Spinach Soup, The Winter Treats

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Chilly winters call for some warm treats and as we step into this new year, I wanted to bring to you all my favourite quick, go to recipes in winters under a series, The Winter Treats. Spinach, I love it for the nutrition, deliciousness and the ease at which it can be added into any savoury dish or curry. Handful of sauteed spinach and a bowl of curd is just enough to to meet your protein, probiotic, fiber needs for a day. Not to forget the vitamin and mineral profile of greens, especially spinach. So, here I bring you the first recipe of this series – the humble spinach soup. The beauty of the recipe lies in the simplicity of ingredients and execution. Also, it doesn’t have corn starch or maida. So, all the people conscious about healthy choices – fret not. That said, it’s a yummilicious hearty treat to anyone!

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Do let me know about your favorite winter treats as well! 😀 Try this recipe and tag your post with the hashtag #tadkatales . I would love to hear your reviews 😀

 

 

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Eggless Gulab Jamun & Whole Wheat flour Cake | Simple Eggless Cake recipe| Instant Eggless cake recipe| How to make cake with Gulab Jamun premix recipe| Best Homemade Cake Recipe| Irresistible Basic Cake recipe |Whole Wheat Cake recipe

Apologies for the infrequent posts in here. Been busy with different kinds of documentation works lately and cooking is limited to quick, rushed up sprints. Anyways, baked this quick cake today that I couldn’t postpone this post to anytime later. This is made of gulab jamun mix and is devoid of all purpose flour. Yes, gulab jamun mix! I couldn’t believe myself looking at the soft spongy texture it acquired despite being a complete wheat flour cake. This is the second experiment with wheat flour in recent times that proved cakes with only wheat flour can also turn spongy(less dense).  I think I have come across Anu’s recipe on a facebook baker’s group few weeks earlier and it caught my eye on the saved lists today. So when I resolved to make a sweet treat, straight away went for it.

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I have used a pressure cooker to bake and it came out moist with a satisfying crumb – almost tasted like Soda Bottle Openerwala’s mawa cake. 😀

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Serves: 8 – 10 slices

Ingredients:

Dry:

½ cup Gulab Jamun Mix powder (I used Gowardhan’s)

½ cup Whole Wheat flour

½ cup Powdered sugar

½ tsp Baking powder

¼ tsp Baking soda

A pinch of salt

Wet:

¼ tsp Vanilla Essence

½ cup milk

¼ cup oil (odorless, I used Sunflower oil)

Procedure:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients into a homogenous mixture with a whisk or just bare hands. Sifting is optional. Just ensure there are no lumps.
  2. Whisk together all the wet ingredients.
  3. Fold in dry ingredients in two batches to the wet mixture. Mix well.
  4. Line a baking tin with some butter/ghee/oil and dust with some flour or simply use a butter paper. Pour in the batter.
  5. Bake it in an oven at 180^C or inside a pressure cooker following the cooker cake method for 30 min. Check for doneness with a toothpick or knife. 
  6. I have sprinkled a mix of oats, sesame seeds and thin hyderabadi seviya. This is purely optional.

I have used a 1 lb Loaf Tin, 18 x 9 cm (7″ x 3.5″)which can hold double the measures used in the recipe. You can use any pan, but as the pan size becomes more shallow, you have to check frequently for doneness. That tiny pinch of salt balances the mild sweetness of the gulab jamun premix and lifts the taste. It is completely optional though.

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Note:

  • I have substituted buttermilk for milk on the following day and it came out just as perfect as the one with milk.
  • The sugar quotient of this recipe can be upped if you want it to be super sweet. You could stick to the above mentioned measure, if you are going to add a glaze or frosting.

NO Onion – NO Garlic PUMPKIN DAL recipe| Gummadikaaya Pappu Recipe| Red Lentils Soup with Pumpkin Recipe| Gluten-free Lentil Soup with Pumpkin

It’s the Pumpkin season! Closer we are getting to Thanksgiving, my email feed is being stuffed up with recommendations of Pumpkin recipes. While pumpkin occupies a huge part on the tables at homes across the world in the form of pancakes,cakes, pies and warm winter soups, Indian cuisine owned this orange fleshy goodness with an unique adaa in the form of comforting dals or humble curries. Did you hear about the quintessential dish from Andhra cuisine, `Gummadikaya Pulsu‘? Will share the dish once I nail the recipe. Somehow I forget to pick up this vegetable on regular market visits. Now that I am adamant to relish this famous vegetable in all the myriad tastes, I am sure you’ll find more recipes around this golu-molu vegetable here.

