Upma – A silky soft veggie semolina / Rulang Upma

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Upma is a very healthy breakfast choice in South India given it’s main ingredient; very light tiny beady, Semolina or Sooji in Hindi.   To get the soft and silky texure,  stick to  the following propotions : 2 cups of water to 1 cup of Semolina

This could be made plain, omitting the vegetables, but by adding any veggies of your choice could make it much more healthier .  Also, kids will love the assorted colours that will look so tempting!!

What you need:

Semolina / Rulang / Sooji 1 cup
Hot water 2 cups
Yellow split lentils – chana dhal 1 tbsp
1 Carrot – cut into tiny cubes
4 Green beans – cut into tiny pieces
Curry leaves
Green chili – split in the middle 1
Mustard seeds  1/4 tsp
Onion – chopped 1
 Olive oil  1 tbsp

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Let’s make :

  • First dry roast semolina for a min or two being careful not to change its colour and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a non-stick pan and crackle mustard seeds.
  • Throw a handful of crushed curry leaves and chana dhal.  Slightly brown.
  • Add the chopped onion and saute until golden and add the green chili.

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  • Now, add the chopped carrots and beans.  Stir fry a bit.
  • Pour 2 cups of hot water and add salt to taste and let it boil away.
  • ,Then, slowly add half of  roasted semolina while stiring rapidly, otherwise, it will give lumps.
  • Add the other half while stiring.

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  • Mix all together, check for salt,  close the lid and let it cook under very low fire for exactly 3 mins.
  • Open the lid, let the steam escape, squeeze 1/4 of a lemon give a good mix.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

Tips:

  • To make it look more attractive, you can fill into a  glass bowl, press down and turn upside down on a plate, then remove the bowl slowly, leaving a dome in the middle. Yapeee!
  • You can add a pinch of saffron to make it look subtly golden colour while cooking.
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Chicken noodle soup – A bowl of comfort to soothe away winter colds

davNothing makes you more miserable than a steady string of sneezes that followed by a runny nose and a throbbing headache.  You instantly know that this misery will last at least a couple of days.  So, try this  smooth and silky  soup with vibrant colours that could instantly make you feel better,   true to the age old belief that chicken soup has a magical power to soothe away the cold symptoms hastening the recovery.

I have added a variety of colourful vegetables into this soup and the noodles and potatoes in it make the soup a more nourishing and a filling one.  You could also make this as a hearty dinner choice,  ideal for winter months for the whole family.

What you need:

 Chicken 250 g
Maggi noodles (plain) 1 pkt
Riped tomato 1
Carrots (medium) 3
Green beans 5
Leeks or spring onions 1 bunch
Garlic cloves 3
Onion 1
Knor soup cube (Chicken flavour) 1
Potatoes  4 – 5 new potatoes

Let’s make :

Chop it

  • Cut the chicken into bite size pieces.  A few bony pieces could make the soup more flavourful.
  • Cut carrots into thin rounds, green beans into 1 inch pieces, leek or spring onions into small pieces.
  • Chop the onion , cut the potato into chunk and slice the garlic cloves.

Saute’ it

  • Now add 1 tbsp of olive oil into a heavy bottom pan heat it up.
  • Add chopped onions and garlic.  Saute.
  • Add carrots , potato and green beans.
  • Add the white parts of leeks or spring onions.  Saute all a few mins.
  • Now add the chicken pieces and fry all together until the chicken becomes white.

Water it

  • Add 2 or a bit more glasses of water, cover and boil under medium flame.
  • In 15 mins all the veggies and chicken will be cooked. If not, cover and boil for further few mins.

Noodle it

  • Crush the noodle packet and add to the pot and in 2 mins they will be cooked.
  • Now, crush the soup cube and add to the pot.  Stir.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer it

  • Simmer on low flame for 5 mins.
  • Serve piping hot with a few buttered toasts.

 

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Sri Lankan Watalappan – Made with jaggery and maggi coconut milk powder

watalappan

There is no better way to describe this pudding, usually reserved for special occasions as a “heavenly treat”.

This coconut custard pudding, made from coconut milk and jaggery – a solid form of sweet made from an extract from a tropical palm tree. It has a Malay origin and is  traditionally made by steaming it in an aluminium pudding basin, dipping  in to a large saucepan half filled with water.

