MLLA-19th Helping event announcement


We are so excited to announce the very popular and interesting event dedicated to legumes : My Legume Love affair or MLLA - 19 started by Susan as the first event of 2010 on Simple Indian food. Thanks a lot Susan for this wonderful opportunity


Wiki defines legumes as : A legume in botanical writing is a plant in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae), or a fruit of these specific plants. A 'legume' fruit is a simple dry fruit that develops from a simple carpel and usually dehisces (opens along a seam) on two sides. A common name for this type of fruit is a pod, although "pod" is also applied to a few other fruit types, such as vanilla. Well-known legumes include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, soy, cashews, and peanuts.

For this event - a legume is fresh or dried beans, lentils, pulses, and/or the sometimes edible pods that contain these seeds, and derivative products like tofu or besan and not French legumes, which they mean as any vegetable at all. Fenugreek, carob, peanuts, etc. are among some of the other edible plants in the legume family which ARE included in the event.

Susan is offering two interesting prizes for the winner of the event ..

1) Selected and purchased by Susan: The Joy of Cooking 2010 Calendar.

2) Hurst Bean Box - A case of six bags of the winner's choice of Hurst Bean products, suitable for every diet, donated by Hurst Bean. (Due to shipping restrictions, this prize can only be awarded if the winner is a U.S. resident.) Susan does not receive any product nor financial compensation for her arrangement with Hurst Bean to provide this prize supplement for My Legume Love Affair.


Now for the rules regarding the event

* Only vegetarian recipes are accepted since this is a vegetarian blog (No eggs please- Cheese acceptable).

* Multiple recipes are permitted (although only one submission will be counted towards the random drawing).

* Recipes submitted to other events are also permitted.

* Pls link your post to the event announcement and to Susan's event host lineup page..Unless done, the post would not be a part of the roundup and not eligible for the prize too..

* Recipes from archives can be accepted ONLY if updated and reposted as current. So make sure you do this without fail.

* Recipes from those who do not blog are accepted and make eligible the participants to win the random drawing.

* Use of logo is optional.

* The roundup would be up by the first week of February.

Once done, pls mail me the details to easycrafts@gmail.com

Name:
Blog Name:(not url)
Recipe name:
Link to the recipe:
Location (optional)
Photo (optional)

Have fun with legumes all this month..


Budding blogger: Chitra

Budding blogger series introduces new bloggers (those blogging for less than a year) every wednesday and promotes their blogs through Simple Indian Food. If you are interested in being a part of this series, please mail me a short description about your blog, the cuisine you specialize and your objective/inspiration in blogging to easycrafts@gmail.com.

Meet Chitra from The ABCD's of Cooking blog this week on budding blogger series. Her blog has a complete mix of several Indian and International vegetarian recipes..Dont miss out the Papaya lassi (at least I had never heard of it before) on her blog..Here is what Chitra has to say about herself and her blog-

My food blog is called the ABCD's of Cooking (ABCD = American Born Confused Desi). My cooking, like ABCD, is a hodgepodge of sorts - all vegetarian, a lot of South and North Indian, other influences from the US and around the world and recipes I've collected along the way.

I was brought up in the US by a South Indian mother and a North Indian father who both love to cook. As a result, my cooking has influence from their two regions in India, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, and is also reflective of my American upbringing and interest in vegetarian cuisine from around the world. I also have a close knit group of friends and family that enjoy cooking so over the years we have exchanged a number of different recipes and in addition, I love to travel and have collected recipes on my various trips. This blog is a diary of my recipes, travel experiences and memories growing up.

Hope you enjoy.

Punjabi kadhi pakora (Low fat)



Ingredients
For pakora

1 cup gram flour/besan
Salt to taste
1 chopped onion
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Bit of asafoetida
Finely chopped coriander leaves

For kadhi -

2 cups beaten curd (low fat)
1 cup water
2 tbsp gram flour
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Oil to fry

Mix the ingredients for pakora with some water and pour a spoonful of it in hot oil to get one pakora. Repeat for rest of the batter. If you are health conscious, try it in the paniyaram pan like I did




Mix the ingredients of kadhi and beat well. Heat the kadhi till it starts boiling.

Before serving, add the pakore to the kadhi and serve hot with rice

how to make kadi pakora, kadhi pakore recipe, punjabi kadhi, side dish for rice, north indian special recipes






Super blogger sunday: Roma of Roma's space

This week's featured blogger is Roma from Roma's space. A food blogger, an excellent photographer, owner of the popular food blog aggregator Town Square..she does it all and manages everything excellently..She also blogs her travel experiences, but mainly focuses on food for infants with categories based on age group...Read more about her



EC: Tell us something about yourself

Roma: My blog is going to be two years old this January. My Hobbies include Photography, Gardening and Cooking. I also love to watch plays and have attended a couple of theater workshops in Bangalore. I am basically a Software Engineer. I worked in the IT industry for about 6 years - first 4 years with MindTree Consulting and another 2 years with Kyocera Wireless.

