Creating a blog was out of the question for a long time for me, as measuring everything in the kitchen was like biting into an eggshell. I enjoy cooking and don’t want to waste even a slightest bit of enjoyment in that small world of mine. But little did I know that everything will change, when my husband came home with the Oscar nominated film ‘Julie and Julia’( a real life story) where Julie Powell (part played by Amy Adams) challenged herself to make all the 524 recipes from Julia Child's cook book ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and blogging all her experiences (The Julie/Julia Project). It was an inspiring movie. A few days later when we were discussing this casually with a friend of ours over tea…everything changed dramatically…..” How about you making at least half of it in one year? Not French but your own. 262 recipes that will inspire others and present it as a blog?” For a minute my mind traveled faster than light… With an experience as a helper in my mother in laws kitchen for 6 years followed by a three year everyday struggle to satisfy the palate of my foodie husband, if I cannot do it then why should I cook? But on the other side with an experience in English literature extending no more than expanding outline stories in English grammar class when I was 18 and two small kids that come in handy at times, will a commitment for the next one year work? Anyway my ‘cook's ego’ didn’t allow me to say no...

So my friends …here I am opening my recipe book, trying to perfect and present 262 recipes in the coming 365 days….A Challenge that will of course tastes good. Come.. Have a walk with me along my journey.. Cheering and inspiring….Forgiving and tolerating…Testing and tasting….for ‘A Tasty Challenge’

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Pazhutha Thakkali/ Ripe Tomato Curry

Recipe No: 277
Ingredients                                               Serves 4
To cook
  • Tomato…………….....2 Big/ 3 medium (cut into big pieces)
  • Onion sliced.………..2/3 Cup (cut into slightly big pieces)
  • Green Chilly slit…...2-3
  • Curry Leaves………..1 sprig
  • Water…………………..2/3 Cup
  • Turmeric Powder….1/4 Teaspoon
  • Red Chilly Powder...1/2 Teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder…1 ½ Teaspoons
  • Salt as needed
To Grind
  • Grated Coconut……..1/2 Cup (fresh preferred;  of course,unsweetened)
  • Garlic……………………2 Big/ 3 Small
  • Shallots…………………2
  • Ginger chopped….....1 teaspoon (1 small piece)
  • Cumin Powder……....1/4 teaspoon (can use Cumin seeds instead)
For Tempering
  • Coconut Oil……………1 Tablespoon
  • Mustard Seeds……….1/4 Teaspoon
  • Dry Red Chilly....……2 (broken into two)
  • Shallots sliced……..…1
  • Curry Leaves……….…1 Sprig
Method of Preparation
  1. Grind all the ingredients mentioned in the ‘to grind’ section into a smooth paste using ½ Cup Water. Keep it aside till ready to be used.
  2. Combine all the ingredients mentioned in the ‘to cook’ section in a ‘Chatti’ (an earthen cooking vessel) or a deep pan. Let it boil on high heat.
  3. Once boiled thoroughly, add the ground Coconut mixture and allow it to boil once more. Reduce the heat to medium low and let it continue cooking for 2-3 minutes or until the raw taste of the ground Coconut mixture is gone.
  4. Adjust the Salt and the level of gravy at this stage. If you add more Water, let the curry boil once more before switching it off.
  5. In another small pan prepare the tempering. Heat Coconut Oil on medium high heat and splutter the Mustard seeds.
  6. Add the broken Dry Red Chilly, sliced Shallots and Curry Leaves. Let it fry till the Shallots are golden brown.
  7. Switch off the heat and pour the tempering (Oil and all) on top of the prepared Tomato Curry.
  8. Mix well and keep the pan closed for 10 minutes before serving it hot with Rice.
Notes:
  • The Onion for cooking is sliced a bit big as it should hold its shape once the Curry is done. I like a bit of crispiness to the Onion slices in the prepared Curry. If you don’t prefer that, do slice it thin.
  • Don’t cook the Curry until the Tomato mashes up. Some of those Tomato pieces should be present in the Curry without disintegrating.
  • This gravy has a tendency to thicken as it cools down. So adjust the thickness accordingly. (Use only boiling Water to dilute the Curry if it went too thick.)
 





Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beef Veyichathu/ Ularthiyathu

Recipe No: 276
I have a lot to say about Irachi Veyichathu…, a dish that was prepared by my Mother and both of my Grandmothers… Well, I don’t know a single Christian household around my place that doesn’t have a recipe for this preparation. A lot of my friends asked me for this recipe… so for all of them… friends, here it is… enjoy…
Ingredients                                   Serves 6-8
To Pressure Cook
  • Beef……………….............900 Grams (cut into small pieces; washed and drained)
  • Salt………………..............1 Teaspoon
  • Pepper Powder…..........1/4 Teaspoon
  • Water………………...........1 Cup
To Saute
  • Oil……………………..............2-3 Tablespoons (Preferably Coconut Oil)
  • Mustard Seeds…...….........1/2 Teaspoon (Optional)
  • Coconut slices………..........1/2 Cup (Thengakothu; use more if you prefer)
  • Onion sliced thin……........1 Cup
  • Shallots sliced thin…........1/3 Cup (If not available, add the same quantity of Onion)
  • Curry Leaves…………........2-3 Sprigs
  • Ginger Garlic Paste.........1 ½ Tablespoons (Instead use a big piece Ginger and 10-12 Garlic; crushed)
  • Tomato sliced thin…........1 small (Optional)
  • Turmeric Powder…….......1/2 Teaspoon
  • Red Chilly Powder………..2 Teaspoons
  • Coriander Powder………..4 Teaspoons
  • Garam Masala Powder...1 Teaspoon
  • Vinegar……………………….a few drops
  • Salt as needed
  • ¼ Teaspoon Garam Masala Powder, 1 sprig Curry Leaf and ½ Teaspoon Coconut Oil to sprinkle on top
Method of Preparation
  1. Put all the ingredients given in the ‘to Pressure Cook’ section in a Pressure Cooker and cook till almost (don't cook till it falls off, as we cook them later) done. (I kept the cooker on high till the first whistle, then lower the heat to medium low and cooked for 10 minutes.) Once cooked, off the heat and let the Pressure subside.
  2. While that is happening, heat Oil in a pan on medium high heat and splutter the Mustard Seeds.
  3. Add Coconut slices and fry, stirring, till it is slightly brown.
  4. When the Coconut Pieces are brown, add ¼ teaspoon Salt followed by Onion, Shallots and Curry Leaves. Saute, stirring now and then, till the Onion is golden brown in color. (By golden brown, I mean it should be reduced considerably and attain a slightly crispy nature.) Do stir often to avoid uneven browning and burning.
  5. Add Ginger Garlic paste and saute till the raw smell is gone for a minute.
  6. Lower the heat to low and add Turmeric Powder, Red Chilly Powder, Coriander Powder and Garam Masala Powder. Fry on low heat for a minute to get rid of the raw smell. Do stir to avoid burning.
  7. Add the Tomato slices and stir till it mashes lightly.
  8. Add the cooked Beef together with the remaining liquid; stir well and add 1-1 ½ cup Water (depending on the Water left behind after cooking the Beef; Water should level the Beef pieces; don’t reduce the amount of Water at this stage as it helps to spread the Masala properly and cooking in so much gravy for some time will help the Beef absorb the flavors.)
  9. Increase the heat to high and let it boil. Once boiled, lower the heat to medium low; close the pan and let it simmer till most of the Water is absorbed and the gravy starts to coat the Beef pieces. (Oil will start to float at this stage too, but it depends on how much Oil you use and the amount of fat in the Beef; hence it is not a must.)
  10. Once the desired gravy level is achieved, do a taste test and add Salt if necessary (Don’t add it before as the Salt will concentrate when the gravy is reduced). At this stage if you need a bit more of sourness (and your Tomato was not able to give that) do add a few drops of Vinegar. (Believe me sometimes 2-3 drops of Vinegar do magic to your dish!!!)
  11. Mix well; off the heat; sprinkle some Garam Masala Powder, a sprig of Curry Leaf and some Coconut Oil on top; cover the pan and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. (Oh... it taste better the second day) But if you are planning to take this for a trip or you want to keep this for sometime in the fridge, don’t close the pan at the end after sprinkling the Masala and Curry Leaves to avoid vapor from falling back into the meat which can reduce the life of the dish.
  12. Serve warm with Appam, Rice, Flat breads or Bread rolls. We love it with Rice and Moru Curry (A yogurt based Curry) and oh... how did I mange myself from mentioning Parotta while talking about Beef Veyichathu for such a long time!!!
Notes:
  • Mustard Seeds are optional in this recipe. Some people use it, some don’t. Anyway, I use it as I like it a lot.
  • Tomato was not used in olden days as it reduce the time this dish stays good at room temperature (There was no fridge then!!!). But as we have fridge now to keep the left overs and because I like thick gravy in this (Tomato increases the thickness) dish, I use them.
  • I used Kashmiri Chilly Powder (sometimes Piriyan Chilly Powder also) in this and most of the other recipes. If you are using that deadly hot Red Chilly Powder, please adjust the amount accordingly. But I think Kashmiri or Piriyan Chilly Powder gives that dark color without a lot of heat.
  • The time taken for cooking the meat depends on the type, age (cow's!!) of the Meat used and the efficiency of the Pressure Cooker. So adjust the time accordingly. If you don’t have a Pressure Cooker simmer it till done, but you may need to add some additional water. The Meat should be cooked but not falling off as we cook then later.
 