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There is an other variant – the white pumpkin which is usually savoured in the form of a sweet, halwa or a vadiyams (fryums). The halwa is a pretty time consuming task hence got only cameo roles during festive occasions, Sankranthi most often. ;P And the fried vadiyams, favorites from childhood are beauties! Crushing and mixing them on the top of steaming hot white rice in the company of ghee is a food habit I picked up from mom which she picked up from grand ma. More and more I learn about food habits that define and differentiate our taste preferences and cuisines, I have been growing eager to dig up the anthropology of Indian food. How incredible it is that one life is just not enough to savour food in its uncountable forms! 😀

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November is the month of no onion and no garlic addendum, a practice which I couldn’t come to terms with any rationale till date. Would be happy to hear if you have any idea about this. Fed up looking at mom’s plate with plain dal or rice since the start of this month (Karteeka, its called in Telugu Calendar), I took it upon myself as a challenge to break the monotony. I wanted to have both dal and pumpkin curry one day and I was too lazy and thought why not mix them both, which brought Pumpkin Dal to the table. While I usually steam vegetables and add tadka for no onion, no garlic versions of curries, I wondered if a dal would sing the right tunes without the magic of garlic and onions. This recipe of Pumpkin Dal surprised me in all ways reimbursing belief in conjuring good dishes even without the usual ingredients. I have adapted Swasthi’s recipe from here.

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Ingredients:

1 cup chopped Pumpkin

½ cup lentils ( Here, I used Masoor Dal aka Red lentils)

3- 6 green chillies (adjust according to your spice levels and hotness of a mirchi)

2 medium sized chopped Tomatoes

¼ cup Evaporated/Pasteurized Milk

1 tbsp Mustard Oil

Salt (to taste)

Spices:

15-20 nos peppercorn

1/8 tsp Asafoetida

Handful of curry leaves

½ tsp Cumin seeds

¼ tsp Turmeric

Procedure:

  1. 1.Pressure cook lentils with 1.5 cups of water and chopped pumpkin with peppercorns, green chillies for 3-4 whistles. If you are using split pigeon pea or bengal gram, soak the dal before cooking so that it mashes up easily within 3-4 whistles.
  2. Add mustard oil into a heated up pan. Followed by asafoetida, cumin seeds and turmeric.
  3. As the cumin crackle, add chopped tomatoes. Cook them in medium flame until tomatoes come together mushy.
  4. Now, pour milk into it and simmer for 5 mins.
  5. To this, add the pressure cooked pumpkin-lentil mixture along with salt.
  6. Let the dal boil in low flame along with the tadka for 2-3 minutes and adjust the consistency of the dal with water.

I had paired it up with sauteed greens along with steamed rice. It tasted good with phulkas/rotis as well.

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Note: One could swap normal milk for coconut milk.

Did you try this recipe? Would love to hear about trial. Tag your dish @9sowmya9 with the hashtag #tadkatales on Instagram.

Arti’s Homemade Products: Review

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I can hardly remember what’s happened few hours earlier. Wait! Its not that I have a short term memory loss.:D  Recalling things bit by bit has always been tough, especially when it comes to tasting a wide range of foods. More the experiences, more the tendency to loose out one or the other detail. Most of the times, Instagram comes to my rescue. But, at moments when I am pressed for time, I just simply capture the shots and ruminate on them later. I wonder how food critics and fellow bloggers manage to pull off very well. I should try asking them for tips 😀

Today’s post is about my review on Artis Homemade Jams & Sauces which is based out of Bangalore. Though, my foodie heart still yearns for more expeditions in Bangalore, I am contempt with what all I could taste during the last month. With an increasing fan base for her sauces and jams among friends and family, Arti Vineesh Kumar stepped up with a mission to share the joy of homemade goodies free of preservatives to a wider audience. I stumbled upon her facebook page few months ago. Back then delivery wasn’t extended to Hyderabad, pushing the idea of trying them to a backseat. Finally, during my visit to Bangalore, I seized a chance!

