Adhirasam

With Deepavali just around the corner, what better way to celebrate this occasion than with some delicious Adhirasams. This is a very traditional South Indian dessert and it also happens to be my most favorite! The preparation itself does take a bit of an effort, but with the right ingredients, proportions and consistencies, one should be able to make some great Adhirasams. It is very important that the right type of rice is used. Traditionally, this sweet is prepared with red rice but if you cannot find it, you can use regular Sona-masoori rice.

Adhirasam

Ingredients:

Rice, raw – 500 gms
Jaggery – 250 gms
Water – 100 ml
Oil – 4 tbsp + for frying
Poppy seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds, lightly crushed – 3/4 tsp
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp

Method:

  • Wash and soak the rice in water for 30 minutes
  • Drain the rice and spread it on a thin cotton cloth or paper towels and let it dry

Adhirasam2

  • When the rice is 80% dry, grind it into a fine powder. You don’t want the rice to be completely dry before grinding and you should be able to feel the moisture in the powder
  • Pass it through a sieve to remove any large, coarse particles
  • Add the poppy seeds, fennel seeds and cardamom powder and mix well
  • Take the jaggery and 100ml of water in a pan and bring it to a boil
  • Keep stirring and check for single string consistency. To check the consistency, take water in a small cup and drop a little bit of the jaggery in the water, If it does not dissolve in the water and you are able to roll it into a ball, then it has reached the right consistency

                                        

  • Pour it into the flour and mix well. The dough might seem loose but over time it will absorb all the moisture and get harder
  • Add 2-3 teaspoons of oil if needed while mixing. Pour the remaining of the 4 tbsp of oil over the dough and let it rest for a minimum of 2-3 hours or overnight

Adhirasam5

  • When you are ready to make the Adhirasams, heat oil in a wok or wide pan
  • Divide the dough into small balls
  • Using an oiled banana leaf or wax paper, press them into flat circles using your fingers. Use oil to avoid the dough sticking to your fingers. Do not use rolling pin unless you place the dough between two sheets of wax paper but you might get the best results using your fingers to roll the dough

                 Adhirasam6                   Adhirasam7

  • Make sure the oil is hot enough. Right before dropping the Adhirasam, lower the heat a bit
  • Once you drop each of them, do not move away from the pan as it will cook pretty quickly
  • When it rises to the top, flip it and cook the other. It shouldn’t take more than a minute to cook an entire Adhirasam

                                  

  • Remove from oil and with the help of another ladle or spatula, squeeze out the excess oil right into the wok and place it on a plate covered with paper towel and repeat the process

Tips:

  • Do not use Basmati or Ponni rice. The Adhirasams will not hold their shape and disintegrate when frying
  • If the dough is very loose, add some rice flour
  • If the dough is very hard, add few tablespoons of milk
  • After frying, do not leave the Adhirasams on the paper towel for too long as it might become very dry

Guacamole/Avocado Dip/Butter Fruit Dip

My husband and I absolutely love guacamole. This creamy dip is super healthy (if you leave out the chips!) and is perfect for snacking. Avocados aren’t easily available in India except in some gourmet food stores. It’s known as Butter Fruit in India and in Coorg (Karnataka) is mixed with sugar and eaten like a dessert. (Google tells me it’s largely grown in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Sikkim) In the US, guacamole is widely popular and is even sold pre-packaged in grocery stores. I have been fortunate enough to eat really good guacamole in the land of its origin, Mexico. And I now make it regularly at home because it’s the closest you can get to the real deal.

Guacamole/Avocado Dip/Butter Fruit Dip

Ingredients:

Avocados – 3
Lime – 1
Jalapeno pepper – 2 tbsp, chopped
Onion – 1/4 cup, chopped
Tomato – 1/2, chopped
Fresh coriander – 1/4 cup, chopped
Salt to taste

Method:

  • Scoop the flesh out of the avocado using a spoon
  • Then, use a fork to mash the avocado till only a few or no lumps remain
  • Add the juice of one lime and mix well
  • Mix in the onion, tomato, coriander and salt
  • Serve immediately with chips or as a topping for tacos or eat as is!

