Baked Macaroni And Cheese

Here is another dish which was part of a challenge for BM 37, week 4. This was suggested by Varada and since my little one loves Mac n Cheese, I thought she would enjoy this baked version as well. 

And she sure did enjoy her after school snack! And so did the other adult at home :). This is for Day 3.

Ingredients - 

Macaroni 1 cup (4 oz )
Butter 1 Tbsp
Flour 1 Tbsp
Milk  cup
Sharp Cheddar Cheese 1 cup (I used 4 cheese blend)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Bread Crumbs 1/2 cup

Baked Macaroni And Cheese

Method Of Preparation -

Boil the Macaroni (according to instructions on the packet) in about 4-5 cups of water adding a little salt.

Drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 ° F.

Whisk together milk, flour and pepper.

In a heated  pan, add butter and the milk-flour mixture.

Reduce the heat and stir continuously until the milk -flour mixture thickens.

Gradually add the cheese while stirring and as soon as the cheese melts, add the drained macaroni and mix well until the sauce is coated well.

Grease an oven safe dish and transfer the mac and cheese. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly on top and bake for about 18-20 minutes until the top gets a golden brown hue.

Remove and serve warm.

Preparation Time 20 min + baking time 18 min
Serves 2-3

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In Telugu, Ukkara means the first solid food made out of soaked and ground rice (rice sooji). So I was intrigued by the name Ukkarai. When Jayanthi posed this as a challenge as part of Week 4 of BM #37, I was glad to check it out for myself what it was!!

This makes a very unique sweet which can be used as 'naivedyam' (offering to God). It tastes a lot like the Poornam which we make for Puran Poli/Bobbattu etc.

Recipe Source - here
Ingredients - 

Chana Dal 1/2 cup
Moong Dal 1/2 cup
Jaggery, powdered 1 cup
Coconut, grated 1 tsp (Optional)
Cashews, fried in ghee, a handful
Ghee 1 tsp
Cardamom Powder 1/2 tsp

Method Of Preparation -

In a heated pan, dry roast the chana dal and moong dal separately until they turn a shade brown. 

Remove from fire and soak in water for 2-3 hrs. (If you are in a hurry, soak the dals in hot water for about 45 min).

Drain and coarsely grind the dals adding as little water as possible.

Steam the coarsely ground mixture by spreading out the mixture on a plate or in idli plates. (I steamed for about 15-17  min)

Remove and upon cooling, coarse grind so there are no big lumps.

In a heated pan, add ghee and roast the cashews until golden brown and set aside.

In the same pan, heat the powdered jaggery with a couple tablespoons of water until it froths up and is almost getting to a single string consistency.

Slowly add the ground up mixture into the simmering syrup and mix well until blended.

Add about a teaspoon of ghee, grated coconut (if using) and cook the mixture for about 10-12 min stirring in between so the undersides don't burn.

Remove after a bread crumb like consistency is achieved and garnish with fried cashews

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 37.

Preparation Time  Soaking time upto 2 hrs, cooking time 20 min
Makes approx 1 cup

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Paneer Lababdar

This week, I have chosen to take part in a unique challenge as part of BM #37. In this, our fellow BMers have each put out a recipe for us to choose from. So from a list of about 15-18,we needed to pick three and showcase them this week.

As soon as I saw this recipe name from Sapana, I was tempted to try it out the same day and we loved it. Special thanks to Sapana from our family as well. So for day 1, week 4, here is the the delectable Paneer Lababdar.

Paneer Lababdar

Recipe source -Tarla Dalal
Ingredients - 

Paneer (Cottage Cheese) cubes 1 cup
Coriander (Dhania) Seeds , roasted and crushed 1 tsp 
Crushed Red Chillies 2 tsp or 3 Whole Red Chillies , coarsely ground
Kasuri Methi 1/2 tsp 
Onions, finely chopped  1/2 cup 
Ginger-Garlic paste 1 1/2 tsp 
Turmeric powder  1/4 tsp 
Tomatoes, chopped 1 1/2 cups (I used 2 Tbsp tomato puree and 1/4 cup of chopped tomatoes) 
Milk (low fat)  1/2 cup 
Cornstarch or Cornflour 1/4 tsp 
Garam Masala 1/4 tsp 
salt to taste
Seasoning (Oil 2 tsp, Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp)

Paneer Lababdar

Method Of Preparation -

In a heated pan, add oil and cumin seeds. After they crackle, add the crushed coriander seeds, kasuri methi, crushed red chillies and onions.

Saute the onions until they turn slightly brown.

Add in the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder and tomatoes. Also pour in 4-5 tablespoons of water. Let the mixture simmer until the oil floats on top.

