Spinach and Potato

Who wants to be strong and healthy? Pretty much everybody. And here we have on vegetables which is always somewhere on the top of the healthy ingredients. This is the spinach

It is very easy and quick to prepare this dish. We need:

popay

- potato

- spinach

- fresh tomato

- cream (sour or double) — optional

 

 

Spices:
– mustard seeds
– dry curry leaves
– asafoetida
– turmeric
– paprika
– coriander powder

The procedure is as follows: on a hot ghee (or oil) throw mustard seeds. After they pooped, add curry leaves and asafoetida (I personally hate it, so I never use it), then potato. Stir and add rest of the spices.  Cover. Let it cook on a slow flame for a couple of minutes. Put washed and chopped spinach on the top, cover and let it boil for a little while. Then add salt and chopped fresh tomato. Mix nicely and your first class dish is done.

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On this class someone brought a cream, so we put it in as well, but even without is great.

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Puri

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Puris are traditional Indian fried breads made with straight wholemeal flour, but you can vary the ingredients. One-half wholemeal or atta, and one-half plain (white) flour makes lighter puris. If you want them crispy, add a few spoons of ghee.

While deep-frying, it puffs up like a round ball because moisture in the dough changes into steam which expands in all directions. When it is golden-brown in colour, it is removed and may be served hot or saved for later use (but hot is hot!).

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Preheat the ghee or oil in a wok or deep pan. I should be very hot. Lift up a rolled puri and slip it into the hot oil, making sure it doesn’t fold over. It will sink to the bottom and then immediately rise to the surface. Hold it under the surface with a slotted spoon until it puffs up into a balloon. Let it brown slightly to golden colour, then turn it over and cook the other side to the same even golden colour. Lift the puri with the slotted spoon and carefully drain it in a large colander.

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Kitchri

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Today is something so ordinary, but at the same time so special. This is Kitchri. Kitchri is a mixture of dhal (lentil), rice and vegetables, which means it’s a complete meal.

We need:
–          Dhal (I usually use mung dhal)
–          Rice
–          Vegetables
–          Salt
–          Spices
–          Tin tomato

The procedure is very simple – put dhal in the pot and when it’s half done start putting the vegetables from hardest to softest one. Today we had potato, cauliflower and pepper. Rice is added in the end. You may be cooking fresh vegetables, as well as frozen recipe as a short-cut.  When all this starts to boil together, cover tightly and put flame on minimum for 10 minutes. Switch off and leave it uncovered for the next 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, you may fry the spices.
In a pan heat up the oil or ghee. When it is hot, add cumin seeds, asafoetida (hing), fresh ginger and powder spices (turmeric, ground coriander and paprika). On top of all you may add tin tomato and cook it for a couple of minutes. Pour all the spice mixture in the pot with already cooked kitchri, add some salt and fresh coriander leaves on the top.

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Serving suggestion: It goes nicely with a youghurt

Basmati Rice

Rice is one of the basic easy-to-make staple foods. Interestingly many fail to bring it to perfection. So here is the help for those who have trouble in this endeavour. I always choose to cook Basmati rice (variety of long grain rice) because it has a special flavour and also looks nice.
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We need:
 
1 cup Basmati rice
1.5 cups water
Salt
Tsp of ghee or oil
 
 
 
 

 

The procedure is as follows – when water is boiling, add rice, salt and ghee in the pot. Mix gently, cover tightly and put flame on minimum. After 10-15 min (it depends on quantity), or when water is no longer visible on the surface, switch off the flame and leave it for 10-15 min more in the same covered dish.

The mistake people do is to cook the rice completely. However the rice is left it in the pot so that it remains hot until ready to be served. Thus the rice is overcooked or broken.
 
The correct way is to switch off when nearly done (nearly cooked), then the cooking is completed by itself and the rice will stay nicely cooked even if not served immediately.
 
If you cook with brown Basmati rice, it will take at least double amount of cooking time. This recipe will not work for all kinds of rice, because each variety absorbs different amounts of water and has different cooking time.

Potato, Cauliflower & Courgettes

We will cook a very simple and quick vegetable dish today. Ingredients are:

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–          Potato
–          Cauliflower
–          Courgettes
–          Mustard seeds
–          Turmeric
–          Paprika
–          Coriander powder
–          Tin tomato

First we put mustard seeds in hot oil (or ghee). When they are popped-up we add potato and leave it there for a minute or two. Then open and add powdered spices and cauliflower on top. After 5 minutes of cooking we add tin tomato and courgettes. When all starts to boil, we switch it off and leave uncovered for 15 min. Then we can add salt and some fresh herbs on top.

