Archive for the ‘Cookbook Chronicle Challenge’

Veggin’ Cookbook Challenge: Parathas

December 18, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Other, Side Dishes, Snacks/Appetizers

One more recipe from the  “Greatest Ever Indian: Easy and Delicious Step-by-Step Recipes“. Every Indian dish needs some sort of scooping device to transfer the meal from plate to mouth. (It’s not a written rule, just one that I declare.) Parathas are the perfect delivery mechanism. I’m sure I’m missing out on some tips and tricks but these came out pretty good (despite the fact that they were not perfect circles…)

from Greatest Ever Indian: Easy and Delicious Step-by-Step Recipes

generous 2 cups whole-wheat flour (urid dal flour [ata] or chapati flour), plus extra for dusting
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp ghee, melted

Sift the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flours and add 2 teaspoons of the ghee. Rub it into the flour with your fingertips, then gradually knead in enough cold water to make a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal-size pieces.

Roll into balls. Keep covered the ball that you are not working on, to prevent them drying out. Roll out a ball of dough on a lightly floured counter to a 4-inch/10-cm circle and brush with ghee.

Fold in half, then brush with ghee again…

and fold in half once more.

Either shape into a ball and roll out to a 7-inch/18-cm round or roll into a 6-inch/15-cm triangle. Repeat with the remaining balls, stacking the parathas interleaved with plastic wrap. Heat a heavy-bottom skillet or griddle pan. Add 1-2 parathas at a time and cook for 1 minute…

then flip over with a spatula and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Brush with ghee, then flip over again and cook until golden. Keep warm while you cook the remaining parathas the same way.

Veggin’ Cookbook Challenge: Daikon Curry

December 10, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Side Dishes

This recipe also comes from the “Greatest Ever Indian: Easy and Delicious Step-by-Step Recipes” cookbook reviewed at the same time I did an Eggplant Curry recipe. This is a very simple and unique side-dish. Daikon radish has a very distinct sharp taste to it but I have read that towards winter daikon radish becomes a bit milder and perhaps sweeter. At first bite, I wasn’t sure I liked this dish so I took a second bite. Yes, in fact, I did think it was pretty good.  I think I figured out that I liked it even better served cold because I couldn’t stop eating the leftovers and neither could my In-House Taste Tester.

Daikon Curry
from Greatest Ever Indian: Easy and Delicious Step-by-Step Recipes

1 lb daikon, preferably with leaves
1 tbsp moong dal
1 1/4 cups water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp salt

Rinse, then peel and slice the daikon, together with its leaves if wished. Place the daikon, the leaves (if using), and the moong dal in a pan and pour over the water. Bring to a boil and cook until the daikon is soft. Drain the daikon thoroughly, and use your hands to squeeze out any excess water.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion, garlic, dried chili flakes, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and turned a light golden brown color.

Stir the daikon misture into the spiced onion mixture and mix well. Reduce the heat and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes. Transfer the daikon curry to individual serving plates and serve hot with Chapatis. (Megabeth note: This was also really good cold, leftover, right out of the fridge.)

Veggin’ Cookbook Challenge: Fenugreek-Flavoured Potatoes

September 23, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Side Dishes

Almost a decade ago, a small Indian Spices & Appliances store in our neighborhood closed down to make way for a new condo building. They had a clearout sale where I picked up a couple of interesting cookbooks before they closed up shop. Although they promised to return to the new building, I am sad to report that, alas, they have not. Instead we have a tennis specialty store and a “Blinds by Tomorrow”. Boy…am I thrilled. At least I’m left with a couple cookbooks and the memory of a great locally owned store that still makes me smile.

Summer Cookery, by Rohini Singh, was originally published in 1996 in India. It features everything from “refreshing coolers”, pulses and rice, to sections called “vegetable platter” and “preserving summer”. This is an omnivore’s cookbook, but is pretty overflowing with the vegetable options.

