Tomato Curry | Tomato Saar

During the busy rush hours in the morning, I always try simple and easy recipes. Today's recipe, i.e. Tomato Saar or Tomato Curry is a very simple one. I cook rice everyday and therefore I have to cook a curry to go with the rice. I pack lunch for 3 people every morning and it is a real challenge to cook a new dish every morning at 6 Am. This tomato curry is a simple one and tastes really good. The tangy flavor of the tomatoes and the various spice powders makes this one a delicacy in my house.


The ingredients for this curry are simple and are readily available in the local market. Fresh tomatoes always makes a great curry. I have added garlic, but you can use ginger too and then this curry can be used on your special days, i.e. the days when you don't eat onion and garlic. Since my little one does not like very "hot" chilly taste, I keep the usage of red chilly powder to the minimal in. But you can use more if you need. Since the tomatoes I used were a bit tangy, I added sugar. If you get sweet tomatoes, then you can avoid adding sugar to this curry.


So why don't you try this simple recipe instead of making the regular Dal fry? I bet everyone will love it and will leave them wanting you to make it again.


Ingredients:                                       Prep. Time: 20 Min's, Serves: 4
3 medium ripe tomatoes
4 tablespoon grated coconut
10 curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 inch hing/asafoetida or 1 tsp asafoetida powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilly powder
3 dry red chilies
4-5 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tablespoon oil
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for garnish


Procedure:
Grind the chopped tomatoes by adding 1/2 cup water and keep aside.
Grind the grated coconut by adding 3/4 cup water and keep aside.

In a kadai, add oil. When it heats, add mustard seeds.
When mustard seeds flutter add cumin seeds.
Add curry leaves and red chilies.
Add the asafoetida piece/powder.
Remember to keep the gas on low flame.

Now add the tomato paste.Let it get cooked for 5 Min's.
Once bubbles start appearing, add the grated coconut paste.

Add the turmeric and chilly powder.
Add sugar and salt and mix well.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Note: Add sugar according to your taste. It depends on the tomatoes.
You can also add sambar powder though I don't prefer it.

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A Special Trip For A Special One - Trip To Ooty

Since a long time I wanted to take my child out on a vacation where she can enjoy to the fullest. It was 14th Nov, Children's day. We started early morning at 5 Am with our car, from Bangalore for Ooty. The drive was a pleasant one. My little one had a wonderful time spotting animals in the Bandipur jungle on the Karnataka and Kerala border.

Herd Of Deers
We spotted a herd of deer’s. But what excited my little one was the Peacock which was standing on the road right besides our car. We had booked a room for a 2 nights stay at Club Mahindra Derby Green Resort, Ooty. We reached Derby Green at 12.30 PM in the afternoon and we had a warm welcome by the staff at the hotel. We were served with Nilgiris tea as a welcome drink. My little one was treated like a princess. The hotel staff made her day special by gifting her a party cap and a small fridge magnet which she loved.
Peocock besides our car
After sometime our room was ready and we checked in the room. My little one started jumping on the soft beds, she loves to do that and when she does that she expects us to clap and sing songs for her J She loves resorts and hotels for the big king sized beds. The entire evening we rested in the hotel room as we were too tired after a long journey.
Derby Green Resort
Club Mahindra organizes a lot of activities for all age groups. We went for the tribal evening and had some fun. We were taught the tribal dance and we danced too. My little one did not enjoy this and was feeling bored. So we took her out to the city for dinner before we rested at night.

Ooty Botanical garden
The next day, we got up early morning and went for a walk in the resort. After breakfast we went out to explore the city. We went to the famous Botanical garden where my little one enjoyed the most. She herself clicked selfies with our smartphone and using whatsapp sent it to known people on the contact list. She clicked our photos too and we did not have to ask other people to click our pictures. A budding photographer indeed.
Beautiful flowers at the Botanical garden
She loves to use the smartphone. She enjoyed clicking snaps of the flowers and after finding a variety, she enjoyed. Followed by this we went to the rose garden. She was excited to see purple and black roses. She had never seen roses with those colors.

We wanted to go for boating, but little one was scared. She gets scared of water and the climate at Ooty was too cold to go for boating. We avoided that just for her though we wanted to do that. Sometimes we have to sacrifice for our kids’ sake right? We all were kids too at some point of time and had our own fears.

We spotted a person selling bubbles and little one wanted that. She really enjoyed with the bubbles. Children love all small things in life. For dinner we took her to Nahar's Sidewalk Cafe to have their famous wood-fired Pizza.