I am now at home taking care of my daughter who is soon going to be three years old. As soon as a working professional is faced with the fact of staying at home an intense nervousness sets in as she wonders what next? Can I spend my time productively? Can I manage to live a life despite being in the house 24X7 ? I decided to spend more time nurturing my interests that I never could due to a hectic work schedule. I got more time to cook, attend theater workshops and do craft work like pot painting, glass painting, etc; It was important to channelize my energy before life drove me around like a wild river.

When I started creating stuff I wanted to share it with others. Every time I made a special dish for my baby I thought of all the other mom's who could benefit from it. My friends supported me whole heartily and my blog was launched. I cook specially for the blog when there is an event being held. Otherwise most of the dishes I make are impromptu and usually to satisfy the sugar cravings of me and my family.


EC: Your photographs of the dishes are attractive..Any tips for improving food photography ( and ur learnings from the photography workshop)

Roma: Most of my knowledge in photography is from The photography workshop conducted by Kalyan Varma. Other than that I learned by experimenting with my camera and analyzing the results. There were also some good sites that helped me pick up food photography tips:

Idea of Lunch Box : This is one of the most popular posts on the Strobist site. It shows you how you can easily take a professional food shot without spending a penny. I made my own lunch box and I think it works well (although I dont really have a lamp, I use it in harsh sun light)

Food Photography Setup by Matt : Here is a tutorial on effective use of scrims and reflectors. The points from this post when applied using the lunch box above gives incredible results

- A scrim or a butter paper screen helps in

Diffusing light, hence reducing harsh shadows
Cutting out reflection of surroundings in crockery

- A reflector (typically a white board) helps in bouncing back some light on the subject hence defining areas of subject that were otherwise dark and overshadowed.

I recently got a Canon 450D camera which I use along with a 50mm lens and a 28-90mm lens. The 50 mm is superb for portfolios and cases where you want a shallow depth of field. A 28-90 mm lens works great for macro food photography - cases where you want to get really close to the food and make everything else look hazy.

Typically here are the steps I follow in taking food snaps (to follow these steps you dont need a D-SLR, a simple point-n-shoot camera also works):

I usually shoot in natural sunlight. Hence, my terrace is my studio almost all of the time.

Its advisable to shoot when the sunlight is at its peak, at this point if you use a butter paper screen (or a scrim) you will get a beautifully diffused light on your food. If you dont like to use a scrim then you can try under-exposing the snap (although the former works better).

Food has more depth and width than height. Hence it looks best when lit from the top-back position. I learned this from the Strobist site and it works well. I usually use a white cloth as a background for my dishes as it serves as a good reflector. Recently I've bought rolls of sheets which are of different colors and textures. A flat, sober base makes the dish stand out.

Finally, I edit my pictures using GIMP (freely available download). Here are the steps to follow while editing pics:

Crop the image so only the necessary / relevant portion lies within the picture. Any extra space needs to be removed unless its meant to be a part of the composition.

The histogram needs to be edited to remove any unnecessary tones. Editing the histogram of a picture can really change the way a picture looks.

Add a copyright label and optionally a title over the picture. Although a copyright label or water marking seldom prevents misuse, it still goes well with an image definition.

Finally, I give the image a white border with a shadow drop. This is what I usually use to get a post card effect.


EC: There is a lot of focus on baby food in your blog..what are ur sources for recipes

Roma: I've always felt the need to write on baby food as its a confusing subject. Everyone is worried about whats best for their baby and the internet doesnt have too much information on off-beat subjects like Indian baby food, food for pregnant ladies, Patients, etc; Although I do find a few sites hosting this information but I still feel there is scope for more.

Sources for my recipes are:

1) Mom and Grandmom - What would we do without them? They are the ones holding treasures of recipes handed down over decades. Most of the baby food recipes are from them.

2) My baby's pediatrician - She was always co-operative and willing to have discussions with me so I could understand the ingredients that a baby can eat.


EC: Town Square is a hot and happening food blog aggregator..Tell us something about it

Roma: Thanks so much for the appreciation. Town Square has been online for 4 months now. In March '09 I started off with an idea of creating a consolidated database which could be easily browsed while searching for specific posts on recipes, photography, travel and more. A site where people could preview posts being published currently and find new blogs in the process. I realized that Google App Engine had come up with a frame work for developers like me. It not only allowed you to create an application but also gave you space on the server to run it free of cost (within quota limits). I started working on the tutorials and created little applications just to understand the framework better. Finally with a few books on HTML-CSS, online tutorials on Python/ Django and much help from my husband the site was ready. I was overwhelmed with the response, as the site registered 100 members in a little over 2 months of launch. I am so grateful to all for joining the endeavor and enriching the database.

I have plans to re-design Town Square to present the categories of recipes better and to make it easily browsable to new visitors as well.


EC: How do you manage ur time between your personal work, blog, and aggregator as each one of them require personal attention.

