Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to Make Your Own Soy Milk

Many people have allergies to dairy, or are lactose-intolerant, making it inevitable for them to use milk alternatives, thereby choosing Soymilk instead of regular milk. And though several brands and flavors of Soymilk is available out there in the stores, if you use it on a daily basis, this can get to be an expensive affair! But, by making your own Soymilk at home, you can save tonnes of money, as well as get fresh milk every 3-4 days. Its really easy, and unbelievably cheap, plus you can use the leftover "Okara" (the pulp from the soybeans after the milk is extracted) to make delicious Soybean burgers, or any other soy-based recipe! So here goes, make your own Soymilk using 3 ingredients, and in 5 easy steps! [photo courtesy of US Agricultural Research Service]

Soya beans are almost a staple food in the US now. They are packed with proteins, and can be eaten raw, as Edamame beans, or as dried beans that are used below to make SoyMilk.

1 cup dry soybeans
sweetener (honey, barley malt or sugar) - add to your taste
water (about 12-15 cups)
Note: Generally, you need about 125 g whole soya beans and 1 liter of water to make 1 liter of soy milk.
Flavoring (optional, like Chocolate, Vanilla, or Almond essence)

Soak the beans overnight or longer(like 10-14 hours). Discard the water and rinse the beans thoroughly. This will also help loosen the hull so you can remove them. This helps in better extraction of soy milk.

Now throw one part beans and 2 parts water into the blender, preferably a high-duty one, like Vitamix, and whiz as long as you can. The finer the pulp, the higher the yield of milk will be. Repeat for any remaining beans.

Take a colander over a large pot, then line it with a cheese-cloth. Pour the mush into cloth-lined colander, and pour the remaining water(if any left) over the pulp.

Now fold the cloth over the mush and press to get as much of the milk out as possible. Save the mush (which is now known as "okara") to make something out of it, like soybean burgers or patties.

Next, bring the extracted milk to a boil, and let it boil for about 5-7 minutes. Reduce the heat, let it simmer for another few minutes, then turn the heat off. Add the desired amount of sweetener to your taste, and even any other flavoring if you want, then allow to cool completely to room temperature. Add the

After cooling, the soy milk is ready and can be kept in the fridge for another 3 days. Soymilk can rot fast, so if you can't use it quickly enough, don't make too much. You can freeze it, but when you thaw it, be prepared for a cottage-cheese kind of taste when you drink it. Adding sweetener and additional flavoring can help reduce this distinct taste though.

There your Soymilk is ready, and now you can go ahead and enjoy it by itself, or use it as a base for making delicious Soymilk Smoothies!

Soymilk Smoothies
Cranberry SoyMilk & Green Tea Smoothie
Vegan Chocolate & Peanut butter Smoothie

Bajra dosa


3 cups broken bajra/pearl millet/kambu
1 cup blackgram dal (urad dal)
Salt to taste
1 tsp fenugreek seeds

Soak the broken bajra in warm water for an hour. Soak the blackgram dal and fenugreek seeds seperately for 1/2 hour. Grind the dal first till smooth paste and then add the soaked bajra. Grind for a few minutes. Add salt and mix well. Ferment for 6-8 hours.

Heat the tava and pour a ladle full of batter..Spread it to make a dosa and add some oil in the corners. Cook till slightly brown and turn. Cook on other side also and serve hot with chutney/sambar of your choice.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chile Pepper Menu at Dosa

A few weeks ago I had brunch at Dosa on Fillmore. It was absolutely fantastic. First of all, it's a lovely and glamorous dining room with high ceilings, gold accents and modern sculptural chandeliers. And the food is so good. I love having something a little out of the ordinary for brunch. There are omelets with chiles, dosas with eggs, spiced up scrambled eggs, all the things you want but served in a new way. So I was particularly thrilled to get a chance to work with chef and owner Anjan Mitra to put together a really cool menu for BlackboardEats. And now I have an excuse to go back for dinner.