Note:
– It’s important that the avocados you use are ripe and not hard. They should mash easily with a fork. If they aren’t ripe you will not get a creamy texture
– Guacamole is best consumed immediately. The addition of lime juice not only adds flavor but also helps preventing it from discoloring

– If you do not have jalapeno pepper, use half a green chilli without the seeds; you could even use green capsicum
– You can even add a tablespoon of parmesan cheese to this dish; that’s how most restaurants served it in Mexico

Guacamole/Avocado Dip/Butter Fruit Dip

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone is an Italian soup, typically vegetarian, that is a very healthy and wholesome meal option for people of all age groups. The common ingredients include pasta/rice, beans and vegetables but it does not have a fixed set of ingredients giving us the option of using the vegetables of our choice or what is available seasonally. It is also a great way to use leftover pasta, pasta sauce (tomato based) or chicken broth.

Minestrone soup

Ingredients:

Pasta, raw – 1 cup
Onion, finely chopped – 1 cup
Zucchini – 1
Potato – 1
Garlic cloves, finely chopped – 3
Red/white kidney beans, cooked – 1 and 1/2 cups
Pasta sauce/ marinara sauce – 1 cup
Chicken broth – 2 cups
Parmesan cheese, grated – 4 tbsp
Oil – 3 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste

Minestrone soup ingredients

 

Yield: 4 servings

Method:

  • Cook pasta al dente and set aside
  • Dice the potato and cut the zucchini into semi-circle pieces
  • Heat oil in a pot, and add the garlic and onion. saute for 3 to 4 minutes
  • Add the potato and zucchini. Sprinkle with some salt and black pepper and saute on medium heat for 5 minutes
  • Add the pasta sauce, chicken broth, additional salt if needed and a cup of water
  • Cover and cook for 20 minutes until the vegetables are nicely cooked
  • Add the pasta and beans and cook with the lid open for another 5 minutes. You can add more water if needed depending on how thick or thin you like your soup
  • Transfer to serving bowls and top with a tablespoon of Parmesan per bowl
  • Tastes best when hot and even better when served with some breadsticks

Note:

  1. I have used Orecchiette pasta but you can use any small shaped pasta
  2. I have used leftover pasta sauce but you can also use fresh homemade marinara sauce (see recipe here) or just crushed fresh tomatoes in which case you will need to add some herbs like dried oregano, basil and thyme
  3. I have used one cup of thick pasta sauce. If your sauce is not as thick, you can increase the quantity to get the right flavor
  4. You can substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth

Egg Kurma

I had this dish on a Sunday morning. Piping hot, with dosas! It was delicious. A recipe from my sister-in-law’s family, egg kurma was a regular in her growing up days. It tastes best with dosai. The spice levels have been kept to a minimum but you could easily notch it up a bit.

Egg Kurma

Ingredients:

To Grind:

Tomato – 1
Coconut pieces – 1/4 cup
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp

For the kurma

Oil
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Green chillies – 2
Onion – 1, large
Tomato – 1
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Egg – 6
Fresh coriander – 1/4 cup
Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Method:

  • Grind the ingredients mentioned under ‘To Grind’ to form a smooth paste; add a little water to reach a smooth consistency

Egg Kurma

  • In a wok, add oil
  • Add fennel seeds and allow to splutter
  • Add finely chopped onions and two slit green chillies and fry till the onions begin turning golden brown

Egg Kurma

  • Add ginger-garlic paste
  • Fry for a minute before adding chopped tomatoes
  • Add turmeric, garam masala, coriander powder and chilli powder
  • Stir for a couple minutes and then add the ground paste

Egg Kurma

  • Add about a 1/4 cup of water and mix well
  • Add salt to taste
  • Allow this to cook on a low flame for about ten minutes till you see the oil separating
  • At this stage, add about 3 cups of water (or more, depending on the consistency you need)

Egg Kurma

  • Bring this to a boil and allow the oil to separate (do this on a medium to low flame)
  • Add more salt if needed, at this stage
  • Break 6 eggs into the wok (you can break the eggs into a separate bowl and then add them; ensure that the eggs are whole and not whisked)
  • Once you add the eggs, do not stir
  • Cover the wok and cook on low flame for about 5 minutes
  • Then, stir slowly and check if eggs are cooked
  • Garnish with curry leaves and fresh coriander
  • Serve hot with dosai!

