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Cantonese Wonton Noodle Soup


Cantonese style vegetable wonton noodle soup


International Food Challenge is evolved out of similar interests and passion in exploring the cuisines from all over the world. Saras of Sara's Kitchen and Shobana of Kitchen Secrets and Snippets, have teamed up to welcome foodie and food bloggers to join in this mission to learn, explore the world cuisine along with the heritage every country possess and get to know some ideas what every country has to offer with respect to food. Join our facebook group page to get in touch with the event as well as for the latest updates.


The cuisine that we are going to explore this month is the Cantonese cuisine, which is considered to be the finest of China's regional cuisines. Cantonese cuisine, also named Yue Cuisine, comes from Guangdong province and is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine. Steaming and stir-frying are the two primary Cantonese cooking techniques. Other techniques involved are roasting, sautéing, deep-frying, braising and stewing.

Out of the four recipes given to us, I chose to make the Cantonese Wonton Noodle Soup with Chinese Scallion Pancake. Wonton noodle soup is a Cantonese noodle dish which is popular in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The dish is usually served in a hot broth, garnished with vegetables and wonton dumplings. Fresh noodles or thin egg noodles work best for these Cantonese-style wonton noodle soup. We enjoyed the soup hot with some fresh Chinese Scallion Pancakes.



WONTON NOODLE SOUP RECIPE

Recipe Adapted from Food Network

Ingredients:

Vegetable stock - 4 cups
Cabbage - 1/4 cup, shredded
Carrot - 1/4 cup, julienned
Hot chilli sauce - 1 tbsp
White vinegar - 1 tsp
Soy sauce - 1/2 tbsp
Thin egg noodles - 50 gm
Wonton wrappers - 8 to 10, at room temperature
Corn flour - 1 tbsp
Sesame oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Pepper - to taste
Spring onion - to garnish

For the filling:
Tofu - 1/4 cup, crumbled
Carrot - 1/4 grated
Celery - 1/4 cup, minced
Cabbage - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Spring onion - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Green chilly - 1, finely chopped
Garlic - 3, minced
Ginger - 1 inch piece, minced
Sesame oil - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Pepper - to taste

Method:

For the filling:

1. Heat oil in a wok. Add green chilly, ginger, garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Then add spring onion, tofu and saute for few more seconds.

2. Now add carrot, celery, cabbage and saute till raw smell goes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Preparing the wonton:

1. Spoon about 1 tsp of the filling onto the center of each wonton wrapper. Use finger or a pastry brush to lightly moisten the edges of the wonton wrappers with water.

2.  Fold over to form a triangle encasing the filling. Press the edges together to seal. Moisten the two long ends of the triangle, fold them together, and press them firmly to seal.

Preparing the soup:

1. Cook the noodles with salt according to the instructions in the package. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside till use.

2. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, cabbage, carrot and stir for 1-2 minutes.

3. Then add add chilli sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, salt to the soup and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Drop the wontons one by one into the soup, and let them cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until they float to the surface.

5. Reduce heat to a simmer, add sesame oil and cooked noodles to the soup. Meanwhile, mix corn flour in 3 tbsp water. Add to the soup and bring this to boil.

6. Boil till the soup starts to thicken. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and garnish with spring onion.


Notes:

1. You can add any vegetables of your choice for the wonton filling.

2. Do not drop all the wontons together into the soup, as they will stick together.


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Kesar Pista Kulfi


Indian frozen dessert with milk, saffron, pistachios and cardamom



Kulfi is a popular frozen Indian dessert made with diary products and sugar and comes in different flavors like malai, saffron, cardamom, rose, nuts like pistachios and almonds and fruits like mango, strawberry, apple etc. Today's kulfi recipe is rich with saffron flavor and nutty pistachios. South Vs North Challenge started by Divya of You Too Can Cook, is a monthly event where a member from South team challenges the North team with a South Indian recipe and vice-versa. This kesar pista kulfi recipe is part of the SNC Challenge to the Southern team by Shruti of Shruti Rasoi. I never knew it was so easy to make kulfis at home. The kulfis turned out creamy, nutty and delicious.

