Instead of writing three posts I just thought of sharing all recipes in one post, so without a big introduction here are the recipes.
This is a bun I baked to go with some sundried tomato pesto pasta last week for dinner. You can make it as pav buns if you wanted to, just omit the herbs and garlic. I used to make aloobuns/vegetable buns posted here and I just followed the same recipe for this garlic buns too.
All purpose flour- 2 cups (I used 200 ml measuring glass)
Dry yeast- 2 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Sugar – 2 tbsp
Melted slightly warm butter( not room temperature butter)- 4 tbsp
Water- as needed to knead
Olive oil- 2 tsp
Butter- 1 tbsp- to brush while baking
Garlic- finely chopped- 1 tbsp
Herbs: I used Italian seasoning which has thyme, basil and I also added some red pepper flakes. Or you can use cheese!
In a wide bowl, add about 1/4 cup of warm water. Dissolve the yeast,sugar and salt, slightly whisk it to mix well. Add the flour little by little and get a crumbly texture. Then add melted butter, start kneading slowly to incorporate and then add water as per requirement and knead well to a thick dough.Keep it covered in a warm place for atleast an hour for the dough to double in volume.
After the dough doubles just sprinkle a teaspoon of flour on top if it, punch it down, divide it into equal parts, roll each part in to a ball, coat again with olive oil,sprinkle some dried herbs/garlic/red pepper flakes/cheese or a little bit of it all(!!) and cover and keep in a warm place for 10 minutes to rise.
Pre heat the oven to 375F . Bake these buns at 375 for 15-20 minutes or till the top is golden brown. Keep watching the color, it can get burnt. You can smell the aroma of buns when they are done!
The buns would have joined together(because of the rise and baking), gently separate each bun, let it cool down for 2-3 minutes. Serve with any spicy chutney or ketchup and enjoy with a hot cuppa tea or serve with pasta!
The next one is very special to me as I grew up in Chidambaram and the Nataraja Ther(Chariot) during the month of December along with the star Thiruvadiarai is celebrated with a traditional kali and kootu(dal). My sister and I would pull the chariot with others(a big crowd, in thousands) and then come home for this feast. The chariot festival is celebrated twice a year, once around June/July and the other in December/January. I just thought why not make the kootu for lunch instead of waiting for those special days in December.
If you think about it, this is a excellent choice for your fridge/freezer cleaning days. This kootu has to be made with 7 different vegetables and lentils as during the month of December or January it will be harvest time but for a change from pulao or biryani if you have couple of carrots, beans, lentils and garbanzo beans or kidney beans, put it all in, it tastes so divine in this kootu.
Mixed vegetables(carrots, peas, pumpkin, snake gourd,long beans, Potato,Indian eggplant)- 1 cup
Cooked Mashed toor dal- 3/4 cup
Mixed beans(cooked garbanzo beans, red kidney beans, black eyed peas)- 1/2 cup
Peanuts(soaked in water)- 2 tbsp- optional
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Tamarind water- 2 .5 cups(1/4 tsp tamarind paste in 1 cup water and add another cup as it dissolves)
OIl- 1 tbsp
Curry leaves- 1 spring
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Coconut- grated- 1 tbsp
For the spice powder:
Chanadal- 2 tbsp
Red chilies 3 (add another chili if you like it spicy)
Coriander seeds- 2 tbsp
Coconut- 4 tbsp
Chop the vegetables into 1″ cubes. In a pot, add these vegetables, salt and turmeric powder, tamarind water, cover and let it cook. When the vegetables are half done, add the cooked lentils and cooked beans along with the soaked peanuts. Cover the let it cook through.
In another pan toast the chana dal, red chilies, coriander seeds to a golden brown color (toast separately) and transfer it to a blender(if you toast them all together coriander seeds may burn). Just toast the coconut in the hot pan and immediately transfer to the blender before it turns brown. Let the ingredients cool down and blend them to a fine powder.
Add this powder to the kootu pot as you add the beans(half way through cooking).
Once the vegetables are cooked through, the lentils and beans are all combined, switch it off.
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, as it splutters add curry leaves. Just as you are about to pour this over the kootu, add the grated coconut to the tempering pan and pour it over the kootu. The coconut will thicken the kootu, if not you can mix 1 tbsp of rice flour with less than 1/4 cup of water and add it to the kootu when it is simmering.
Traditionally this kootu is served with kali(rice and jaggery) but we had it with plain rice and some carrot-cucumber kosamalli.
Though I keep saying little R, my son is growing up to be the tall R And as he is about to join the “terrible two” age group those classic characterics are starting to show off- refusing to sit in the cart that he used to do before(now he wants to push it and run all over the mall), refusing to sit in a restaurant for a meal, starting to make choices(which means wearing those blue pair of shoes forever along with that same comfy pair of shirt that he likes), a big no no to the vegetables that he used to eat before, thinking that he is the boss of the house(says who??) etc etc., He is going to a summer camp for couple of hours a week and apart from the usual places I take R to, dropping him and picking him up is another job for me these days! So after a long list of complaints about the stuff I have to do all week, N took over cooking and made this biryani for the weekend- this is so simple, one pot dish and he used to make this for me couple of years back.
This is how it it goes:
Basmati rice(soaked in water)- 1 cup
Onion- medium size- 1
Tomatoes- 2, chopped
Mixed vegetables(carrots, beans, peas, cauliflower, potatoes and even paneer if you like)- all together- 1 cup
Mint leaves- half a bunch
Cilantro- half a bunch
Garam masala powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil- 2 tbsp
Fennel seeds- 3/4 tsp
For garnish- finely chopped cilantro and mint leaves
Keep aside about 1/4 of the onion for stir frying and chop them finely. Chop the rest of the onion into cubes. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan, add cubed onions ,tomatoes and salt and stir fry well for 4-5 minutes. Now add the mint leaves, Green chili,cilantro and stir fry again for another 3-4 minutes. Transfer the contents to a blender, add coconut and bled it to a smooth paste(adding little amount of water if necessary).
Heat oil in a pressure pan or cooker, add fennel seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the chopped onions and salt and fry till onions turn transclucent. Now add other chopped vegetables and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Drain water from the rice and add it to the pan, mix them gently.
Measure the ground masala paste, if it measures to one cup you will need one more cup of water to cook the rice(Rice to water 1:2). So pour the masala paste, required amount of water and add the garam masala powder. Mix gently and cover and cook on medium flame for one whistle. See, this is so easy compared to the marinades/frying/dum biryanis, right?
After the pressure cooker has cooled down, open the cooker and gently separate the rice grains with a fork. Garnish with cilantro and mint leaves and serve hot with any raitha and chips!