Saturday, 16 November 2013

Spiced Indian Herbal Tea

Spiced Indian Herbal Tea and Snacks
Black Spiced Indian Herbal Tea With Lemon and Honey

Tea is the refreshing drink taken in the morning and when tired or stressed out what better than a hot cup of tea. All over the world tea is taken in one form or other. In India tea with milk and in some places tea made in pure milk is preferred. I love black tea or tea with lots of herbs and spices. My creation of this tea is not only refreshing but has medicinal values also. In normal cough and cold, headache it works wonder. My daughter in-law loves the flavor of this tea prepared by me. All ingredients are easily available in market and most of them are available in every kitchen. This tea can be taken only as herbal tea or tea leaves can be added to have black tea with a dash of lemon or with tea leaves and milk added as we Indians are normally used to.

Preparation Time: 5 min.
Making Time: 10-15 minutes
Servings: 4 cups of Tea

Ingredients Required For Making Spiced Indian Herbal Tea:
  • 4 Tea cup water
  • 1 Lemon Grass (Gawati chai)
  • 10-12Holy Basil leaves (Tulsi)
  • 1 inch Ginger (Adarak)
  • 2 Black Cardamom (Badi elaichi)
  • 2-4 Cloves (lawang)
  • 1 Inch Piece of Cinnamon (Dalchini)
  • 1 Teaspoon Fennel(saunf)

Material For Spiced Indian Herbal Tea
Directions For Making Spiced Indian Herbal Tea:
  • Pound the black and green cardamom so that the seeds are crushes and the peel is split.
  • Grate ginger
  • Wash the basil and lemon grass.
  • Cut lemon grass to pieces.

All Herbs and Spices Ready for Tea
  • In a kettle take 4 cups of water.
  • Add
    • Black and green Cardamom
    • Fennel
    • Cloves
    • Lemon grass
    • Basil leaves

All Herbs and Spices Added to Water
  • Cover the kettle and keep the kettle with water and all ingredients on heat.

Water With Herbs and Spices Kept For Boiling
Herbs and Spices Boiling in Water
  • When water starts boiling lower the flame and let the water with all herbs and spices boil for 5 min.
  • The water will reduce by one cup and three cups of liquid will be left.
  • Add two tea spoons of your favorite tea leaves and let it stand for 10 min.

Tea Leaves Added To boiled Water with Herbs and Spices
  • Boil one cup of milk.
  • Add milk and sugar according to your taste and liking and herbal tea with milk is ready. My personal preference is tea without sugar.
  • Get refreshed with Indian Herbal tea.

Spiced Indian Herbal Tea and Vada 
  • Tips:
  • Do not remove the peel of cardamoms as they impart good flavor and have lots of medicinal values.
  • Do not cut the basil leaves.
  • Do not boil after adding tea leaves as the tea will become very dark and bitter.
  • Never add cold milk and then heat the tea it spoils the taste of tea.
  • Correct practice is adding milk to tea not tea to milk this way the amount milk can be regulated without spoiling the taste of tea.
  • To get the complete flavor of herbs and spices boil the water for at least 5 min.
  • Amount of water should be 1 cup more than finally required amount in the case of herbal/black herbal tea as no milk is being added.

Suggested Variations:
  • Filter the liquid in a cup add one tea spoon of honey and take hot piping refreshing herbal tea.

Spiced Indian Herbal Tea With Honey
  • Heat the black herbal tea and filter in a cup.
  • Add one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and 2 teaspoon of honey/ sugar to taste. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

Spiced Indian Herbal Black Tea With Honey and Lemon

  • Stir and have wonderful herbal black tea with lemon and honey taste.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Pan-Fried Aloo Vada For Vada Pav (Indian Pan Fried Potato Patties)

Pan-Fried Aloo-Vada with Chutney
Vada-Pav is the fast food of Maharashtra. Piping hot Aloo-vada, soft pav with hot spicy chutney and finely cut onion, cilantro brings water to every body’s mouth. Being fried it is nightmare for weight watchers. Difficult choice has to be made indulge or control. My daughter in-law overcame this problem by making pan-fried vada with hardly any oil in them. God bless her for this. Delicious least oily these vadas can be had with pav/bread for breakfast/brunch or with chutney/sauce for snack.

Preparation Time: 30-40-min.
Cooking Time: 10 minutes/Vada
Servings: 12 Vadas of Medium Size