KESAR PISTA KULFI RECIPE


Ingredients:

Full fat milk - 1 litre
Condensed milk - 200 ml
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Cornflour - 1.5 tbsp
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Pistachios - 1/3 cup, chopped
Saffron / Kesar - 1/4 tsp
Rose water - 1/4 tsp

Method:

1. Boil the milk. Take 1/2 cup of the boiled milk and dissolve cornflour in it without any lumps. Set aside.

2. In the remaining milk add condensed milk, sugar and bring to a boil. Keep boiling in low flame until milk reduces to 3/4th quantity, scraping the sides in between.

3. Now pour the cornflour mixture and keep stirring to avoid any lumps. Then add cardamom powder, saffron and chopped pistachios.

4. Cook for another 2 minutes and then remove from heat. Allow to cool completely. Once cool add rose water and mix well.

5. Pour this mixture into kulfi or popsicle molds. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Remove from freezer and insert the lolly sticks and freeze again until firm.

6. When kulfi is completely set, keep the mold under running tap water for few seconds. Slowly pull out the kulfi and serve immediately.



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Peanut Chutney


Roasted peanut chutney with a tinge of garlic and tamarind



Chutneys are an essential part of South Indian breakfast. Be it idli, dosa or pongal, without a chutney the meal is incomplete. Now this peanut chutney is something I make often for dosa and idli. Its easy , quick and handy when you have no coconut in your pantry.

This roasted peanut chutney is spicy, creamy and flavorful with a tinge of garlic and tamarind. It goes well with most of the breakfast items like dosa, idli, pesarattu, rava idli and pongal. You can store this chutney in an airtight container and refrigerate. It stays good for 4-5 days.


PEANUT CHUTNEY RECIPE  


Ingredients:

Peanuts - 1/2 cup
Dried red chillies - 4 to 5
Garlic - 2
Tamarind paste - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

Tempering/Tadka:
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Split urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Asafoetida/Hing - 1/8 tsp

Method:

1. Dry roast the peanuts over medium flame until they turn light brown. Remove the skin and set aside to cool.

2. Once cool, grind to a powder. To this add garlic, red chillies and grind again for a minute.

3. Now add tamarind paste, salt and grind adding 1/2 cup water to a smooth paste.

4.  In a tadka pan, heat oil and add mustard. When it crackles add urad dal, curry leaves and hing. Pour over the chutney.


Notes:

1. I like this chutney bit spicy, but if you prefer less spice add only 2 red chillies.


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Rava Laddoo | Rava Laddu


Semolina balls with ghee, cardamom, cashew nuts and raisins



Rava laddu or rava laddo is a quick and delicious sweet made with semolina, ghee, cardamom, dried fruit and nuts. It is one of the common sweets made during special occasions and festivals like Diwali, Vinayaka Chaturthi and Krishna Jayanthi. Rava ladoo can be prepared with different variations like adding coconut and condensed milk, but this reduces the shelf life. Few add saffron also to give a slight yellowish color.

Here in my version, I have made the laddu entirely with ghee, which increases the shelf life. Some people prefer smooth laddu while others love to bite into the grainy ones. So grind the rava to the texture you like. These easy melt in mouth rava ladoo were done in less than 30 minutes. Store in air tight container and relish for a week. Am sure it won't last till then!


RAVA LADOO RECIPE


Ingredients:

Rava / Semolina - 1 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Ghee - 1/4 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Cashew nuts - 1 tbsp, broken
Raisins - 1 tbsp

Method:

1. Heat 1 tsp ghee in a pan. Add the cashew nuts and fry till golden. Set aside. Now add the raisins and fry till they puff up. Set aside.

2. In the same pan, add the rava. Roast in a low flame stirring often, until nice aroma comes.

3. Cool and powder the rava to a fine grain consistency. If using fine kind of rava, you need not grind. Set aside. Powder the sugar.

