Showing posts with label Basics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Basics. Show all posts

How to make Chilly Oil at home?

Time to try out Adapted Chinese Recipes or to say Indo-Chinese recipes as kids will be at home on the long summer vacation. Lots of basic preparations are to be made to make these dishes. The first and fore most is to make Chilly Oil.

Kashmiri Red Chillies - 25 nos
Refined Oil -  1 cup

Break the red chillies into big pieces. Heat the oil in a pan in medium flame till it reaches the smoking point. Add the chillies and switch off the gas (and move out of the kitchen). After a few mins. Cover and keep it aside for about an hour or two. Strain the oil alone through a double filter. This oil can be used to make chinese dishes or adapted Indo-Chinese dishes.

The red chillies can be used in south Indian dishes like sambar (while grinding the paste for it)

How to make Brown Stock at home.

Wanted to make French Onion Soup, and as I wanted to get the texture and colour that we get in eat outs, I wanted to use brown stock. I have not prepared or used brown stock till date and was wondering how to do it. On a search in the net found it could be easily made using beans like brown chick peas, kidney beans etc. So now here is the making of brown stock.

Brown chick peas - 1 cup
Kidney Beans - 1 cup
Yellow peas - 1 cup
Unsalted butter - 1/4 cup or 50 gms
Cabbage - 100 gms
Carrot - 2 nos
Yellow Pumpkin - 1/4 kg (after the seeds and peel is removed, it will definitely be only 100 to 150 gms)
Cloves - 2 nos
Bay leaf - 1 no
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Salt - 1 tbsp
Water - 12 cups

Wash and soak the peas for over night or for about 12 hours. Drain the water and pressure cook it for about 5 whistles with 3 cups of water. Remove from flame and let it cool. Cut cabbage into thin strips, carrot into small cubes, Yellow pumpkin to small cubes. Grate the ginger.

In a pan add butter and melt it in low heat. Add the bay leaves, cloves and the cut vegetables and saute for a while. Add grated ginger and the cut vegetables and saute again. Add 1/4 cup of water and cover it with a lid for about 10 mins. Cook in low flame.

Add 8 cups of water and salt and bring it to boil. When it starts boiling add the pressure cooked peas and beans along with the water and keep boiling it for another hour. All the while keep mashing it with the laddle so that all the essence of the vegetables and beans comes to the water. Keep cooking in medium flame for about an hour. Strain and let it cool.

Can be used for soups and also while making Chole or Rajma curry. The remaining stock can be refrigerated and used. (Ensure it is used with a week).

Note: Can also be made in lesser quantities by reducing the ingredients.

How to make Brown Stock for soups at home

Certain soups ask for Brown stock. It is easy to make it at home.

Carrots - 2 nos
French Beans - 12 nos
Onion - 1 big
Potato - 1 big
Tomato - 2 large
Cabbage - 100 gms piece


Cut all the vegetables into medium sized cubes and pieces. Add these vegetables to about 6 cups of water and pressure cook it for 5 whistles. When warm, remove from cooker and blend it in a blender. Drain through a sieve.

Brown stock is ready.

How to make Dough for Soft chappatis

Wheat flour - 4 cups
Salt to taste
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Water - 3 cups

How to make soft dough:
Put the flour in the large bowl. Add salt and ghee to it and mix well. Make a well in the middle and pour 2 cups of water to it. Mix the flour and water by rotating it from centre to the outside of the bowl till all the flour is moist and becomes rough and scrambled. Sprinkle a little water and sart mixing it to a non sticky dough. The dough knead to be elastic and smooth.

How to test the dough:
Press it with the tip of the finger and it have to spring back, then it is of the right consistency.

How to make soft chappatis:
Rest the dough for half an hour by covering it with a wet towel. Make lemon sized balls and roll it into thin rounds. Heat a tawa and place one chappati in it. Reduce the flame and keep turning the chappati in rounds, when it starts fluffing up turn it to the other side and heat it again. Remove from the flame when done.

How to store the excess chappati dough:
Spread oil in a container with lid. Make larger balls of the dough and place it in it. The dough made this way lasts for about2 to 3 days.

How to make unsour curd at home?

Due to lack of time and due to lack of practise many tend to buy curd at stores. At home kids too love to take thick curd that comes out of the cup and have infact named it Thachi in a cup. Here is how to make it at home

Milk - 1 ltr
Curd - 1 tbsp

Boil milk and bring it to a boil and when the thick layer of fat forms on top reduce the flame and let it boil for few more minutes. Remove from flame and let it cool and bring it to room temperature. Add the curd and cover it.

Being a tropical country the curd gets set in 5 to 6 hours max. So it can be prepared in the previous night and refrigerated immediatly in the morning to avoid sourness.

To make thachi (curd) in a cup:
Pour the milk in cups of the desired shape and size and add a few drops of curd to it. This will make curd in a cup which can be had by the kids directly.

How to make Tomato sauce at home

Not just kids, but even adults love to have Tomato Sauce as a side dish for starters, tikkas, samosas etc.

