Life..a miracle

Life..a miracle

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Steaming goodness..rava idli!

Yikes, I really got late on this one! We all know and love South-Indian cuisine. The light fluffy idlis, crispy dosas and the spicy & tangy sambar..umm just makes your taste buds crave. I of course crave these delicacies once in a while and then try to recreate them in my small homely kitchen. A fortnight back, I was trying to recreate the ever-so known and loved rava idli. I researched around to find out what others have done to create light rava idlis as I was not very keen on using baking soda. So finally after reading up on a few of the recipes I created this one..they turned out really good! When I made these I didn't have all the usual ingredients for a green coconut chutney, so I made one with red chillies and it was surely yummy!

Rava idli with red chili coconut chutney

For the idli:
1.5 cups rava
3/4 - 1 cup yogurt
3/4 cup grated carrots
8-10 cashews broken
2 tbsp chana dal
6-8 curry leaves light crushed
1.5 tsp mustard seeds
1-2 red chillies cut into small pieces
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil

For the chutney:
3/4 cup freshly grated coconut or frozen grated coconut
4-5 red chillies
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 inch piece ginger
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 curry leaves
1 tsp oil
water to adjust consistency
salt to taste

For the idli:
  • Add oil to a heated pan, add mustard seeds and when they splutter add chana dal, cashews, red chilies  and curry leaves. Saute for a min and add the rava. Roast the rava until it changes colour slightly and smells good. Season with salt and take it off the stove.
  • Keep the idli plates greased and ready. Transfer the rava mixture in a wide bowl and mix in the carrots. Add the beaten curd to the rava mixture, add little water so that the mixture is of idli batter consistency. Pour the batter in the idli plates immediately and steam. If you dont have the conventional idli stand then you can make them in small bowls and place them in a steamer. The tip that I got is that once the curd is added, the batter must be steamed right away. In about 7-8 minutes delicious rava idlis are ready. Makes about 20-25 idlis.
For the chutney:
  • Grind together the coconut, chilies, ginger and garlic with some water into a smooth texture. Once you get the desired texture, add salt to taste and transfer into a bowl.
  • Now for the tadka, heat oil in a sauce pan and add mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chilies. Once they splutter, pour it into the chutney mixture in the bowl. Mix well and add lemon juice. Adjust the salt and mix well. The chutney is now ready! Enjoy with steaming idlis!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cheer me up cookies!

The past week has been a real rough one for us. But as the week progressed things have got better and we feel life is coming back on track. I am serious when I say baking is really therapeutic for me. I was craving to bake and I knew that my fiance was craving something sweet to get over all the strong meds he is on. So when I asked him that should I bake some cookies for him, he gave me a big nod and I was almost jumping! I made these cookies mid-week but got around to writing the post today. Better late than never.

I had bought a Nutella jar last week in the notion of baking over the weekend and finally got the chance to have fun with it. I have a bunch of things in mind to try out but I decided to make simple Nutella cookies inspired by this recipe posted by Tasty Kitchen.

I am not new to Nutella and of course I love it! I haven't had it for a while and surely I had forgotten what I was missing. These cookies were just what I needed.. the rich flavor of the nutella contrasts perfectly with white chocolate and of course hazelnuts accentuate the flavor even further.

White chocolate & hazelnut Nutella cookies

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup nutella
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts and white chocolate
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and arrange a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Beat the egg and mix in the sugar. Add in the flour followed and mix well.
  • Add nutella and mix. The batter will become crumbly, knead it a little bit and start making 1 inch balls.
  • You can add in the chopped nuts and chocolate into the batter and bring it together or flatten each balls using a flat base glass and press in some hazelnut and white chocolate.
  • Bake for 8-9 mins or until the cookies firm up. Cool them on a rack and like I did serve some right off the sheet! Enjoy!
Do try these healthy cookies..yes healthy. I managed to make them with whole wheat and no butter. The fat content from Nutella was enough to get a crunchy cookie with a chewy inside. The cookies were ready in less than hour..and are truly hard to resist. 

Note: I had pressed in the pieces of nuts and chocolate after the flattening the cookie and then turned the cookie over..magic happened! The chocolate chunks got caramelized and have added a lovely chewy flavor to the cookie. :) See the overturned cookies below..yummy yum yum!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shortbreads that almost fell short on execution..

It usually happens that when you expected something to go your way..everything just goes against it. I am not a big planner unless needed and today's weekend was supposed to be a elaborately planned one. I had a spotless plan in place and was excited about it but with an early morning urgent care visit I knew I had to bottle my enthusiasm and get through the day.
Now back to the original topic of making shortbreads. This of course isn't my first time making shortbreads but this time it was an experiment for me to see if there adhere to the shapes I was trying to give them and gladly they did. We were supposed to attend a family dinner for Diwali today and I had been thinking of something to make with a Diwali theme, excluding the usual sweets that we make. I finally came up with an idea of making shortbreads shaped like a diya (an oil lamp made of clay) and to decorate them. They did come out pretty well, in fact almost perfect in the first try.. only if my oven was fair and heated uniformly throughout.. sigh! :|
So here is my take on shortbread cookies for Diwali:

Shortbread cookies:

  • Use the basic recipe of making a shortbread cookie. I followed the one from Joy of Baking which can be found here
  • I used a medium sized round cookie cutter to get the bases for diya, and cut out the shape of a flame using a paring knife. Mend in each half of the round with one flame and make sure it is evenly thick, else they will bake unevenly. 
  • Once baked and cooled, dip the bases in melted chocolate and then outlined them with some sprinkles. Finally place the cookies in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens and then store in a air-tight container. 

These were going to be gifts for each family and hence I packed a set in small treat bags. I was hoping to have more intricate decorations but as I said problems dont announce themselves..they just arrive..We were not able to attend the dinner but I hope these reached their final destinations in an intact state and also hope that everyone liked them. My fiance of course enjoyed having them and that just made my day. :)