Cabbage Paratha

This is a healthy and easy to make recipe for breakfast or dinner. The taste of these parathas reminds me of my Mom’s Cabbage Puttu due to the use of similar ingredients. This is a really good way to use leftover cabbage.

Cabbage paratha

Ingredients:

Wheat flour – 1 cup
Besan/ Chickpea flour – 3 tbsp
Grated cabbage – 1 cup, tightly packed
Green chillies, minced – 2
Coriander leaves, finely chopped – 2 tbsp
Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Dhania powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1/2 tsp plus, for cooking

Method:

  • Remove any excess moisture from the cabbage ensuring it is dry. Also see note below.
  • In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except the oil 

Cabbage paratha 1

  • Add water as needed and knead into a firm dough. Add 1/2 tsp oil to get a smooth dough

Cabbage paratha 3

  • Divide into 6 to 8 equal portions
  • Roll each of them into thin circles (6 to 8 inches diameter)
  • Heat a tawa/griddle and place the paratha 
  • Flip a couple of times and when it starts changing color, apply 1/2 tsp oil and cook well on both sides
  • Serve hot with yogurt or your favorite pickle

Note: It is very important that you make the parathas as soon as you prepare the dough. In other words, make the dough only when you are ready to cook them. If left sitting, the cabbage will release water and the dough will become moist and sticky and will lose its firmness.

Chocolate Cake

It’s a very special day today as Garlic Goddesses completes an entire year around the sun. We are one! It was exactly one year ago that we started our small but significant entry into the world of food blogging. We have grown as a blog and as individuals interested in food as well. We have had an exciting year, cooking some unexpected dishes and some favorites too! We have had to throw out some batches of food because they didn’t turn out quite right but it has all been a massive opportunity to learn and do better. We would like to thank each and everyone of you for supporting us and stopping by our page. It means a lot to us. 

On this special day, I’m posting a cake I made for my husband’s birthday this year. While I have made the chocolate cake before (it’s a handy recipe to have from Hershey’s), I was attempting ganache for the very first time. Ganache is nothing but a deliciously thick mixture of cream and chocolate. While the cake tastes good as is, I did want something extra special to go with it and the ganache did exactly that! If this extra layer of goodness appears intimidating, let me assure you that it’s super easy to make. I also went ahead and whipped some of the ganache in order to try some piping on the cake (again, a first for me!). My only reason to do this was I wanted some sort of decoration on the cake (I take the liberty to call my child-like piping, decoration!) but not in the form of ready-made candy or shaved chocolate or kit kat bars. I wanted to make the decoration myself and didn’t want anything too rich. And this was the result! The husband was pleased and I was too 🙂

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

All-purpose flour – 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – 6 tbsp
Baking soda – 3/4 tsp
Baking powder – 3/4 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 cup
Egg – 1
Milk – 1/2 cup
Vegetable oil – 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Boiling water – 1/2 cup

For the Ganache:

Heavy whipping cream – 1 cup
Semi-sweet chocolate chunks/chips – 1 cup
Instant Coffee powder – 1/2 tsp (optional)

Method:

Making the cake

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius
  • Prepare a baking dish by greasing with butter and sprinkling a teaspoon of flour; shake off excess flour
  • In a mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients including flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and sugar
  • Add the egg, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract and beat using an electric mixer for about 2 minutes on medium speed
  • Stir in the boiling water and mix well; you will get a runny batter
  • Pour this batter into the prepared dish and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes till an inserted skewer comes out clean
  • Remove from oven and allow this to rest for about 10 minutes before transferring the cake on to a cooling rack