Ingredients Required For making Pan-Fried Vada For Vada-Pav:
For Filling:
  • 750 gm. Potatoes 
  • 1 Inch piece Ginger
  • 10-12 Cloves of Garlic
  • 5-6 Green Chilies
  • 5-6 Sprigs of Cilantro
  • 1Teaspoon Olive oil/any cooking oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Amchur Powder
  • 8-10 curry leafs (Kadi patta)
  • Salt to taste
For Batter:
  • 250 gm. Besan
  • 1/2Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 Pinch of eating Soda
  • Salt to taste
Ingredients For Batter
  • Water
  • 2 ml. oil for cooking the vadas
Directions For Making Pan-Fried Aloo Vada For Vada-Pav:
  • Boil the potatoes.
  • Peel and mash the boiled potatoes.
Boiled and Mashed Potatoes
  • Cut garlic, green chilies, and cilantro fine.
  • Grate ginger.
  • In a wok heat 1 ml oil.
  • When the oil is smoking hot add
    • Mustard seeds
    • Cumin seeds
  • When the seeds have crackled and spluttered then add
    • Kadi patta
    • Garlic
    • Ginger
    • Green chilies
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Seasoning Ready For Potatoes
  • Add
    • Mashed potatoes
Mashed Potatoes in Seasoning
    • Turmeric
    • Salt and mix nicely.
  • Cook for 4-5 min. with continuous stirring.
  • Filling (Masala) of Aloo-vada is ready.
Filling For Vada
  • Take the filling in a bowl and allow it to cool without covering the bowl.
For Batter:
  • In a bowl take
    • Besan
    • Salt
    • Turmeric
    • Garam masala
    • Red chili powder
    • Salt and pinch of eating soda
  • Mix all ingredients nicely and start adding water slowly with continuous beating.
  • Add water till thick but pourable batter is formed.
Batter of Besan and Spices
For Pan Fried Vada:
  • Heat a thick pan with edges.
  • When the pan is hot sprinkle 4-5 drops of oil on it and spread the oil with spatula.
  • Reduce the flame.
  • Divide the filling masala to 12 parts.
  • Make round balls and then flatten them by gently pressing then between your palms.
Flattened Filling Ball
  • Dip one flattened ball of filling at one time to the batter and coat it nicely with batter.
  • Gently place it on the hot oiled pan.
Filling Coated with Batter and Placed on Hot Oiled Pan
  • Repeat and place them at 2-3 cm. distances from each other for easy handling while turning over.
  • Let the vada cook for 3-4 min. on low flame.
  • The lower surface will become golden brown and the upper surface will change the color to darker yellow.
Different Stages of Vadas
  • Turn over the Vada and allow it to cook on low flame till the color of the flipped side also becomes golden brown.
  • Keep shifting the vadas so that they touch the edge of pan. This will make sure the vada is cooked from all sides
  • Vadas are ready.
Pan-Fried Vada with Chutney
  • Repeat till all are cooked.
  • Cut the Pav (Unleavened bread) / Burger bun to half.
  • Apply coriander-mint chutney on one side and place hot Vada on it.
  • Sprinkle some finely cut onions, cilantro and place the other half on it.
  • Healthy Vada –pav is ready.Or simply sandwich it between two slices of bread lined with sauce/chutney and enjoy with tea/coffee.
  • Pan with edges is must to make sure batter from the edges of vada is cooked.
  • Do not overcook the potatoes while boiling otherwise the filling will not be firm and vadas will not come out nice.
  • Mash the potatoes nicely but do not make paste of them.
  • While making batter add water in little proportions to avoid the batter from becoming thin.
  • Beating of batter should be done continuous to avoid lump formation.
  • Do not leave the filling flattened balls in the batter, just dip and then cover rest of the surface with batter using spoon.
  • Do not cook the vadas on high flame otherwise the batter will remain uncooked from inside and brittle and hard from outside.
Alternate Suggestions:
  • Finely cut onions can be added to the spluttered seeds and cooked till transparent before adding garlic etc.
  • One teaspoon oil can be added to besan mixture before adding water.
  • If you wish 2-3 drops of oil can be sprinkled over the vadas while they are being cooked.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Onion Masala

Onion-Ginger-Garlic Masala
When we are in hurry or tired and food is to be cooked masala ready in the fridge comes in handy. Any gravy with onion in it requires maximum time for making the onion masala. Ginger-garlic paste can be made and kept in fridge and if the onion masala is ready then work becomes very easy. I prefer keeping in fridge two masala always ready, one of only onion and other of onion tomato and of course ginger-garlic paste is also home made.  . When the onion masala is made in large amount then it saves not only time but the usage of oil also reduces very much.

Preparation Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 30 min

Ingredients Required For Making Onion Masala:
  • 1 Kg. Onion
  • 100 gm. Garlic
  • 100 gm. Ginger
  • 10 ml. Oil
Directions For making Onion-Tomato Masala:
  • Peel and cut onions to long 2-3 mm. thick slices
  • Peel garlic.
  • Peel ginger and cut to pieces.
  • In a thick bottom wok take 10 ml.oil and heat it. When the oil is hot add
    • Onions
    • Garlic
    • Ginger 
After 5 min. Of cooking on low Flame
After 15 min. Of Cooking On Low Flame
  • Bring the heat to low and cook with regular stirring and turning for 25-30 min. The onion will become light brown in color.

  • Switch off the gas and allow it to cool without lid.
Ready for Making Paste
  • Take the cooked mixture in mixer/grinder and make fine paste. Normally water is not required but if required then add little water to make fine paste.
  • Store the masala in an airtight container for future use in fridge. It can be stored in freezer for more than a month .
Onion-Garlic-Ginger Masala for Storing.

  • Always use thick bottom wok otherwise the mixture will start becoming brown before the onions are cooked thus rendering raw onion taste to the masala.
  • Do not cut the onions too thick this will make proper cooking of onions difficult.
  • Cook the masala on low flame for all ingredients to cook properly.
Alternate Suggestions:
  • 1/2kg.Tomatoes can be added by grinding them to paste as and when onions are cooked to brown color. Cook the tomato onion mixture till all liquid evaporates and tomatoes are cooked. Grind to paste to make onion tomato masala. Extra tomatoes can always be added as required.
  • Onion can be added to small pieces for easier and fast cooking.


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