Roma: I try to cash out on 3 hours in the morning when my baby goes to play school. She naps for two hours in the afternoon, so thats the bonus time I get. Typically I write one blog post a week so the rest of the time I am working on the aggregator. Yes, during the development phase of Town Square that is March - June '09 my blogging had seriously dropped. Thats when personal jobs had also taken a back seat. Now that Town Square is fairly stable I get time for personal work, blogging & photography as well. Managing home and personal interests is mostly a juggling act but now since 5 hours in a day are reserved for my sites, its easier.


EC: Have your recipes been copied anywhere without your permission..How would you deal with plagiarism ??

Roma: Thankfully thats not yet happened so far. If it did, I would write a post followed by a mail to my readers and Town Square members to extend their support to me. Since we have all been in the blogosphere for a while now, we understand each other and can tell right from wrong. If we foodies join together no other site can survive for long.


EC: How much technical knowledge does one need for successful blogging ?

Roma: Since Wordpress and Blogspot have provided us with easy-to-use tools for blogging it currently doesnt require much technical knowledge to create a blog.

However to take the site one step further you might need to know:

Selecting and Positioning of widgets, for the benefit of your readers

A little bit of HTML and CSS to style your pages and provide images pointing to relevant links.

Some knowledge on editing of images can go a long way in making a site attractive

Improving the SEO of your site also helps you find relevant traffic into your blog hence adding to your success in reaching out to people.

Other than that not much is required to become a successful blogger. I guess its eventually the content of your site that will get people back.


EC: Your favourite vegetarian recipe


Making this is a bit elaborate but it tastes great eventually, try it with a dip of your choice!



Gooseberry (Amla) instant pickle



Ingredients

6 pieces of gooseberry/amla/nellikaai
3-4 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
Salt to taste
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp mustard seeds

Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add the turmeric powder, asafoetida and gooseberry pieces (cut into pieces leaving out the seed). Fry for a minute and add some water and cook till soft. Add salt and red chilli powder and mix well till the water almost dries up.

Instant amla pickle ready to serve..For storing you can use an airtight container and refrigerate it by adding more oil.
how to make amla pickle, quick and easy healthy pickle, gooseberry recipes, nellikai urgaai, simple and instant pickle, nelikay, nellikaai, how to cook indian food, south indian recipes, oorkai, ooruka, ooruga, urga, urgai, oorgai, south indian food, recipes, indian multi cuisine site.

Daal toast



Ingredients

Bread slices
1/2 cup Greengram dal (moong dal)
1/2 cup Bengalgram dal (channa dal)
1/2 cup Redgram dal (tur dal)
1/2 cup rice
Salt to taste
Asaofetida
1 onion chopped finely
Finely chopped coriander leaves

Soak the rice and dals for 3-4 hours. Grind to a coarse paste. Add the onions, salt, asaofetida, coriander leaves and mix well. Spread it on the bread slice and toast it on a greased hot tava with little oil or butter till brown spots appear on both sides.


Remember to cook on low heat so that the dal paste is well cooked.

Serve hot with tomato ketchup.
how to make bread toast, interesting toast recipe, daal toast, lentils bread toast, easy and simple breakfast, quick and healthy food for kids, nutritious breakfast

Mattar Paneer biriyani


Recipe source: Tarla Dalal recipe

Ingredients

1 cup rice
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
3 cloves
Piece of cinnamon
2 cardamoms
1 bayleaf
1 big onions sliced lengthwise
2 tsp oil
1 tomato pureed
1 onion pureed
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp red chilli sauce
Finely crushed kasoori methi
Finely chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp garam masala powder
Bit of sugar
1/2 cup boiled peas
10-12 pieces of paneer

Soak the rice for 15 minutes, drain and pressure cook with milk, water, salt, cardamoms, bayleaf, cinnamon and cloves.

Heat oil, add onions. After frying for 2 minutes, keep half of it aside for the rice. Add ginger paste, tomato paste, onion paste, red chilli sauce, red chilli powder, garam masala powder, salt, kasoori methi, sugar and mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add peas and paneer pieces and cook till it gets almost dry.

Mix the fried onions with the cooked rice. In a MW safe dish, add 2 tsp milk, spread half the rice and press well. Spread the mattar paneer mixture and then finally the remaining rice. Sprinkle some more milk and Mw high for 1-2 minutes.

Invert on the serving plate and serve hot with raita of your choice.
how to make matar paneer biriyani, peas paneer pulav recipe, north indian style biryani recipe, spicy biriyani recipe, rice varieties, variety rice, party recipes

Budding blogger: Foodie girls

Budding blogger series introduces new bloggers (those blogging for less than a year) every wednesday and promotes their blogs through Simple Indian Food. If you are interested in being a part of this series, please mail me a short description about your blog, the cuisine you specialize and your objective/inspiration in blogging to easycrafts@gmail.com.

