Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Caramelized Onion Dip

This is a recipe that I had jotted down a long time back from one of the magazines that I had borrowed from my local library. In the hustle and bustle of life, the scrap of paper on which the recipe was noted disappeared, and was completely forgotten about. It resurfaced recently when I was looking for something else and I decided to make it and post it ASAP.

I have modified the original recipe to such an extent that my recipe now looks nothing like the original!

So here it is- my onion dip...


1 big Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1/8 tsp dried mint
1/8 tsp dried thyme
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp yogurt (I used low fat)
1 ½ Tbsp light mayonnaise (I used Hellmann's)
1 tsp lemon juice

Heat the oil in a pan, add the onions and dried herbs followed by garlic and mix well.

Cook the onions on medium heat stirring from time to time till they lose moisture, the sugar in them starts to caramelize, and they turn brown (takes about 15-20 minutes or so)

Allow the onion mixture to cool and grind to a paste.

In a bowl mix together the mayo and the yogurt.

Add the onion paste to the yogurt-mayo mixture followed by lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix well.

Chill and serve as a dip with your choice of raw veggies, chips or crackers or just slather on bread.

Off this goes to Radhika at
Radhi’s Kitchen for JFI: Onion.

For an Indian version, do check out this Onion Chutney.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Egg Muffins

I made these egg muffins a couple of days back on a weekend when I was looking to make something that was a little different from our usual breakfast fare. I also wanted something that would be simple to prepare, quick and filling.

I came across this recipe on Lisa’s blog and decided to try making eggs her way. I made a few changes to the original recipe.

5 large eggs
½ cup milk (I used 2%)
½ cup scallions, chopped (both green and white parts)
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
3-4 green chillies, chopped finely
1 cup shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
A handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Butter to grease the muffin tray
3 tsp cornmeal to coat the insides of the muffin tray

This recipe yields 8 medium sized egg muffins.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a medium sized muffin tray with a little bit of butter.

Spoon a little cornmeal into each greased cup, just enough to cover the bottom.

In a large bowl beat the eggs well, add the milk and stir in the remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Pour the egg mixture into each muffin cup and fill each one almost to the top.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes (check after 20 minutes) or until the muffins begin to puff up and become slightly firm to the touch.

Serve hot and wash it down with this smoothie.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Broccoli in Garlic Sauce

I am always on the lookout for recipes which require me to spend no more than 20-30 minutes in the kitchen, slogging over the stove.
Ever since I saw
this post of Rajitha’s, I have had her garlic sauce on my mind. I have no idea how garlic came to be an indispensable ingredient in my kitchen because I do not remember my mom ever using it to the extent that I do, and it certainly has not been a part of our cuisine traditionally. But I love my garlic!

I pack of frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1 head of garlic, cloves chopped finely
1 Tbsp sesame oil
½ tsp red chilli flakes
4 tsp hot chilli- garlic sauce
3 Tbsp soy sauce
6-8 Tbsp hot and sweet ketchup
2 tsp rice flour dissolved in water
Spring onions/scallions for garnishing
Salt to taste.

Heat the oil in a large pan.

Sauté the garlic and then add the red chilli flakes, chilli-garlic paste, soya sauce and ketchup. Cook for 2 minutes or so.

Add the thawed broccoli florets along with a cup of water. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the rice flour dissolved in water to the pan and continue to cook until the mixture thickens. Depending on the consistency needed, add required amounts of water.

Garnish with scallions. Serve hot with fried rice.

Thanks for the fabulous recipe, Rajitha. I will try it with tofu the next time. :-)

This goes to
Sunita for her monthly spice event. The spice of the month is garlic.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Spicy Cannellini Bean Soup

A lot of my Italian-style cooking is heavily influenced by what I see on Giada’s show on the Food Network. I saw this recipe a couple of days back and decided to make it. Here’s my version after a couple of modifications.

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 medium onions, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
¾ tsp red chilli flakes
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp powdered cloves
1 can of diced tomatoes
A handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 (15 oz) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup milk

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté till the onions are translucent, and the other vegetables turn soft.

Add all the spices, mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the canned tomatoes and chopped basil and cook for another 5 minutes.

Puree the mixture. (I used my immersion blender. If you are using a regular blender, allow the mixture to cool for a bit, blend and then return to the saucepan.)

Add the milk to the pureed mixture, bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. (You could thin out the soup by adding some water too. I like mine a little thick and creamy, hence added only milk.)

Add the canned beans and cook for another 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, garnish with chopped herbs and serve hot.

This spicy bean soup goes to Susan @ The Well-Seasoned Cook for her event- My Legume Love Affair.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fruity Tofu Smoothie

Ever since WBB was announced by dear Rajitha, I wanted to make something which I had never tried before, with tofu. This has always been an ingredient that I have used either for making the very popular tofu scramble or the usual Indo-Chinese fare. This time around, I wanted to give tofu a breakfast-y makeover for obvious reasons. ;-)

I adapted
this recipe that I saw on the Nasoya website. This makes a very filling and delicious protein-rich drink that’s ready in minutes.

8 oz silken tofu, drained (I used Nasoya)
1 ½ cup frozen strawberries
1 ripe banana
1 cup orange juice
½ cup milk
3-4 Tbsp honey

Throw all the ingredients together in a blender and process until smooth. Chill and enjoy!

Makes 3 servings.

