Sep 30, 2013

Garden Veggie Frittata...mummy special!

First of all let me begin by thanking all my dear friends and blog readers for being so supportive when they noticed I hadn't been blogging for a while. Cheering comments like ‘Good to see you back in action’ and ‘you’re back with a bang’ etc  just made my day. I’m so touched...Muah!                 
Yet,  I'm still living in the past. By 'past' I mean the past 6 months that got over like a week ago. Hmmm....ya if you have guessed it right, I'm talking about the time when my parents had been here visiting us for the summer and what a bountiful summer it turned out to be. But in a way I hope they enjoyed and I'm glad they got to see a bit of snowy winter, pretty and colorful spring and had a lovely summer in the six months they were here. And do you remember the beautiful garden daddy grew. I had shared a sneak peak picture here.

I had earlier shared a daddy special dish on the blog. But today I am overwhelmingly reminded of mummy. I miss her a lot and I also miss her special breakfast omlettes. I don't know how she does it, but though she sometimes slept later than us, she was always the first to wake up, without any alarm and by the time Manish and I got dressed up for work and go downstairs, the kitchen would be smelling heavenly of freshly brewed coffee or homemade tea and Toast or dosa or idli or omlettes! Simple, yet easy and fillings breakfast items.

I was actually scanning my picture folders when I found these set of pics which I had randomly taken while she prepared omelettes on a working day and was rushing up to finish it so that we could eat and leave...Bless her! :-) And in between her rush, was this pesky photographer who instead of helping her, was busy taking her snaps...Lol!

Anyways, I'm going to give it a fancy name and call it a "Garden Veggie Frittata", coz that's what it really is, but we just call it Omlettes at home. This is how mummy loves to make her omlettes and it always includes red onions, tomatoes, thinly sliced ginger, green chillies and cilantro, sometimes even grated carrots, basil or mint (the tomatoes, cilantro, basil or mint actually taken from our garden itself)  and she has no specific measurements, just a spoonful of this or a half/quarter of that or a handful of herbs etc. So just as colorful as it looks, it is healthy and flavorful and the frittata always turns out so juicy!

Her process is simple. Slice all the veggies thinly (she uses a finger glove and slices them on her fingers (ya, that's an art that even I don't know)), crack open the eggs in a bowl and whisk them gently, add the veggies, season with salt n pepper and pour away into a pan lightly coated with canola or olive oil. 

She has her 'I'm busy at work' face there and usually feels cold early in the mornings so wears a light sweater and after seeing this post with her pic in it, she might not talk to me :-P She hates it when I take her 'not dressed up for pics' pics and even worse put it out here on the blog for the whole world to see...But she is my mom and I love her to bits no matter how she thinks she looks :-) (And i'm sooo exaggerating when I say the whole world reads my blog...ha!)

And I love this phrase, it's so simple and yet so apt!
"God couldn't be everywhere so he created Mothers" 

Enjoy this colorful and beautiful breakfast frittata/omlette with few slices of toast and coffee or tea or just as it is (if you are on a carb free diet or something).  It was one of my favorite breakfast items and was so filling that I din't have to even think of a mid-morning snack as it kept me full until lunctime!

Garden Veggie Frittata
This recipe is for a single serving. Increase the quantity for serving more people per frittata/omelette.

You’ll need
Eggs – 1 or 2 (whisked well)
Diced Red Onions – 1 tblsp 
Diced Tomato – 1 tblsp
Thinly sliced ginger (or grated ginger) – ½ tsp
Green chillies, thinly sliced – 1
Corriander leaves or Mint or Basil leaves – ½  tblsp or as per preference
Salt and Pepper – to taste
Spray on Canola Oil / Olive Oil  or else use around 2 tsp of oil (Can use butter if preferred)

1. Slice all the veggies, crack open the eggs and whisk them gently until it’s nice and frothy and almost looks doubled in volume.  Add all the  veggies to the whisked eggs and add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Heat a frying pan and spray oil enough to coat the entire pan. If using butter, melt the butter in the pan and brush it on all sides of the pan.
3. Gently pour in the egg-veggies mixture , spread it to out to desired thickness and cover the pan and let it cook on medium heat. (This helps in retaining moisture and also puffs up the frittata)
4. Slowly but gently turn the frittata and let it cook on the other side as well for another 2 mins.  Best when eaten hot  :-)

(Mummy used to make two servings of this recipe for Manish and Me before we head out for work)

Note:  You can add or decrease the amount of veggies you want in each individual frittata. 

