26 January 2011

Chana Masala....a recipe

Black Chana Masala...or "Kaale Chane'"

Chana puri, a hot favourite with Punjabis, is a spicy dish made with chickpeas or kabuli chana, and served with puris.
My recipe uses the black kind also called Bengal gram- which is smaller in size and takes a little longer to cook.
This is one of the easiest recipes ever to prepare, especially for a beginner who likes to experiment. It involves no chopping of onions or tomatoes or ginger-garlic.   Once you boil the chanas you need just five minutes for tempering it. It needs no chopping, no dicing-just a few dry masalas (spices).
This is a dry preparation with no gravy so you should ideally combine it with some yogurt raita and halwa (a sweet) and puris, of course You will love this dish for the simplicity in preparation and cooking.

(for 2-3 people)
1 cup               black chickpea      
2-3                  black cardamom, crushed
1"                    cinnamon.
1 tbsp              cumin powder (lightly roasted and powdered)
1 tbsp              garam masala
1 tbsp              coriander powder
1 tbsp              aamchur or dry mango powder (optional)
1-2 tsp             red chilli powder ( or according to taste)
3-4 tbsp           vegetable oil (not olive oil)
2-3 tbsp           green coriander, chopped
salt to taste

Soak chana  for 4-5 hours. Discard the water and pressure cook in fresh water with cardamom, cinnamon and salt to taste for about 20 min. Once done discard the cardamom and cinnamon. Keep about 1/4th cup of the  liquid and drain and discard the rest of it.
Sprinkle the garam masala,  aamchur, coriander powder, cumin powder on the chanas and mix well. Keep aside.
In a separate small pan prepare the tempering or the ‘tadka’. Heat the vegetable oil well. This might seem like too much of oil but this recipe needs oil to give it the glossy look. 
When very hot add 1 tsp red chilli powder.  It will immediately turn black. (It is supposed to do that). REMEMBER NOT TO INHALE HERE TO AVOID ONE SEVERE COUGHING FIT.
Quickly pour chillies over the chana and mix well. Put back on fire and cook for a minute or so.
Sprinkle green chopped coriander, onion rings and sliced green chilli on top. 
Serve hot with puri and halwa. The halwa should be eaten with the meal…the three tastes compliment each other very well.
(Find the recipe for a typical Punjabi halwa here...)
Hope you make trhis and enjoy it as much as I do.
Note: To make cumin powder: lightly roast a few teaspoons of cumin seed in a pan. Let cool and grind into a powder and store in an air tight jar. This is one spice that can easily be crushed with a rolling pin.

25 January 2011

Quilted Fabric Basket

I made this quilted project basket which is also reversible for my smaller projects like a shawl or a scarf. It measures 6" x 6" at the base and 6" in height. I added a layer of foam instead of batting to give it more body so it wouldn't flop down.
I sewed this just as I would a reversible tote. When  making the corners I made them much larger so the base became a square. That's it. Oh! And I omitted the strap...as is obvious.

You can find various tutorials for reversible totes here, here and here....

24 January 2011

Apple Strudel...a recipe

This is a pastry dessert with an apple filling. It is generally associated with Vienna as its place of origin but the Baclava, a Turkish dessert stuffed with dried fruit and spices, is the precursor of this sweet. 
As a tradition this is made with puff or phyllo pastry but I present my home grown version using shortcrust pastry.
How to serve the strudel: Once out of the oven, dust some powdered sugar on top. But I like it straight out of the oven, no dusting of sugar required.....simply sliced into roundels and eaten hot. Serve it with cream if you like. 

For Shortcrust Pastry: 
 Ingredients                                                              ½ amount.      
225gm        flour                                                            110gm               
115gm        butter                                                          55gm
1/4 cup       water
For Filling:
4 apples                                                                       2  
2 slices      bread                                                           1
100gm       raisins                                                          50gm
100gm       walnuts                                                        50gm
175gm       sugar                                                            90gm
I lemon      (juice)                                                          1 lemon (juice)
50gm        icing sugar (for dusting)                                   25 gm

To the right of the list of ingredients I have given the quantities for ½ the amount in case you want to make a smaller version. That will give you one small strudel.
Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
For the  pastry dough:
Mix together the butter and flour and rub well with your fingertips till it resembles breadcrumbs. Add little cold water to make a soft dough. This dough doesn't need too much water to bring it together, so add just a little at a time. Knead into a dough. Cover with clingfilm and allow to rest for about 1/2 an hour. You can chill it if  using later.
(Note: You can also check it out here....)

For the filling:
Peel, core and dice the apples and mix in the lemon juice - this stops the apples turning black.
Crumble the bread slices into crumbs.
Keep the powdered sugar aside and add the rest of the ingredients into apples and mix well.
Note: Here I prefer to make two small strudel from the recipe rather than  one large one as the smaller size is easier to handle.

Divide the dough into two and roll pastry out thinly into two rectangles approximately 9" X 11". (for making two strudel).
Spread the filling over both to within 1" of the edges. Roll the pastry gently like you would a swiss roll. Brush the edge with a little water to seal. Pinch the shorter side edges together to seal them up.
Brush the top with melted butter. Make slits on top to let steam escape.
Bake for about 45 minutes in moderate oven at 180°-200°C.
Dust icing sugar on top. Serve hot with cream.

21 January 2011

The art of quilling...a kid's perspective.

My daughter seems to have a creative streak!! She loves all forms of craft, though she has her favourites. And I love  the fact that she gifts away most of the things she makes.
Her latest craze is quilling...also called paper filigree...where thin strips of paper are coiled, shaped and glued to create designs.

She was introduced to this craft by my super talented friend, Rufarocrafty (on Ravelry). This post is specially for Rufarocrafty. Look what your student's done!!!...:)

She fell in love with it and since then there's been no looking back. The first lot of stuff she made was given away so fast I couldn't take any pictures. Here are some of the things she's been working on recently.

'The frog, The lilies and the CDs'...
this one involves a little bit of RECYCLING too which you will notice in the  pictures that follow.
A lily pond with a little brooding frog. This was inspired by this fantastic lady craftlicious who makes
these wonderfully creative crafts.
A serious looking frog. The lilies were cut by hand...
This is where the 'recycle' and 'CD' bit come in...the whole project was assembled on a stack of old CDs that were glued together.
 Surprise earrings....She got an earrings-making kit as a gift from her cousin last December and one day she came with these...I don't know if anyone would ever wear these but I love them.

Cards and Gift tags....
 If you know Spongebob Square Pants, then you know the snail  is Gary..
A 'knitting basket' tag for a knitter...I got this one for New Year's...
More cards...
These two  go into the post for two little kids...

18 January 2011

'My Reasons to be Cheerful'...

I want to begin the new year with ....My 'Reasons to be Cheerful'!!! 
They mean the world to me and have been my best teachers in life.

My first born, is  ....almost 17 and starts college this summer.
My second, is   ....almost 12 and still has a few years of school to go through.

He is....my dependable, responsible guy.
She is...my sunshine - giggles and all.

He.....my constant companion....he can follow me like a tail all day.
She...likes to be left alone, but does like to check in on me ever so often.

He....loves to chat, chat, chat.
She..loves to come and hug me for no reason at all.

They make me smile with their crazy sense of humour,
they make me laugh with their mad antics.
They make me gnash my teeth in anger,
they make me cry in frustration,
They are the best things that happened to me.

01 January 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!!!!
Here's wishing everyone a prosperous, safe and happy 2011!!!!
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