The preface is a chatty homage to summer cooking. At the end of the preface, Rohini Singh reveals that her six-year-old daughter was her “testing ground.” She says that “a callous, unmindful-of-consequences “Yuk” was often the final verdict when I presented her with one of my new dishes.” She continues, “Most of the recipes featured in this book have passed this stringent test” after some modification so they they would be worthy of a second-helping from her harshest critic. So, if the recipe made it to the cookbook it must be good.

There are several pages of photos and nice long introductions about summer cooking the precede each section.

Each recipe features a little snippet of advice or a description of the dish. My favorite was for poppy-seed potatoes: “Designed to dope you into a deep slumber in hot summer afternoons, these potatoes are a specialty from Bengal.” The author also provides some recipe variations and leftover suggestions as well as what utensils are required. If you stay away from the meat section, everything in the rest of the book is vegetarian.

Flipping through the cookbook you can easily see that a wide variety of ingredients are used. Most are easy to find while others you may have to find an Indian specialty store or use a substitute.

The fenugreek-flavoured potatoes are introduced by the following, “These really get made in a jiffy and are perfect when last-minute guests drop in or for that matter, for any hot day when being too long in the kitchen is a bother.” That pretty much sums up this dish. On the next go round I might spice it up a bit with some red pepper to create more of a bite. Although it says “if you like”, add that lemon juice at the end. It adds a nice punch to these potatoes. And, finally, I halved this recipe and it still made a lot with plenty of leftovers.

Fenugreek-Flavoured Potatoes
Summer Cookery

6 largish potatoes, peeled, boiled, and cubed
2 tomatoes, chopped
2-3 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons dried fenugreek
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt to taste

Utensil: a heavy-bottomed pan or karhai with a lid

1. Heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds. Don’t let them turn too dark.
2. Add the turmeric, fenugreek and salt. Fry from a few seconds.

3. Add the tomatoes and fry till the fat separates.

4. Add the potatoes, stir well, cover and keep on the fire for 7-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

5. Sharpen with the lemon juice if you like, before serving.

Veggin’ Cookbook Challenge: A Glance to the Past – Macaroni and Cheese Part II of II

September 18, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Main Dishes

After a thorough review of the 1936 edition of the Boston Cooking School cookbook and getting a glance to the past, it’s now time to get cooking…

I chose to do a macaroni and cheese recipe out of this cookbook as it’s a classic in the kitchen. This “Virginia Style” modification, adding a touch of mustard, falls under a recipe for Boiled Macaroni. Because it required a white sauce, it turned into a very comforting recipe to make and I stood at the stove whisking and watching the sauce thicken up.

By the way, the heroine of my 1936 cookbook narrative, Janice, probably rejoiced a year later. In 1937, Kraft to introduced their new “Kraft Meal”convenience product – their boxed macaroni and cheese.

But, really, what’s better than coming home from a long day of work and digging into some ooey gooey cheesy pasta? This macaroni and cheese came out exactly that way.  Sure, I may be tempted in the future to reach for the boxed macaroni and cheese kit, but when I’m looking for some true comfort food, this recipe will be made again.

I’m going to present the recipe as written which presents as a little disjointed as some ingredients appear in the text. So, read all the way through this so you’ll know what you need to do.

Boiled Macaroni

3/4 cup macaroni broken in inch pieces (Note: I rocked this dish with a nice modern elbow macaroni so no breaking required.)
2 quarts boiling water
1 Tablespoon salt

Cook macaroni in boiling salted water 20 minutes or until soft; drain in strainer, pour over it cold water to rinse thoroughly. Add more salt, if needed. (Note: Or, simply cook macaroni per package directions.)

Virginia style: Put half the macaroni in buttered baking dish,

Dot over with 1/2 tablespoon butter, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon mustard and 1/4 cup grated cheese; repeat. (Note: I used a prepared dijon mustard rather than powdered which I suspect the powdered is what was actually called for in the original recipe.)

pour over White Sauce (recipe below),

cover with 3 Tablespoons buttered crumbs,

and bake in hot oven (400 degrees) until crumbs are brown.

White Sauce

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Few grains pepper

Melt butter, add flour mix with seasonings, stir until well blended.

Pour on milk gradually, while stirring constantly.

Bring to boiling point.

Boil 2 minutes.

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