4. Sift together rava, sugar and cardamom powder. Add the fried cashew nuts and raisins.

5. Melt the rest of the ghee and pour into the rava mixture. Combine well with a spoon.

6. When mixture is warm, make small lemon sized balls. Allow it to rest for 1 hour. Store in an airtight container.


Notes:

1. Take care not to brown or burn the rava while roasting.

2. If mixture is too dry and does not form balls, add little more ghee or milk to bind.

3. You can reduce the amount of ghee and add milk instead, but this will reduce the shelf life.

4. The laddu will be soft to touch while making but will harden and set after sometime.


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Chilli Paneer


Fried paneer sauteed with onions, green chillies, bell peppers, soy sauce and chilli sauce



Indian-Chinese cuisine is loved by children and adults alike. Inspired by the Chinese cooking techniques and sauces, they are adapted into our cuisine by implementing them with Indian ingredients. Chilli paneer is one such Indo-Chinese delicacy that can be served as a starter or can be made into a gravy and served with fried rice.

Today's recipe is a dry version of the chilli paneer, which makes a great appetizer for parties. Deep fried paneer is tossed in a thick sauce made of onions, garlic, green chillies, peppers, soya sauce and chilli sauce. The hot green chillies, pepper powder and red chilli sauce makes this dish really hot and spicy. It tastes best when served piping hot.


CHILLI PANEER DRY RECIPE


Ingredients:

Paneer - 200 grams, cut into 1" cubes
Onion - 1 medium, cut into cubes
Capsicum - 1 medium, cut into cubes
Green chillies - 5 to 6, slit
Garlic - 6, chopped
Ginger - 1 inch piece, chopped
Soya sauce - 2 tsp
Red chilli sauce - 2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Vinegar - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Spring onion - 1/4 cup, chopped

To marinate paneer:
All purpose flour / Maida - 2 tbsp
Cornflour - 1 tbsp
Ginger-garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - a pinch
Salt - to taste
Oil - to deep fry

Method:

1. In a bowl add maida, cornflour, ginger garlic paste, red chilly powder, baking soda, salt and mix well. Add water little by little and make a thick batter.

2. Add the paneer cubes and mix well. Set aside for 5 minutes. Meanwhile heat oil to deep fry the paneer cubes.

3. Once the batter has coated well on the paneer, deep fry the paneer cubes until golden. Drain the excess oil on a tissue paper. Set aside.

4. In a wok or pan heat oil and add garlic, ginger and green chillies. Fry them on high flame for a minute and then add the onions.

5. Fry till the onions turn soft. Then add capsicum and stir on high flame for about 3-4 minutes.

6. Now add salt, soya sauce, red chilli sauce, pepper powder, vinegar and stir for a minute. Add the fried paneer cubes and toss for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with spring onion.



Notes:

1. Do not overcrowd paneer cubes while deep frying. You can also shallow fry the paneer cubes in a tawa instead of deep frying.

2. Instead of vinegar, you may use lemon juice.

3. Adjust the amount of green chillies according to your spice level.


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Raw Mango Rice | Manga Saadam


Tangy rice dish with raw mango, peanuts, chillies, curry leaves and spices



Raw mango rice, also known as manga saadam, mamidikaya pulihora and mavinakayi chitranna, is a delicacy from South India. It is similar to lemon rice in preparation. Instead of lemon, raw mango adds the tanginess to the dish. It is a simple, quick and healthy one pot meal and can be prepared with leftover rice too. This lightly spiced raw mango rice is a perfect lunch box recipe and convenient to carry during travel.

Grated raw mango is cooked in a flavorful tempering of dals, peanuts, curry leaves and chillies which is then mixed with steamed rice. The chillies, peanuts and other flavorings balance the tang from the raw mango. Instead of peanuts, you can also add cashew nuts. You can serve this rice with spicy potato roast or with some vadam or pappad.