Playing with bubbles
Since it was Saturday night, we went for the bonfire and Bollywood night in the resort. We all danced and had fun. Little one was having a great time indeed. She loves to dance and won many awards in dance even at the age of 5. We requested the DJ to play her favorite songs and she danced to the beats of her favorite songs.

Enjoying in the kid's play area
Next day we had to return back to Bangalore. When my hubby was doing the checkout formalities, I took her to the kids play area where she had a gala time. Soon we had to start for Bangalore as we had to reach back by 9 PM. But before that we took her to see the Tea plantations.

Tea Plantation 
She really had a great time during this trip. She also enjoyed the drive back to Bangalore. Since she was sitting on the back seat, she slept whenever she wanted to. Travelling with little one is indeed a great experience. I used to avoid taking her with me on trips and used to keep her with my Mom. But now she is getting used to travelling with us and she enjoys it. Just that I have to keep things like basic first aid and a bottle of Crocin in my bag, in case she falls sick during the trip. But so far, nothing of such sort happened and we had a wonderful time with her. 

It was real fun

Travelling with kids is real fun.

Thanks to Club Mahindra Derby Green for making our stay a truly memorable one.
 
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Vanilla Kipferel And Mince Pie At Desserts And Baking Workshop, JW Marriott, Bengaluru

Since Christmas is around the corner, we see that a lot of people are busy baking a lot of yummy goodies. I being a food blogger, I can see that the social media is flooded with lot of posts related to baking. Different things like plum cakes, tarts, cookies, etc are being baked around the world. I am sure many of you are trying the same too. 


A lot of baking workshops are being conducted in the city. Last Friday I was invited for a Desserts and Baking Workshop by JW Marriott. The workshop venue was at Godrej Nature's Basket store at Koramangala. The workshop was conducted by Chef Saptasri Parswanath, Chef De Partie, JW Marriott, Bengaluru. It was held free of cost for all to experience the joy of baking.


A lot of people, young and old had walked in for this event. There were school kids too who had come directly from school to attend this irresistible workshop. Kids love baking because a lot of creativity s involved in baking. Extra seats had to be arranged as a lot of people had come from all over Bengaluru to attend the workshop. 


The Chef started with a brief introduction about herself. She is from finance background and found her passion in baking, just like us food bloggers who are from different educational backgrounds but find passion in food :)


The chef demonstrated 2 recipes namely Vanilla Kipferl and Mince Pie. Since the recipes were handed over to us, I will mention them here.

                                         Vanilla Kipferel


Ingredients:
  • 1050 grams butter
  • 500 grams Castor sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 5 numbers of lemon rind
  • 10 numbers of vanilla pod
  • 1400 grams flour
  • 500 grams toasted hazelnut powder
Procedure:
Ensure that the butter is at room temperature.
Cream it until smooth.
Scrape the vanilla pods.
Add sugar, salt, lemon rind and the scrapped seeds of vanilla pod.
Mix everything properly.
Add the flour and the hazelnut powder.
Refrigerate the dough for 45 Min's for resting.
After 45 Min's, take it out and knead well.
Divide the dough into small lemon sized balls typically of 20 grams and roll it into crescents.
Bake at 190C until light golden brown.
Dust with icing sugar while still hot.

                                             Mince Pies


Ingredients:

For the dough base:
  • 180 grams butter
  • 90 grams sugar
  • 270 grams flour
  • 1 egg
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 2 grams salt

For the filling:
  • 250 grams raisins
  • 250 grams sultanas
  • 100 grams cherries
  • 50 grams orange and lemon peel
  • 50 grams blackcurrant
  • 50 grams candied papaya
  • 930 grams grated apple
  • 200 grams brown sugar
  • 50 ml rum
  • 50 ml brandy
  • 10 gram cinnamon powder
  • 3 gram nutmeg powder
  • 2 gram clove powder
  • 2 gram cardamom powder
Procedure:

Cream the butter.
Add the egg, beat it and mix.
Add sugar and mix.
Sieve the flour and add it along with the vanilla essence.
Do not over mix.
Rest the dough in the fridge.

When the dough is kept in fridge, in a bowl add the dry fruits. To this add the spice powders and the grated apple.
Pour the liquor into this and mix it lightly.
Take the dough out of the fridge after 30 Min's.
Roll it and cut out a disc and line the tart mould.
Fill the tart mould with soaked fruits.
Cover with the sweet paste disc on top.
Decorate the tart with cutters.
Apply egg wash.
Pre-heat the oven to 5 Min's at 180C.
Bake the tart for 30 Min's at 180C.


