Saturday, November 26, 2005

Date Cake

Very easy to put together, suitable for surprise entertaining. Even during CHAOS (Cannot Have Anyone Over Syndrome). Also the cake is eggless!!! It doesn't get any better :-)

Date Cake
12 dates, pitted and chopped
1 1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda (not baking powder)
12 walnuts, chopped

To Proceed:
1. Boil the milk in a saucepan. Remove from heat.
2. Add the dates and let it stand until cool.
3. When cool put into a blender or food processor and process or blend until the dates are ground.
4. Add the oil into blender/food processor and blend/process again until incorporated and mixture becomes thick. Add sugar to the mixture in the blender/food processor and blend until incorporated.
5. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Seive flour and baking soda well. Fold in the flour until it is mixed well.
Note: You can at this point add a little more milk in case you find the batter a little thick. The batter should be of pouring consistency like most cake batters.
6. Pour batter into a greased baking dish and bake at 375F for 25 - 30 mins depending on your oven.

We loved this cake and ended up making it twice in one week. I bet you could try this with dried apricots, figs etc for similar results.

As an end note, keep posted for experiments on slow cookers and how slow cooking is/isn't better than regular stove top cooking for Indian cooking.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Oven Fried Banana Chips

The inspiration for this week's cooking experiment came from Tarla Dalal's newsletter( which sends a bunch of 'new' recipes every 15 days or so. Now at this point, it is important to note that I am biased against Tarla Dalal's recipes. I have unsuccessfully tried following some of her very 'novel' westernized dishes with Indian ingredients. Mrs. Dalal, I like to follow recipies so that I don't have to exercise my noggin, but your 'novel' , 'imaginative' recipes need constant improvisation which makes me doubt if they have been tested. But credit should be given where credit is deserved. Kudos to you for building your own 'empire' and brand name all over the world based on the simple ingredients of vegetarianism. But - call me biased or inexperienced, I would recommend only your strictly Gujarati recipes to friends who are starting out. That said, MIL is a HUGE fan of yours and owns a copy of almost all of your books. One of them is also personally autographed by you.

On to today's topic. So Mrs. Dalal's recipe called for using the microwave oven to crisp the banana chips, but I had my doubts if that would work since microwaves tend to make wet foods soggy at the bottom. So I decided to use the conventional oven instead. One of these days I will try this using the microwave and report the results (which may be just as good)


One Raw Banana (Plaintain)
jeera pow
(or any other masala that strikes your fancy)
oil a few tsps

How to proceed

Peel the raw banana. This step was the hardest in my case because I own a lousy peeler which took several rounds of peeling to remove all the thick skin. I didnot want to use a knife and loose majority of the pulp. I would like any recommendation on what kind of gadgets would work well for plaintains.

Use a box grater or slicer to slice wafer thin rounds of the plaintain. The thinner the slices are, the faster it will crisp. You HAVE to be careful if you are using a conventional grater for this.

Preheat oven to ~400F. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. In a bowl (or a ziploc bag if you don't wont to dirty too many dishes) place the slices, add about 2 tbsps of oil and salt to taste. Toss around to coat both sides of the slices. Place the slices in a single layer on the baking sheet. Use 2 baking sheets if you are making a big batch. Place in oven for 15 mins or till crisp. Flip over the slices once in between.

Once out if the oven and still hot, toss in other dry masalas like jeera pow, chilli pow etc.
Enjoy with rice and dal or rice and sambar or eat it just as is.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Just for Mommie

I am posting this separately because this one is special. This is the first real recipe I 'shared' with Mommie. The credit to the recipe of 'Rava Dosa' undoubtedly goes to MIL. It is a snap to put together and is a crowd pleaser.

Rava Dosa

2 cups dry roasted rava
1 cup rice flour
2-3 green chillies chopped
1 tsp jeera
pinch of asafoteda
1 tsp of grated coconut (optional)
Water (?? need some algorithm to calculate the amount of water)

Mix all dry ingredients together in a fairly large bowl. Add water until the mixture is very thin, watery (the thinner, the crisper the dosas turn out) . If you leave the batter standing for some time, most of the rava settles at the bottom. Before ladling it out, give it a vigorous stir to make sure all the good stuff from the bottom is incorporated.

Heat tava. After it is nice and hot, pour 1 cup of the thin batter. Drizzle some oil just like you would on a regular dosa. It takes longer to cook and crisp, but you only need to cook only one side. Serve with molagai pudi or any chutnies for a snack or with sambar for a full meal.

Scaling the recipe to 1 cup rava with 1/2 cup rice flour makes just enough dosas for two very hungry people.

Thanks MIL for this instant dosa recipe. Try this one and let me know how it turns out.