Aside

Gnocchi in tomato sauce

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Today we are making gnocchi. This is an exceptional treat for everyone. Gnocchi are a kind of dumpling which comes from Italy but they are very well-known in all surrounding countries as well.

 

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1 kg potato

1 kg plain flour

Salt

 

We boil potato and mash it very fine When it cools down enough so that we can touch it by hand, then we can mix it with flour into a dough.

 

 

Then we form a shape. Here is one idea of how to do the shape. First you take a small amount of dough, make a ‘snake’ and cut into small pieces.

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Then gnocchi needs to be cooked in boiling water. As soon as they come up (on top of the water), they are done.

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You can put them into tomato sauce which has already been cooked before.

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For tomato sauce we need

2 liter of tin tomato, chopped

Paprika powder

Fresh basil

200 g tin sweet corn (or frozen)

Salt

Black pepper

 

Cook tomato in the pot for a while. The longer you cook it the less sour it becomes. Towards the end you may add other things and bland it.

Ekadasi cake — decorating

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Last time we baked a cake and today we are going to see how to decorate it. It is relatively easy to decorate the cake that it turn out well, but today we will see how even broken cake may turn out into nice looking cake.

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We will fill it up with double cream and decorate its outside with the same.
Cream is very nice to eat, especially when it’s soft and freshly made. But there is one problem – when the cream is too soft, cake is not stable. While attempting to cut the cake, it falls apart.

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The solution is to not beat the cream all at once. First you may beat half of the cream so it becomes hard. This one goes inside the cake as a building block. Then you make the softer cream, which you will spread around the cake in order for it to look nice and smooth. And in the end, you make a medium thickness for piping job.

Ingredients:
Double cream
Sugar
Rose water
If you have a three layer 9” cake you will need at least 500ml of double cream. In this amount of cream you can put cca 50gr of sugar. Of course, you may put more or less sugar, according to your taste.

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While doing piping job, I recommend that you put small amount of cream in the piping bag and work with it. Then keep adding little by little. There are two reasons why. One is that cream will melt if you keep it in your hand for a long time. And the second reason is that you can be more precise by not having to press so strongly. This is also helpful if piping bag is shorter.

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Ekadasi cake — baking

    Welcome everybody to our second week of vegetarian cookery class. Today, again we are going to do something which is not a part of a daily routine, but just a fortnight event. As you may guess, today is Ekadasi, so we will make an Ekadasi cake.
What does Ekadasi mean? Literally, it means eleventh, the eleventh day after the full moon or after the waning moon. Many people in the past were aware of the influence of the moon. There used to be agricultural bio calendars, which suggested beneficial days for particular activities in agricultural cultivation. In medicine, it is also very well known that on full moon days patients bleed much more during operation. For those endeavouring to lead a spiritual life there is also guidance on what are auspicious and inauspicious days.
By knowing all this, many fast on Ekadasi days because it enhances spiritual development. Many more fast just from selected items, like grains and beans, which are more demanding for digestions than just fruit and vegetables.
In our attempt to follow Ekadasi in this way, we will be making cake without grain.
This same recipe may be very beneficial for those who are on a gluten-free diet.

So here are the ingredients:
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  • 2 cups farali flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 0.5 cup oil
  • baking soda
  • rose water

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Timing in the oven depends on a number of factors; I will mention two major factors: 1. How your oven works – Each oven is different, so you need to experiment with yours in order to find its ideal cooking time.
2. The amount of mixture in the tray – If you are attempting to make three tin layers, it will take you significantly less time in the oven than if you are making one high cake.

What you can expect – soft sponge cake

How much of the cake you can expect from this measurement – either three tin layers for 9’’round cake, or one medium high cake. We did two layers.

Decorating is coming in the next post.

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Dolce di Polenta

So, here is our first post. This is quite unusual recipe. I got it from one of my friends from Croatia. She actually printed for me couple of cakes on the basis of semolina or cornmeal and here we are to try them out. This one is called “Dolce polenta”, which means Sweet cornmeal.

What you can expect from this sweet — if you bake it longer time, you get an alternative flapjack. It is far away form nice, fluffy sponge, but chewing has its charm as well.

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There is something which really amazed me, and this is that cake do not contain any baking powder of soda. You usually need raising agent in every cake, but this one worked nicely even without it. For a softer version you may add some baking powder.

Ingredients:
400 gr Ricotta cheese
150 ml sugar
150 ml crushed wholenuts
50 ml raisins
500 ml cornmeal
250 ml water

Mix all together nicely
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And put in the oven on 160-180 C
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30-45 min later:
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In the end, you may put icing sugar on the top for decoration.

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