Anjan uses the best ingredients and brings a level of freshness to Indian food that is pretty much unique in San Francisco. He's been wanting to do a chile pepper menu for some time and the dishes are all over the map in terms of heat. Because this is a BlackboardEats special, YOU MUST sign up at and download a passcode on June 28th (or first thing June 29th) to be able to order these dishes. But the good thing is you can order as many or as few as you want.

corn salad
Photo credit: Robin Jolin

I teased Anjan that this corn salad is a bit like succotash. But really it's a bright lime and spiced smoky salad that has a little bowl of chiles on the side so you can take the heat up to wherever you like.

lamb pepper fry
Photo credit: Robin Jolin

The lamb pepper fry is a rich curry with many layers of chile and sweet undertones of cardamom and cinnamon.

stuffed chiles
Photo credit: Robin Jolin

The peppers stuffed with chicken looks like chile rellenos! I guess in a way it is, and the sauce resembles mole because it is made from more chiles and ground nuts and sesame.

batter fried chiles
Photo credit: Robin Jolin

The batter fried chiles are like Indian jalapeno poppers! The batter is light and made from lentils and instead of cheese the filling is a creamy puree of sesame and peanuts. Anjan uses different peppers so you don't know if you'll get a mild bite or a zinger but there is cooling tamarind and yogurt chutneys to take the heat down if you desire.

Photo credit: Robin Jolin

I am always torn between ordering dosas which are like crepes or uttapams which are like moist pancakes. For this special menu there is a Habanero uttapam. This untraditional uttapam has a mango habanero chutney mixed into the batter, along with seasonal vegetables making it bright and colorful and it comes with that outrageous dal that is at once exciting and comforting.

The dishes are priced extremely well considering the quality, from $9 to $12 each and of course there are lots of other wonderful things on the menu to round out your meal. Many thanks to Anjan for creating this great menu and to Robin Jolin for taking the drop dead gorgeous photos.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Marie Antoinette Pastry & Jelly ~ Paris Miniatures

For more minis by Emmaflam & Miniman of Paris Miniatures, visit:

Paneer potato balls


1 cup crumbled paneer
1 medium sized potato boiled and mashed
2 slices of bread
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 small onion chopped finely
1 tbsp tomato sauce
Finely chopped coriander leaves
Bread crumbs
Oil to fry

Dip the bread slice in little water and squeeze out water completely. Mix it with other ingredients except oil and bread crumbs to make a dough. Make medium sized balls of it. Roll it into bread crumbs.

Drop few drops of oil in hot paniyaram pan and put these balls. Turn and cook till golden brown.

Serve hot with tomato sauce.

* If you are not calorie conscious deep fry these balls for more taste
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Semiya / Vermicelli pulav


1 cup roasted vermicelli
4 cups water
3 tsp oil
1 tsp jeera
1 big onion chopped lengthwise
2 small carrots chopped lengthwise
4-5 beans chopped lengthwise
1/2 cup peas
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
Small piece of cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 green chillies
1 tsp pulav masala or garam masala
Salt to taste
Finely chopped coriander leaves
Roasted cashews and raisins

Heat water till boiling point and add the roasted vermicelli. When the vermicelli is cooked, add a tsp of oil, mix well and drain out the excess water. Allow it to cool for a few minutes and seperate using a fork.

Heat oil, add cumin seeds, cloves, bay leaf and cinnamon. Fry for a minute and add the green chillies and chopped onions. After 2 mins, add the beans, carrot and peas and about 1/2 cup of water. Cook till dry and add turmeric powder, pulav masala and salt. If you need more spice, then add red chilli powder at this stage.
Add cooked vermicelli and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves, roasted cashews and raisins.

Serve with raita of your choice

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Louisiana Gulf Shrimp

Louisiana gulf shrimp
Help! I'm undergoing gulf shrimp withdrawal! On my Louisiana Seafood adventure I ate shrimp every single day and never got tired of them in the least. In Louisiana there are white shrimp, brown shrimp and freshwater shrimp. I particularly liked the flavorful brown shrimp I tried, though they are less popular than the larger white shrimp.

Shrimp from the gulf are sweet and succulent and perfectly safe to eat. At the Sustainable Foods Institute (part of Cooking for Solutions at the Monterey Bay Aquarium) I spoke with scientists who told me that the shrimp population came back quickly after the oil spill in the gulf and the testing has not shown any signs that the seafood is contaminated. Fortunately Louisiana gulf shrimp are available all over the country and are really worth seeking out for their superior flavor and texture and because they are harvested in a more sustainable way than the cheap shrimp you find imported from Asia.