Remove from fire and let it cool. Upon cooling blend into a smooth paste and transfer to the pan. Let it boil.

Mix cornstarch/cornflour in 1 tablespoon of milk and set aside.

After the onion-tomato mixture comes to a boil, add the cornstarch-milk, milk, garam masala and salt.

Mix well and gently slide the paneer cubes into the simmering gravy. Remove from fire after about 3-4 minutes.

Garnish with Cilantro (coriander leaves) and serve warm with Roti/Naan.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 37.

Preparation Time  30 min
Serves 4-5

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Posted by Harini R on Monday, February 24, 2014

Bhel Puri

This is one street food which very forgiving and flexible. We can make it as sophisticated by adding some interesting ingredients or keep it simple with the basic ones.

My older one would gladly have this for an after school snack even if it is the bare bones version! Here it is for Day 3, Week 3 of BM #37.

Ingredients - 

Murmura / Puffed Rice 
Tamarind-Date Chutney
Green Chutney
Onions, finely chopped
Tomatoes, finely chopped
Boiled Chana/Garbanzo Beans
Boiled and Mashed Potato
Carrot, Grated 
Cucumber, finely chopped
Sev or any Spicy mixture
Coriander leaves, finely chopped
Puri (Optional - used as a scoop while eating)

I have not mentioned the quantities as it is totally customize-able. So feel free to make it by adding as many ingredients as your pantry can handle.

Bhel Puri

Method Of Preparation -

In a wide mixing bowl, toss in all the ingredients and mix well and serve immediately.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 37.

Sending this to Srivalli's "Kid's Delight - After School Snacks" hosted by Sowmya.

Preparation Time 10 min
Serves as per quantity made

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Vegetable Kidney Bean Burger

Typically for a burger, we need a protein filler, a few veggies, sauces for flavoring, right? Here is a fast and easy way to make a burger without specifically making a Veggie Patty.

The basic idea is to have a protein mixed with cooked veggies to make a stiff dough of the mixture. Just apply it on one side of the bun and cook it on the griddle and assemble!! 

My older one has taken a liking to this form of burger as well. So check these out for Day 2 Week 3 of BM #37.

Vegetable Kidney Bean Burger

Ingredients - 

Burger Buns as needed
Lettuce, Onion and Tomato to layer within the burger
Mixed Vegetables, boiled 1 1/2 cups 
Kidney Beans, boiled and drained 3/4 cup (Or Garbanzo Beans)
Salt, Red Chilli Powder to taste
Chaat Masala, Garam Masala, Pav Bhaji Masala, Chole Masala (add whatever suits your palate)

*Feel free to add any other dressing like Mayo, Mustard, Vinegar etc.
*I tried adding in some crushed paneer as well. Experiment with ingredients to suit your kids.

Vegetable Kidney Bean Burger

Method Of Preparation -

Lightly mash the cooked kidney beans(Rajma), mix in the mashed mixed veggies.

Add the masalas, and other flavors as needed and make it into a stiff dough. (Shhh...On one occasion I had mixed in some crumbled paneer to boost up the protein content).

On one side of the bun apply a thick coating of the protein paste made above.

Heat a griddle, spray some oil if needed.

Gently, place the spread side down on the hot griddle and let it cook on a medium flame. After 2-3 minutes, the cooked side will be crisp and brown. Remove and continue to make more as needed.

Now to assemble the burger go with your preferred veggies and seasonings. For my older one, I served with onions, tomatoes and lettuce. Also some mustard and ketchup and topped it with the other half of the bun.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 37.

Sending these burgers to Srivalli's "Kid's Delight - After School Snacks" hosted by Sowmya.

Preparation Time  15 min
Makes 3 cups of mixture good for about 8-10 burgers

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Posted by Harini R on Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pasta-Chickpea Cutlets

For Week 3 of BM #37,  I have chosen to feature some of my kids' favorite after school snacks.

It so happened that on a weekday morning, my little one asked that I pack some pasta for her lunch. So I cooked pasta and was about to season it when she came running to me to say that she has changed her mind and that she would take bread instead. I am sure most of the moms face this kind of a situation with their kids during the morning rush hour. :)

Now, I had some cooked pasta on hand and some leftover Chana Masala and my kids love to eat cutlets in any form. So I had the perfect formula for an after school snack!!

Check out these cutlets for Day 1, which my older one had as a base for her chaat and enjoyed every bit of it!

Ingredients - 

Pasta, Boiled al dente and mashed 1 cup
Chana/Chickpea Masala, mashed 1 cup
Mixed Vegetables (of your choice), boiled and mashed 1/2 cup
Bread slices 3-4, powdered
Chaat Masala , Red Chilli Powder, Garam Masala, Salt as needed

Pasta-Chickpea Cutlets

Method Of Preparation -

In a mixing bowl, Mash the cooked pasta, add the mashed Chana Masala, mashed mixed vegetables and salt and set aside.