Making the ganache

  • In a heat-proof bowl, combine chocolate chunks and coffee powder; set aside
  • Heat the cream in a saucepan on medium flame
  • Swirl the cream occasionally while keeping an eye on it
  • Once it comes to a low simmer, remove from heat and pour on to the chocolate-coffee mixture
  • Set this aside for 5 minutes without stirring
  • After 5 minutes, use a whisk to slowly mix until it becomes smooth and runny
  • Allow this to rest until it cools down completely and begins to thicken
  • If you have time, let this rest at room temperature overnight; otherwise, refrigerate it for a couple hours after it cools down
  • The consistency of the ganache should be thick enough to spread over the cake 

Assembling the cake

  • Once the cake is completely cooled and the ganache has reached the desired consistency, take a couple of tablespoons of the ganache and spread it on the cake, starting from the middle and moving to the sides
  • Do this until you have used up all the ganache
  • Alternatively, you can use half of the ganache to spread over the cake; with the other half, you can beat it using an electric mixer for a few minutes until it becomes pale in color, fluffy in texture and light in taste
  • You can transfer this whipped ganache in to a piping bag and pipe designs on your cake (as shown in the photo)
  • This cake stays in the fridge for at least 4 days and tastes even better when it’s cold!

Chocolate Cake

Notes:
– In this recipe, you can make only the cake and it tastes yum without the ganache as well
– With the ganache, you need to use your judgement to decide whether the consistency works for you. I allowed it to cool down completely before refrigerating it for about an hour or two. I then spread about a layer of ganache on to the cake and then refrigerated both the cake and the ganache as it was a very hot day. After about 30 minutes, I spread another layer and put it back in to the fridge
– If the ganache becomes too thick, add a tablespoon of hot water and mix well

– As far as the whipped ganache goes, this is entirely optional. It only adds another dimension to the cake with very little effort
– If the room temperature is high, place the cake in the fridge at intervals while spreading the ganache. This helps the ganache to set on the cake
– Adding instant coffee powder to the ganache enhances the flavor of chocolate
– The ganache recipe isn’t from a particular source but a result of reading a few recipes online. Some recipes call for butter while others stick to equal portions of cream and chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet)

Chocolate Cake

Hawaiian-style Shrimp Scampi

This dish is inspired by the Shrimp Scampi served at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck in Hawaii. We had visited two of the Hawaiian islands back in 2009 and this place, among other places serving the local cuisine, was recommended by my husband’s colleague, who grew up in Hawaii. This was our last meal in Hawaii during our trip and the most memorable one! It is such a simple dish with just a few ingredients but packed with so much flavor and I can still recall the taste and the butter literally flowing down our fingers as we made our way through the big serving of one of the best Shrimp Scampi. I recreated this with Indian flavors and it just brought back all the lovely memories. This recipe uses far less butter but tastes as good as the original one. 

Shrimp scampi

Ingredients:

White shrimp, deveined- 30, preferably with tail on
All-purpose flour – 1/2 cup
Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 3/4 tsp
Butter – 5 tbsp
Olive oil – 3 tbsp
Garlic, finely chopped – 12 to 15
Coriander leaves, finely chopped – 3 tbsp
Lemon juice – 2 tsp
White rice, cooked – 2 cups

Method:

  • Clean the shrimp and pat dry
  • Mix flour, chilly powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and salt
  • Dredge the shrimp in the flour mixture

            shrimp scampi 2  shrimp scampi 3

  • Heat 3 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of oil in a cast iron skillet
  • Add half the garlic and place half the shrimp without over-crowding
  • Cook 3 minutes on each side until nice and golden brown

           shrimp scampi 4 shrimp scampi 5 shrimp scampi 6

  • Remove from heat, garnish with coriander leaves and lemon juice
  • Heat remaining butter and oil and add the remaining shrimp and repeat the process
  • While serving, drizzle any left over butter/oil from the pan over the shrimp and rice

Kadai Paneer

Kadai Paneer

Ingredients:

Paneer – 400 gms
Cumin seeds – 1.5 tsp
Onion – 1/2
Asafoetida – a pinch
Tomatoes – 4
Capsicum/Bell pepper – 1
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Red chilli powder – 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 1.5 tsp
Green chilli – 1
Ginger – 1-inch piece, minced
Oil