This week's featured blogger is a group of office friends managing the blog Le Bouffe. In less than 6 months they are nearing almost 100 recipes and also have some restaurant recommendations..Here is what Naina from the group has to say-

We're a group of office friends... but its mostly got my recipes :) Well.. some reasons/ objectives to start blogging.

As we'd share food on the lunch table, we'd share recipes.. so thought that a blog would be a good way to have all the recipes we needed in one place.. Else, we'd have to repeat the recipe to the friends missing at the lunch table that day!

Also, many a times, I'd be surfing on the net to look for recipes. I came across lots of recipes on blogs, that are really authentic, with nice tips and secrets of cooking.. seemed really nice.

For me, I've always wanted to have a record of my own recipes. But I just never sit on the internet at home. So, Ashwini created this blog, and we started off..

Its been great so far.. events, comments.. but my fav is the dashboard, where in I get the daily update for the blogs I follow, and learn new recipes!

Cheese samosa


Ingredients

For the dough-

1 cup Maida
Salt to taste
3 tsp oil
1/2 tsp thymol seeds

For the filling-

2 cups grated cheese
1/2 tsp pepper powder


Oil to fry

Add salt, thymol seeds and oil to the maida and mix well. Add very little water to get a stiff dough and keep it covered for 15 to 20 minutes.

Mix the cheese and pepper powder and keep aside.

Roll out the dough into medium sized chapatis and cut it into half. Apply little water on the sides and fold it into cone shape. Fill in the cheese pepper mixture well and close the other ends as well. Ensure that it is closed well on all sides, else the filling will come out. Repeat for the rest of the dough.

Heat oil on a low flame and fry these samosas. When cooked on a low flame, the samosa get cooked well and also crispy.

Serve with green chutney or sweet chutney or tomato sauce.
how to make cheese samosa, samosa recipe, stuffing ideas for samosa, party snacks, cheesy samosa

Kuttu Singhara Alu paratha




Kuttu and Singhara atta are very easily available in North India during Navratris as it is normally consumed during fasting.

Ingredients

1 cup kuttu atta (Buckwheat flour)
1 cup singhara atta (water chestnut flour)
Salt to taste
2 boiled and mashed potatoes
1 medium sized onion chopped finely
1 green chilli finely chopped
Finely chopped coriander leaves
Oil/ghee

Mix all the ingredients except oil. Add little water as required to make a dough.

Make balls and flatten it on a greased sheet. Cook it on a hot tava with little oil/ghee as required till brown spots appear on both sides.

Serve hot with curds.


how to make kuttu paratha, kuttu singhara parata recipe, healthy and delicious parata

Super blogger sunday: Divya of Dil se

This week's featured blogger is Divya from Dil se blog. With more than 250 mouthwatering recipes, beautiful pictures, some very popular events, Divya has been successfully blogging for almost 2 years now.

EC: Tell us something about yourself ..

Divya: I have been into food blogging since January 2008. Hailing from South India, my mom is my first inspiration. Initially I cooked only South Indian dishes. But the blog world introduced me into other cuisines of India and also cuisines from all over the world. I slowly ventured into global cuisine and baking and cooking has turned out to be my favorite pastime.

Hop over onto
my blog to know more about me!


EC: Who and what inspired you to start food blogging ??

Divya: Frankly, I have never entered the kitchen before marriage. After coming to the US, I was a newbie to cooking. Whenever I googled for recipes, i came across many blogs which helped me learn a lot in cooking. After a few months, I thought why not blog all my cooking experiences. My husband is my best critic and he was the one who encouraged me to start a blog. And that was how Dil Se.. was born!


EC: There are more than 250 recipes on your blog..what are your sources and do you cook specially for the blog ?

Divya: Initially when I was not studying, I had ample time to experiment and cook new dishes. I used to experiment many new dishes and post frequently. I got a lot of new friends through blogging. I try new recipes which allure to me immediately. I do not cook anything specially for my blog. I just post my favorite recipes. Now that I am into studying, i hardly find time to cook and blog. But I still try to post once in a while.


EC: You have been baking some goodies too..any tips related to baking

Divya: Baking is something which I love a lot. I try to bake something at least once a week. I try to make my own bread and cakes after I came to know how unhealthy and sugar loaded the ones in the bakeries are. Baking also gives a sense of satisfaction and relaxation to me. I just love to bake muffins!


EC: Have your recipes been copied anywhere without your permission..How would you deal with plagiarism ??

Divya: Yes my recipes and photos were copied a couple of times. Initially I was frustrated regarding the issue. But later due to the support from my blogger friends i was able to overcome that issue. It is really hard when someone copies your hard work and time. Watermarking photos is something which one can do to prevent copying.


EC: What is the one dish that you have been waiting to try out and something that you might never try

Divya: I have always wanted to try my hand decorating and frosting cakes. Though i frost my cakes, i am really looking forward to learn some professional frosting ways. There is nothing which I might never try.