RAW MANGO RICE RECIPE


Ingredients:

Rice - 1 cup
Raw mango - 1.5 cup, peeled and grated
Green chillies - 2 to 3, chopped or slit
Ginger - 1 tsp, grated
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Peanuts - 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Split urad dal - 1 tsp
Chana dal - 1/2 tsp
Dried red chillies - 2, halved
Gingelly oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste

Method:

1. Wash the rice well and cook it. Spread it on a plate and allow to cool.

2. Heat oil in a pan add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add urad dal, chana dal and peanuts. Fry till peanuts are roasted and dals turn golden.

3. Now add dried red chilly, green chillies, curry leaves, ginger and turmeric powder. Fry for a minute and then add grated mango. Saute for 2 minutes.

4. Add the cooked rice, salt and combine well stirring for another 2-3 minutes.



Notes:

1. You can use either raw rice or basmati rice. Make sure rice is not overcooked.

2. Use sour and tangy mangoes. If the mangoes are less sour, then add little lemon juice at the end.


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Potato Roast | Potato Fry with Sambar Powder


Boiled and roasted potatoes flavored with sambar powder and curry leaves



Potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables and pairs well with other vegetables. There can hardly be anyone who does not love potatoes. I cannot do without potatoes and it is a must in my kitchen. Potatoes are lifesavers on busy days to make a quick and delicious side dish or curry for rice and chapathi.

This potato roast is a easy and quick one that I learnt to make during my early days of cooking. Boiled potato cubes are roasted with sambar powder and other spices. The sambar powder imparts a special flavor and aroma to the potatoes. The versatility of the dish is that it pairs well with rice and sambar, rasam, vatha kuzhambu or any South Indian gravy as well as variety rice dishes like tomato rice, lemon rice, raw mango rice, curd rice etc. Let's see how to make this simple and delicious roast.


POTATO ROAST RECIPE


Ingredients:

Potatoes - 3 medium sized
Sambar powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida / Hing - 1/4 tsp
Jeera / Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Split urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Dried red chillies - 2, halved
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp

Method:

1. Pressure cook the potatoes till soft. Peel and cut them into medium sized cubes.

2. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add urad dal, red chillies, hing and curry leaves. Fry till dal turns golden.

3. Add the potatoes, salt, turmeric powder, jeera powder, red chilly powder and sambar powder. Combine gently taking care not to break the potatoes.

4. Roast the potatoes in low to medium flame stirring in between till they turn golden, for about 5-8 minutes.


Notes:

1. Do not over cook the potatoes. Also stir them gently to avoid breaking.

2. Add more red chilly powder for a spicier roast.


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Kadai Vegetable


Many of us rack our brains thinking of what side dish to make for chapathi. It has to be flavorful, different and healthy too. I prefer to make curries that has lots of vegetables in it and this kadai vegetable curry is a one perfect curry as its loaded with veggies. I noted down this recipe from a cookery show and adapted it to suit our taste buds.

Kadai vegetable curry is a delicious and healthy side dish for chapathi and even jeera pulao and ghee rice. The gravy itself is creamy without the addition of any cream or cashew paste. The freshly roasted and ground kadai masala added at the end enhances the flavor of this curry. The cooking process may seem long but trust me its simple and the outcome will be a restaurant quality dish at home. Serve hot with any Indian flat bread or pulao.


KADAI VEGETABLE RECIPE

{ Medley of vegetables in a gravy of onion, tomato, capsicum and special blend of spices cooked in a kadai (wok) }
Serves 2-3


STEP 1: 

Vegetables:
1 cup cauliflower medium sized florets
1 big carrot, cubed
10-15 green beans, cut into 1" piece

Cook the vegetables until soft and tender.

STEP 2:

For the kadai masala:
1 ½ coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
3-4 dry red chillies
½ tsp fennel seeds / saunf
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds / methi seeds

Dry roast the above ingredients until nice aroma comes. Cool and grind to a slightly coarse powder.

STEP 3:

¼ cup onion , cut into square shape
¼ cup tomato, cut into square shape
½ cup capsicum, cut into square shape
1 tsp oil

Heat oil and add onions and capsicum. Toss them till they become but still retain some of the crunchiness. Remove and set aside. Add tomatoes and toss for a minute and set aside.

STEP 4:

For the gravy:
2 tsp oil
½ inch piece cinnamon
2 cloves
1 cardamom
1 big onion, roughly chopped
2 medium tomato, roughly chopped
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste

Heat oil, add cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and fry for a minute. Then add onions and fry till the edges turn brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till raw smell goes. Then add tomatoes and cook till they become soft. Cool and grind to a smooth paste.

STEP 5:

½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
2 tsp oil
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a kadai and add the cooked cauliflower, beans and carrot. Fry them for 3-4 minutes. Then add the onion, tomato and capsicum. Add ground onion-tomato masala, salt and ½ cup water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Then sprinkle the kadai masala and mix well. Close and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Notes and Tips
  • Make sure the vegetables are not overcooked or mushy.
  • The kadai masala powder must be ground slightly coarse.
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Strawberry Milkshake


Milkshake with strawberries, ice cream and a hint of vanilla



Boxes of ripe red strawberries are piled up in the vegetable market and supermarkets as they are in season now. Nutrient-rich and packed with fibers and antioxidants, strawberries provide a wide range of health benefits. Strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C which help in boosting immunity. Strawberries aid in regulating blood pressure and digestion, fighting cancer and cholesterol and are good for the eyes. So grab strawberries whenever you sight them.

This cool and refreshing milkshake with a hint of vanilla is a delightful way to enjoy these strawberries. Adding vanilla or strawberry ice cream makes the milkshake thick and creamy. For a low fat option, you can skip the ice cream and add more milk. Enjoy this milkshake chilled and immediately.


STRAWBERRY MILKSHAKE RECIPE


Ingredients:

Strawberry - 10 to 12
Milk - 1.5 cup
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Vanilla / Strawberry ice cream - 1 scoop
Sugar - 2 tsp

Method:

1. Wash the strawberries and remove the leaves. Cut them into small pieces.

2. In a blender add strawberries, 1 cup milk, vanilla essence, sugar and blend until smooth.

3. Add rest of milk, strawberry ice cream and blend until thick and well combined. Pour into glass and serve immediately.


Notes:

1. Adjust the amount of sugar according to your preference.

2. Choose strawberries which are ripe and sweet.
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Pavakkai Pitla


Bittergourd cooked in a tamarind gravy with jaggery, coconut, red chillies and other ground spices



Pavakkai, known as bittergourd in English and Karela in Hindi, is loaded with nutrients. It has many vital vitamins and minerals and helps fighting diabetes and cholesterol. Also it has blood purifying properties and helps in strengthening our immune system. So its good to include bittergourd in our diet in the form of juice, stir-fry or this pitla.

Pavakkai pitla / parikka pitla is a traditional Palakkad specialty recipe. Pavakkai / bittergourd is cooked with tamarind, dal, coconut and ground spices. Bittergourd is not a preferred vegetable by many because of its bitter taste. But in this curry, the bitterness is balanced with the jaggery, chillies and tamarind. Since you will not feel much bitterness in the gravy, this pitla recipe is an excellent way to incorporate bittergourd in our meal. Serve hot with rice and kootu or any thoran/poriyal.


PAVAKKAI PITLA RECIPE


Ingredients:

Pavakkai / Bittergourd - 1, medium sized
Tamarind - 1 lemon size
Toor dal / Pigeon peas - 1/2 cup
Jaggery - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste

To roast and grind:
Oil - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Chana dal / Kadalai parippu - 1 tsp
Split urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Dried red chillies - 5 to 6
Black peppercorn - 6
Asafoetida / Hing - 1/8 tsp
Curry leaves - 4
Coconut - 1/2 cup

Tempering/Tadka:
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Dried red chillies - 1
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Asafoetida / Hing - a pinch

Preparation:

1. In a small pan, heat 1 tsp oil and add asafoetida, coriander seeds, chana dal, peppercorn, red chilies, curry leaves and fry till the chana dal turns golden.

