Thursday, November 30, 2006

Jaggery Blancmange

Jaggery Blancmange
Nowadays , how much ever I try, I am not being very successful in reducing the time gap between two posts. Either I would not have cooked anything interesting, or even if I do cook, the dish vanishes by the time I could take a photograph...With so many things coming into play, I keep wondering how my fellow blogger friends manage the show! :-)

I missed a lot of food events recently and I didn't want to miss JFI-Jaggery as well. Ever since Kay announced the ingredient for this month's JFI along with a request for new recipes, so many ideas flashed by and I thought I could make atleast two recipes. But thanks to time, I managed just one.

Blancmange pronounced bluh-mahnj is a classic jelly dessert which originated in Arab world, and was typically made of almond milk, though in recent days, milk has taken its place. In its basic form, it is a pudding gaining its consistency from corn starch and sweetness from sugar.

My very first brush with this delectable dessert was through Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, a heart warming novel, where Jo takes across blancmange to sick neighbor Laurie to soothe his sore throat. Well, I did not have a clue of what it was at that tender age, but kept wondering about it, till I made it myself a couple of months ago. As ever, my sweet loving, give-me-new-recipes-any-time DH loved it. I had my reservations though, and was looking for a way to spice it up. JFI gave me the idea and I added jaggery and a little lemon zest and the result was delicious. Here's the recipe...

Recipe:

Jaggery/Gur/Vellam/Bellam - 8 Tbsp
Corn Flour - 4 Tbsp
Milk - 2 1/4 Cups
Lemon Zest - 1 Teaspoon

Boil half of the milk. In the other half, dissolve the jaggery and strain to remove impurities. Add the corn flour and stir without any lumps. Finally add the lemon zest. Add the boiled milk to this jaggery mixture and stir well. Return it to heat and keep stirring on a low heat. In about 5 to 10 minutes, the milk will attain the consistency of a porridge. To test doneness, dip a spoon into the milk and draw a line using your finger on the back of the spoon. If the line stays clear, the blancmange is done. Pour into a mould which is wet and refrigerate. It usually takes about one and a half hours for the blancmange to set. Unmould, and serve with cream, fresh fruits, nuts and a syrup of your choice.

I cannot stop myself from saying that jaggery adds a whole new dimension to the flavor of this dessert..and served with a tangy orange syrup, it truly is scrumptious. The recipe for the syrup is as follows...

Tangy Orange Syrup:

Orange Juice - 1 Cup
Brown Sugar - 2 Tbsps
Cardamom - 1 pod
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick

Combine all ingredients and cook on a low heat till the juice thickens. Instead of orange juice, you can use any juice. My favorites are black currant, apple and grape.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Moved to Blogger Beta!

Hi all,

I moved to Blogger Beta on Nov 11th and I must say that it went on without a hitch. The only drawback though was that comments left by non-beta-bloggers showed up as 'Anonymous'.

I am pretty sad about it because, I have no way of identifying the authors who had spent much time and effort to leave comments during the past months. But I am hoping that as non-Beta- Bloggers start moving their blogs to the new version, this problem would be resolved.

Till then, my humble request to all of you is to include your name in your comments. That way, I can never lose track of you no matter, which Blogger version you are using.

Thanks in advance.....

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Moving to New Blogger

Hi friends,

I am moving my blog to the new Blogger Version. I am not sure how my template will change or look like. But I hope to get it back to its original form. See you all soon!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Potato Sticks Curry

Potato Sticks Curry

It feels so nice to be missed and that's what I infer from the comments left by my foodie friends...I apologise for keeping quiet for so long. I have been a little busy lately and have been feeling a little under the weather too. Added to this, I had my share of blogger and PC problems to deal with. But when I saw all your comments, rain or shine, I had to post. So, here it is.

This recipe is a classic from my Dh's grandma...The grand old soul is so good with cooking and even at this age, she makes sure she cooks everything by herself when her beloved grandchildren stop by... May God Bless her and keep her hale and healthy for a lot many years to come!

I have no idea if this dish has a proper name in Telugu. It's made from potatoes which are grated and fried. I will get into the details of this part later, but now here's the recipe:

Ingredients:

Potato Sticks - 4.5 cans
Oil - Around 8 Tablespoons
Curry Leaves - 20
Coriander - 1 bunch

To Be Roasted:

Urad Dal - 1/2 Cup
Channa Dal - 1/2 Cup
Jeera - 1/8 Cup

To be fried in a little oil:

Dry Red Chillies - 5 long ones
Garlic - 10 flakes

Mix the roasted and fried ingredients and grind to a fine powder.

Heat oil in a pan and add curry leaves and coriander. Fry till they wilt. Next add the ground powder and fry for a while. Take care not to burn the powder. Next add the potato sticks and stir gently over a low flame till well blended. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes. Potato sticks curry is ready!

This dish makes a yummy accompaniment for rice. Mix it with plain rice with a drop of ghee or use it as a side dish.

I used French brand potato sticks. They come in small cans of about an ounce each and cost about 50 cents. If you want to make the potato sticks from scratch (I prefer this method, but time consuming), which is back breaking enough, here's the method:



Homemade Potato Sticks:


Wash and peel potatoes. Grate them with a grater which will give you thin, but long strands. Keep the gratings soaked in salted water till you are done with all the potatoes. Wash the gratings with water to remove some of the starch. Squeeze and let dry for sometime. Use paper towels or spread it on a plate to remove the excess water. Once they are considerably moisture less, fry them in a wide pan and keep aside. Potato sticks are ready.

Potato sticks by themselves are a snack and it looks like I have given two recipes in one post!:-)


Addendum:



Just yesterday I chanced upon Meeta's MM-Give Thanks event and I felt this recipe would be befitting the event. I have a lot to thank my DH for and what could be a better way to do that than by cooking his favorite dish. My DH simply loves this recipe and could literally live on it for days together. :-)