Thursday, December 29, 2011

Coconut Chutney

Serves 6

A South Indian staple that can be served with almost every meal. Best made with fresh coconut, this chutney is a delight to the senses.

1 cup Fresh Coconut, peeled and chopped in pieces
1/2 cup Chana Dal, split and roasted
1/2 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Water or as needed
1 cup Cilantro Leaves

For the tempering
2 tsp Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Chana Dal, split
1 tsp Urad Dal, dehusked
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
10 Curry Leaves, Meethi Neem

Blend the coconut, chana dal, salt, water and cilantro leaves into a fine paste. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat the oil in a small skillet. Add chana and urad dals and saute till light brown in color. Then add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Cook till the mustard seeds start to crackle and spread this mixture over the chutney.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rava Idli

Serves 4-6

Rava idli is a South Indian breakfast item, which is made with semolina and yogurt. It is served with coconut chutney.

1 cup Semolina (Rava), dry roasted
1 cup Low Fat Yogurt
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tbsp Chana Dal
1 tbsp White Urad Dal
7-8 Curry Leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 cup Cilantro Leaves, chopped
1 tbsp Oil for greasing the idli mould

In a medium bowl, whisk together semolina, yogurt, salt and 1/4 cup water. Leave it aside for 15 minutes.

Heat a small skillet with 1 tbsp vegetable oil and add mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal and curry leaves. Stir for 2 minutes and add it to the semolina mixture along with baking soda and cilantro leaves. Mix well.

Heat a stockpot with 2 cups water. Grease the idli moulds with some oil and pour 1 1/2 tbsp of the mixture in each mould. Steam it at high for 12-15 minutes. Take the idlis out with the help of a knife and serve hot with coconut chutney.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Spot Dessert Bar

13 Saint Marks Place, New York, NY 10003
(212) 677-5670

There are quite a few places that are open till late in the night on St. Marks Place in New York on a Sunday night. Some are open till the wee hours of the morning and some seem always closed. It is surely an odd collection of shops and vendors but then this is typical New York. This time we had made it a point to visit this dessert place that I read about. It claimed to be "Saving the Planet One Dessert At A Time!"

Excitedly we reached there and found that the Spot Dessert Bar was a flight steps below the main street level and with a long queue of people on the steps and inside the shop as well. It seemed as if we would have to wait for long. As the line moved down and inside, I saw the cup cakes and macroons on display. All were very nicely lined and looked enticing.

Soon we were ushered to our table. Of course, the kids had already decided to try the Green Tea cup cakes. Green being their current favorite color and at this bar it seemed to be the speciality. As we glanced around to see what all others were having, it appeared that the Green Tea Lava was a hit too.

This was Green Tea - White Chocolate Ganache with Green Tea ice cream. It tasted very nice and sweet. With a good combination of the chocolate this dessert seemed like a full meal. I was not a fan of the wafer served with it, but then again it was a variation of the missing ice cream cone here. Definitely the plating of all the desserts except the cup cakes was a delight to look at. Each of these "Dessert Tapas" was served with neatness and finesse. The servings here are a good size.

The other dessert that seemed popular was the Thai Tea Creme Brulee served with a Jasmine rice wafer and hot Thai tea in a quaint tiny tea pot. The creme brulee was mild, not too sweet and the tea was a pairing that I have not tried in the past.

We did have coffee to go along with the desserts but that is not what this place is sought after for. It is the green tea and other flavor cup cakes, macroons, the 'dessert tapas' and the ice creams. Next time around on a hot afternoon, I will like to try the macroons and the "bubble tea" as well.