This is homestyle comfort food at it best! The best thing is that you can add any preferred veggie of choice and still enjoy it whole heartedly.  Remember my Red  Radish Omlette?
Care to  indulge further? Go ahead, add some grated cheese into it as well…yummm and it still doesn't get too calorific..…teeheee!

So who want’s to guess what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow? Care to join us? ;-)

Other Frittata/Omelette Recipes:


Sep 24, 2013

Apple Pachadi (Apples in a creamy mustard and yogurt sauce)

It's officially the second day of Fall today!! Apart from the onset of Fall, I knew September was going to be a month of many changes. Like I had mentioned before, my lil’Appu began daycare fulltime and my parents have gone back to Kerala after a short and beautiful 6 months with us. Apart from all this few other unexpected personal events also came up and I have no idea how this month has gone by.  Anyways we are coming back to our old routines now and the house would have been terribly silent if it weren’t for my lil’Appu’s non-stop sweet nothings and stories!

He talks a lot these days, mostly stuff that only he can understand and we just play along as if we understood. He is such an understanding and accommodating little guy. He definitely misses his grandparents with whom he has spent more time than us and he keeps going into their bedroom to check if they are there. But when we ask him “Appu, where did Ammooma go?”, he says “Opice” (office) :-)

And he goes to his daycare fulltime now without creating any fuss, either coz he knows there no point crying or mayb he likes it there, I still do not know. Anyways, he’s adjusting to the new changes and he seems happy and that’s what matters to me. So all my time is now spent trying to get him to eat well, play, keep him happy and go to bed early and even before he sleeps usually I end up sleeping first, so I’m tired as a log after a full day’s work, so blogging did take a step-back but I will try to keep this space alive as much as possible.
But I’m happy that we had such a beautiful summer this year with my parents here which started with them celebrating our Housewarming with us and ended by celebrating our first Onam in our new home of six months.

Pachadi is a very common side dish for any Onam sadhya. It’s a yogurt based dish that be made with veggies or fruits. I decided to make Apple Pachadi for our sadhya but my mom was hearing of an apple pachadi for the first time :-) She is more familiar with the veggie versions of pachadi and not fruit based pachadi, but I thought it would be a change from the regular items and Apples are plenty this season.  Green apples would be ideal for this dish as it’s nice to have a tart and savory flavor, but I used sweet & juicy red Gala apples and they were fine too.

Apple Pachadi

You’ll Need
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Dry Red Chillies – 2
Curry leaves – a sprigfull ( 8-10 leaves)
Oil – 1 tblsp
Pearl Onions or Shallots (thinly sliced) – 2-3
Green Chillies (sliced into rounds) – 1 or 2
Green or Red Apples (peeled, and cored) – 2  big apples
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Grated Coconut – 1 tblsp
Yogurt – 2 cups
Salt – to taste

1. Dice the peeled and cored apples into small thin cubes and keep them immersed in some water until required (This helps in them not getting oxidized and turning brown)
2. Using a mortar pestle, crush the mustard seeds gently until they split apart and coarsely crush the grated coconut (can also use a mixer grinder for this)
3. Heat 1 tblsp oil in a deep frying pan, add the mustard seeds, dry red chillies and curry leaves and sauté until the mustard seeds splutter.
4. Next add the onions and green chillies and sauté until they are fried well.
5. Add the diced apples (without the water) and mix everything until the apples turn slightly tender but not too soft.
6. Reduce the heat, add the crushed mustard seeds and coconut and stir everything together until combined and turn off the heat after 2 mins.
7. Once cooled slightly but still warm, add the yogurt and mix well. Can be served warm or chilled.

Sweet and savory and with a very unique flavor from the crushed mustard seeds and sweet apples and so creamy, it's one of my favorite side dishes. Try this out sometime, even if you are not having a sadhya, it’s can be a simple and sweet side dish for a simple lunch or dinner.

And I’m hoping to get back to my regular routines and blogging and cake baking soon. Can you believe I haven’t baked a cake since Appu’s b’day, except for instant microwave cakes?? Gotta get out of this phase soon!  So see you all again with more yummy recipes and stories from my kitchen and home to yours :-)

Other Pachadi recipes:


Sep 4, 2013

Carrot Thoran...and Happy Onam wishes in advance to all !!