EC: Your signature dish that is a hot favourite among your guests

Divya: Vegetable and egg puffs is something which has always been liked by my guests. My guests also have loved my zebra cake.


EC: Your favourite vegetarian recipe





Masala peanuts


Ingredients

2 cups raw peanuts
1/2 cup gram flour/besan
2 tsp rice flour
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
Asafoetida
Oil to fry

Mix all the ingredients except peanuts and oil. Sprinkle some water and mix so that the peanuts are well coated with the spices.

Fry the peanuts in hot oil till crisp and golden brown.

Perfect snack for tea time.

This is my second contribution to the WYF: Tea time snack event..waiting to see ur favourite snack too
how to make masala peanuts, masala groundnut snack, quick and easy tea time snack, crispy peanut snack

Alu gobi (dry)


Ingredients

2 cups cauliflower florets
2 big boiled potatoes
2-3 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Finely chopped coriander leaves

Cook the cauliflower florets for 3-5 mins in boiling water.

Heat oil, add cumin seeds. When it splutters add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and garam masala powder. Immediately add the cauliflower florets and potato (chopped lengthwise). Mix well and cook for 2 mins. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with rotis/rice.
how to make alu gobi, aloo gobhi recipe, dry sabzi side dish, cauliflower sidedish recipe

Alu methi paratha




This is not a stuffed paratha and can be easily made.

Ingredients

2 cups wheat flour
1 cup cleaned and chopped methi leaves
2 boiled and mashed potatoes
Salt to taste
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp amchur/dry mango powder
Finely chopped coriander leaves
Oil/ghee

Mix all the ingredients except oil with water to make a soft dough. Keep covered for 10 minutes. Make balls and roll into thick chapatis.

Cook on hot tava with oil/ghee till brown spots appear on both sides. Serve hot with butter, curds and pickle.
how to make simple parata, north indian paratha recipe, aloo methi leaves parata, tasty and healthy filling breakfast recipe, kids lunchbox recipes

Budding blogger: Jayasree

Budding blogger series introduces new bloggers (those blogging for less than a year) every wednesday and promotes their blogs through Simple Indian Food. If you are interested in being a part of this series, please mail me a short description about your blog, the cuisine you specialize and your objective/inspiration in blogging to easycrafts@gmail.com.

Introducing Jayasree from Desi Food Bytes this week in the budding blogger series..You can look forward to simple and easy to make recipes in her blog..Here is what Jayasree has to say about herself and her blog-

Having spent all my life in Bangalore, it's only natural that you can expect to find recipes that are unique to this region.

I'm also familiar with Andhra cuisine. In my blog , I wish to share all the tried & tested vegetarian recipes cooked in my kitchen .

My latest passion is baking. The blogging world has opened out a whole host of possibilities that I could learn & try to satiate the sugar cravings of my boys & mine too ! It is so easy to follow the step to step instructions of the fellow bloggers & achieve what was hither to alien to me.

In the same way, I would like to record in my blog, recipes familiar to me , so that others can make use of the same.
I would be privileged if you did stop by spend some time in my blog.

Aval pongal



Ingredients

2 cups aval/poha
1/4 cup greengram dal/moong dal
Salt to taste
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
Few curry leaves
Few cashews
Bit of ginger paste
Ghee

Wash and drain out the water from aval. Pressure cook the dal till soft.

Heat ghee, add cashews and pepper. When cashews are golden brown, add cumin seeds and curry leaves. Add the dal, salt, ginger paste and mix well. Finally add the soft poha and mix well.

Serve hot with chutney/sambar
how to make poha pongal, pongal recipe, pongal varieties, south indian special, healthy breakfast

A disaster - Zebra cake

Seeing a lot of Zebra cakes on various blogs, I was inspired to make one..but decided to go for a shortcut by using the pillsbury cooker cake mix..I prepared the batter and divided the batter into two - half vanilla and half chocolate..Everything went on well, I could form the layers also to some extent..There went my cake in the cooker and an over-excited me went on checking if it is ready every few minutes. Finally I decide to invert it into a tray and cut it hurriedly to see how the cake has turned out..I should have been a little more patient in ensuring that the cake is well cooked and to cut it after it cools down..The result- the cake was uncooked in the center and the pieces were uneven and different shapes as the uncooked portions had to be thrown out..Check out the pics that I never uploaded to the blog thinking that some day I would make it again.


Apart from this, once I went on to a nearby temple and returned back after about 40 minutes only to see my ladiesfinger curry burnt completely in the kadai as I forgot to switch off the gas..The most recent was of not switching off the stove with the dosa tava on it after making dosas in the morning. After almost an hour when I went to take some biscuits, I found the place close to the stove very hot only to realise my mistake..After every such event, I am alert for about a month and keep checking often if the stove is switched off..

Sending these mishaps over to Malar for her Kitchen Mishaps events.

