Dec 31, 2012

Hakka Noodles

Hakka Noodles

My daughter is a very picky eater but would gladly polish her plate off when I prepare this dish. I stopped at the local Chinese grocery store to pick a pack of Hakka noodles with dreams of making this recipe. Imagine my surprise when I couldn't find it in their dry noodles aisle!
My husband asked a store clerk for help and he pointed us to the Indian goods aisle :) Looks like Hakka Noodles is truly Indian and hardly Chinese...


  • Dry Hakka Noodles - 2 packs (200 gms each)
  • Carrots, diced or matchstick cut - 1/4 cup
  • Green Beans, sliced or french cut - 1/4 cup
  • Sweet peas or broccoli florets, frozen - 1/4 cup
  • Chopped Cabbage, optional - 1/4 cup
  • Tomato ketchup  or Tomato Chilli Sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Reduced Sodium Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Vinegar - 1 tsp
  • Green onions, sliced thin - 1 bunch, divided
  • sesame oil - 2 tbsp, divided
  • garlic, sliced - 5 cloves
  • Egg - 1
  1. Fill a soup pot with enough water for the 2 packs of Hakka noodles. Add salt and 1 tbsp sesame oil. Cover and bring to a boil.
  2. I prefer to crush the noodle cakes, as it makes lunch time easy for my daughter. You can skip this step if you prefer long noodle strands.
  3. Add the noodles to the boiling water and let boil, uncovered for 4 minutes.
  4. Crack open the egg in a small bowl and whisk it with a fork to blend the egg white and yolk.
  5. Drain and toss noodles and while it is still hot, pour in the egg mixture. The egg will get cooked in the remnant heat of the noodles and form a nice coating on each noodle strand.
  6. Have the rest of the ingredients ready now as you need to cook the rest in a stir fry fashion.
  7. In a separate saucepan, heat 1 tbsp sesame oil.
  8. When the oil is smoking hot, add garlic and fry until very light brown.
  9. Remove the garlic. Now add carrots and green beans and sprinkle salt and pepper. Stir fry until slightly cooked but still crisp. Stir in the sweet peas. I have used broccoli also, with good results.
  10. Add soy sauce, ketchup/sauce to the pan. Add back the sauteed garlic, as well.
  11. Now empty the contents of the saucepan in to the pot of noodles and stir well. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
  12. Serve garnished with green onions.
This one pot meal (well almost, if you discount the pot for boiling noodles) is an excellent week day meal and does well in a Bento.
Hakka Noodles Bento

The fancy-cut carrot garnish makes the dish extra tasty, for my daughter!

Linking to Kid’s delight post aat 

Dec 30, 2012

Uppurundai - Steamed Rice Dumplings

Uppurundai aka "uppu urundai" is one of the healthiest tamil dishes. This can be served as either an appetizer or a breakfast dish. It also makes a great rainy day snack!
When consumed in right quantity, these steamed dumplings sit very light in your tummy.
My earliest memories of this dish include a plate full of steaming hot lemon-sized dumplings paired with one of mom's famous chutneys. I loved everything that was part of this memory - except for the size of the dumpling. The outer layer of these dumplings taste a little better than its innards, IMHO.
To my taste, I find that the lemon-sized balls offer very slim ratio of seasoned surface vs the rest of the surface. I have made 2 changes to my mom's recipe and I will give you both variations - the original and my change.
South Indian Steamed Rice Dumplings

For dumplings

  • Rice flour - 2 cups *
  • salt to taste
  • oil - 1 tbsp
For seasoning/saute:
  • mustard seeds - 2 tbsp
  • split bengal gram - 2 tbsp
  • cumin seeds - 2 tbsp
  • curry leaves - 3 sprigs
  • asafotida - 1 tsp
  • dried red chilies, broken in quarters - 4 
  • oil, for sauteing