Personally, I believe and endorse consuming food that is seasonal. Lesser the food miles, fresher and nutritious the food is. Arti shares a similar philosophy too. And when I find food and sustainability intertwined into one idea, my respect doubles up for it. It was good to meet her in person. There is no experience like meeting people who share similar interests, right? 😀

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While gooseberry, mixed fruit were also available, I chose pineapple jam. Arti gave me samples of others too and I have reviewed all the three jams and ketchup today.

Pineapple Jam:

a) Texture: Smooth and runny.

b) Spread: Perfect, ran across the bread slice at one go!

c) Flavour Quotient: Though it wasn’t overpoweringly sweet, the flavour of pineapple wasn’t strong enough for me. Would have loved if it had a strong pineapple punch.

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Gooseberry Jam: (flavoured with cardamom)

a) Texture: Smooth but rubble like.

b) Spread: Didn’t slide across the bread slice easily.

c) Flavour  Quotient: Optimum and well balanced. Cardamom infused very well into amla.

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Mixed Fruit:

a) Texture: Smooth and runny.

b) Spread: Prefect, ran across the bread slice at one go!

c) Flavour Quotient: Optimum and well balanced.

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Tomato Ketchup:

a) Consistency: Smooth and thick.

b) Spread: Prefect. Ran across the bread slice at one go!

c) Flavour Quotient: Freshness of tomatoes reflected well and the sourness of tomatoes is balanced with right amount of sweetness.

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Freshness oozed out of all these products. I tried all of these on the top of a toasted bread slice.(Of course, on four separate days. Couldn’t stomach all in one day! :D)  Winner for me would be mixed fruit jam and tomato ketchup. Priced at Rs.218 for 300 gms and Rs.320 for 500 gms (pineapple here), I found it to be a bit heavy on the pocket if one consumes jam on daily basis. But, for someone like me, whose jam consumption  is quite limited, it could be a good buy for those rare cravings for all things fresh and subtle. If you are have a picky eater at home or would like to alter a spice, customisation is available too.

Got bored or vexed of the dull, thick jelly like jams and sauces that lack vigour? Try Arti’s products, to relish the natural goodness of seasonal produce! Would love to hear about the jams and preserves that left a remarkable impression on you.

Disclaimer: This review is purely based on my personal taste preferences. Everything written here is entirely out genuine love for natural products and is not part of any promotion campaign. Prices of the product could probably vary as per the flavour and type of product.You could contact Arti directly for updated prices and catalogue.

PS: I would want you to hear this track ,a rhyme which is so fun to sing along! Stumbled upon it in the morning and played it in loop for quite sometime. Rhymes aren’t only for kids, right? ;P

 

Vankaya Pachi Pulusu Recipe| Fasting recipe |Indian Style Eggplant Salsa| Instant Roasted Eggplant recipe| 15min recipe| Andhra Style Festive Recipe

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Some days, we devour for the most simplest recipes with almost no cooking involved. This is such one absolute beaut. Roasted brinjals are quite famous for making Bhartha. Today’s recipe uses roasted eggplants in the simplest way. A sweet and sour dip style curry with a hint of chillies, this makes the best companion for the lazy days!

Ingredients:

200 gm White Brinjals (5-6 no.  medium sized)

1/4cup Tamarind Extract (from lemon sized tamarind pulp)

2 nos. Green Chillies

2 tbsp Grated Jaggery

2 tbsp Chopped Onions

1tbsp Chopped Fresh Coriander Leaves

Salt to taste

Ghee (just enough to coat the brinjals)

Water (1/2 cup to 1 cup)

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Method:

  1. Wash and dry the brinjals. You could as well pat them dry with a cloth.
  2. Prick it with a fork on couple of places.
  3. Grease the brinjal with ghee and roast over low heat using the mesh pan or you can place them directly over the stove. Flip them to all sides, to make sure it gets cooked evenly. This might take 5- 10mins. (depends on the size of brinjals and the size of mesh pan).
  4. As they cool down, peel of the skin and mash the pulp with your hand or a fork.
  5. Take a bowl and add mashed brinjal pulp, grated jaggery, tamarind extract, green chillies, salt.Add half a cup to one cup of water and adjust the consistency of the salsa.
  6. Adjust the salt and top it up with fresh coriander leaves.
  7. Serve it with hot rice or steamed mung dal rice.