Mix bread crumbs to the above mixture, season with the masala powders as per taste and mix well to make a stiff dough.

Make palm sized patties (discs) and shallow fry them on a hot griddle/tawa spraying oil as and when necessary.

Cook them on both sides and remove them onto paper towels.

Serving Suggestion - Apply a layer of green chutney, drizzle some tamarind date chutney, a teaspoon of yogurt and sev.
Serve with Ketchup or chutney of your choice!

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 37.

Sending these cutlets to Srivalli's "Kid's Delight - After School Snacks" hosted by Sowmya.

Preparation Time 25 min
Makes 15-18

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Red Thai Curry Noodle Soup

For Day 3, Week 2 of BM #37, we travel from Valencia (Vegetarian Paella) to South America (Tortas Fritas) to the east in Thailand. I gather that in many countries of the South East, noodles in many forms are part of the street food culture. 

Here I showcase this ever so popular Red Thai Curry Noodle Soup. I have chosen the short cut by using the store bought red thai curry paste. I am sure it is pretty easy to make the paste at home if we have the ingredients handy. 

I made this on my husband's whim when he handed me the store bought paste and asked if I could make the soup. In fact he looked up the soup recipe online and made my job easy. :)

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Posted by Harini R on Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Vegan Tortas Fritas

These Fried Cakes/Pies as they translate to, are primarily popular in the South American Continent. Apparently they are to be enjoyed on a rainy afternoon with piping hot tea!! I have come upon articles on the web where the author talks about having these Vegan Tortas Fritas in a roadside shack in Bolivia. So these qualify as street food from South America for Day 2 week 2 of BM #37. :)

They are usually made with Lard (Animal fat), but I came upon this vegan version which I thought would work for us! They are typically served with some kind of jam/jelly but we had different ideas. :) I felt these resembled crispy Bhaturas. The rolled out dough is slashed in the center so that upon frying the discs don't puff out. 

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Posted by Harini R on Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Vegetarian Paella

I first came to know about this variety of  Spanish rice from my older one's Spanish teacher last year. From then on, my daughter has been behind me to make this for her. Finally I was able to satisfy her wish. 

Apparently, this is a very popular rice dish which has its origins in Valencia, a region in the Mediterranean coast of Spain. I understand that there are stalls in some famous streets of London where there are Paella pans (special pans used to cook Paella) with the rice cooked fresh on hot coals and served. 

According to many sources on the web, the paella pans are so huge that they are not suitable to be used on gas/electric burners. The pans are placed on huge BBQ grills and the rice cooked in them is supposed to be superior in taste.

Since I have limited resources in my humble kitchen, I used a smaller pan and cooked this delicious rice on my stove-top. I have deliberately made it very bland without any spice/heat in there as this was made primarily to please my kids.

Btw, it is pronounced as "pie-AY-ya".

This qualifies as the first post under the International Street Food theme for Week 2 of BM #37.

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Homemade Rava Idli Mix

For Day 3, week 1 of BM #37, Here is a life saver for the weekday morning rush.

I have taken refuge in this simple homemade mix umpteen number of times over the past few years. This mix stays good for about a month in the refrigerator (I haven't tested beyond a month :) ). 

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Posted by Harini R on Wednesday, February 5, 2014

These days my kids are hooked on to pasta like nobody's business. So I was looking to offer them new variations of pasta. Then I remembered that I had eaten a version of pasta with some kind of tomato-vegetable sauce at my friend, Pooja's place. 

So I called her, got the recipe and here it is as part of day 2 week 1 of BM #37. 

I think this sauce can be used on toasted bread, as a sandwich filling and however you like.

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Frozen Green Chillies

One of the first things I do when my husband comes back from veggie-shopping is to chop all the excess vegetables and freeze them. I found that the green chillies frozen in this method makes my life easy when I am cooking. 

This will work only for people like me who don't like to see the chillies as is in the food served. :)

For BM #37, week 1, I have chosen to blog about some Kitchen Basics and this method of storing green chillies forms part of Day 1.
Frozen Green Chillies

Ingredients - 

Green Chillies 1 cup (stems removed)
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp

Frozen Green Chillies
Method Of Preparation -

Grind all the ingredients and divide equally in a small ice cube tray, cover with a cling wrap and freeze overnight.

Remove the cubed green chillies and store in a freezer-safe container or a zip lock cover and place in the freezer.

When required, use one cube or as needed.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 37.

Preparation Time 5 min + Freezing time
Makes 15 mini heart shaped 

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Posted by Harini R on Monday, February 3, 2014
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