Sunday, January 31, 2016

Spicy Vegetable Udon Noodles

I love Chinese food!  I used to love Chinese food in India – very different from the Chinese you get here in Colorado, and now I also love the Chinese food I get here.
We do a take out on most Fridays.  By the time Friday rolls around, I am exhausted.  Dealing with 140 thirteen and fourteen year olds everyday can do that to a person :) The farthest thing from my mind is what to make for dinner.  So we have fallen into a pattern of getting pizza, or Chinese, or Thai, or occasionally Mexican food for dinner.  

Since we get to eat Chinese food every couple of weeks, I don’t make it at home that often.  But while cleaning my pantry recently, I found a packet of Udon noodles and decided to make a spicy lo-mien with those.

Chinese food is really quick and easy to make.  If you are adding veggies (like I did), the only time consuming part is cutting the veggies.  Once you have all the ingredients ready, it takes about 8 minutes to make.

You can add as many veggies as you like.  I added peppers and broccoli.  You can also add mushrooms, green onions, zucchini, or carrots

Here is what you need

  • 1 package (12 0z.) udon noodles
  • 2 tsp. chili oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame or other cooking oil
  • 2 -3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 cups colored bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • Bean sprouts
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • Chili garlic sauce to taste

Here is how I made it: 

  • Cook noodles according to package directions.
  • While the noodles are cooking, heat oil on high heat in a wok.
  • When the oil is hot, add the garlic, and let the edges get slightly brown.
  • Now add the peppers and broccoli. Toss and cook on high heat for 2 - 3 minutes.  Add the soy sauce.
  • Add the cooked noodles and mix well.  Cook on high heat for a couple of more minutes.  Add in the bean sprouts and chili garlic sauce.  Toss to coat well.

Turn off the heat and serve hot.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mullu Thenkuzhal / Mullu Murukku / Chakli

This year, I was not going to make anything for Deepavali.  I usually make quite a few snacks and in the end regret it because I end up eating most of it. 

My husband’s nephew and wife were supposed to visit us for the festival.  It was their thalai deepavali (the first one after they got married), but because of a job change and move, they could not come.  Another cousin was going to visit with her husband, but they were coming after deepavali. 

Anyway, after telling my family that this year, I was not going to make anything – I started feeling guilty, and caved in.  My memories of deepavali are always about new clothes, crackers (fireworks) and all the bakshanams (farsaans) my mom used to make.  This was a big production each year with preparations starting the week before deepavali.  While I don’t make as much as my mom used to, I still wanted to create memories for my kids.  So I made mullu thenkuzhal, a healthy mixture and regular thenkuzhal.  I also made kalakand.

I have already posted recipes for thenkuzhal, mixture, and kalakand.

Mullu thenkuzhal is the perfect name for this snack.  Mullu, in Tamil, means thorn.  If you look at the pictures, it does look thorny, right?  It is a super easy snack to make and tastes great.

My mom used to dry roast the channa dal and moong dal, and get these powdered in the flour mill.  I used store bought moong flour and besan to make these.

 Here is what you need:

  • 4 cups rice flour
  • 1 cup moong flour (store bought)
  • ½ cup besan (Gram flour, garbanzo flour)
  • 1 tsp. white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  •  ½ tsp hing (asafetida)
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp. butter
  • salt to taste
  • Oil for deep-frying

Here is how I made it:

  1. Dry roast the sesame seeds for a couple of minutes.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together. 
  3. Melt the butter slightly and mix that in
  4. Add water and knead to make a stiff dough.
  5. Heat oil for deep-frying
  6. When the oil is hot, put a big ball of dough into the murukku/chakli press, with the right disc. 
  7. You can either press out the chakli directly into the oil (like I do) or you can use flat greased spatulas and spoons as surfaces for you to make the chaklis and then slide them in the oil.
  8. Fry on medium heat till the thenkuzhal is crispy and golden brown
  9. Continue till all the dough is done.

Store in an airtight container after they have cooled down.

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