4. Once the refried beans and cheese sauce have cooled down, start assembling the nachos. For this, lay out the nachos on a large serving plate. Spread the refried beans evenly over the nachos. Over this, spread out the cooked corn, cheese sauce and tomato salsa evenly. Garnish with finely chopped coriander. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. Make sure the tomatoes are at room temperature, before you make the salsa.
  2. You could use garlic butter to make the cheese sauce, too. In that case, you might want to skip adding chopped garlic to the sauce.
  3. Vinegar can be used in place of lemon juice, to make the salsa.
  4. If you want, you could slightly char the cooked sweet corn before using it. I usually avoid this step.
  5. Pickled, sliced jalapenos can be used as a topping for the nachos, as well. In case you use them, you might want to skip adding the green chillies in the salsa.
  6. If you feel the cheese sauce has turned out lumpy, run it briefly in a mixer, and it should be okay.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the 107th edition of Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘party dishes’.

 

Milk Pulao| How To Make Milk & Vegetable Rice

A while ago, Amma told me about an interesting recipe that she had seen on a cooking show on television – a recipe for a simple rice cooked entirely in milk. The show’s host had said that the rice would be surprisingly flavourful in spite of having just a few ingredients in it. ‘It looked so good!’, Amma told me. ‘I am pretty sure you’ll like it; you must try it out,’ she quipped. And so I did, and loved it to bits, exactly the way Amma had known I would. Ammas are so good at this sort of thing, no? 🙂

I went ahead and made a few changes of my own to the original recipe. I cooked the rice in a mix of milk and water as the original recipe suggested (not coconut milk, but plain milk, mind you!). I also added in a few veggies, some fried onions, raisins and nuts. I put in a few slit green chillies, in addition to the whole spices that the original recipe calls for. In my humble opinion, I think this version is so much more colourful, healthier and tastier, making for a fuller, more wholesome meal.

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Milk pulao or milk & vegetable rice

For the life of her, Amma cannot remember which show this recipe was shown on, or which TV channel aired it, but it has, sort of, become a regular fixture on our dining table. I have come to associate this dish – I call it Milk Pulao or Milk & Vegetable Rice – with celebrations. This is the dish I turn to on festive occasions, on festival days when I want to make something special, without it being too complicated. It helps that this pulao is so very easy to make, and that the family loves it just as much as I do.  So, for this week’s Foodie Monday Blog Hop – the theme being ‘Festive Recipes’ – it is only natural that I present to you this latest festive dish crush of our family.

Foodie Monday Blog Hop

Now, let’s check out the proceedure for making my version of the milk pulao, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  • 1 cup rice (I use Sona Masoori rice)
  • 1-1/2 cup milk (boiled and cooled)
  • 1-1/2 cup water
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil + more for frying the dry fruits and onions
  • 4 green chillies or to taste, slit length-wise
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and chopped into batons
  • 1 small capsicum, chopped into medium-sized pieces
  • 7-8 beans, strings removed and chopped into medium-sized pieces
  • A handful of green peas
  • 1 large onion, chopped length-wise
  • About 1/4 cup of raisins
  • 6-7 whole almonds
  • 6-7 kernels of walnuts
  • 6-7 whole cashewnuts
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 4-5 cloves
  • A 1-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 4-5 pieces of cardamom (elaichi)

Method:

  1. Wash the rice under running water a couple of times. Place in a colander, and drain out all the excess water.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pressure cooker bottom. Add in the cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves and cardamom. Let them stay in for a second or two.
  3. Now, add in the chopped carrots, beans and green peas, along with the washed and drained rice.
  4. Add in 1-1/2 cups of water and 1-1/2 cups of milk, along with the slit green chillies, sugar and salt to taste. Mix well.
  5. Close the cooker, and put the weight on. Pressure cook on high flame for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
  6. In the meantime, fry the onions, raisins and nuts and keep them ready. For this, take oil for frying in a thick-bottomed pan,  and set it on a high flame. When the oil reaches smoking point, turn the flame down to medium. Drop in the cashewnuts, and fry till they become slightly brown, and remove onto a plate. Now, fry the almonds till they become darker in colour, and remove onto the plate. Fry the walnuts till they turn slightly darker, and transfer to the plate. Fry the raisins till they plump up, and then remove onto the plate. Fry the onions till they caramelise and turn dark, and transfer onto the plate too. Take care to ensure that none of these ingredients get burnt.
  7. Once the pressure has completely gone down, mix in the fried onions, raisins, walnuts, almonds and cashewnuts into the rice, gently.
  8. Serve hot. This pulao doesn’t really need an accompaniment.