Tofu by itself has very little flavor and is almost bland. It blended really well (flavor- wise) with the fruits and took on the fruity taste. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it could not be tasted at all in the smoothie. What a great way to sneak some protein into your diet!

This recipe goes to Rajitha for Weekend Breakfast Blogging with soy. I am also sending the picture to Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi for Click: Liquid.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Peaches and Cream


I had a few ingredients left over from making truffles the other day. This is what I did to whip up a quick and easy dessert after dinner.
This doesn't even require a recipe but here it is anyway.

Chilled heavy cream
Sliced peaches
Vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for sweetening

In a large bowl
whip the heavy cream till thick. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whip again until it forms soft, stiff peaks. Be careful not to over-whip or else you will end up with butter!

Serve the sliced peaches with whipped cream and a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes and toasted almonds over the top. Dig in!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Pineapple Pulissery (Pineapple in a yogurt and coconut gravy)

Pulissery is a sweet and sour yogurt based Kerala preparation that is regularly made at home. It has been one of my favorites since childhood. It can be made using a couple of different fruits. My mother makes the best pulissery ever, and she does it usually with ripe mangoes or pineapple. She does make it with plantains too, though I do not care much for that version.

This is how I make pineapple pulissery…
1 20oz can of pineapple chunks, drained (Fresh would definitely be better and sweeter)
½ tsp turmeric powder
5-6 curry leaves
1 ½ cups yogurt, whipped nicely (Ideally, sour curd should be used. I used some yogurt that I had bought at the Indian store, but it still wasn’t sour enough.)

To be ground to a fine paste:
4-5 Tbsp grated coconut (I used frozen)
½ tsp cumin seeds
5-6 red chillies

For the seasoning:
1 Tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
A pinch of asafoetida(hing)
2-3 red chillies
3-4 curry leaves

Cook the pineapple cubes along with some curry leaves, salt and turmeric powder in a little bit of water on medium heat till the pineapple pieces turn soft.

Add the ground paste of coconut, cumin and red chillies to the cooked pineapple and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes.

Turn down the heat and add the yogurt. Mix well and turn off the heat. (This is important as the whole thing starts to curdle with too much heat…not a pretty sight!)

Heat the oil in a pan and add the ingredients for the seasoning. Add to

Serve with steaming hot rice,
thoran and pappadams.

Other Kerala style preparations on this blog -
Vegetable Stew
Ulli Chutney (Onion Chutney)
Pazham Pori (Plantain Fritters)
Instant Dosa with Sambar and Chutney
Kaya Thoran( Raw Banana stir fry)
Kale Thoran (a stir fry with Kale)

This is being sent to Jyothsna of Currybazaar who is hosting RCI: Cuisine of Kerala.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Chocolate Balsamic Truffles

This blog has been gathering dust lately. It’s been so long since I did a post on food. I have been unable to use this space as frequently as I would have liked to for various reasons… work, the holidays, friends visiting, complete loss of interest for a bit and lack of motivation and just LIFE in general…
The New Year is a time for new beginnings and on that note, I bring to you my first post of 2008 - Chocolate Balsamic Truffles.

I tried my hand at making truffles yesterday. I was inspired by Giada’s recipe that I saw on Everyday Italian. The process is a little time-consuming, not to mention messy, and I quickly realized that they weren't as easy to make as they had seemed when I had first watched the segment on her show. I was however, pleased with the way they turned out and the end result was definitely well worth the effort. The truffles tasted absolutely heavenly and simply melt in your mouth.
I’ve tweaked the original recipe a bit and this is how I did it.

10 oz dark chocolate
½ cup heavy cream
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
For coating the truffles:
Cocoa powder
Chopped and toasted walnuts
Toasted coconut

Cut the chocolate blocks into small, even pieces (this helps melting it uniformly easier) and place in a microwave- safe bowl.

Heat the heavy cream in a pan till small bubbles begin to form along the edges and it almost starts to boil.

Combine the cream and chocolate to form a
ganache that is smooth and without lumps. (If the chocolate doesn’t melt completely, just pop the bowl in the microwave for 10-15 seconds)

Add the balsamic vinegar and mix well.

Cool the ganache completely, cover and let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour or two till it is firm and has set.

Using a spoon, scoop up the ganache and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (I managed to get 20 medium sized balls.)

With extremely clean hands, roll and shape the ganache into small balls. (I had some trouble here as the chocolate started to melt and my hands began to get sticky. I just popped it in the freezer for 5 minutes before continuing to round out the balls.)

Roll each truffle around in your chosen topping. I made three kinds -some with a dusting of cocoa, some with a coating of coarsely ground and toasted walnuts and some others covered with lightly toasted coconut flakes.

I don’t think that these can be stored for a very long time, but I have read in a couple of places that they will keep well for at least 2-3 weeks if refrigerated and stored in an airtight container. Let the truffles return to room temperature before serving.
I don’t expect my truffles to last long enough for their shelf life to be a concern!

This is going to Deepz at Letz Cook for JFI - Chocolate and to Bindiya who blogs at In Love with Food, for her chocolate fest.

Before I forget, I would like to thank
Jaden and Hari Nayak for my personally signed copy of the cookbook “Modern Indian Cooking”. It is a beautiful book with stunning pictures and some great recipes by Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna. I am looking forward to trying out a couple of recipes from here in the coming months. Thanks once again!

Here's wishing all my blog buddies a very happy and prosperous 2008!