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan/wok
  • Fry cube-sized pieces of paneer in the oil until they are brown on two sides
  • Remove and set aside
  • In the same pan, fry bite-size pieces of capsicum until they become crisp (You can use the leftover oil from frying the paneer)
  • Remove and set aside
  • Meanwhile, make a puree of the four tomatoes and set aside
  • In the same pan that you fried and paneer and capsicum, add cumin seeds and fry for about 30 seconds on medium heat (if there isn’t enough oil remaining after frying the paneer and capsicum, add 2 tablespoons of oil)
  • Add finely chopped onion and fry till golden brown
  • Add pureed tomatoes, minced ginger, turmeric, red chilli powder, finely chopped green chilli, and coriander powder
  • Fry this until the masalas are cooked, and oil begins to separate
  • At this stage, add the fried paneer and capsicum
  • Allow the paneer to soak up the masala and mix well
  • Serve hot with roti or rice

Simple Veg Fried Rice

This is a very easy recipe for veg fried rice and hardly takes any time to prepare. This was one of the dishes my mom used to prepare often for my sister’s and my birthday parties. This is a great accompaniment for any type of Manchurian or egg curry. This is also a good way to make kids to eat their veggies!

Fried Rice

Ingredients:

Basmati rice – 1 cup
Garlic, minced – 1 tbsp
Ginger, minced – 1/2 tbsp
Green chillies, finely chopped – 3/4 tbsp
Scallions, chopped – 1 cup
Carrots, chopped – 1/2 cup
Green beans, chopped – 1/2 cup
Green bell pepper, chopped – 1/2 cup
Cabbage, chopped – 1/2 cup, optional
Ground black pepper – 1/2 tsp
Soy sauce – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Olive oil – 1 tbsp

Method:

  • Cook the basmati rice and set aside making sure not to overcook it which will cause the dish to get mushy. See tip below
  • Heat oil in a wok
  • Add garlic, green chillies and ginger and saute well
  • Add all the veggies except the scallion and saute well
  • Add black pepper and salt and cover and cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Sprinkle some water if needed. Chopping the vegetables finely helps in cooking them faster
  • Add the scallions and saute for 3-4 more minutes. At this point increase the heat
  • Add the cooked rice and soy sauce and mix well. Add more salt if needed. The high heat will help in keeping the rice nice and dry. You can also vary the amount of soy sauce according to your taste
  • Remove from heat, garnish with some chopped scallions before serving

Fried Rice 2Tip: Add 4 cups of water to the rice and cook on medium heat. When the rice is 3/4th done, turn off heat. Wait for 5 minutes and drain excess water.

Green Gram/Moong Bean Curry

This is yet another recipe from my sister. The only difference between her version and mine is that I make it like a curry while she makes it dry. I prefer it slightly watered down simply because I can have just a bowl of these lentils like soup for dinner. It’s hearty and healthy and so easy to make! You can even have it with roti or white rice.

Green Gram Curry

Ingredients:

Green Gram – 1 cup
Cinnamon – 1-inch piece
Cloves – 3
Onion – 1
Garlic – 5 cloves
Tomato – 1
Turmeric – a pinch
Chilli powder – 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil
Water
Fresh Coriander – 1/2 cup

Method:

  • Soak the green gram in about 2 cups of water and rest overnight or for at least 6 hours
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker
  • Add cinnamon and cloves and fry for about a minute
  • Add finely chopped onions and fry till they turn translucent
  • Add finely chopped garlic and fry for a couple minutes
  • Add chopped tomato
  • Add turmeric, chilli powder and coriander powder and fry for a few minutes till the masalas are cooked
  • Drain the green gram and add to the cooker
  • Pour enough water to cover the lentils or as per required consistency and add salt to taste
  • Pressure cook for 3 whistles
  • Once cooked and pressure is released, garnish with fresh coriander

Note: If you prefer a dry consistency, reduce the cooked curry on an open flame; If you feel it’s too dry, add more water and cook on an open flame