Ghee - 2 tbsp
Tomato Puree - 2 cups
Bay leaves - 2 nos
Cinnamon - 3 nos 1 inches long
Cardamom - 2 nos
Red chilly Powder - 2 tsp

Heat ghee in a flat pan. Add cardamom, bay leaves and cinnamon. Saute them till they crackle and release a fine aroma. Pour in the tomato puree slowly so that it doesnot splatter. Reduce the flame . Remove the cardamom, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks from the sauce and let it cool completely.

Store the sauce in the airtight container. Can be stored for 2 weeks. Makes a good side dish for dosa, idly, chappati and even Pizza.

How to make bread crumbs at home

Bread crumbs can be made out of any kind of bread. Wheat bread, Sandwich bread, sweet bread can all be used either individually or in a combination to make bread crumbs. Home made bread crumbs,  also are quite inexpensive and also cost effective. Though fresh bread can also be used, dried bread makes the work easier. Place the breads in baking sheet (and if dont have oven place them on tawa. Brush the slices with ghee). Bake the bread in 300 deg C (if in oven). If in tawa turn the bread both the sides till both the sides become browned evenly. Allow the bread to cool, cut into small pieces. Grind the bread pieces to a powder to the required coarseness.

This can be used to make any kind of dish that require bread crumbs like cutlet, rolls etc.

How to make Khoya at home

Many sweet dishes, especially north Indian dishes ask for Khoya in the recipe. It is good if it is made at home. Both sweet and unsweetened khoya can be prepared at home.

In a hard bottom pan, add one litre of fresh cream milk or whole cream milk and keep it on a high flame stirring occassionally, till the milk gets reduced. Once about 85% of the moisture in the milk is gone, remove from flame and let it cool. Store it in airtight container and use it to make Kajjar ka halwa, Cashew Peda etc.

Care should be taken that the milk does not get burnt. To ensure that the milk does not get burned, a shallow non-stick pan can be used. The whole process can take about 2 to 2.5 hours

How to Caramalize Onions

Caramalized Onions can be used in any soup and especially French Onion soup. It can also be used in omlettes too.

Onions big - 2 nos
Butter - 1 tbsp
Cooking Oil - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1 pinch
Salt - 1/4 tsp

Method to caramalize Onions
Slice the onions to thin strips. Heat a hard bottom pan and when it is very hot add oil and turn the heat to medium. When the oil is hot add the onions and sprinkle the salt and sugar over it. Keep stirring till the onion turns brown. The entire process will take about 10 to 20 mins.  Ensure that the onions dont stick to the bottom of the pan. When all the slices are brown remove from fire and immediatly transfer it to a plate or bowl to avoid over cooking.

How to make vegetable stock at home

It is one of the basics that every soup lover should know. Especially when it comes to creamy soups, the vegetable stock adds a good flavour to it. Vegetables need to be simmered for upto 45 mins to one hour depending upon the quantity and the number of vegetables used to make this stock. Though the choice of vegetables differ from person to person, there are certain vegetables that need to be added definitely to make a vegetable stock.

Vegetables that could be added to make a vegetable stock:
Onions, carrots, celery leaves, cabbage (if the cooked flavour is not liked, it can be avoided), turnips, pumpkins(white one), tomatoes, mushroom (if earthly taste is needed)

Vegetables that could be avoided
Potatoes, Yams, Red Peppers, Beetroots or any other root vegetables as this might make the stock cloudy and starchy.

Ingredients needed to make Vegetable Stock
Onions - 2 or 3 large
Pumpkin - 1/4 kg
Turnips - 1 nos
Carrots - 3 nos
Garlic pods - 4 nos
Leek - 1/2 piece
Celery stock - 4 or 5 nos.
Sugar - 1 pinch
Salt - 1 tbsp
Water - 1 litre

For masala sachet
Ajwain (Omam) - 1/2 tbsp
Black Pepper corns - 1 tbsp
Clove - 1 or 2 nos
Bay Leaf - 1 nos
Parsely Stems - 2 nos

In a muslin cloth add the products for masala sachet and tie it up tightly. (Better to use cheese cloth). Cut all the vegetables in larger chunks rather than small pieces. In a heavy bottom pan add oil and when hot add garlic pods and thinly sliced onions. When the onions become transparent add all the vegetables and water. Simmer the stove and let the water boil and all the vegetables get cooked to a very soft consistency. Strain through a seive and store it in fridge. This can be used within 4 days. If wanted to use it for longer time, then can be stored in freezer bags and be used.

How to make Tomato Gravy - Basic Gravy Recipe

Almost all North Indian gravies use Tomato gravy as the base gravy. Once this is done adding other ingredients to it and making different kind of gravies or subjis is very easy.

Ingredients :
Tomatoes - 6 nos ripe
Onion - 2 nos
Garlic pods - 6 nos
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Green Chillies - 4 nos
Chilly Powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Salt to taste
Cloves - 4 nos (optional)
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch piece
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup

Method :
In a flat bottom pan add oil and when it is hot add cloves, cardomom and cinnamon. Add finely chopped onions and chopped garlic and fry till it becomes golden brown. Chop the tomatoes and add to the oil. Slit the green chillies into half and add it to the tomatoes along with chilli powder and turmeric.

