Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oatmeal Cookies

If you are one who stares at the jar of oatmeal, wondering how to make yourself like it, you are in for a treat. This is by far the most convenient and tasty way of introducing oats in your diet.
These cookies are crisp and soft and nutty and crunchy all at the same time. A flavor explosion in your mouth! The huge amount of oats in each cookie, makes it a great grab and go breakfast or snack bar. Perfect for those busy mornings or when you are stuck in traffic with a growling tummy dying to get home to food!

You can load these cookies with your favorite ingredients. If you plan to eat these for breakfast or as a healthy snack, add your favorite nuts and dry fruits. If you plan to replace your dessert cravings with these, throw in some chocolate chips along with the nuts...just let your imagination go wild!

An important detail to remember - You need to use Old Fashioned Oats/ Rolled Oats for this recipe and not the instant variety. Although they are quite interchangeable, you will need the thickness of the rolled oats to get the perfect texture in this recipe.

Getting back to the recipe...

Serves: 24 medium-large size cookies
Level: Easy
Source: JoyOfBaking

3 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup nuts (I used pecans)
1/2 cup dry fruit (I used raisins)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used bittersweet and white mixed together)

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 350 deg F (177 deg C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step 2 - Mix together the plain flour, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon until they are well combined. Keep aside.

Step 3 - In a bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat well to combine.

Step 4 - Combine the flour mixture from Step 2 into the butter mixture from Step 3. Beat well till combined.

Step 5 - Stir in the nuts, oats, dry fruits and chocolate chips. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to combine all the ingredients well.

Step 6 - With a large spoon, plop fairly large blobs of batter (1/4 cup each) onto your lined baking sheet. Space the cookies about 2 inches from each other, giving them room to expand while baking. Then wet your fingers with water and roughly shape the cookies into rounds that are 1/2 an inch thick. Bake for 18 - 20 mins or until golden around the edges. Once done, transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool completely, before transferring them to an air tight container.

Sit back with a glass of milk or some coffee and indulge!

We need 2 cups of your favorite addition in this recipe. You can use all nuts or all raisins or all chocolate chips or any other ingredient for that matter. Just make your favorite combinations to enjoy these cookies.

You can use salted butter for this recipe. Just skip the additional salt.

Baking time could vary depending on the oven sizes. So do keep an eye on these.

The original recipe calls for baking for 12 - 15 mins. But I prefer my cookie bottoms a little brown and crisp. Hence the 18 - 20 min baking time.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

CKP Ambat Varan

'Daals' have been an integral part of all Indian homes. But isn't it boring to have the same daals over and over again? Even slight variations can do wonders in brightening up simple meals. Over time my friends have been kind enough to share their family recipes with me. But before I share many of their exciting variations, let me share a few family recipes I haven't yet shared with all of you.

Having shared our basic daal - 'Varan' and my mom's version of 'Ambat Varan', it was about time I shared my MIL's version of the 'Ambat Varan'.
As my husband's job keeps him on the road for days at a time, he is always welcomed home to this ambat varan and a simple sabzi. Even if he reaches home at 2am or 3am in the morning, this is what he will eat before going to bed. Needless to say, this is his favorite 'daal' of all times (as he would put it).

Just like most of the daals, this one is ready really quickly and has a lovely garlic flavor. So for all you garlic lovers out there, this one will hit all the right spots!

Level: Easy
Serves: 4 people
Source: MIL - Nita Pradhan

1 cup tur dal
2 pinch asafoetida
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp red chilly powder
1.5 tsp jaggery
1 tsp tamarind pulp
1/2 cup coriander, lightly packed and chopped
1.5 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
6 - 8 garlic pods, chopped
Salt to taste
Water as required

Step 1 - In a pressure pan, Add the washed tur dal and 2 cups of water. Add a pinch of asafoetida, turmeric powder and red chilly powder. Pressure cook for 3 - 4 whistles or till the dal is overcooked and completely mashable.

Step 2 - Once the pressure is released, open the pressure pan and mash all the dal till it is smooth and pasty. Add water till the dal reaches a watery consistency. Add jaggery, tamarind pulp and half of the chopped coriander. Bring the mixture to a boil on medium heat. Let it boil for a good 10 - 12 minutes or till it reaches your desired thickness. If you want to, this would be the right time to adjust the red chilly powder, jaggery and tamarind based on your personal preference.

Step 3 - Heat oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add another pinch of asafoetida and the garlic pods. Saute the garlic till they turn brown. Pour this flavored oil into your boiling dal and let everything boil together for 3 - 4 more minutes.

Sprinkle the remaining coriander just before serving. Serve piping hot with some steamed rice and a dollop of ghee. Perfect!