Super blogger sunday: Jayasree of Kailas kitchen

This week's featured blogger is Jayasree from Kailas kitchen. With Two and half years of blogging and more than 200 posts Jayasree continues to do wonders bringing out a lot of traditional recipes on her blog. She is a regular on twitter too..Read more about her..




EC: Tell us something about yourself

Jayasree: I started the blog more than two years back in May 2007. Initially I posted the recipes with out pictures. And since pictures help a long way to get the recipe across to the reader, started taking pictures. Blogging needs quality time. It can be a good past time. But when you are hard pressed for time. then its the passion that counts. So, inspite of one's busy schedule, one can manage to find time for the blog. I have the luxury of working from home. So managing home and work is a bit easier for me. I wanted to post alteast twice a week but occassionaly my job takes away most of the time and also the blogger's block keeps creeping in at times.

I also have a travel blog to document the different places I have managed to visit. Apart from cooking, I love reading and travelling a lot.


EC: Who and what inspired you to start food blogging ?

Jayasree: I knew about the concept of blogging but food blogging was something I was not of aware of then. On a google search for a particular recipe, I landed on Shilpa's Aayi's Recipes. Then I got to know about Viji's Vcuisine, Nandita's Saffron Trail etc. Those blogs inspired me to start one and my aim was to focus on Palakkad Iyer cuisine.


EC: Do you think blogging has widened your perspective and exposure?

Jayasree: Yes, indeed. To a greater extent than I could have ever thought of. Being in a small town, but for blogging, my cooking would not have gone beyond Kerala cuisine and some of the popular north indian recipes. I had nutured the desire to try baking for a long time. And blogging pushed it further and I got an OTG a year back. I am happy that with the help of fellow bloggers, I found success in eggless bakes.

I got many friends through blogging and particularly the friendship with one blogger has gone beyond blogging and I wish it stays the same throughout.


EC: Your views on plagiarism and how can we fight it ??

Jayasree: Plagiarism cannot be encouraged at all. But there is not much we can do against it since those who intent to copy will find alternate methods to do so with the help of techonology. Most of the time, we are unaware that our material is copied elsewhere unless you accidentally discovers it or any of your friends point it to. I had found one of my pictures used along with the contributor's recipe on a food site. The concerned person didnot respond to my comments/mail. Later, after few mails to the site admin, it was removed.


EC: What are your sources for recipes ?

Jayasree: My family's traditional recipes, cook books, TV, newspaper, fellow bloggers. I don't hesitate to ask for the recipe if I find it interesting when I taste it at my friends or relatives' home.


EC: Any particular blog/blogger whom you consider as a role model and blogs that motivate you

Jayasree: Each passionate blogger motivates me.


EC: What is that one dish which you would never try and the one that you have waiting to try out

Jayasree: I think I will never try cooking mushroom. (Who knows I might give it a try sometime in future...) . There are lots in the to-be-tried list and Jangiri tops the list.


EC: Your favourite vegetarian recipe

Jayasree: I post only what I have liked. There are many trials which have not come to the blog, though it might have come out well but not suitable to my palatte. Kaalan is a personal favorite of mine and my family. Though its only two years since I have been making milk chocolate, its a favorite with the kids in our family.



Beet peas curry



Ingredients

2 medium beetroots (peeled, chopped and cooked)
1 cup cooked peas
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp bengalgram dal
1 tsp blackgram dal
Few curry leaves
Salt to taste

Heat oil, add mustard seeds, blackgram dal and bengalgram dal. When it splutters, add curry leaves and then cooked beetroot and peas. Add salt and mix well till dry.

Serve with rice.
how to make beetpeas curry, beetroot dish, beet side dish, simple sidedish for rice, healthy vegetable

Multi-legume Adai


Ingredients

2 cups of mixed legumes
Salt to taste
2 red chillies
Asafoetida
1 cup raw rice
Oil as required

Soak the legumes and rice overnight.

Grind it to a coarse batter with red chillies. Add salt and asafoetida. If you wish to you can add chopped onions and grated vegetables at this stage.

Heat tava and pour a ladle full of batter and make adai. Add a little oil in the corners and cook till slightly brown. Turn and cook on other side also.

Serve hot with sweet curds.


Sending it over to Srivalli for the MLLA-18 event started by Susan
how to make healthy and simple adai, legumes adai, easy and tasty dosa variety, south indian adai, legume pancakes, nutritious breakfast, kids food

Best of 2009 on Simple Indian food

Last year I unexpectedly missed out on the Best of 2008 event, so here I am much in advance with the summary of the activities on my blog during 2009.

Year 2009 saw more activities on the blogging front and better than 2008.

1. The most exciting part was of Simple Indian food blog featured in 3 sites..First it was Naarisakhi, followed by Solkadi and Food-India..

