Mint Chutney

Ingredients

1 bunch mint
1 bunch cilantro
1 lemon
2-3 jalapenos or as desired
salt to taste

Rinse mint leaves and cilantro. Blend mint, cilantro, jalapeno and lemon juice in a food processor until smoothly blended. Add salt to taste. Left over chutney can be refrigerated and used for a week.

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Bonkers for Banana Bread


Ingredients:

2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mashed bananas (I like to use a hand held blender)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (165 degrees C). Butter one 9×5 inch loaf pan

2. Blend together the eggs, buttermilk, oil and bananas

3. Sift or whisk together the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the banana mixture and stir in the nuts. Mix well.

4. Pour into prepared bread pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Use a butter knife to release the bread from the sides of bread pan and then flip onto wire racks….quickly flip right side up and cool.

Enjoy!!!
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French Bread

After reading three bread making books by Peter Reinhart I finally attempted french bread.
***SUCCESS***

In hindsight I should have just gone for it. It was super easy…and definitely delicious and ridiculusly rewarding. I’ve been beaming ever since my first bite. And since i had everything out and ready to go I made Peter Reinhart’s pizza dough too. It’s a cold fermentation process which uses the least amount of yeast and takes it’s time building flavor and other magic overnight in the refrigerator. Tonight the pizza is being built, more on that later.

Photo of metal couche is for proofing and baking. Proofing can also be done on a clean kitchen towel and the baking on a metal baking sheet with parchment paper.

Recipes coming soon…

Idli

Idli is another south Indian savory that almost looks like the chinese dumplings. It is eaten as breakfast with chutney and sambhar.

Ingredients
1 cup urad dal (de-husked black lentil)
2 1/2 cups idli rava (granulated rice)
1 tsp salt

Soak the dal in a little water and leave for 6-8 hrs. Likewise in a separate dish soak the idli rava and leave for 6-8 hrs. Once the dal has nicely swollen, rinse and blend in a wet grinder with a little water into a smooth paste. Transfer the blended paste to a large bowl. Squeeze water gently from the idli rava and add to the blended paste in handfuls. Add salt and mix well. Leave outside for up to 24 hrs so the batter can ferment and rise. A well fermented batter yields soft, spongy idlis that melt in your mouth!

Idli’s are traditionally made in a special utensil that comes with special plates with circular cups. The plates can be of two sizes – regular and bite size. The bite size are especially good for dipping into sambhar and eating. They are also a convenient size for little kids. Add a little grease (butter or ghee)¬† to the circular cups to prevent the idli from sticking to the bottom. Add about one tablespoon batter to each circular cup and steam for 10-15 minutes.

Once the utensil has cooled and the lid can be opened, scoop out each idli with a spoon and serve hot with coconut chutney and sambhar.

Bon appetit!

See also:
Uttapam
Coconut Chutney
Sambhar

Coconut Chutney

There are many variations to the coconut chutney and each variation is designed to suit a particular dish it is eaten with. Traditionally the coconut chutney is a must have side dish with idli, vada, and dosa. But  it can also be eaten with rice.

Ingredients
1/2 Fresh coconut (grated or cut into small pieces)
some fresh cilantro
a few fresh curry leaves
3-4 dry red chillies
1 fresh green jalapeno
1/4 cup peanuts (or Roasted dal)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
a little fenugreek seeds
1 tsp oil

Wash and cut half a fresh coconut and set aside. In a pan roast the peanuts until lightly brown and set aside. Add a little oil to the pan and add a touch of asafoetida, turmeric powder, red chillies, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and fenugreek. Once the mustard seeds start cracking, add fresh curry leaves and remove from stove after a few seconds.  Remove only the fried red chilies and together with the coconut, roasted peanuts, cilantro, jalapeno (optional) and some tamarind (juice, paste or fresh soaked in a little water to soften it) blend in a wet grinder until all are smoothly blended into almost a paste. A tsp sugar can be added as well. Remove from blender and mix in the remaining fried seasoning.  

The same recipe can be used without peanuts to make just coconut chutney and eaten with rice.

Sambhar

Sambhar is a staple dish in South India. It is eaten with rice, is a key side dish with idli, dosa, and vada. As with any dish, there are innumerable variations to the same dish. Over the years, I have evolved my sambhar recipe as well and this is how I make it.

Ingredients
1/2 cup toor dal (yellow split lentils)
1 onion (cut into large pieces) or peeled pearl onions
1-2 carrots (cut into 1 in strips)
1/4 bottle gourd (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 tomato (cut into pieces)
1-2 drumsticks (optional)
A little white radish (cut into pieces or rings)
some green beans (8-10) cut into 1 in pieces
2-3 stalks of chopped cilantro
A few curry leaves
1-2 dry red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
A little tamarind (fresh de-seeded or paste)
Touch of asafoetida
Touch of turmeric powder
1-2 tsp oil (vegetable or peanut oil)
1-2 tsp MTR sambhar powder
1 tsp salt

Boil all the vegetables until cooked in a dish with some water or in a pressure cooker. Add one cup water and cook the dal until cooked. In a large pan, add some oil and fry the seasoning Рcumin seeds, mustard seeds, red chillies with some asafoetida and turmeric powder. When the mustard seeds start crackling add the curry leaves and mix. Add the boiled vegetables with any remaining water. Mash the cooked dal into almost a paste and add to the mix. Soak some fresh tamarind (a small handful)  in water and squeeze the juice out and add to the mix. Add some fresh (or dry) grated coconut, salt to taste and sambhar powder. Continue boiling for 15-20 minutes until all the ingredients mix well and the aromas penetrate. Garnish with some fresh cilantro.

Best when eaten hot with some rice or with idli, dosa or vada.

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