Simple cauliflower mash - Gobhi bharta

Dear Readers,
I have managed to update the recipe index and the blog template after ages. Hope the index is helpful and the colours of the template are cheery enough for you to spend time on the blog.
Your constructive feedback is welcome.

Coming to this post, this is one of the simplest ways of preparing cauliflower, as I discovered only recently. A perfect recipe for a beginner and quick to prepare. Delicately spiced by way of a simple tadka (tempering) this mash is a good match for rotis, bread and as a low-carb filling for masala dosa alike. I served it with toasted bread for a light dinner and it tasted just right. 
All this onion-tomato-ginger-garlic fry up with lots of other spices works fine but sometimes you just crave the simple taste of veggies with some essential spices that gently lend their flavour to the dish without getting overwhelming. This is just that sort of recipe. If you are a newbie in the kitchen, I'd highly recommend you try this with the freshest cauliflower you can find and the results will surprise you.
Please choose fresh cauliflower with tightly bound florets and no discolouration as it is the star of this dish.

2 cups cauliflower florets (broken into medium size)
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
 1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp rice bran or any other cooking oil
Pinch of asafoetida
1 green chilli, finely minced
1 tsp finely minced ginger
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds

  1. Soak the cauliflower florets in salted water for 10-15 minutes while you cut the potatoes, chillies, ginger and get the ingredients ready.
  2. In a pan with a lid, place 2 cups water with the salt and turmeric powder. Bring it to a boil. Drain the cauliflower and add this to the boiling water with the cubed potato. 
  3. This will take around 8 minutes to be fork tender. Drain the boiled vegetables, transfer to a bowl and mash with a fork to a rough puree. Do not throw away the residual water. Use it in soup, rasam or dal.
  4. In a small wok, heat the oil. Add the asafoetida,splutter the cumin and mustard seeds. Saute the chilli and ginger for a few seconds and transfer the tempering to the boiled, mashed vegetables.
  5. Lightly mix around with a fork to flavour the vegetables evenly. Check for salt and adjust if required.

This tasted divine to my taste buds and the pure tastes of the vegetables came shining through, with the ginger giving the right spice hit.

Try this for your toddlers to go with rotis or soft bread, I'm sure they will like it too.

A lot of my bachelor friends on Twitter have been asking me to post bachelor-friendly recipes and this one is the first of many to come.

The best ever cornbread baked in my kitchen

I have already been raving about my crush on Mexican food ever since I opened that tiny tin of Chipotle chillies that Nupur got me. I don't know if winter has officially set in, in Hyderabad or is it some random cyclone effect - but the mornings and evenings are chilly and the day is generally cloudy. I am not a big sun person, so this suits me just fine. More so, I can indulge in infinite cups of tea, drink big bowls of soup for dinner and my taste buds suddenly develop a liking for spicy stuff. "Bring back the Chili" said my tastebuds to me yesterday. And opposites attract, don't they. What better way to complement the hot and flavour blasting chili than this mildly sweet cornbread, scented with cumin and coriander leaves?

I have baked cornbread some 3-4 times and this was THE. BEST. EVER. I am not exaggerating.
Especially if you are someone who has shied away from baking this because you don't eat eggs, you are in for a pleasant surprise. My husband quit eating eggs a few years ago and I am constantly figuring out ways to turn out decent baked stuff with replacements for egg and yesterday I hit gold. Flaxseed which is one of the best sources of Omega-3 for a vegetarian. You can buy the seeds and powder the quantity required for each recipe in a coffee grinder / chutney jar of mixer.

For each egg to be replaced - use 1 tbsp flaxseed powder whisked into 3 tbsp of very hot water. You will get an emulsion like beaten eggs and use it at the stage of the recipe when it calls for eggs.

This was most perfect match for the chili and I must add that my toddler son loved this too - in fact he was making it extremely difficult for me to take a picture, by digging his tiny fingers into it!

Recipe for Eggless Cornbread
Serves 3-4
Loosely adapted from Alton Brown's Creamed Corn Cornbread recipe

In a large bowl, mix-
1 cup yellow cornmeal (Makkai ka atta)
1/2 cup all purpose flour (Maida)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar

In a medium bowl, whisk well-
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp flaxseed powder whisked into 6 tbsp hot water
1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp finely chopped pickled jalapenos or 1 tsp finely chopped green chillies
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds for garnish (optional, but gives a nice look to the bread)
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels (gives a nice sweet crunch, but I did not have it on hand, so did not use)

Preheat the oven at 200C.
Grease a loaf tin or line with tin foil.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry - till just combined and stir in the jalapenos, coriander leaves and corn kernels. I added a few spoons of the brine from pickled jalapenos as I found the mix somewhat dry. This gave a big flavour boost to the bread.
Pour into greased loaf tin. Flatten lightly with wet fingers and bake for 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Let it rest for 15-20 minutes outside, before slicing.
Serve warm with chili. Recipe for chili posted here.

Food shopping in Hyderabad

Flaxseed also called Alsi in Hindi and Tashi in Bengali (knowledge shared by my twitter friends) is available with most grocers nowadays.
In Hyderabad, you can buy it at -
Ratnadeep (Srinagar Colony / Madhapur)
Q Mart (Road no.2 Banjara Hills)
Hypercity (Inorbit Mall, Madhapur)
Fabindia outlets that stock food

Pickled Jalapenos are available in all supermarkets. American Garden, Frigata are some of the good brands.

Ukrainian Honey Cake - Exotic and low-fat

When I saw this cake posted on Blondie's Cakes as an entry for the Foodbuzz Blogger Challenge, I knew this was just my kinda cake. Low on oil, lots of flavours and can be adapted to be made eggless.
A Ukrainian cake sounds so exotic. The ingredients however can be easily sourced on our kitchens. Addition of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg make it a perfect warming cake with your morning cuppa tea and the addition of coffee gives it a depth of flavour. I substituted the two eggs in the original recipe with yogurt and the results were quite good. The icing with honey, sugar and lemon juice gives it that extra kick - making it perfect for your tea party.
Ukrainian Honey Cake
Adapted from Blondie's Cakes
1 1/2 cups atta (whole wheat flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup strong coffee (1 tbsp instant coffee powder dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp honey
  1. Preheat oven to 175 C / 350F. 
  2. Seive the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spice powders, and salt together into a large bowl. 
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, honey, coffee and oil.  Add the dry ingredients and whisk till combined. 
  4. Pour into a greased 8" round pan and bake for around 30min, until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool a few minutes and unmould.
  5. In a small bowl, beat well with a fork the ingredients for icing and drizzle over cake before slicing.
A cake with such regular kitchen ingredients and easy to put together in a jiffy, plus just 2 tbsp of oil is sure to be a hit with us. This recipe now resides in my iPhone notes so can make it just about anytime!

Though I used freshly grated nutmeg, I've tasted stuff made by my friend using Keya's Travencore Ground Nutmeg and the flavour is absolutely hard-hitting delicious. So I would totally recommend you use it if you like bold nutmeg flavours in desserts.
Thanks a lot Blondie for this superb family recipe.
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