Ghee is often used in festive recipes. This is optional and you could avoid ghee while roasting eggplants. This recipe tastes well with white brinjals. It is usually paired up with steamed mung dal rice, called ‘Athesira Annam’ in Andhra region. This rice item is usually paired up with Vankaya Pachi Pulsu or eaten plain with a huge dollop of ghee. Simple and comforting food, all together!

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Notes:

  1. Charring green chillies is optional. Poke a hole and smear oil before roasting them. If you don’t poke a hole or make a small slit, the chilli would pop on the stove. Freshly chopped chillies could also be added.
  2. You can add tempering to the dip. Heat oil/ghee in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the cumin seeds and urad dal and let the dal turn red. Add the red chillis, hing and curry leaves, fry for a few more seconds. Pour the tempering into the mashed up dip.
  3. You could add some roasted sesame seed powder for enhanced taste.

Easy Capsicum Curry with Yoghurt| Crunchy Capsicum and Curd Dip Recipe| Simple and Healthy Capsicum Curry in 5 minutes| Capsicum Raita with Tadka

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Light on the stomach, with almost no preparation time, I loved this dish when my friend’s mother introduced it to me a year back. Since then it has become my go to salad style dip along with rotis. Sautéing capsicums while making a curry changes its vibrant colour. Though this process gives a curry the delicious touch, I sometimes used to miss on the crunchiness of a capsicum and this recipe exactly works on retaining the crispy texture of this vegetable. With no masalas or grinding involved it can be done by anyone and finishes off in a jiffy.

 

Ingredients:

1 Cup Curd (Yoghurt)

¼ cup Chopped Capsicum

1 tbsp Chopped Chillies

1/2tbsp – 1 tbsp Oil (as per choice)

Salt – to taste

To temper:

1/8 tsp Mustard Seeds

¼ tsp Cumin Seeds (Jeera)

1/8 tsp Turmeric

Method:

  1. Whisk the curd and salt in a bowl with a fork. Whisking gives a smooth texture to the curd.
  2. Heat a small pan; add the oil and ingredients listed under tempering.
  3. As the seeds crackle, add the chopped chillies and capsicum and give it a good stir.
  4. Sautee capsicum bits for less than a minute and remove them from heat.
  5. Add it directly to the bowl of curd. Taste and adjust salt accordingly.

 

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I generally have it with rotis. But it goes well hot pulav or parathas too. At times, I relish it off as it is. All the raitas at home are made without any tempering added to them. So not sure if it can be called so. But, found this recipe under raitas by few bloggers. Whatever be the name, taste is what we all look for, right? 😀 By the way, one of them added an interesting additional paste made of coconut and sesame seeds into the curd. Try making it and let me know how you liked it. Also, share if you prepare it in a different style.

Note:

  • If you prefer, you could mix a pinch or two of dried gooseberry (amla) or mango powder (amchur) in the curd.
  • Fresher curd gives the best taste

Eat Out Trials | Restaurant Hopping| Yuktha Review |SBOW Hyderabad Review| Simply South Review |WOFl Review| BBQ Nation Review | Food places in Hyderabad

It has been a while since I have penned down my last post. Hopping between cities, shopping, catching up with friends, cousins, it has been a busy time. Food, undeniably forms the biggest contributor to my experiences either when I am at home or travelling.The health freak inside my head used to prick me from time to time, but I somehow managed a midway. Struggling with consciousness of eating outside on a daily basis and the joy of trying so many flavours, is a difficult place to be in right?  Here is a brief review of what I had recently. I couldn’t take pictures of everything. Hence, mashed up collages for a simple peek-a-boo. 