2. Every month saw an event on Simple Indian food blog - starting with MBP, RCI and 10 editions of What's Your Favourite series of event. There was also a give away of cookbooks to 3 winners selected by marking and then polling for the WYF: Breakfast event

3. Started a new blog Cookbook reviews and Basics of blogging focusing on topics that would help new bloggers and reviews of cookbooks

4. The year also saw the start of the Super Blogger Sunday series that features popular and successful bloggers sharing her experiences, inspiration and interesting tips for new bloggers.

5. Also, the Budding blogger series is aimed at providing new and budding bloggers an opportunity to showcase their blog on Simple Indian food.

6. Got to try a lot of new recipes from other bloggers - the best ones being Mysurpak from Few minute wonders









7. Among new dishes created during the year, Sattu maavu burfi






And Sevai pakoda have been my personal favourites



8. Learnt some basics for improving food photography from other bloggers and trying to implement them

9. The total number of posts for 2009 was 325 till date and have some scheduled posts too that would bring the year's total to almost 350 posts

Now for some resolutions for 2010 related to food blogging -

10. Constant problems with my laptop and shifting saw a huge dip in the comments posting on other blogs, although I regularly read each of them and bookmarked a lot of them too. I hope I am able to visit more blogs and post my views and comments on each recipe during the coming year

11. Inspired by all the goodies baked by other blogger friends during the year, I too started feeling that I must learn to bake and also buy an OTG..Hope this is fulfilled during year 2010

12. Try to make the blog more user friendly, work on my e-book and hopefully give my best to the blog by posting newer varieties of simple Indian food.

Sending it over to Srivalli for her Best of year 2009 event

Budding blogger : Jayasree

Budding blogger series introduces new bloggers (those blogging for less than a year) every wednesday and promotes their blogs through Simple Indian Food. If you are interested in being a part of this series, please mail me a short description about your blog, the cuisine you specialize and your objective/inspiration in blogging to easycrafts@gmail.com.

This week's featured budding blogger is Jayasree from The Veg Fusion. Jayasree tries to focus on making Vegetarian food as nutritious and complete as possible -sharing them on her blog..Go over for a complete vegetarian experience. Here is what Jayasree has to say -

I have been cooking since the age of 12. My father used to always compliment my cooking skills and joked around about me opening a restaurant. Now my family and friends encourage me to share my recipes and crave my specialties. My family has inspired me to put VegFusion together. Thanks to my daughter, my biggest fan, and my son for being a patient teacher - I would not know what a blog is if it wasn't for him.


My interests lie in practical vegetarian and Indian cooking that can be used on a daily basis. However, overtime I have adopted ideas from other cultures and recreated these menus at home with a pinch of Jayshree's secret sauce. I believe in fresh, healthy, and well balanced meals. The kitchen is a lab where wonderful tastes comes alive. Enjoy!

Snakegourd kootu


Ingredients

3 cups chopped and cooked snakegourd
1 cup cooked greengram dal (moong dal)
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
Few curry leaves
Bit of asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

For masala - Roast(except coconut) and grind

2 tbsp blackgram dal
1 tsp black pepper
2 red chillies
4 tbsp grated coconut

Heat oil, add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add curry leaves and then cooked dal, cooked snakegourd, turmeric powder, asafoetida, salt and masala paste. Cook for 5 mins till thick.

Serve with rice/rotis

Reposting the following for events-

Masala oats pancake for Sara's Oats feast



Poppy seeds payasam for Think Spice:Think PS event started by Sunita and guest hosted by RV



Rajma cutlets to Lakshmi for CFK: Veggies and fruit event started by Sharmi



how to make kootu, kutu recipe, podalanga kootu, snakegourd side dish, south indian side dish recipe

Onion samosa


Ingredients

For the dough-

1 cup Maida
Salt to taste
3 tsp oil
1/2 tsp thymol seeds

For the filling-

2 cups chopped onions
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Finely chopped coriander leaves

Oil to fry

Add salt, thymol seeds and oil to the maida and mix well. Add very little water to get a stiff dough and keep it covered for 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat 1 tsp oil and add cumin seeds. Then add chopped onions and fry for a minute. Add salt, red chilli powder, coriander leaves and garam masala powder. Mix well.

Roll out the dough into medium sized chapatis and cut it into half. Apply little water on the sides and fold it into cone shape. Fill in the onion mixture and close the other ends as well. Ensure that it is closed well on all sides, else the filling will come out. Repeat for the rest of the dough.

Heat oil on a low flame and fry these samosas. When cooked on a low flame, the samosa get cooked well and also crispy.

Serve with green chutney or sweet chutney or tomato sauce.

This is my first contribution to the WYF: Tea time snack event..waiting to see ur favourite snack too

how to make onion samosa, samosa recipe, stuffing ideas for samosa, party snacks, pyaz samosa

Super blogger sunday: DK from Chef in You

This week's featured blogger is DK of Chef in You..She started with a blog Culinary bazaar and later moved on to her own domain. The recipes are easy to access with special focus on recipes that recipe less time to prepare, vegan recipes, baking and healthy recipes. Read on for some interesting tips on baking and photography..