  1. In a dry kadai/skillet on a medium heat, fry the rice flour until it turns pink. 
  2. In a saucepan, heat 2 cups of water . Add enough salt and oil to this.
  3. When the water reaches rolling boil, remove it from fire. Slowly add the prepared rice flour to this water, while constantly stirring the mixture, with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring conitinously until the dough forms into a soft ball.
  4. Remove from heat, and cover with a wet paper towel until you are ready to prepare the dumplings.
  5. In a sautepan, heat up oil. Add the bengal gram and when it turns very light brown, add the rest of the ingredients. 
  6. Let the mustard seeds splatter, before removing from heat.
  7. Pour this seasoning on the dough ball and mix well.
  8. Apply oil on your palms, and start rolling the dough into lemon sized balls.
  9. Smear a thin layer of oil to idli plates or a steamer dish.
  10. Place the dumplings in a single layer on the prepared dish and steam for 10 minutes.
  11. Test for doneness and remove from heat.
My variation:
Skip step 7 and on step 8, make dime sized dumplings. After step 11, toss the cooked dumplings and the seasoning from step 6 together in a bowl.
When prepared this way, these also make an excellent finger food for your little ones.

*The traditional method is to soak rice and grind it to a smooth batter. I have learnt that store-bought rice flour mixed in hot water works just the same, so I do not bother with the other preparation any more. Sometimes ,just for variety, I use "idli rava". The dumplings prepared this way have an interestingly gritty texture which is a nice variation.

Serve this with a vegetable chutney for a well rounded meal.

Linking to:
 South Indian Cooking via Anu's Healthy CookingSumee's culinary Bites

I am also reposting this to Sumee's culinary Bites ,

Palmiers - Homemade Little Hearts

Palmiers - that melt-in-your mouth pastry with its buttery taste and shiny melted sugar glaze... perfection in a mouthful.
This was so simple and easy to make that a child could prepare it. Three ingredients and three steps - how much more easier can it get?
With my limited research, I learnt that these are called Palmiers (Palm trees) in French and some people call it elephant ears. But as they look and taste a lot like Brittania's Little Hearts, that's what I am calling it.

There's a whole lot of recipes and variations out there for this dish. I followed Food Network's Anne Burell's recipe.

Here's a batch of my palmiers stacked against Anne's:

Anne's palmiers

My Palmiers

What do you think? Did I do a good job?
I followed the recipe verbatim, except for the refrigeration time. I found out the hard way that 30 minutes was not enough. For my second and subsequent batches, I refrigerated the log for 2 hours.
Yes, I said "subsequent batches". Why, you may ask. Thrilled by the simplicity and the taste, we were inspired to make more of these lovelies for a whole lot of people.  Here's some of our goodies, all packed and ready for distribution.
Simple handmade packaging for this sweet homemade gift.

This was our teacher's gift for this holiday season. What about you? Do you enjoy making handmade/homemade gifts ? Or does it come off as a little too frugal for you?

lets party - logo

Dec 28, 2012

Paruppu Payasam - Split Lentil Porridge

Paruppu Payasam - Split Lentil / Mung dal Porridge

Payasam (Porridge) is a staple on festival days, in South India. Though Chakkarai Pongal is the queen of the festive spread, my mom's paruppu payasam has been quite popular.
A protien rich dessert, this dish is quite easy to make with only 3 main ingredients.
Paruppu Payasam - Split Lentil and Jaggery Porridge


  • split mung beans - 1 cup
  • jaggery - 5 cubes or 1 cup shredded
  • cardmamom powder - 1 tsp ( 2 pods powdered with a little sugar for traction).
  • ghee - 1 tbsp
  • coconut pieces, sliced thin - 1 tbsp
  • coconut milk - 1/2 cup
  • salt, a pinch
  1. Pressure cook mung beans in just enough water to cover the beans. You can cook the beans in milk, if preferred.
  2. Reserve a tablespoon of cooked beans and thoroughly mash the rest.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt jaggery on low heat, in just enough water to cover it. Stir continuously and poke the cubes occasionally ot help it disintegrate quickly.
  4. Remove from heat and strain away impurities, if any.
  5. In another saucepan, heat ghee. Before it starts to smoke, fry thinly sliced coconut pieces. When the coconut turns golden brown, strain and remove.
  6. In the same saucepan, add both the mashed and reserved beans an melted jaggery to it and bring to a light boil.
  7. Add a pinch of salt to enhance the sweetness of the dish.
  8. Stir continuously until everything is blended well. this will take around 10 minutes.
  9. Add enough coconut milk to bring the dish to the right consistency (think of a bisque).
  10.  Add the fried coconut pieces, and remove from fire. Sprinkle cardamom powder and stir.
This dish can be served warm or chilled.

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