I realise it has been quiet here for a while now. But that's only b'coz I've been out and about enjoying a much awaited vacation with my family. We travelled a lot,  ate so much and walked and explored and enjoyed so much that now I'd actually like a vacation from our vacation...have you ever felt like that? ;-)

The only thing we terribly missed during our vacation was nothing but home-cooked meals. Ofcourse it was definitely a bliss to be away from the kitchen for a while and enjoy free continental breakfasts at our hotel and try several new cusinies and tastes, but every now and then we wished to have something simple, something homemade. Eating from Indian restaurants din't help us much either!

So the first thing we did after we reached home was to prepare a simple yet hearty breakfast. Vermicelli Upma being something that our lil'Appu also loves, we prepared that and you should have seen how the little guy savored it, scooping in forkfull into his tiny mouth. He also missed home-cooked and familiar meals I guess :-) 

And although still tired from all the travel we decided to prepare a decent lunch and thanks to the abundance of our garden veggies, we din't have to run out to the store to buy any veggies and there was some Carrots in the fridge bought from the store a while ago.  So we cooked Rice and prepared Carrot thoran, Pulishery (seasoned buttermilk curry), Vendakka Theeyal (lady's finger /okra cooked in a roasted coconut gravy) and Achinga Payar Mezhukuperatty...the last two dishes prepared using homegrown veggies. I wish I had the recipes for all these dishes on the blog, but I'm working on getting it in here soon. 

Appu loves carrots and we add it to almost everything he eats, be it dosa, idli, sweet or savory dishes and lately he loves all kinds of thoran, including this Carrot Thoran. 
Thoran is nothing but a Malayalee version of veggie stir fry which is cooked until the veggies are almost roasted and dry and finally some grated coconut is added for flavour and texture.

Carrot thoran is a staple side dish at our house. I find grating the carrots easier but you can dice it thinly or make small cubes and prepare this thoran and the way I make it, it has a very mild hint of spice with the lovely sweetness from the carrots and onions. It’s one of our absolute favorite side dishes and tastes just great when eaten with plain white rice or Rotis and is really really easy to prepare.

 Carrot Thoran Recipe

You’ll need
Coconut Oil – 1 tblsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Dry Red Chilli – 1 (broken in half)
Curry leaves – 1 sprig (about 5-6 leaves)
Carrots (grated) – 2 large
Red Onion (diced or thinly sliced) – 1 medium
Green chillies (slit lengthwise or sliced) – 2
Fresh grated coconut – 2-3 tblsp (I used dry coconut powder)
Garlic clove – 1
Salt – to taste

1. In a frying pan, heat the oil. Temper by cracking the mustard seeds and then add dry red chillies and curry leaves.
2. Add the diced onions and green chillies, add some salt and sauté until the onions are pink and soft.
3. Add the grated Carrots now and sprinkle a tiny bit of water and cover and cook until the carrots are soft and cooked.
4. Coarsely grind or crush using a mortar-pestle the coconut and garlic and add that to the carrot and cook for few more minutes without the lid until the thoran is dry and the garlic smell wears off.

Few other suggestions:
1. If you do not want to bite into any green chillies by mistake, grind/crush it along with the coconut and garlic in Step 4.
2. You can add some chana dal or split moong dal while tempering for some more flavor and texture.
3. Use Vegetable oil if you do not prefer coconut oil.

See! now wasn't that really simple and easy. And we ate lunch to our hearts content with these simple yet yummy dishes and no restaurant food could have beat that, I say!

Onam is right around the corner (on Sep 16th this year) and I'm sure all Keralites are gearing up to celebrate this popular festival of the south-Indian state of Kerala, with family & friends and the special part is cooking up an elaborate sadhya

I wish you all a "Very Happy & Prosperous Onam" in advance. 

Here's a pic of our Vishu sadhya dishes which we prepared for this year's Vishu festival which was in April, just a few a days after we had moved in to our new house. Banana leaves which is traditionally used to serve the sadhya in is missing here, as we din't get a chance to go and buy them, but the sadhya was superb! Just looking at it makes me drool. Burrrp...oops!! Hehe... 

Can you guess the dishes?? :-)

We haven't yet planned our Onam sadhya menu, but we will soon.
Psst: Make this carrot thoran as one of your sadhya sides, lovely color, great taste, easy to make, what else do you want? ;-)