So how many ways are there to eat shrimp? Probably more than I can count, but here are my absolute hand's down favorites from the trip:

Barbecue shrimp from GW Fins, upper left hand corner. Now barbecue shrimp in Louisiana are not "throw a shrimp on the barbie" Australian shrimp, or doused in Texas style barbecue sauce, they are cooked in butter and spices and positively delicious. I found this recipe online, so you can try making them at home. Now if I could just get my hands on the savory Jazzmen rice pudding recipe that accompanied the shrimp...

Shrimp boil is next, shown in the upper right hand corner. But here's what I learned about shrimp boil. It's shrimp poached gently in a spiced broth, off the heat! The shrimp never get boiled, just the seasoning mix and cooking liquid. This was news to me, but explains why you end up with such juicy shrimp, it's probably the most gentle way to cook them. Cooking them in the shells helps prevent them from overcooking and yet they do take on the flavor of the "boil."

Shrimp remoulade is in the bottom right hand corner, as served at Mandina's. My thanks to Pim for introducing me to this neighborhood gem and my other charming and enthusiastic dining companions–Adam aka the Amateur Gourmet and Chichi who writes for Serious Eats. The secret to this dish was of course the remoulade sauce, which was heavily spiked with horseradish. Yum! Horseradish makes pretty much everything taste better. Especially remoulade sauce.

Last but not least, fried shrimp (and some oysters too). This was another dish at Mandina's and while I never got my hands on a po' boy, this was the same thing, just no bread. More shrimp! The folks in New Orleans know how to fry their food so every thing is crisp and greaseless. Seriously, they are deep frying experts and I am happy to leave the frying to them.

What's your favorite way to enjoy shrimp? Shrimp etouffée? Shrimp bisque? Is there a particular NOLA style shrimp dish you love?

My thanks to Louisiana Seafood for sponsoring this trip. It was a blast!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Palak corn stuffed bread cutlet


6 bread slices (I used brown bread)
2 boiled and mashed potatoes
Salt to taste
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp chaat masala powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/4 cup chopped and cooked spinach
1/4 cup cooked sweet corn
Pepper to taste
Bread crumbs

Mix corn, spinach, pepper and salt as per taste.

Dip the bread slices in water and remove immediately. Squeeze all the water and add mashed potatoes, a bit of salt, red chilli powder, garam masala powder and chaat masala to it. Mix well. Make balls of it. Flatten them and place little corn spinach filling in the center and cover well to make a ball. Shape them into rounds or heart shapes. Dust them lightly with bread crumbs. Repeat for the rest.

It can be either deep fried in hot oil or cooked on tava with little oil till crispy on both sides. Serve hot with sauce or sweet tamarind chutney.
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bourbon for Father's Day

I'm just back from Bourbon Street, and I have bourbon on my mind. Of course, in New Orleans I drank Sazeracs, and the flavor of the city is really herbsaint as far as I'm concerned. But I'm thinking about bourbon and the young people I met in Louisville last Spring who told me that bourbon was what their granddaddies drank. It took them a while to come around to it, but they have now embraced it as their own.

Maker's Mark distillery
Even though my father doesn't drink it, bourbon just seems like the quintessential spirit for dad. In my visit to bourbon country, I learned the distilleries were all pretty much family ventures, though now mostly owned by conglomerates. Even if you don't drink bourbon, a visit to this beautiful part of the country outside Louisville is a treat. I was a guest at the Maker's Mark distillery in Loretto which feels more like a national park than anything else. Historic wooden buildings with touches of their trademark red are set against a lush green backdrop. The tour of the distillery is very worthwhile. It's so old fashioned and small scale you might be surprised, I loved seeing the buckets of yeast and beautiful copper distillation pots.


Maker's Mark is made from corn, barley and local wheat. It is smooth and has featured prominently in my recipe development efforts. It has a sweetness and rich caramel and toffee notes with a hint of citrus. If you like Marker's Mark, try 46, which is also made from Maker's Mark, but is aged with more specially charred oak staves, it's a bit higher proof but still mellow and has more spice and vanilla to it.