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Wall Mural @ VJA; Dil Kush @ RJY ; mini appam cakes @home; Nutella WOFL; WOFL Ala Mode @ HYD

Yuktha: Their Maharaja Biryani Platter is well portioned and the service was quick. There was a striking difference between the taste of the seven biryanis. I stay away from biryanis mostly for two reasons – their volume and lack of distinguishing taste. But, the Maharaja Platter dispelled those thoughts inside me. The foodie in me was dancing. It had Andhra Mutton Biryani, Andhra Chicken Biryani, Hyderabad Chicken Biryani, Hyderabad Mutton Biryani, Mughalai Boneless Chicken Biryani, Chettinad Fish Biryani, Lucknowi Prawn Biryani. I felt heavy after four biryanis. Facepalm. One platter should be fine for two people with moderate appetite. But, if you are in a binge mode, I think you can have it all alone 😉

WOFL:I was floored by their Blueberry Waffle on my last visit, and I had to visit this place again. This time went there with two of my favorite people. I chose WOFL Ala Mode. It had Baked Apple and Cinnamon, the most lauded combination. It was soft, crusty and had a coconut-like taste with profusive cinnamon flavour. Others had a Nutella Waffle and King’s Meal. Both were extremely delicious.

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Caramel Custard @SBOW; Cheese cake and Paan Kulfi @ BBQ N; Cream Stoned

Barbeque Nation – Jubilee Hills: Famous for their unlimited starters, this place always pleases my cravings for tender meat options. It is hard to recollect the exact names of the starter items. I liked the Chicken Wings and Ajwaini Chicken along with Prawns. Ajwaini Chicken caught my attention more than others. Fish starter was so light. I wonder which fish they used, for the meat held to the skewer very well. The cheesecake and the pastries were too sweet for my taste. Stopped by the Kulfi bar at the last and the idea of a paan flavoured Kulfi intrigued me. For the not so paan aficionado in me, it was quite pleasing. I think I should omit the toppings next time, to enjoy the actual flavour.  

Simply South – Film Nagar: Ah! The ambience of this place is always comforting. The Annamaya Keerthana instrumental playing in the backdrop, along the delightful fragrance of dhoop stick (incense stick), brings warmth of home to mind. After going through the menu for n’th time, it was hard to recollect the exact names while ordering. Interesting food confuses me, always! We ordered Rasa Vada, Ullipaaya Kaara Pulsu and Kai Kari Mandi along with steamed rice. All of them were cooked to perfection. Ullipaaya Kaara Pulusu, a soupy curry with tomatoes, shallots and onions is a must try, especially for those who wonder if a simple dish could be finger-lickingly good. If you are anyone who is from Andhra or ever tried Andhra food, you must be quite familiar with the simple and yummy pulusu style curries. They are tangy and spicy gravy curries whose thickness can vary. Kai Kari Mandi would have been great along with rotis or any kind of flat bread. Nevertheless, I liked it so much that I ate it with rice. It is an assortment of vegetables in a spicy Chettinad gravy. There wasn’t any space left in the tummy for ‘Madhuram.’ Yeah, that’s the header for desserts in their menu! 😀

Soda Bottle Opener Wala: Ever since SBOW has opened in Hyderabad, it has become my favourite hangout place. I like the interiors of this place; it has a cozy appeal of a small vibrant cafe. Egg Kejriwal and Mawa Cake are my usual picks. I had Caramel custard on one meetup and had a full course with Chilli Cheese Pav, Veg Dhansak and Prawn Patio the other time. Yeah, I hit the place twice in the last week.

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Garlic Naan @ chutneys; Burger King Whopper; Spring Roll @ Chutneys; Dhansak @ SBOW

Punjabi Affair: Sitting cross-legged on a couch and slurping the non-vegetarian platter while catching up with friends is surely the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The place has some quirky posters portraying Punjabi’s philosophy about food.

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@Punjabi Affair

Apart from these, also tried Burger King for the first time. Tired of simple burgers from McDonalds, I found the Mutton Whopper refreshing. I could get the taste of mutton and was extremely satisfied with the veggie portion and sauces.

Another dessert, that caught my attention is called Dilkush, a khova ball wrapped in a layer of carrot halwa from Anand Sweets at Rajahmundry.

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Orange Candy@ SBOW  😀

I have been to a workshop on ‘Basics of Baking’ today at El Pastel in Hyderabad. It is a two day workshop. Here is a little sneak peak into the same.

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Banana Cake and Red Velvet Cake @ El Pastel, HYD

More details about the workshop in tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned!