Friday, 19 September 2014

Chocolate Oats Porridge

Oats is one of my favorite ingredient.And when Suja Ram of Indian Veg Kitchen gave me Oats and Red Capsicum for this months Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge ingredient,I was ecstatic! I had initially planned in using these two ingredients in a savory dish, but then I just said to myself that there are hardly any sweet dishes on my blog so made this one instead.

But as much as I love oats, I do not prefer it in sweet dishes esp in porridges.For me porridges are salty or savory and definitely not sweet.To break that mind barrier of mine, I went ahead and made this one.

It would not be true if I said I was head over heels in love with this dish! Well, the truth is I am just getting adjusted to a sweet porridge idea. Yes, it was tasty and had my favorite ingredient.Maybe one day in future, I will change my mind on porridge being on the sweeter side....

I used:

Quick cooking Oats - 1/4 cup
Milk-1 cups
Water- 1 cup
Brown sugar- 3 teaspoons
Cocoa powder- 1 tablespoon mixed in 1/4 cup milk
Garnishes of your choice

Toast the oats in a pan for a few minutes till they turn a shade darker. So not burn. This roasting gives a nice flavor and makes the porridge a little less gooey.This step is optional though.
Add water and cook the oats.Add brown sugar. Once the oats is done,add milk, cocoa mixture and mix well.Add more water or milk to get the desired consistency. Remove from heat.

Serve warm / chilled with garnishes of your choice.

  • This porridge thickens on standing. Add more milk before serving.
  • I have used Hershey kisses, tutti frutti, white chocolate chips and chopped almond as the garnish.You can add anything of your choice like chocolate vermicelli, fresh fruits, etc.
  • I liked it better when it was chilled.
Bon Appetit...

Qatar - Mint Tea

When it came to selecting a country for Q in the Culinary journey across the globe , there was no confusion.Qatar was the obvious choice!

 Actually, during the planning period, I wanted to do Qambia, which is another name for Gambia in another language. I was sure that most of my friends, if not all, would be preparing something from Qatar and I wanted to do something different.I found a soup and a potato dish.I was so happy!

But last week when I got into the excitement of creating an International Recipe Index, it struck me that I would not have anything for the letter Q if I made Qambia as I would be listing it as Gambia.
So as I was telling you, Qatar was the choice. I looked up a lot of websites and blogs and found that most of the dishes were all meat based except a potato curry that sounded so similar to our Jeera aloo[cumin flavored potato curry], a rice dish that was very simple but had to be baked or slow cooked in a dum method and a couple of desserts .I wasn't in a mood to make any thing of that sort and maybe my research a limited or what ever but I never found any thing to suit my theme and taste.

Then last evening around 4pm, I was sitting with Lil Angel and coaching her for her exams, I casually googled for Qatar beverages and two of them popped up in all the sites. One is an exotic saffron flavored coffee that actually does not have coffee in it and the other one is this mint tea!

I am out of saffron so the first one was ruled out.With no exact recipe, I was not sure how to make the first one and did not have a clear picture of how it should look!

Then another search later, after going through a series of articles and travelogues on Qatar and seeing a few pics[which lacked recipes], I deduced the method ,ingredients and had an idea of  how it would look.And with a fresh bunch of mint leaves that I got from the farmer's market yesterday morning, I was so happy to use it in this recipe.

All this happened quickly,within half an hour. Then an hour later, Lil Angel and me enjoyed this tasty beverage...

I read that this tea aids digestion and is served at the end of a meal.Sometimes this or coffee with saffron and dates is served.What a tasty way to end a meal!!

I used:

Water- 2 cups
Tea leaves - 2 tablespoons
Mint leaves- a handful, lightly crushed
Honey to taste

Heat water in a vessel and add the tea leaves, mint and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Add honey to taste.

Serve hot with some dates on the side...

Or serve chilled ....

  • Add more water if needed,if you feel the taste is too strong.
  • Tastes best when served chilled

Bon Appetit...

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Pakistan - Sindhi Sai Bhaji

This dish or rather this post was not scheduled to be posted today!When I was deciding to make something from the P lettered country for Culinary journey across the globe, I first chose Poland, then Portugal,then changed it to Philippines.Finally I settled on Pakistan!!

And even when I chose Pakistan, I had a set of recipes in mind. Then I got chatting with Vaishali and she directed me to some dishes and I had it all planned out.

So finally what am I posting?The dishes I made last month on a day that I wanted a quick lunch and I had very little time as I my dear maid suddenly took a day off without prior infirmation! I put this in the draft and let it sit there.

It was only later that I realized that I did have 2 Sindhi recipes ready in my drafts and I rejoiced that I had one country less to cook for this series!

So here it is - Sindhi Sai Bhaji and Bhuga Chawara ,phulka and a potato curry[not from Sindhi cuisine]

 First some fun / interesting facts on Pakistan...
  • Pakistan is officially called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
  • The name literally means 'Land of the pure' in Urdu and Persian Language.
  • Benazir Bhutto was the first Muslim Lady to serve as a Prime minister in an Islamic country.
  • Pakistan has the largest number of salt mines.
  • Sialkot in Pakistan is the largest producer of Hand stitched foot ball in the world.
  • The Tharpakar region in Pakistan is the only fertile dessert in the world.
  • This country has the largest ambulance Volunteer service in the world!
  • The national drink of Pakistan is Sugarcane juice.
  • It stands second in the production of Chickpeas after India.
  • The National sport is Field hockey.
Now to the cuisine. I am going to talk about the Sindhi cuisine here...
  • This cuisine refers to the culinary practices of the people of Sindh region, Pakistan.
  •  As far as I read, I learnt that the meal usually has a wheat based flat bread - phulka, rice accompanied by a gravy and vegetable curries.
  • It is neither too bland not too spicy.
  • It has the Mughal influence in its dishes.
  • It is now popular in many parts of India and abroad.
  • This cuisine migrated to India during the Partition of India and Pakistan along with its people.

 Some of the popular dishes include...
  • Sai Bhaji ,Chawal
  • Chiti Kuni - 7 vegetable stew 
  • Dal Pakwan
  • Koki- a kind of flat bread.
  • Seyun Patata - A Sweet vermicelli dish served with potatoes
  • Mitho lolo - A sweet Roti.
  • Varo - Nutty Praline
  • Thandai - An almond and poppy seed based cooler
  • Falooda etc
Now to today's recipe...

This is one of the tastiest ways to cook greens and I am still wondering why I never tried this before!!

I used:
Adapted from Ribbons to Pastas

Mixed vegetables- 1 cup[I used potato, carrots, brinjal],chopped into chunks
Spinach-1 bunch,roughly chopped
Channa dal-1 cup
Onion-1, roughly chopped
Tomato-1, roughly chopped
Ginger- 1" piece, minced
Galic-3 pods, chopped
Turmeric powder- 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander powder- 1 teaspoon
Red chili powder- 1 teaspoon
Kasuri Methi-1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste


Chopped garlic- 1 tablespoon
Red chili powder- 1/4 teaspoon
Oil-1 tablespoon

Take the vegetables, greens, dal in a pressure cooker and add the salt and the masala powders.Add 3 cups of water and mix.

Pressure cook for 3 hisses / 15 minutes. When the pressure releases, mash the mixture and transfer it into a serving dish.

Heat oil for tempering and add the garlic and chili powder. When the garlic starts to turn brown,pour over the gravy and serve

Tastes best with Bhuga Chawara...

Bon Appetit...