Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Yogurt Cake

Its New Years!!!! : What better way to celebrate New Years than to bake a cake ?? :) After all the partying and dancing, you need a quick-bake recipe, so that you don't have to spend too much time in the kitchen. But yes, start your new years with a sweet and we wish you have a great, bright sweet new year ahead :))

Lets bake a cake with ingredients that you normally have in the kitchen!!! Egg, yogurt, oil, ghee...These are always there in the kitchen...
Baking a cake with yogurt surely seems new, but trust me, the aroma is so inviting and the cake turns out so soft and spongy that i am sure it will be finished in a jiffy...

Ingredients :

Maida /All purpose flour - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Yogurt - Full cream thick yogurt - 1/2 cup
Oil - ( preferred olive oil ) - 5 tbsp or u can use 2 tbsp butter
If you don't have both, add 3 tbsp ghee.
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Egg - 1
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Tutty fruity - a few ( you can even add dry fruits of your choice if u wish)
Nutmeg - 1/4 tsp

Recipe :

Sieve together twice Maida, baking soda and baking powder and keep aside.

Grease and dust a cake tin with butter and flour respectively.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Beat oil and sugar together. Add Egg and beat it more. Now add the yogurt.
Add vanilla essence and nutmeg powder and then add the flour mixture slowly. Mix it all well with spatula.

Once the batter is ready, pour into the cake tin and bake at 180 degrees for 50 minutes. If you see the top is turning dark brown, then cover it with a foil towards the end ( after 40 minutes - only if it is turning dark ) and bake again.

Once done, remove and cool in the tin for 10 minutes.

Now remove from the tin and let it cool completely.

You can even serve this with a scoop of ice cream :)

Happy Baking!!!

Cookin in Pajamas team wishes you all a very happy New year...Keep cooking and keep eating!!! :)

Biscuit Roti : Granny's recipe

Aaji's special : Granny, Grand ma, Aaji, Daadi, Amma, Daadi-amma, Dida... All different words but the feelings are always the same :LOVE !!! We all have some really sweet cherished moments with our grandparents. We Maharashtrians call our Grandmother "Aaji". 

The perfect symbol of how a granny should be, was our Aaji. She looked so, she behaved so and she was so. In fact, she was so lovable and caring that she was even loved by our neighbors and friends and they still remember her as "the ever smiling aaji".

Generous, kind, giving... all she gave was love and happiness to one and all. Active in her behavior, even in her old age, she lived with us for 92 years.. all healthy and walking on perfect two legs. She always used to tell us to eat well and eat healthy and explaining the importance of eating a balanced diet to have a healthy lifestyle.

Hand of God : I remember her as my childhood-mate... she was ever ready to play games with me, the board games of "Ludo", "Snakes and ladder", "Playing cards" and how can i forget, the tasty food she cooked !!!!She had the "Hand of God". She had a solution to all the problems of cooking. I remember once, when we had made Basundi (a milk-based dessert), for a get-together at home during the festive of Diwali, there was huge amount of leftover. My Mom was worried as to what to be done of the Basundi... and the next day, Aaji made some yummy Barfis out of it...We kids got to taste something different, and the Basundi was finished too !!! :)

Aaji used to love white...I didn't get to spend much time with my Grandfather ( Aajoba in our language ), as he left us to God when i was at the age of 2. So all i know about grandparents is our Aaji. She used to dress is a typical Navvari ( 9-yard) style sari and her white shiny hair always made up well into a bun. Her voice as sweet as a melody, she always spoke good words, and always had good to say about others. I had never seen her getting angry ever at anyone... There was so much to learn from her !!!!

Biscuit Rotis : One such thing to learn was her recipe of "Biscuit roti"... I didn't recall how she made it, so i made a call to one of my aunts and took the recipe from her. Tried to make it as Aaji did, i am sure my attempt was nowhere close to her taste. Yesterday, 30th Dec, was her Birthday and on that occasion, that she still lives in our hearts and memories, i dedicate this to her....

No one knows why it was called Biscuit roti... maybe because they look like small rotis, and maybe because they are crunchy as biscuits. They are like deep fried kachoris... but the main ingredient is the stuffing. I made around 8-10 of them...And me and hubby finished it as dinner :)) Yes, they taste super delicious...
Serve this as a snack or even as a main course. You can serve it with any favorite chutney but it goes well with the Garlic chutney...You can get it ready made or make one with red chillies, oil, lemon, garlic, salt,red chilli powder and corriander powder.

Ingredients :

Coconut - Freshly Grated 1 cup
Corriander leaves - 1/2 cup
Besan - 2 tsp
Red chilli powder - adjust according to taste
Salt - to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Corriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Maida / All purpose flour - 1/4 kg
Oil - 2 tbsp to knead the dough
Oil - to Fry
Ajwain - 1/2 tsp

Recipe :

Heat 1 tbsp oil. Add this to the maida and mix it all well. Now add salt and ajwain and add water slowly to knead a tight dough. 

Cover and keep it aside.

Mix coconut, corriander leaves, red chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder, corriander powder, cumin powder and besan well. Leave it aside for 30 mins. It will start leaving water. Make small balls of it.

Now make small balls of the dough and roll each ball into a small round. ( Like a puri). Add the filling, close from all sides and then roll it into a small puri like shape again. Its like a mini paratha. Alternatively, you can also press it with hands instead of rolling.
Dust very little Maida and only if needed while rolling and only if it sticks.

Make all the puris ready. 
Now heat oil in a kadhai. Once hot, lower the gas to sim and deep fry the puris one by one till golden brown and crispy.

