Saturday, February 28, 2015

Phulka Tutorial - How to make Fluffy and Soft Phulka at home - Step by Step

  Phulkas or Rotis are the staple food of North Indians. It slowly found its way into the Southern part of India . It is usually prepared using wheat flour. My mom is a very good phulka maker. She learn it from her Hindi neighbour. Whenever ,she makes the phulka to puff up on direct flame, we will always be amazed. Cooking them on direct flame, makes them puff up and softer. Phulkas are served with dal or any curry. We can either cook the phulka on direct flame or on top of a hot grill, as I have used. These grills ,can be found in any Indian store for $5. Bought this when ,I was in MN. These grills has to be pre heated to red hot, for the phulka to puff up quick.Check my other varieties in rotis.

Preparation time : 10 mins
Cooking time : 10 mins
Serves : 4

1.Wholewheat Flour -  2 cups
2.Water - to knead
3.Salt - as needed
4.Ghee - optional


     Add flour,salt and water to a mixing bowl and knead it into a soft dough.Phulkas get thier softness from the ways the dough is kneaded. Always knead the dough till it achieves maximum softness.Cover the mixing bowl with a damp cloth and let it sit on the counter for atleast 10 mins. This resting time makes the dough softer. Even if we had time, refrigerate the dough. After refrigeration, the dough will be very soft.I have not added any sort of fat into the dough. But if you want,you can add ghee to the dough.

     Divide the dough into equal sized balls.Smooth out the balls, so that they don't have any cracks. all the balls has to be of equal size.

    Dust the working surface with flour. Flatten the dough into thin discs. Roll it into thin rotis. The rotis can be quarter inch thicknessed roti.

   Roll out other rotis similarly. Let them sit on the counter ,till we are done cooking. Arrange the rolled rotis ,without touching each other.

      If you are going to cook the phulkas in open flame , then this step can be skipped. If you have induction stove like me, then heat a griddle red hot. That is the griddle has to be really hot ,for the phulkas to puff up.Let the griddle be like this, till we are done with the rotis.

  Cook the rotis on a dry tawa, on both sides. Till you see brown spots on both sides.

     Now place the rotis on the red hot grill. After a minute, it will puff up like in the picture. a perfectly rolled roti will puff up. If you roll it unevenly, then the phulka will not puff.Immediately remove from fire and place them on plate.Don't leave the phulkas longer on the grill, if not the phulkas will become hard.

     Apply ghee or butter on top of the phulkas.If have not used any ghee or butter.Let the phulkas sit in a plate, till they are warm. Once they are warm, transfer them to a kitchen towel and wrap them properly. Cover them inside a hotpack.

   Serve phulkas with dal or curry. When we keep the phulkas sealed in the freezer, it helps us to save time ,when we are busy.

* Phulkas has to be served when hot.
* Don't leave the phulkas long on the grill, if not they will become hard.
* While kneading the dough, you can add little oil or ghee.
* Always spread ghee or butter ,after the phulka is puffed on the stove.
* Rest the dough for atleast 10 mins for softer phulkas.
* we can also freeze the rotis and cook them when needed.
* These phulkas stay soft, even in the morning.
* If the grill is not red hot, then the phulkas will become hard.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mutton Soup - மட்டன் ரசம் - Step by step

         Mutton rasam or soup is prepared using the stock of mutton. This is very flavourfull, if we add the masalas without skippin . I learnt this rasam recipe from my friend. When we visited her home, she served this rasam. It was nice but bit sour. so I altered according to my taste. She even asked to add garam masala, but I skipped it. These wood planks, I saw in farmer's market here. They were very cute and just $3 each. It was a steal,compared to the ones we get in arts and craft store. So grabbed them, while shopping. Here farmer's market has fresh vegetables. They cost pretty less compared to those we get in super markets. Cilantro,green chillies,curry leaves comes in big bundles and cost just a dollar each. It reminds me of our market,back home. Check the recipe and prepare it ,this weekend. don't forget to send me your pictures.

Check my other carieties of rasam here

Preparation time : 5 mins
Cooking time : 5 mins
Serves - 4

1.Mutton stock - 2 cups
2.Onion - 1/4
3.Tomato - 1/2
4.Tamarind extract - 1/4 cup
5.Green chilli - 1
6.Curry leaves - hand full
7.Cilantro - hand full
8.Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
9.Oil - 1 tsp
10,Cinnamon - 1/2 inch
11.Cloves -3
12.Salt - to taste
13.Turmeric powder - a pinch

To crush :
1.Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
2.Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
3.Pepper corns - 1/2 tsp
4.Garlic pod - 1


* Chop onion,toamto and slit the green chilli. Pressure cook mutton with little turmeric powder for 4 whistles and strain the stock . Extract the juice out of the tamarind and keep it ready.

