Friday, 4 October 2013

Peg & Pig's Kitchen - Sweet Pumpkin Halwa

Today's dish at our kitchen is the sweet pumpkin halwa. There are variations of this dish. One can make it rich with calories or keep it simple. Here is my variation of the sweet dish with ingredients that were available at our kitchen. Enjoy!
Sweet Pumpkin Halwa
 1 small sweet pumpkin, 1 cup sugar (add more, if required), 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut, 2 tbsps ghee (or mix of ghee and cooking oil), 2-3 cardamon powdered, handful of dry fruits (raisins, almonds, and cashews), a pinch of kesari color, 1/2 cup milk (with cream, if possible)
 Wash and peel the sweet pumpkin. Chop into big pieces, and with little water, steam them in a cooker until two whistles. Remove and drain water; mash well and keep aside. In a sauce pan, heat milk and sugar; add cardamon powder. After the sugar dissolves, add the mashed pumkin. Mix well and let it cook. When the milk is completely absorbed, add heated ghee/oil and dry fruits, and mix well. When the dish begins the leave the edges of the vessel, switch off the heat. Either serve hot or keep it in the fridge to serve it cold.
1 - Halwa in the making; 2 - Halwa ready to be served

Peg & Pig's Kitchen - Stuffed Eggplants

I've grown eating rottis made of rice (Akki Rotti) and curry made from eggplant. Almost three times a week, mom would prepare rottis (either plain or masala). Ah, and I love them! After marriage, I miss mom's food. Even if I get recipes from her, the taste differs. I realised that she adds a special ingredient to the dishes - love. :-)

Today, I prepared stuffed eggplant. During our recent trip, we stopped at Hunsur and bought fresh vegetables. Usually, the eggplants that are used for this dish are purple round small eggplants; however, I used the long purple eggplants. The eggplants cooked beautifully! Yes, I agree that fresh ingredients enhance flavor and taste of dishes.


4-5 eggplants (brinjals - purple round, preferred)
1 medium-sized onion
2-3 garlic cloves
1 medium-sized tomato
1 tbsp sambar powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp juice of tamarind
1 tsp poppy seeds
a pinch of turmeric
2 tbsps of cooking oil
handful fresh coriander leaves
a few seeds of coriander and fennel
a pinch of sugar


In a bowl, mix finely chopped onions (half), tomatoes, and garlic, and all the powder along with tamarind juice, salt, and poppy seeds. Add coriander and fennel seeds. Mix well. Wash and slit eggplants (half the way); stuff the mixture in each of the eggplant.

Take a pan and add cooking oil. Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds, and chopped onion. Slowly place the eggplants inside the pan and gently mix with the masala. If any remaining masala, add it to the pan. Pour sufficient water, little salt (if required), and sugar. Close a lid till the eggplants cook well. Serve with rice rottis, Indian bread, rice, or even bread!

Note: I use homemade sambar powder for most of the curries.


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Peg & Pig's Kitchen - Spicy Paneer Tikka

It's national holiday today. And yes, something tasty had to be cooked for lunch. Our kitchen saw the making of spicy paneer tikka. Paneer is Indian cottage cheese. You can either make it at home or buy it from stores. I bought 250 gms of paneer (Milky Mist brand). I love the sponginess and freshness of this brand of paneer.
All right, here is the recipe; serves for two people.
100 gms paneer
1 medium-sized tomato
1 medium-sized green capsicum
3-4 satay sticks
For masala
3 green chillies
1-2 tsps red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
a few fennel (saunf) seeds
about an inch fresh ginger
handful of fresh coriander leaves with stems
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp thick curd
1 tbsp gram flour
a pinch of turmeric
1 tsp cooking oil
In a mixer, grind the ingredients listed in the 'For masala' section except curd, flour, and lemon juice. Remove the mixture into a bowl. Add curd, flour, and lemon juice, and mix well. In case the mixture is a little runny, sprinkle more flour.
Cut the de-seeded tomato into eight pieces and de-seeded capsicum into eight pieces. Also cut paneer into eight or more pieces. Smear the masala mixture over the vegetables and paneer. Let them all marinade for about 20-25 minutes. If you have excess masala, keep it in a bowl and put it inside a fridge. I will come back to it later.
Rub satay sticks with a little cooking oil. Arrange tomato, paneer, capsicum pieces on the sticks. Put them inside a preheated oven, and grill (or bake) at about 140 deg cel for 15-20 minutes. Please remember to adjust the oven temperature and cooking time depending on the size and thickness of the vegetables and paneer.
Serve paneer tikka as is or with any other dish. Mint chutney is a good accompaniment.
1 - Marinade; 2 - Veg and paneer pieces on sticks; 3 - Paneer tikkas served with puri