Followed by the baking session we got to taste the two dishes prepared by the chef. We were served with muffin sized Mince Pie for taste. It had a rich taste of the yummy filling which went in.
I did not get the cookies for taste as they got over within seconds.

J W Marriott, Bengaluru regularly conducts these baking workshops every weekend. Now since the Christmas festivities are in full swing at JW Marriott, there are a lot of kiddy entertainment programs, from magicians to jugglers and tons of activities to boot.

All in one fun filled joyous occasion, topped off with a visit by Santa himself.

For more information and pricing details visit www.jwmarriottbengaluru.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jwMarriottHotelBengaluru

Address: 24/1, Vittal Mallya Road, Bengaluru - 560001

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Nankhatai | Indian Cookies

Nankhatai or Indian cookies are those biscuits which I used to have in my childhood These are known as dying Indian biscoot. I remember these used to be commonly available in the local bakeries. I used to love to have them as a tea time snack. Just dip in tea and eat them. The best part is that these cookies are eggless and my Dad who is a pure vegetarian loved them. 


My bhabhi prepared it when I had been to Goa last time. My bhabhi used only all purpose flour(APF). I tried these 2 times. First time I used 3/4 Maida(APF) and 1/4 wheat flour. They turned crispy and crunchy. Second time I made them using 1/4 besan(Gram flour). The verdict was that the besan ones tasted much better than the wheat flour ones. The recipe mentioned below makes 12-15 cookies.


Ingredients:                              Prep. Time: 20 Min's, Makes: 12-15 cookies
3/4 cup maida/All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup besan/Gram Flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Pinch of baking powder
1/2 cup ghee
10 Chopped almonds


Procedure:
Sieve the 2 flours together.
Sieve the baking powder and mix it in the flour with your finger tips.
Sieve powdered sugar and mix again.
Add ghee and gently knead into soft pliable dough.
Do not add water and do not over knead the dough.
You might not need the entire ghee.

Pre-heat the microwave in convection mode for 4 Min's at 180c.

Line the baking try with the cookies. Coat the top of the cookies with chopped almonds or full almond.
Bake for 12-15 Min's till the top turns slightly golden.
Do not allow the cookies to get brown.
Cool on a wire-rack.


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DIY Recipe Box - Halfteaspoon.com

Last week I got a mail from halfteaspoon.com to review their DIY (Do It Yourself) recipe box. At first I wondered what this DIY recipe box is. Curiously I went and checked the website and I liked the concept. The recipe box contains the exact ingredients and an instruction sheet to cook a recipe. Yes, you heard it right. Exact ingredients in the sense that you spend only for the quantity that is needed per recipe. Ingredients as less as half teaspoon (1/2 tsp) are delivered in the box and hence the name"Halfteaspoon.com".
For example, to cook certain Gourmet dishes you need a variety of sauces. You might use these once and then store all of them in the fridge. At times they near their expiry date and once they cross the date you have to discard them. So if you are not preparing certain dishes frequently you can always check the menu at halfteaspoon.com. The menu is supposed to change every week.  If you find an interesting dish you can order a DIY recipe box. These boxes are available which ingredients which makes dishes for 2 or 4 people. The box ordered will be delivered to your doorstep the on the day and time slot selected by you. There are no delivery charges and delivery will always be free. 

You need not be an experienced chef to cook these Gourmet dishes. Just order a recipe box and follow the step by step recipe. Transform your kitchen into a lively place and leave your guests will be amazed. Home-cooked food is healthy and with fresh ingredients you can definitely cook a delicious meal for your loved ones.



My Experience:
I had ordered the Thai Red Chicken Curry for 4. The box was delivered at the time selected by me with the exact quantity of ingredients which are needed to cook the dish. The box was neatly packed. When I opened I found the storage instruction per ingredient. Since I did not cook the dish on the same day, these storage instructions were helpful. I stored chicken in freezer, lemon and the leaves(basil and Kafir Lime) in freeze.The chicken provided in the box was tender and of good quality. All the other ingredients were fresh. The sauces were packed in small disposable bottles. Every ingredient was neatly labeled. 


There was a detailed step by step recipe in the box. Things like water, salt, oil and pan were something which were not provided in the box due to obvious reasons. I followed the exact recipe, but I reduced the water quantity by 2 cups as it would make my curry very watery. The taste of the curry perfect. I served it with rice and had an awesome Saturday lunch. The Thai Red Chicken Curry box costs Rs.299/- for 2 and Rs.499/- for 4.

Thanks to the bunch of IIT Kharagpur graduates who started this to reinvent the Indian Cooking experience.

Currently available at select locations in Bangalore, just head on to www.halfteaspoon.com to know more.

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