* Crush the fennel seeds, cumin seeds,pepper corns and garlic finely using a mortar and pestle. They should be crushed not grinded.
* Take a pan, add oil and temper with cinnamon ,curry leaves and cloves. The cloves should burst out to give good flavour.
* Add thinly sliced onion to the pan along with green chilli. The onion has to be sliced thinly sliced.We can also use crushed pearl onion instead of big onion.

* Now add crushed ginger garlic paste and saute.The raw smell has to be removed from the paste. Use little ginger garlic paste, if not the soup will have bold flavours as in curries.
* Now add chopped tomatoes to the pan and sprinkle little salt. The tomato has to be mashed well.

* Now add the mutton stock to the pan and bring it to boil.  (Alternatively, if you want to use mutton in the rasam, add it now to the pan and saute. Once sauted, pressure cook the mutton along with 2 cups of water . Once cooked, take out the bones and mash the cooked mutton into the rasam ) . 
* Now add the crushed masala to the pan ,along with chopped cilantro. Adjust salt to taste.

* Once the rasam comes to boil, turn off the heat and serve with hot piping rice. We can also serve it plain as a soup.

* Adjust the spice level according to your taste.
* The crushed masala has to be added at the end. It should not be sauteed.This gives a very good aroma to the rasan.
* Always use less tamarind paste the rasam.We can increase the amount of tomato, if we want the rasam to be sour.
* If we want it bit spicy, we can temper with red chillies too.
* We can also add some cooked mutton pieces, without bones.
* This goes very well with white rice.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Home made Tamarind Chutney - Sweet Chutney - Step by step

   Sweet chutney aka tamarind chutney is a versatile chutney, which is used in most of the North Indian chaats. This chutney is prepared by cooking tamarind juice  in medium flame .Then jaggery is added along with spices. We can make variations, by adding cooked dates puree to the chutney.  This chutney is usually drizzled on top of the chaats or it is used as dipping sauce for samosas .For dipping, the sauce should be thin. So cook the chutney according to your need. If we want , the chutney for chaats, it can be little thick.Check my other chaat recipes ,where tamarind chutney is used.

* Bhel Puri Chaat

Preparation time : 10 mins
Cooking time : 30 mins
Yield : 1 cup

1.Tamarind - 1 big lemon size
2.Water - as needed
3.Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
4.Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
5.Jaggery - 1/2 cup (grated)
6.Salt - as needed
7.Oil - 2 tbsp
8.Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp


* Soak tamarind in water for atleast 10 mins. Extract the juice out of the tamarind properly. The juice would be about 21/2 cups.
* Take a pan, add oil and temper with cumin seeds.
* Mean while, crush the fennel seeds. The fennel seeds has to be crushed very well.
* Pour the tamarind extract to the pan.Bring it to boil. Let the juice cook in medium flame for about 20 minutes, or untill it is thick.
* Now add chilli powder to the chutney. Let it cook for more 3 mins, so that the raw smell goes off.

* At last add add jaggery,salt and crushed fennel seeds. Adjust the amount of jaggery according to your taste.If you run out of jaggery, we can add brown sugar or normal sugar.

* Cook the chutney for more 5 mins, or untill the chutney coats the back of the spoon. When we refrigerate, the chutney will thicken . So turn off the stove ,when it is in pouring consistancy. Now the chutney would have reduced to 1 cup.
* When needed, drizzle some tamarind chutney on chaats and samosa. If it is so thick, just heat it in microwave to make it pourable. If needed, we can add also little hot water. Store the chutney in refrigerator. It stays good for atleast a month, as it has tamarind in it.

* The taste of the tamarind chutney can be altered by our taste. We can increase the sweetness by adding the jaggery.
* The chutney has to be in running consistancy. When we refrigerate ,it will thicken .So cook it according to it.
* We can also add dry ginger powder ,to increase the flavour.
* Instead of cumin seeds, we can also add cumin powder.
* While serving the chutney, if it is less sweet, we can just add some sugar to increase the sweetness.
* We can also add some cooked dates puree to the tamarind chutney ,to make it dates tamarind chutney. But at last try to strain the chutney ,to remove any unwanted chunks.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Masala Plantain Fry - புதுக்கோட்டை வாழைக்காய் வறுவல் -- Step by step

    Green plantain is a varsatile vegetable, which can be converted into different kind of food. Though I have posted plantian fry recipes, this is some what different from the others. My Dad went to "Pudhukottai" for a function. He tasted this at my SIL's home. He was impressed and praised it a lot. So , wanted to try this . Got the recipe from my friend / Cousin Ambika. She gave me the recipe, as a autograph,when I moved out of MSP. Today had some green plantains lying around, so fried these. Actual recipe called for deep frying, but I have shallow fried it .So its upto you, to decide upon shallow frying or deep frying. I have tried both methods and it taste great .

