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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sambar Podi

Homemade Sambar Masala Powder

Sambar powder can be made and stored in an air-tight container for a couple of months. This gives the delicious aroma to the Sambar. Usually homemade powder contains fewer ingredients, but I have tried to match up the taste with the commercial packs.

Ingredients: Quantity
Dry Red Chili* 1 cup
Coriander Seeds 1 Cup
Cumin Seeds 2 tbsp
Black Peppercorns 2 tbsp
Bengal Gram Dal 2 tbsp
Red Gram Dal 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds 1 tbsp
Poppy Seeds 1 tsp
Dry Ginger Powder 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Curry Leaves 2 strands
Cinnamon stick 1 small stick
Copra (Dry coconut) Grated 1-2 tbsp
Oil 1 tsp

1) Heat oil in a pan and roast the red chilies.
2) Dry roast each ingredient separately (excluding the dry ginger powder and turmeric powder) until they emit aroma. Spread them all to cool down.
3) Grind all the ingredients together into fine powder and let it cool down for a min and then store it in an air tight container. This can be kept safe for a couple of months if stored safely in a good air tight container and kept free from water and heat.

Note:*I have used a variety of dried red chilies to balance color and spiciness. It contains round red chili (which is usually used), very spicy red chili and Kashmiri red chili.


South Indian Dal

Sambar the South Indian Dal Curry, the most common food prepared in every household. It is prepared using Lentils, main source of protein for the vegetarians. Every mother has her own recipe and method for cooking sambar, there are several variations. The below recipe is a simple and basic one which is prepared using sambar powder, cooked lentils and vegetables.

Ingredients: Quantity
Toor Dal/Red Gram Dal 1 cup
Onions Chopped 2 nos
Tomatoes Chopped 2 nos
Vegetables Chopped** 1 cup
Tamarind Paste 1-2 tbsp
Sambar Powder 2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Asafoetida 1/4 tsp
Cumin Powder 1/4 tsp
Salt To taste
Oil 1-2 tbsp
Oil/Ghee 1/2 tbsp
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Urad Dal 1 tsp
Dry Red Chili Halved 2 nos
Curry Leaves 1-2 Strands
Fenugreek Seeds 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida 1/4 tsp
Coriander Leaves Chopped To Garnish

1) Clean and soak the Dal for 30 min's. Add two cups water, Dal, salt, half of the turmeric powder, Asafoetida and cumin powder in a pressure cooker and cook up to 2-3 whistles.
2) Meanwhile heat oil in a sauce pan and sauté the chopped onions and sauté until the onions caramelize, then add vegetables (if using) and fry for a couple of min's .
3) Add chopped tomatoes and sauté for a min and then add the remaining turmeric powder and sambar powder and let it cook until the tomatoes soften.
4) Add the tamarind paste and a cup of water and cook covered until the raw smell of the tamarind disappears and vegetables are well cooked.
5) Let the pressure release and then add the cooked Dal into the pan and cook for a couple of more min's for the Dal and tamarind mixture to blend in well.
6) Meanwhile heat oil/ghee in a small pan and add all the ingredients for tempering. Once the mustard sputter, add it into the saucepan. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with steamed rice or Idly, Dosa or Upma.

Variations - * The sautéed onion and vegetable mixture is pressure cooked along with the Dal or half cooked Dal and then the tamarind is added to the pressure cooked mixture.
* The sautéed onion and vegetable mixture and Dal are pressure cooked separately and then mixed together along with the tamarind and cooked.
** Any vegetable such as Brinjal/Baby eggplant, drumstick, Radish, Turnip, Squash, Pumpkin, carrot, beans or potato or mixture of any of these vegetables are used. Usually Brinjal and Drumstick make a tasty combination. Carrot, beans and potato are used too. Kadambha Sambar has mixture of 4-5 vegetables.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Crème Brûlée

Chocolate Cream Brûlée

White Chocolate Crème Brûlée is a very tempting and tasty dessert, made with very few ingredients. It is definitely a treat for people with sweet tooth.

Ingredients: Quantity
Cream 500 ml
White Chocolate* 90 gms
Sugar 1/4 cup + Extra for Caramelizing
Egg Yolks 4 nos
Vanilla Essence 2-3 drops

1) Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat the cream in a sauce pan.
2) Beat the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla essence.
3) Remove the cream from heat and add the chocolate.
4) Once it melts, add the beaten egg mixture very little at a time. Whisk them well and add the mixture into two 14" ramekins (or 4 small ones).
5) Fill a bigger baking tray with hot water and place the ramekins in them and bake for 30-40 min's. It should be slightly wobbly and not completely firm.
6) Let it cool and then place it in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours or overnight.
7) Before serving time sprinkle sugar and use a blow torch and caramelize the sugar or broil/grill for 30-40 seconds. Serve immediately so that the sugar doesn't get soggy.

Mixture added into Ramekin Ramekin placed in hot water tray
Ramekin out of the Oven Ramekin from the fridge
Caramelized Crème Brûlée

Note:* You can use milk chocolate or dark chocolate or make it plain, without adding chocolate.