Monday, May 26, 2008

Toppings maketh a pizza!

Some are crust-people, Some are cheese-people. Obviously, We are toppings-people. We are the kind who think 'Toppings maketh a pizza.'

Thanks to a Wholewheat pizza base from the store, some yummy organic cheese and a pizza stone suggested by this couple, we had our first glimpse of pizza heaven. Absolutely delicious! Yumm! It was a zillion times better than delivery pizza, at least 10 times better than those gourmet pizza places... We got hooked! Thus began our search for the perfect Wholewheat pizza.

Try googling for WW pizza recipe. Many recipes say 'it's 100% WW pizza', but if you go on to read the recipe, most contain 100% wholewheat flour and then equal amounts of AP flour. Does that make it 100% Wholewheat? Hmmm! The search continued. Again, the same guys to the rescue. And some more. And some more. And some more. And with some basic pizza making tips from Dani, (a friend who makes a killer white pizza), I got working following each method. All that work paid off! While there have been many proud smiles, being a beginner with yeasty-beasty-breads, there have been some pouty faces too. Still working on it! Maybe someday I'll hit on a foolproof method and I can share with you all. Until then, check out those above recipes.

ETA: You know, sometimes we call our friends to wish 'Happy Birthday' and talk a long time and put the phone down and then remember that we haven't wished them at all?? That's what I'm experiencing right now. I came here to make a post thanking these lovely people for having come up with such yummy wholewheat pizza recipes, and then I go for a few days and come back to read it to see that I forgot to thank them at all.

Thank you guys! :)

Venn Pongal - A sumptuous breakfast fare

Yep, I got my mojo back!

VennPongal is the fair looking cousin of the rich Pongal. When I wake up on a Saturday morning, with no idli batter, no mood for upma, a 'Noooo way!' for cold cereal, a 'Yuck!' for slimy oatmeal, 'You got be kidding me!' for bread and eggs and 'Nope, I don't want to stand in front of the tava for long' to make besan cheelas or yellow mung dal dosa, the thought of VennPongal brings a beautiful smile on my face. This is a typical breakfast fare in most Tamilian homes and restaurants. The name 'Venn' comes from 'Vennmai' - the white color. A typical side dish would be Coconut chutney and Sambar but I was in a whimsical mood to add some color and a twist in taste to my breakfast.

Rice - 1 cup (Wash it and keep it aside)
Yellow mung dal - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a sprig
Pepper corns - 1/2 tbsp (less if you prefer it less hot)
Cummin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste

Heat the 1 tsp oil in the pressure cooker and roast the yellow mung dal for a few minutes. The dal should not change color. Now wash the dal in the pressure cooker under the sink faucet. Add the rice to the dal in the pressure cooker, add salt, 4 cups of water and pressure cook till 2-3 whistles. Let it cool till the pressure drops.

Crush the peppercorns into quarters and slightly crush the cummin seeds, just so to bring out the flavor. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a small kadai and add the crushed pepper and cummin seeds, add the curry leaves and saute for a few seconds. Add to the VennPongal in the pressure cooker and stir well. Serve hot.

Green Chutney
Coriander leaves - a big bunch, wash and drain well
Onion - a quarter, chopped into big pieces
Garlic - 3-4 pods, chopped into halves
Ginger - 1 inch piece, skinned and chopped
Channa dal - 1 tbsp
Cummin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Pepper corns - 5
Green chillies - 2
Grated Coconut - 3 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Tamarind - 1 small piece, say about an inch

Heat oil and add the cummin seeds. Add the channa dal and pepper corn and roast them for a few seconds. Add the onion, green chillies, ginger, garlic pieces and saute them. Add the coriander leaves and saute them, but only till they wilt. Switch the stove off and add the coconut, tamarind and salt. Grind these to a fine chutney. Enjoy!