Notes:

  1. If you don’t like the idea of adding whole cashewnuts, walnut kernels and almonds to the pulao, you can chop them into slivers after frying.
  2. I think veggies like carrot, peas and beans go really well with this dish. That said, do feel free to add other veggies too.
  3. I use about 3-1/2 cups of water to cook 1 cup of rice, normally. For pulao and other rice-based dishes, I reduce the quantity of water slightly. To make this pulao, I have used 3 cups of liquid in total (1-1/2 cups of milk + 1-1/2 cups of water) for 1 cup of rice + a few veggies.
  4. Increase or decrease the quantity of milk and/or water as per personal taste preferences and depending on how grainy you want the pulao to be.
  5. You could even mix in some finely chopped coriander, once the milk and vegetable rice is cooked and ready.
  6. You could use basmati rice in place of Sona Masoori rice as well.
  7. This pulao turns out fragrant and mildly spiced. Increase the quantity of green chillies if you want to up the heat a bit.
  8. Skip the sugar entirely, if you so desire.

You like? I hope you will try out this milk pulao too, and that you will like it as much as we did!

Mixed Vegetable Idlis| Healthy Steamed Snack Recipe

For this week’s Foodie Monday Blog Hop, the 103rd edition, the theme is ‘steamed dishes’. I decided to try out something I have always wanted to – Mixed vegetable idlis! And they turned out so, so good!

Foodie Monday Blog Hop

Mixed vegetable idlis might be a common breakfast dish in a lot of homes, but that is not so in our case. We end up making the good ol’ plain idlis over and over again, serving them with a variety of chutneys and sambar. Now that we have tried and loved the mixed vegetable idlis, I am pretty sure we will be making them more frequently.

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Mixed vegetable idlis – healthy steamed snack

These idlis have the goodness of urad daal and veggies in them, and are a nice, welcome change from the regular idlis. They taste delightful, and can be served as is – they don’t really need an accompaniment. What’s more, they are steamed and, therefore, super healthy, too. This is a great kid-friendly breakfast or snack dish, a lovely way to sneak veggies into their diet, I think.

Here’s how I made the mixed vegetable idlis.

Ingredients (for about 12 idlis):

  1. 3/4 of a medium-sized serving bowl idli batter
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 1 green chilly
  5. A small piece of cabbage
  6. 1 medium-sized carrot
  7. A few florets of cauliflower
  8. 6-7 beans
  9. 1 small onion
  10. 1/2 of a medium-sized capsicum
  11. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves
  12. 2 tablespoons shelled green peas
  13. A pinch of asafoetida
  14. Red chilli powder, to taste
  15. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  16. 1 tablespoon oil + a little more to grease the idli moulds

Method:

  1. First, let us prep all the veggies. Chop the cabbage, cauliflower, onions and capsicum finely. Remove the strings from the green beans and chop them finely too. Peel the carrot and chop it very finely or grate it. Chop the coriander finely.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is nice and hot, add the chopped cabbage, cauliflower, onions, capsicum, beans, carrot and the shelled green peas, along with the asafoetida. Stirring intermittently, let the veggies cook on a medium flame for a minute. Now, add turmeric powder, salt and red chilli powder to taste. Mix well. Sprinkling a little water if needed, cook on medium flame for a minute or two more, stirring intermittently. Switch off the gas. The veggies should be cooked, but not overly tender – they will be steamed later, with the idli batter, anyway. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. Keep aside and allow the vegetables to cool, while you make the other preparations.
  3. Grease the idli plates using a little oil, and keep them ready.
  4. Add salt to taste to the idli batter.
  5. Peel the ginger and chop it into small pieces. Chop the green chilli into small pieces. Grind the ginger and green chillies into a paste, in a mixer, using a little water. Add this paste to the idli batter.
  6. When the vegetables cool down completely, add them to the idli batter. Mix well.
  7. Now, pour a ladleful of the batter into each of the moulds in the greased idli plates.
  8. Place the plates in a pressure cook and steam them, on high flame, for 10-12 minutes. Do not place the pressure cooker weight.
  9. When done, remove the mixed vegetable idlis from the plates, using a spoon. Transfer them to serving plates. Serve hot, as is or with sambar or chutney of your choice.

You like? I hope you will try out these healthy and tasty mixed vegetable idlis too!