Tomato ketchup!

I ran out of tomato ketchup this week. Instead of going to the store and buying a bottle of Heinz I decided to make some at home! The end result wasn’t exactly like Heinz ketchup, but it tasted like ketchup nonetheless. This recipe is definitely worth a try…best part – it’s super simple 🙂 I always contemplate about what I will do to make it better. Next time I might reduce the sugar a tad bit. For those of you who like your ketchup on the sweeter side, these measurements should be perfect.

Ingredients

Tomato puree – 18 oz

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup vinegar

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

Method

Combine all the ingredients in a medium nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat.

Let the mixture come to a boil and continue stirring it for a minute at the same temperature

Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 mins, stirring often, until it is half the original quantity.

Remove from heat and let it cool. It will thicken just a little bit more as it cools.

Cover and refrigerate.

 

Kitchen contraptions :)

So excited to have this 😀

Coastal South Indian food makes use of a lot of coconut. My mom sometimes used 2-3 coconuts a week to cook for our family of four. Here in the US I tend to buy frozen grated coconut from the Indian store. The taste of fresh coconut is still somehow a little different. One can buy whole coconuts at the Mexican store in Texas and in the Asian store here in Virginia. I had no way of breaking those coconuts and grating them so it seemed a waste to buy them! In India we use a large iron sickle to break the coconut and a special serrated iron blade to grate it. A few months ago while visiting a beach in Connecticut I got the idea of using a stone to break open a coconut. The only thing left to complete the set was a serrated blade. The ones we find in India are normally blades that are attached to a little stool that you use to sit close to the ground and grate the coconut. I was looking for something that I could affix to my kitchen platform – simply to make life easier 🙂

My aunt had the very thing I needed and graciously gave it to me on my recent visit to India. I can fix it when needed to the kitchen platform with a clamp and get it off when I am done with it! I was brimming with excitement to use it. This past week we had some North Indian friends over for a meal. They are vegetarian so I decided to cook a traditional South Indian vegetarian meal for them. What better time than that to inaugurate the coconut grater???

Here are a few pictures!

Here’s freshly grated coconut!

Khakhra

I love snacks of all kinds, but I try eating fruits instead so that I can stick to my diet. The husband, however, will hear none of that. He’d rather eat and follow it with exercise than show restraint 😛 Recently on my trip to India I went to Baroda to visit my grandma. While I was there my aunt bought me many Gujarati snacks. The Gujarati community is famous for its snack items. C and I enjoyed the khakhra, thepla, and other farsan..until they got over. After my khakhra eating episode I decided to make some of my own to see if it even came close. And I am proud to say that my husband gobbled the home made khakhras up 🙂 It is a little time consuming to make, so make sure you have enough time before making this yummy snack. The recipe makes about 6-8 large khakhras. The number of khakhras will untilmately depend on how thin you can roll them out!

Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour – 1 cup

Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) – 1 tsp.

Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp.

Haldi (turmeric) – 1/2 tsp

Ajwain/oma (carom seeds) – a pinch

Salt – to taste

Oil – 1 tbsp to knead and more if reqd. to roast

Method:

Put whole wheat flour in a large bowl. Add the turmeric, red chilli powder and salt to it. Crush the kasuri methi between your palms and add them along with the carom seeds to the dry mixture. Go easy on the kasuri methi. You want the flavor to permeate the dough, but too much will make the dough bitter.

Add water to the bowl, a little at a time to make a fairly stiff dough. Add the tbsp of oil and knead it well.

Keep the dough aside for 10-15 mins.

Divide the dough into 6-8 equal sized balls and roll each one out paper thin on the rolling board. Using a stone surface might work better than a wooden one.

Apply a little bit of oil to the rolling surface before rolling out the dough. The thinner the khakhra is the better it will be. The oil makes the process easier.

After rolling it out, roast the raw khakhra on a nonstick pan or tawa on low-medium heat. You can add oil while doing this if you want. I kept it to a minimum. But, the oiled ones did taste better 🙂

The temperature is very important so that the khakhra cooks equally and becomes crisp.

When you see bubbles forming on the khakhra, press them down with a cloth or paper towel. Press the entire surface of each side of the khakhra as it cooks. Ultimately the khakhra is ready when the surface is golden brown and crisp.

Enjoy! I know my khakhras don’t have the prettiest shape, but the taste was pretty good 🙂 If you try the recipe please let me know how it turns out and provide feedback!

Spicy tofu

The past few weeks have been quite ‘busy’…I hate the word, but tend to use it a lot! Busyness in life makes me stressed. For the most part I am a laid back Type B personality. As much as I love rushing around getting things done, I do not enjoy the pressure that comes with it. When I am stressed I also cook…a LOT…so that’s good for the blog 🙂

I have been trying to follow some recipes I had requested from my mom and my MIL. They include spicy pork curry and roast beef. I did try all of them, but forgot to take pictures 😛 I will be trying them again soon, with a new twist. When I do, I promise to post the recipe and the pictures. I also tried lemon bars for the very first time and they turned out great!

A few weeks ago, I was on an Asian food roll. Here’s the recipe for spicy tofu that we had.

Ingredients:

1 pound extra firm tofu (cubed)

1 red onion, sliced

1 red green pepper, sliced

1 serrano pepper

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/3 cup water

3 tbsps vinegar

3 tbsps soy sauce

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp red pepper powder

2 tbsps canola oil

Method:

Pat the tofu with kitchen towels, removing as much water as you can before you cube it.

Heat oil in a large pan or wok on medium high. Add cubed tofu and fry until golden brown.

After the tofu is browned, add sliced onion, bell pepper, serrano pepper and garlic. Toss it until the vegetables are just tender, about 5 mins.

In a different bowl combine the water, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch and red pepper powder.  Pour over tofu and vegetables to coat. Simmer everything together until the sauce thickens.

Serve either with rice or vermicelli

Bon Appetit!