Biscuit rotis are ready :)))

The Recipe is just as my Aaji made it.. you can add sesame seeds, fennel seeds or any other spices to the filling as you like.

Happy Cooking :)

Friday, 27 December 2013

A visit to the National Street Food Festival

What's cookin : You know your blog is reaching out to people, when instead of the greetings as "Hello, how you doing", people say "Hey, what's cooking today "... Feels good, not only because friends and others start sending you pictures of their cooked dishes, or asking suggestions to make a particular dish but talking about food makes my day :)) So now, the conversations have changed from Movies-to-watch to Restaurants or food places- to-visit!!! :))

One such recommendation from a friend and food blogger Maneesh Srivastava was the National Street Food Festival that was held for 3 days ( 20-22 December ) at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. I was excited when i read about the festival, but a-midst the bookings of my canine clients ( my pet sitting job ), and house hunting ( we have to shift next month), i was not too sure if hubby dearest would want to wake up in the morning and travel all the way for food. But it so turned out that he too was as much excited to go as i was !!! So, on a winter chilly Sunday morning we left to experience a gastronomical experience... 

The entrance had a big queue for tickets ( it was reasonably priced at INR 30). We didn't pre-book the tickets on Internet, as we were not too sure if we would go...

The stadium hosts lot of events, concerts and sports including the latest 2010 Commonwealth Games. The stadium was constructed to host the 9th Asian Games in 1982. Named after the First Prime Minister of India, the stadium also hosts One day International Cricket Matches and Football matches.

The unidentified monument at the entrance...

After standing in the queue to take the food tickets ( this was relatively a shorter queue, as there were lot of ticket-stalls placed in all corners), we headed to see the stalls... Some of the food items were new to us, and some the same old stuff that was available outside the festival gate at every nook and corner... Because we wanted to try something new from around the nation, we headed to the stalls where the names of the dishes sounded alien...:))

As much as hubby wanted to try the non-vegetarian stuff, we first munched on the Veg Manda Pitha from Odissa. Its basically steamed rice flour covering with a sweet filling. Like we have steamed momos or steamed Modak ( in Maharashtra), Manda Pitha had filling of paneer, coconut and jaggery. Traditionally, they make it in Odissa for festivals and the filling is of Chenna ( curd cheese ). The Chakuli Pitha is like Uttapams (Rice based fried pancakes with onions, corriander leaves, salt etc...The main ingredients being mustard oil or ghee to fry )

Chakuli Pitha being cooked

Chakuli Pitha, Manda Pitha and Mutton Curry

Manda Pitha

Then we headed to the stall from Indore and hubby had the Green chicken with Pav. He says, it tasted nice. A smiling sweet lady was warming the Pav's on the tava and a young boy was taking care of the counter and serving Chicken. I asked her what Jarda meant, and she said it's a specialty sweet but she didn't make it that day and hence was cut from the board. I later did some R n D and found out that Jarda is like a halwa made from rice, sugar, khoya and dry fruits.

Meeting Friends....

With Maneesh Srivasta

Since Maneesh is from Bihar, he suggested we taste Litti Chokha ( i heard the name for first time and then understood that it is like baati...different places, different names..though the taste and texture varies a lot.) This Litti is a specialty snack in Bihar made of wheat and sattu (powdered gram, very good for health). The flours are mixed with spices such as ajwain, ginger, garlic, red pepper, mustard oil and salt and formed into balls and then roasted. They are then dipped in ghee or ghee is poured into the hole made in the ball. It tastes delicious as it is with any chutney, but it can also be eaten
with yogurt or aloo bharta or baingan bharta (known as chokha in Bihar). It is also served with Murgh Korma for the non vegetarians. In the festival, it was served along with curd and mustard chutney and Chokha (Chokha is little watery version of bharta as Maneesh mentioned they put lot of tomatoes ). It was super tasty and i loved this dish :)

Then hubby and Maneesh headed to the Mutton Biryani stall from Dharwad ( Karnataka ) and they also tasted the Mutton curry with Missi Roti. The Mutton Biryani, they found too sweet and the Missi Roti was not up to the mark...

I headed to the sweet section and "Lehsan di Kheer" caught my eye. I thought it's a new dish from Lucknow... and kheer made from garlic?? That's really new... I stood in the queue ( yes, there was a queue to have the kheer ) for almost 15 minutes. I did enquire about the specialty kheer, and the guys said this kheer is their invention and it is not found in any shop in Lucknow. Curious to try it out, i found out that there was no lehsun but only dry fruits in it ( mainly almonds). I wonder why they named it lehsun di kheer... The kheer was tasty, but the name was mis-leading.

We checked out some other stalls too but didn't try anything from here..

Being a true Mumbaiite, aloo vada caught my eye...I had to try this!!!! This one was a speciality from Gujrat ( the taste does vary from the mumbai vada pav) but it was super tasty... Loved it to the core....

And last, but not the least... we ended the food trip with a dessert... Delhi's roller ice cream!!! Roller ice cream is a famous street food. It is a huge slab of ice cream in the shape of a drum which is revolved with the hand-motor. Layers are scraped from it and served in a bowl. It was fun seeing this and the ice cream tasted heavenly....

It was nice to see a lot of crowd coming out of their homes and enjoying this food mania...Was a nice experience and wish we get many more such events in the future to enjoy cuisines from all over India at one place! Kudos to the team...

Standing alone amongst the crowd...
The men-at-work behind all this... Salute to them for their hard work...

The "Cookin in pajamas" team came out with happy faces and full tummies :))