American whisky glass
There are lots of ways to enjoy bourbon, but if you are drinking it straight, by all means, check out the gorgeous American whisky glassware from Villeroy & Boch. The feel of these heavy glasses in your hands and the way the aroma builds and wafts up to my nose convinced me, these glasses are a must for bourbon purists. Villeroy & Boch make a whole line of whisky glasses for a range of whiskies and cocktails so you can get just the right glass to go with your drink. My thanks to Villeroy & Boch for sending me some samples to try out.

The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book
My favorite bartender in Louisville, Joy Perrine wrote the definitive book on bourbon cocktails, The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book. Her recipes are layered and balanced and introduced me to so many new ways to enjoy bourbon. She combines it with everything from amaretto to vermouth. The section on creating bourbon infusions explaining how to use herbs, spices and fruits to flavor bourbon is particularly intriguing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Moong-channa dal halwa


1 cup greengram dal (soaked for 2 hours)
1 cup bengalgram dal (soaked for 2 hours)
1/4 cup ghee
1 1/2 cups of sugar (moderate sweetness-adjust according to tastes)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
Roasted nuts and raisins

Grind both the dals together to a smooth paste with little milk. In a vessel put the sugar and add water just enough for the sugar to soak. Heat it to get a sticky consistency. Add in the dal paste and mix well without lumps. Keep stirring and add the ghee little by little. Finally when the halwa starts leaving the sides, add the cardamom powder, nuts, raisins and mix well. Transfer to a greased plate. It can also be cut into pieces before serving.
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Eggless Pista flavoured biscuits


1 cup all purpose flour/maida
1/2 cup vanaspati/shortening
3/4 cup sugar powdered
1 tsp pista essence
2 tbsp unsalted pista cut into small pieces

Sieve the sugar and flour together to remove any lumps. Add the essence, pista and mix well. Add the vanaspati little by little and keep mixing till you get a dough. Make small balls of it and flatten them a bit.

Preheat oven to 180 deg. Arrange the flattened balls leaving some gap between each biscuit. Bake in convention mode for 8 mins. Cool for 10 minutes before storing in an air tight container.

* You can even add a bit of green food colour if you wish to..

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Macaron Tower ~ Pei Li

For more minis by Pei Li, visit:

Broken corn paniyaram

When you grind batter with broken corn and blackgram dal, you can make idlis, dosa and paniyarams with the same batter.


1 small onion chopped
Finely chopped coriander leaves
1/2 tsp ginger paste
Few curry leaves
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp blackgram dal
1 tsp bengalgram dal
1 tsp chopped green chillies (optional)

Heat 1 tsp oil and add mustard seeds, blackgram dal and bengalgram dal. When it splutters, add the curry leaves and add it to the batter. Add coriander leaves, chopped onions, green chillies and ginger paste to the batter and mix well.

Heat the paniyaram pan and add a few drops of oil in each hole. Pour a spoon ful of batter in each hole and cook on medium flame till golden brown on one side. Slowly turn and cook on other side as well. If you want the paniyarams to be more crispy, add a few more drops of oil.

Serve hot with chutney/sambar of your choice.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Sprouted Horsegram paratha


For stuffing :
1 cup sprouted and cooked horsegram
1 small onion chopped finely
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
Bit of ajwain powder
Finely chopped coriander leaves

For dough :
2 cups wheat flour
Salt to taste

Oil /Ghee as required

Make a soft dough of wheat flour, salt and water and keep covered with wet cloth for 1/2 hour. Divide into medium sized balls.

Slightly mash the cooked sprouted horsegram and add onions, salt, red chilli powder, ajwain powder, garam masala powder and coriander leaves. Mix well and make small balls of it.

Dust the balls of dough with flour and roll into thick roti. Place the stuffing ball in the center and cover it from all sides with the dough. Dust again slightly with flour and roll into thick parathas without the stuffing coming out. Cook on hot tava with few drops of oil/ghee till brown spots appear on both sides.

Serve hot with curds and pickle.

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