Khaman Dhokla - Indian Cooking Challenge

This months dish for Indian Cooking Challenge was Khaman Dhokla. Dhokla is a Gujarati dish and one of the healthiest snacks, almost guilt free. It's also so visually appealing with its bright yellow colour and all the garnish, just impossible to resist. I made this last week when I had a couple of friends over and we enjoyed every bite.

This is a wonderful try it.

Palak Chicken

Heyy...hope you all had a great weekend. I really enjoyed mine. We had friends over for dinner on Saturday, it was a potluck I was hosting and we had some awesome food. Then on Sunday we had arranged a surprise baby shower party for a friend at Round Table, played some games and had great fun.
Cooking took a back seat except for my contribution to the potluck, which was the Chicken fry I had posted a while back. The rest of the meals we just managed with some leftover's from last week which also included Palak Chicken that I had made on Thursday. I love to add spinach to gravies in which they won't taste so obvious and I love the green color it gives any dish. This is one such dish I like to make often and it's really yumm.

Palak Chicken
150 gms spinach
4 green chillies
2 lbs chicken
1 big onion
1 tbs ginger garlic paste
1 tomato
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4tsp turmeric powder
2 lbs chicken
salt to taste
8-10 curry leaves

Blanch the spinach and grind to a smooth paste along with the green chillies.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the onion till golden. Fry the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.
Add the tomatoes and cook till the oil separates. Add the masala powders and fry for a minute.
Add the chicken and mix well. Add the salt, cover and cook for about 5 mins. Add the ground spinach and curry leaves and mix well. Add some water if necessary.
Cover and cook on low heat till the chicken is done.
Check the seasonings and remove from heat. Serve hot with naan or chappatis.

Challah Bread

Last weekend we had been to NASA, something I've wanted to do ever since I got here, but it was such a disappointment. We had to wait in the car for over an hour to get through the gates and there was nothing to see. There were some games n all for kids, lectures about space missions and I could not catch a word of it, there was so much commotion in the tent. I was basically in a sour mood with it being so hot n all, I'm sure I've mentioned that I cannot stand the sun. But the day ended well, we were a big group and went to one of our homes and played games and stayed till dinner.We were really tired at the end and although I had promised I would get back to blogging by Monday I couldn't bring myself to write a post until today.

The oven in this apartment is even bigger that the previous one and I could not wait to use it. So it's great that I have been paired with Tania of Love Big, Bake Often for Taste n Create this month. She has got amazing recipes for baked goods, but the one thing that caught my eye was the Challah. It's been ages since my last bread and this was a braid, something I have seen in so many blogs.
I finally baked it yesterday and everything went so smoothly. The dough was easy and the braid was a breeze....lots of practice with my hair:-). You can get the recipe here.
I used rapid rise yeast as that was all I had and so I could avoid the first rise. I really wanted to take step by step pictures but the camera was still in the car after the weekend trip and so this was all I could manage after Manoj got back from work.

My bread browned within the first 15 mins, so I had to cover it with foil. Baked for 40mins and it was perfect. My home smelled heavenly for hours.
I prefer the bread warm and had some as soon as it had cooled down a bit.

Had some for breakfast today with some chole...Yumm!

Also sending this to Susan's YeastSpotting.

Lauki/ Bottle Gourd Dal

It's been a week at our new apartment and everything is unpacked and in place, but I'm not sure when I'll recover from all that weight lifting. I've never had a more strenuous workout:). Am not yet in the mood for any serious cooking and its just dal rice most of the days, something both of us love. Gonna laze around this weekend and I will be back to blogging full time next week. Lots to catch up!

Garam Masala

How did you guys enjoy your weekend?? I'm sure most of you'll would have had a blast. We are moving to a new apartment this Friday, so spent all our time cleaning and packing. This is the first time I'm doing it by myself and though I'm excited the whole process is tiring like crazy. I can't believe the amount of junk I've accumulated in just a couple of years. Anyways, there is so much work I haven't been cooking anything special. I'd probably be on a break for about 10days or so, though I'd be visiting your blogs as often as I can.

I was halfway to making dinner when I realised that I was out of garam masala. I almost called Manoj and asked him to get some on his way back from work but that would have only ended in disappointment as the egg curry I was making just would not taste the same. Thankfully I could overcome my laziness, stop making dinner and get on with roasting some spices. I wonder whats your take on the various brands of garam masalas available in the market now. Each one is different and yet not one of them suits my taste buds.
Garam masala is one of the most important ingredients in Indian cooking and it could easily alter the taste of any dish. I realised this when cooking at a friends place. I made my most reliable chicken curry and was shocked that it didn't taste anything like mine. It wasn't inedible or anything, but it just wasn't the same and that's when I saw her stock of garam masala in the freezer. Well at least I knew who the culprit was! And to prove my point I did make the curry again at my place and invited my friend over:)...
I'm sure everyone has their own blend of spices for that perfect garam masala. Here is mine...