Heat oil and add cloves, cardomom and cinnamon. Keep the stove sim and let the gravy thicken. Add salt to it. When the gravy becomes deep red in colour and oil starts floating remove from flame.
Alternatively tomatoes can be pureed and added to the onions to make a thicker and even gravy.

Idly - Every one's favourite

Idly is one dish that will not do any harm to any one. Right from toddlers to adults can have idly as their diet. Lactating mothers, ill people all are subscribed with idly if you are a south Indian. Idly digests very easily and as it is steamed, there is no need to worry about diet.

How to make idly batter:
This is the basic every one should know even before making idly.

Par Boiled Rice  - 4 cups (You get good quality idly rice now a days in market)
Urad Dal (Whole) - 1 cup
Methi seeds - 1 tsp

Method to Make Idly batter:
Wash and soak rice and Urad dal separately. Methi seeds can be added along with the urad dal. Soak for about 6 to 8 hours. Grind Urad to a fine batter and rice to a coarse batter. Grind them separately. It is better to grind the urad dal first and then grind the rice. In a deep vesserl add a hand ful of rock salt and beat the batter thoroughly with hand, which will help in better fermentation.

Once ground, leave it to ferment for atleast 8 to 12 hours. (But now the summer is starting it will ferment within 2 to 3 hours itself normally). Refrigerate the batter. Before making idlies, bring the batter to room temperature.

Method to make Idly:
Wash the idly plates and smear them with gingelly oil. Pour the batter only up to 3/4th leaving place to raise. If pressure cooker is used, there is no need to use the whistle. Let it steam for about 15 to 20 mins. Remove from flame and let it cool. Before removing the idlies from the plates, sprinkle water on the plates so that the idlies will come off smoothly without sticking to the plate.

Serve hot with idly chilly powder, different chutneys or sambars.

How to make processed rice flour at home

Raw Rice - 2 cups
Water - 1 cup

Wash and soak rice for about 20 to 30 mins. Drain the water and spread the rice on a clean cloth under fan. Let it dry for almost 4 hours. Dry them in a mixie to a fine powder. If the powder is not fine, use a sieve to get a fine raw rice powder. One can make about 1 1/2 to 1 34th cups of flour.

This powder can be used to make Karadai, bakshanams like Murukku, Thenkuzhal etc 

Processed Raw Rice flour

Soaked raw rice spread in shade

Photos by Vasan Srini 

How to make Tomato Puree

When it is tomato season and when they are available in large, one can make tomato puree at home and store it to be used in different gravies, especially North Indian Gravies and also can be used while making Rasams (South Indian Soups which is eaten with rice)


Ripe Tomatoes - 1/2 kg or 6 nos

Boil 2 cups of water. When the water boils add the tomatoes. Remove from flame and cover it.
When cool add it to juicer blender (which have the option of straining the waste). Do not add water while grinding. Get a thick paste.

This can be made in large quantities and stored in freezer too for future use.

How to extract coconut milk?

Coconut milk form one of the main ingredient for many of the Kerala dishes. Coconut milk is not the water that is found inside when it is broken, but it is the extract of the fluid that is obtained by grinding the white pulp.

Coconut milk is served as a side dish for Appam and Idiyappam as a side dish. It is also used to make curries and Biriyani to give an enhanced taste.

Whole matured coconut - 2 no
Warm water - 6 cups

Break the coconut into two. Cut the white flesh into small pieces using a knife. Grind the pieces . Add 1 1/2 cups of water and grind for about 3 to 4 mins. It will be better if a juicer extractor is used to grind them if not it have to strained using a strainer. Keep it seperately.

Put the extracted pulp again into the grinder and add 2 cups of water and grind it again. Strain the milk again. Grind the remaining pulp again in the blender adding another 2 cups of water and strain it again.

Keep all the 3 milk extracts separately. Do not mix. The 2nd and 3rd extract are used as an ingredients in soups, curries etc. The first milk  extract acts as a side dish.

Never grind the coconut more than thrice and throw away the waste.

How to make Paneer at home

Milk - 1 ltr
Lemon Juice - 1/2 tsp
Water - 1/2 cup

Bring the milk to boil, while doing so warm the water and after removing from fire add the lemon juice to it. When the milk comes to a boil, pour the lemon juice to it and sim the stove. Keep stirring constantly, to ensue that the entire milk is curdled. Remove from fire and let it cool. Strain through a clean muslin cloth. Keep the muslin cloth under running water and then squeeze out the remaining water. Hang the cloth so that all the Whey drains out. Donot throw the whey. It is rich in proteins. It could be used to make gravies or can also be added instead of wate while making Chappatis.

When you feel that all the water have come off then place the muslin cloth in a plate and keep a heavy weight over it. After 2 to 3 hours it can be removed and sliced. Refrigerate it and use it whenever needed. Make sure you dont store the Paneer more than a week.