2. To this add coconut and fry for a minute. Remove from heat, cool and grind to a smooth paste adding little water. Set aside.

3. Soak tamarind in 1 1/2 cup hot water and extract the pulp.

4. Pressure cook the toor dal in 1 cup water with a pinch of turmeric powder. Mash the dal well and set aside.

5. Cut the bittergourd half in lengthwise and scrap off the seeds and white part from the middle. Now cut them into small pieces.

Method:

1. Heat 2 tsp oil and add the bittergourd pieces. Fry them in medium flame for around 5-6 minutes.

2. Now add tamarind water, jaggery, turmeric powder and salt. Boil until the raw smell of tamarind goes and bittergourd is cooked.

3. Now add the ground paste and bring to boil. Once it starts to boil add the mashed dal, salt and mix well. Add little water if needed to bring to a medium thick consistency.

4. Allow this to boil for 3-4 minutes and remove from heat.

5. In a tadka pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it pops, add red chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida and pour over the curry.


Notes:

1. The consistency of pitla should be thicker than sambar.

2. You can add 1 tsp more jaggery if you feel the curry is very bitter.


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Boondi Raita


Boondi / fried gram flour balls in yogurt with spices and coriander leaves



Be it a pulao or biriyani, a raita is essential to make it a complete meal. This boondi raita is a simple and quick raita that goes well with your pulao, biriyaniparatha or any spicy curry. For making this raita, boondis - which are tiny fried balls made of gram flour and spices, are added to a beaten mixture of yogurt and spices. Some love their boondi raita to be crunchy, so serve immediately after adding the boondi to the yogurt. But if like softer boondis, let the boondis soak in the yogurt and spices for sometime. In case the boondis are oily, soak them in hot water for 5 minutes, then squeeze well and add to the yogurt. Serve with paratha and pulao/briryani.

BOONDI RAITA RECIPE


Ingredients:

Boondi - 1/2 cup
Thick yogurt / curd - 1 cup
Roasted cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/4 tsp
Chaat masala - 1/8 tsp
Coriander leaves - 2 tsp, finely chopped
Salt - to taste

Method:

1. Take the yogurt in a bowl and whisk well.

2. Add cumin powder, red chilly powder, chaat masala, coriander leaves, salt and whisk well.

3. Add boondi to the yogurt mixture and mix well. For softer boondis, set aside for 10 minutes and serve.


Notes:

1. Use thick and yogurt like Greek yogurt. Make sure yogurt is not sour.

2. Use plain boondi or khara boondi.


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Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies


Chocolate brownies topped with a cream cheese layer swirled with a brownie layer



This month, the Groovy Gourmets had to bake brownies that has got something more than chocolate in it. When I read the theme, the first thing that popped in my mind were these cream cheese brownies. Brownies and cheesecake are two all time favorite desserts. These cream cheese brownies are the perfect indulgence to enjoy these desserts together.

This is my first attempt in making brownies and it turned out excellent and tasted delicious. The brownie layer turned out dense while the tangy cream cheese layer balanced the rich chocolate flavor of the brownies. Unlike other brownies, these cheesecake brownies need to be refrigerated for several hours or overnight to set it and mingle the flavors of the brownie and cream cheese layers.

This recipe is adapted from Joy of Baking. Store these brownies in an airtight container and refrigerate. The brownies stay fresh for 2-3 days. Now off to the recipe.



CREAM CHEESE BROWNIE RECIPE


Ingredients:

For the brownie layer:
Dark cooking chocolate - 1/2 cup (115 gms), chopped
Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup (115 gms), softened
White granulated sugar - 1 1/2 cup (150 gms)
All purpose flour - 1/2 cup (65 gms)
Egg - 2, large
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp

For the cream cheese layer:
Cream cheese - 250 gms, softened
Granulated white sugar - 1/2 cup + 4 tsp (65 gms)
Egg - 1 , large
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees. Line a square cake pan with baking/parchment paper with extra hanging over the sides.

2. Place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and put over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir the chocolate and butter together with a spatula until melted.