Check my other variations of Green plantain 

Preparation time : 5 mins
Cooking time : 20 mins
Serves - 2

1.Green plantain - 2
2.Oil - as needed

To grind:
1.Onion - 1/4 (If using pearl onions, use 4)
2.Coconut - 2 pieces
3.Garlic cloves - 2
4.Fennel seeds - 1/4 tsp
5.Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
6.Sambar powder - 1tsp
7.Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
8.Salt - to taste
9.Water - as needed


* Wash and peelthe green plantains and cut them cross sectionally. This way, the plantain will not cook to crispy,while we fry it. 

* Take all the ingredients to grind in a blender, grind it to a fine paste ,with little water.The paste should be very fine.
* Take pan , add oil. Shallow fry the green plantian ,till it is 60% cooked. I have just shallow fried it. You can even deep fry the green plantains. 
* Strain the green plantains on a kitchen towel.Dont fry the green plantains, till crisp. They should be soft, when touched.
* Now apply the masala to the green plantain and keep it aside for 5 mins. This will make the green plantain to absorb the masalas into it.I reserved some of the masala .As it was more for the 2 plantains.

* Now in the same pan, shallow fry the green plantains ,till the masalas are cooked. Alternativly, we can deep fry the masala coated green plantain. Similarly, we can fry fish in this masala.

Goes very well with curd rice or dal .

* For perfect plantain fry, use tender plantains.
* The original recipe called for deep frying the green plantain, but I have shallow fried it.
* If you don't want these masala, just grind garlic,fennel and sambar powder and apply. It will give a very good taste to the fry.
* We can also marinate the green plantain for 30 mins, I didnt had time, so just marinated it for 5 mins.
* If you don't want double frying, just apply the masala to the green plantain and fry it one time in oil.
* Adjust the amount of spice ,according to your taste.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Home made dulce de leche - DIY Dulce de leche - Spanish Caramel - Step by step

       Dulce de leche is a called milk candy or caramalised milk in Spanish. It is a very creamy mixture, which can be used as fillings for cakes or on toasts. We can also serve dulce de leche  on top of panckes and waffles.It is also called milk jam. We can make very cost effective dulce de leche , by cooking milk in very low flame for almost 2 hour.There are some procedures,where condensed milk is used . Dulce de leche will thicken ,when we refrigerate,so cook it accordingly.This I made in Plymouth. It was sitting in my draft, Prepared the post today. Enjoy your days with these simple dulce de leche.

Recipe Source : Alton Brown
Preparation time : 5 mins
Cooking time : 2 hours
Yield : 1 cup

1.Whole Milk -  4 cups
2.Sugar - 1 1/2 cups
3.Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp
4.Baking soda - 1/2 tsp


* Take milk in a sauce pan. The pan has to be heavy bottomed and preferably non stick. Bring the milk to boil in medium heat. Now add sugar to the sauce pan. Let it get dissolved in milk. This will take about 5 to 10 mins. Now turn the flame to low.
* Once the sugar gets dissolved in milk, add the baking soda to the milk.Fat will start depositing at the sides of the pan. Don't scrape and add it to the milk. Stir the milk in between. After an hour, the milk would have changed to amber colour.
* Now the milk will slowly turn to dark brown colour. Always use whole milk, to get a thick dulce de leche. Approximately, after 2 hours, the mixture will reach the right consistancy. It would have reduced to 1 cup. 

* When the mixture is warm, add vanilla essence.Strain caramel through a strainer ,into a clean bottle. Store the dulce de leche, in refrigerator. When needed, just scoop out some and apply it on cakes ,toasts etc.

* Whole milk will yield dulce de leche quickly.
* Always cook the mixture in low flame, if not the mixture will change colour too quick.
* The dulce de leche will thicken ,when refrigeratored, so cook it accordingly.
* We can also freeze the dulce de leche.
* It  tastes heavenly, when we serve dulce de leche with cakes and toasts.

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