However, you can also bake it in a Pyrex dish in the oven without  going through the  hassle of steaming, but the texture of the pudding is slightly less spongy and creamier than the steamed one.  If you fancy the original taste, do not hesitate to steam it and you will love it!!

I make this pudding,  using Maggi coconut milk powder, instead of fresh coconut milk or tinned coconut milk, which makes things much easier and quicker.  Also, the texture of the pudding comes out  much firmer.

So, give it a try today !!

What you need:

 Maggie Coconut Milk Powder 6 full tablespoons
Palm jaggery (Brown) 1 round
Brown sugar 2 tbsp
Nutmeg -grated (essential item for this pudding) 1 full tsp
Salt pinch
Eggs (large) 5
Water 1/4 cup

coconut jaggarypalm jaggery

Let’s make it :

Knock it

  • Place the jaggery round in a bag and knock it with a rolling pin until powdered.

Blend it

  • Now, drop jaggery, eggs, coconut milk powder, grated nutmeg, salt and 2 tbsp of water into the blender jar.
  • Whiz only 30  seconds.  More mixing will loosen the pudding.
  • Sieve through a siever.

Oven it

  • Pour the liquid into a pudding basin, cover tightly with a foil and steam.  Or, pour into a Pyrex dish, cover with a foil, place the dish in a baking tray, half filled with water and bake in the oven at 200 C for 30 – 45 mins. (This is called double boiling method)
  • After 45 mins take the tray out, remove the cover slightly and insert a skewer and check if it comes clean.  If so, the pudding is ready!  If not, place it in the oven for another 10 mins.
  • Take the dish out, open the foil cover and let it cool off. (You can sprinkle some roasted or raw cashews on top at this point)

Serve it

  • Stab the skewer in the pudding to make several tiny holes.
  • Pour some coconut treacle or golden syrup on to the top,
  • Let it rest.
  • Place the pudding in the fridge and cut into perfect squares before serving.
  • Yum !!

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Buttery Tea Time Cake – Sponge cake with crystallized sugar syrup

nfdnfd It is amazing that this simple  light and fluffy buttery cake, turns into a gorgeous teatime treat when its golden crusty top is glazed with butter and sugar crystal syrup.  It gives such a  sweet crunchiness to the top layer making every bite pleasurable. Make this delightful treat for your friends for afternoon tea and enjoy it relaxing in the garden with a steaming pot of tea.

Let’s make it: 

Self Raising flour 250 g
Margarine or butter 250 g
Caster sugar 250 g
Eggs 4
Milk 1/4 cup
Lemon juice and Vanilla essence 1  tsp each
Salt 2 pinches
Baking powder 1 tsp

Let’s make it: Set the oven to 180 C . (Temperature conversion is given under Tips)

Cream it

  • Beat butter and sugar together until creamy,  using an electric hand mixer.
  • Add eggs, one at a time. Make sure you beat well after each addition.
  • Add vanilla essence,  lemon juice, salt and beat for two rounds.

Flour it

  • Mix baking powder to flour and sieve onto the cake batter, holding the sieve well above it, allowing the air to escape.
  •  Fold the flour gently with a wooden spoon until everything turns into a creamy batter.
  • Add milk and mix into the batter.

Oven it

  • Line up a round baking tray with parchment paper and spoon the batter into the baking tray and flatten with a spatula.
  • Lift up the tray and drop it twice onto your kitchen-top gently, allowing the batter to spread and settle evenly on the try.
  • Pop it in the oven.

Rest it

  • Insert a skewer into the middle of the cake and if it comes clean,  your cake is ready.
  • Take it out from the oven and let it rest for 10 mins.
  • Slowly remove from the tray, peel off the baking paper and place it on a cooling rack.
  • Let the cake rest for 15 mins.

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(Do not spread this syrup when the cake is warm.  Let it cool off for about 20 mins.)

  • Place a heap of a tablespoon of butter in a bowl.
  • Add a tablespoon of brown sugar and mix well.
  • Now place the bowl in the microwave or on the stove and heat for a minute. Do not boil.
  • Take out and give a good stir with a spoon.  The sugar should not be dissolved completely but crystallized.
  • Pour the sugar syrup using a small spoon all over the cake.
  • After a few mins you will notice the sugar crystals have formed on the top.
  • Done!!
  • Delicious!

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