3. Set aside the mixture for few minutes until it becomes warm.

4. To this add sugar and whisk well with a wire whisk. Then add vanilla extract and eggs one at a time and beat well.

5. Now add the flour, salt and mix well with a spatula until the batter is smooth and shiny and starts to leave the side, say about a minute.

6. Remove 1/2 cup (100 gms) of the brownie batter and set aside. Spread the rest of brownie batter into the cake pan. Spread evenly with a spatula.

7. In a bowl add cream cheese and beat with a hand mixer until smooth. You can also beat in a food processor.

8. Add sugar, egg, vanilla extract and beat together. Scrape the sides and beat again until smooth, creamy and thick.

9. Spread this cream cheese mixture over the brownie layer evenly.

10. Drop heaped teaspoons of the reserved brownie batter over the cream cheese layer. Make a marbled effect using a wooden skewer or flat bladed knife.

11. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre has moist brownie crumbs clinging.

12. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for 4-5 hours or overnight. Cut into squares and serve.


Notes:

1. Original recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate and 250 gms of sugar for brownie layer. The chocolate I used was moderately sweet, so I used 150 gms of sugar.

2. Do not over process the cream cheese batter and the batter should not become watery.

3. Make sure butter and cream cheese are at room temperature.




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Rava Idli | Instant Semolina Idli


Instant idli made of semolina with carrots, chillies, ginger, curry leaves and tempered with cashewnuts, split bengal gram and mustard



Rava idli is a popular South Indian breakfast item made of semolina or Bombay rava. Rava idli which has its origins from Karnataka, is believed to be invented by the famous restaurant Mavalli Tiffins Room (MTR) during World War II when there was a shortage of rice. Rava idli is usually served with coconut chutney and saagu.

Though ready made rava idli mix are readily available in markets, why buy them when you can make these rava idlis at home fresh and instantly? This rava idli recipe comes handy if ever you run out of idli-dosa batter or need to make quick breakfast or dinner. Unlike the normal idli batter, rava idli batter involves no grinding or fermentation. The addition of Eno salt makes this idlis soft and porous. I served these idlis with coconut chutney and tomato chutney. Serve hot with any chutney of your choice.



RAVA IDLI RECIPE

Makes about 8-10 idlis

Ingredients:

Rava / Semolina - 1 cup
Curd - 1/2 cup
Carrot - 1 medium, grated
Green chilly - 3, finely chopped
Ginger - 1 inch, grated
Curry leaves - 1 sprig, finely chopped
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Salt - to taste
Eno fruit salt - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Ghee - 2 tsp

Tempering/Tadka:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Chana dal / Kadalai parippu - 1 tsp
Cashewnuts - 5 to 6, broken
Asafoetida / Hing - a pinch

Method:

1. Dry roast the rava in a medium flame until nice aroma comes. Take care rava does not change color.

2. Heat oil and ghee. Add mustard seeds, chana dal and cashewnuts. Fry till dal and cashews turn golden. Then add hing, green chillies, ginger, curry leaves and fry for few seconds.

3. Add the roasted rava and mix well. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add grated carrots. Allow the mixture to cool.

4. Once rava mixture is cooled, add curd, salt and coriander leaves. Combine everything. Now add 1/2 cup water and mix well to form a idli batter consistency.

5. Meanwhile grease idli plates and start heating water in idli pot. Once the pot is ready for steaming, add the eno salt and mix well.

6. The batter will become frothy after adding Eno salt. Immediately pour into idli plates and steam for 10-12 minutes or until cooked.

7. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and gently remove with a knife or spoon.

Serve hot with chutney.


Notes:

1. Depending on the quality of rava used, the texture of idli will differ. I recommend medium grained rava.

2. You can substitute Eno salt with baking soda, but I recommend Eno salt.

3. If batter is very thick after adding Eno salt, add little more water to adjust the consistency.

4. The consistency of the batter should be thick just like idli batter.

5. Do not rest the batter for long time after adding Eno salt.


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