EC: Tell us something about yourself

DK: I am among those working woman, who consider providing their family with a variety of healthy and delicious meals, as their sole responsibility. I believe in my mom's saying - "It is better to know and not use rather than not knowing at all." That has inculcated the need to learn as much as I can.

Blogging is another channel which helps me to learn more in this gastronomical world with each passing day. The more I blog, the more I learn, more I get exposed to some immensely talented people who simply inspire me to push myself harder.

I find that I have a burning necessity to involve myself in pursuits that are creative and foreign to me at the same time. So a poem then, some art work later and food writing now... the journey continues. My Blog Chef In You is now 6 months old-earlier blog Culinary bazaar was 8 months old :) Yes balancing one’s interest and practical life gets quite tough now and then. I simply prioritize my needs and do things accordingly.


EC: Who and what inspired you to start food blogging ??

DK: I have always been in and out of kitchen from v early days of my life, doing bits and pieces and therefore no stranger to cooking. But after marriage, I realized that I had a foodie for a husband who only furthered my interest in this direction. 10 yrs ago it would have made me go to a library in search of recipes but now it’s the internet world. This naturally led me to looking at recipes on the web and it was inevitable that I landed on many people’s blogs. Seeing that I thought why not? And with that my blogging journey started.


EC: You started with a blog and moved on to your own domain..what do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of having a own domain as compared to a blog

DK: The reason for me moving to my own domain is for a completely different reason than most. I had a blogger name called as Culinary Bazaar which also happened to be the domain name of a Chef. 8 months or so, into my blogging, this person contacted me about having similar names and insisted that I change the name of my blog. That put me in dilemma – I was thinking of the trouble I would have to go through changing my blogging name etc and instead used that opportunity to move to my own domain.

The main advantage I would say is customization. You can do whatever changes you want in your own domain whereas it’s near impossible to make everything work to your whims and fancies in a free blogging platform.

The primary disadvantage is that, as far as storing data and maintaining the site goes, a free blogging platform takes care of all that for you, while we would have to take care of all that headache for our own domain.


EC: How much technical knowledge does one need for successful blogging, especially in case of own domain ?

DK: It mostly depends on how far one wants to go. The basic setup is not too technical - the work involved can be about the same as finding a few good recipes for difficult foods on the web.:) We all been there and done that, haven’t we? But it rapidly gets very technical the more you want to customize and change. Sometimes it gets so technical that you feel the feature is probably not as good as you thought it was ;)


EC: The pictures on your blog are so beautiful..Give us some tips for good photography

DK: Thank you for the compliment :) I am still taking baby steps (or not, if you ask my husband!) in the world of photography. My husband is into photography and every now and then when he catches me taking pictures of my food, he keeps asking me to change lots of settings in the camera (it should be evident from this that the knowledge is still safe with him :)). But when he is not there (or even when he is), the only thing I know from my side is which part of the house to go to, to photograph specific types of food because lighting is very essential for a good photograph. Without it, it’s impossible to take an appetizing picture. The presentation of the food is also essential. I don’t believe in processing pictures a lot, since I want the food to look real – like how it does in real life and not like those Hollywood wannabes with so much plastic surgery that though they look beautiful, they cease to be real J.


EC: You have baking a lot of goodies too..any tips related to baking

DK: The first main tip I would give while starting out is

- START. Its fine if first few recipes don’t turn out alright. Waiting for one perfect recipe will probably never happen!
- Start with something simple. A simple cookie, a muffin or basic cake would be a great way to start. It helps to add confidence.
- Decide what branch interests you. Is it Cakes? Pastries ?..... Or breads? Once decided go deeper into what are the essentials required to make a great looking product. Internet has wealth of information but it could get quite confusing with such a vast amount of it available. Classifying the interest will help to make your learning better and also channelize properly.


EC: Have your recipes been copied anywhere without your permission..How would you deal with plagiarism ??

DK: Not any that I know of. I have been asked permission several times to use my content. And few others who didn’t ask me either linked to my site or used my pictures which had my copyright information on it. As long as the reader gets to know where the content is coming from, I am not fussed about anyone using my content. If they use it without any credit or if they clip my copyright information from the picture and post it, then it’s not acceptable to me. I have not faced such a situation till date (and hopefully never in future too *fingers crossed*)


EC: Your favourite vegetarian recipe

DK: That’s the most difficult question you can ask me.:) I forced myself to select Khaman Dhokla with at least 30 other recipes sulking at me for not selecting them. But at the moment, that was the one that came into my mind. It’s utterly simple to make and an absolute entertainer managing to win everyone’s hearts every single time.


Looking for something

Easycrafts video tour

Disclaimer

Simple Indian food blog (author- EC) is the legal copyright holder of the material and pictures in this blog and it may not be used, reprinted, or published without the written consent of the author. All the measures used in the recipes are approximate. Please adjust the spices as per your taste. For any queries, please email us at easycrafts@gmail.com