Make it enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love….












I am linking this post to the event
Christmas delicacies hosted by Julie of Erivum Puliyum

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dal/ Lentil/ Parippu

Recipe No: 275
I have to confess that I grew up in a house that doesn't use Coriander Leaves at all but married into a house which consider Coriander Leaves as a must in cooking. But why am I blabbering this now? Well, I consider this Dal as ‘the dish’ that made me fall in love with Coriander Leaves and as you know from my previous recipes, I use a lot of it now. Oh…by the way, this is my Mother in Law’s preparation and is a staple for dinner with Chappathi.
Ingredients                                            Serves 3
To pressure cook
  • Thoor Dal/ Thuvara Parippu…1/2 Cup (Other Dals like Kadala Parippu/ Split Chick Peas and Cherupayar Parippu/ Split Green Gram also can be used)
  • Water…………………………………...1 ½ Cups
  • Turmeric Powder…………………..1/8 Teaspoon
To Saute
  • Oil……………………………………..…1 Tablespoon
  • Mustard Seeds……………………...1/4 Teaspoon
  • Onion Chopped……………………..1/3 Cup
  • Green Chilly slit…………………….1-2
  • Tomato chopped……………………1 small
  • Chicken/ Meat Masala…………..1/2 Teaspoon (I used store bought)
  • Chopped Coriander Leaves…….2 Tablespoons
  • Salt to taste
Method of Preparation
  1. Wash the Lentils/ Dal really well (until the Water runs clear) and cook them with the all the ingredients mentioned in the 'to pressure cook’ section in a Pressure cooker till done. (After the first whistle, I lowered the heat to medium low and cooked for 5 more minutes.)
  2. Once cooked, off the heat and let it cool down.
  3. Heat Oil in a pan on medium high heat and splutter the Mustard Seeds.
  4. Once the seeds start to crackle, add the Onion and Green Chilly; saute till translucent about a minute or two.
  5. Add the Tomato and Salt; continue sauteing for another minute. (Tomatoes doesn’t have to be mashed. But if you don’t like to see them in pieces, please do wait till it mashes.)
  6. Add the Chicken/ Meat Masala powder, followed by the cooked Dal (including Water if any) and mix well.
  7. Add a cup of Water (add a bit more or less depending on your taste and the amount of Water left behind after cooking the Dal; but consider that this Curry tends to thicken a lot after cooling.) and let it boil. (Please refer the picture at the bottom for consistency.)
  8. Add Coriander Leaves; mix well and do a taste test to adjust the seasonings. (At this point you can add more Masala (up to ¼ teaspoon) if you prefer.)
  9. Serve hot with Chappathi.
Notes:
  • Using a bit of Oil while cooking Dal/ Lentil in a pressure cooker may reduce boiling over/ leaking out of the whistle.
  • The cooking time for the Lentil depends on your cooking conditions and the efficiency of the Pressure Cooker. So adjust the time accordingly.
  • Depending on the time taken by the Lentil to cook (especially if your Pressure Cooker has a long cooking time), it may require a bit more Water. Please adjust accordingly.
  • With Chicken/ Meat Masala, I mean only the spice powders that are used to cook them and it will not include Chicken/ Meat extracts (So okay for Vegetarians too). Instead of Chicken/ Meat Masala you can use a combination of Red Chilly, Coriander and Garam Masala Powder.
  • As Coriander Leaves play a major role in the taste of this dish, I will not recommend avoiding it.







Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and
serve it to your family with love…

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Theengapalil Patticha Kozhi (Chicken cooked in Coconut Milk)

Recipe No: 274
How many Chicken recipes can you come up with? In fact... a lot… isn’t it? Of all those different types of Chicken dishes, I consider this as ‘the Chicken Curry’ for the laziest days… It sure is fast, easy and yes, the most important thing... tasty… With a prevailing taste of Coconut Milk, it  tastes somewhat like a stew but much easier than a stew. Go through the recipe; make it and you will see how easy it is…
Ingredients                                                                  Serves 4
  • Chicken…………..............750 Grams (cut into small pieces)
  • Shallots…………..............12 quartered
  • Ginger Garlic Paste…....1 ½ Tablespoons
  • Green Chilly chopped….3-5 (I used Indian; adjust according to your taste)
  • Crushed Black Pepper…1/2 – 1 Teaspoon (Adjust according to your taste)
  • Curry Leaves……………..2 Sprigs
  • Thick Coconut Milk…….1 Cup (If you are using Coconut cream do dilute it with some Water)
  • Crushed Whole Spices…1 inch Cinnamon piece, 6 cloves, 3 Cardamom pods and ½ of a Star Anise
  • Salt to taste
Method of Preparation
  1. Mix all the ingredients given in the ingredient list in a pan; mix well; close it and allow to boil on high heat.
  2. Once boiled, reduce the heat to medium low and let it cook for about 20-25 minutes or until all the liquid is evaporated and Oil starts to separate. (We don’t add any Oil but, it will separate from the Coconut Milk as it cooks down.)  Do stir now and then to avoid sticking at the bottom of the pan.
  3. Once Oil starts to separate, off the heat and serve it hot with Rice, Appam or Flatbreads.
Notes:
  • If you don't have Shallots or if you are too lazy to peel them, do use 1/2 cup cubed Onion. Well... did I ever mention that it is very easy to peel Shallots if you soak them in warm Water for a few minutes?
  • If you doesn’t want to use (or don’t have) whole spices, please do use ½ Teaspoon homemade Garam Masala powder or ¾ Teaspoon of a good variety store bought Garam Masala Powder instead.
  • If you are using thick Coconut Milk, do use 3/4 Cup diluted with 1/4 cup of Water.
  • It is very important that you have to cook the Chicken until the Oil separates as it decides the taste of the dish. I like it to be a bit moist but ha… you can even fry the Chicken a bit in the oozed out Oil if you want. But in that case make sure you use a good non stick pan.





Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and
serve it to your family with love…
















I am linking this post to the event Christmas delicacies hosted by Julie of Erivum Puliyum


Monday, November 21, 2011

Bhindi/ Lady’s Finger/ Okra/ Vendakka fry

Recipe No: 273
One important thing that has to be mentioned while working with Okra is its sliminess if not cooked properly. But with some care it can be reduced to a greater extend and in this recipe it is not a problem at all… I bet this will be one of the best Okra dishes that you would have ever tasted. Enjoy…
Ingredients                                   Serves 3-4
  • Okra/Vendakka…….....200 Grams
  • Onion………………………1/4 Cup (cut into thin, long slices)
  • Red Chilly Powder……1/2- 1 Teaspoon (Depending on the taste)
  • Asafoetida Powder…..2 Dashes/ a pinch (Kayam Podi)
  • Curry Leaves…………..1 Sprig
  • Besan/ Kadalamavu…2 Tablespoons (Chickpea Flour)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying
Method of Preparation
  1. Wash and dry the Okra thoroughly. Cut them into thin long slices.
  2. Add sliced Onion, Red Chilly Powder, Asafoetida Powder, Curry Leaves and Salt to the Okra pieces; mix well and keep it aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat Oil for deep frying in a deep pan (a wok/ Cheenachatti works the best for this) on high heat. (At least a cup of Oil is needed)
  4. Sprinkle the Besan/ Kadalamavu/ Chickpea Flour to the seasoned Okra pieces and toss gently.
  5. Deep fry the tossed Okra in hot Oil till golden brown.
  6. Once golden brown, remove this from the Oil; drain the excess Oil on a kitchen tissue and serve hot with Rice.
Notes:
  • Washing and drying the Okra really good (Typically I do this part way in advance) sometime before using tends to reduce the sliminess a bit. In this recipe, Chickpea Flour also helps reduce it.
  • The moisture created by the Salt in the marinated Okra pieces will help the Besan stick to them. If some Flour is left behind, please do discard them. This is to prevent the loose Flour from burning in hot Oil. (Believe me... burnt Flour does not taste good!!!)
  • I never used shallow frying in this recipe and hence not so sure about the outcome.
  • Deep frying should be done only in plenty of Oil. Otherwise the Okra pieces will reduce the heat of the Oil resulting in heavy absorption of Oil by them.
  • As the Okra pieces are sliced thin, it will take only a few minutes for them to cook. So it is okay to fry these on high heat. Also high heat will reduce the absorption of Oil by Okra.
  • This recipe is loosely adapted from a recipe by Mrs. K.M Mathew.
 



Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chicken in Roasted Cashew-Peanut Gravy

Recipe No: 272
I had already posted the vegetarian version of this recipe with Cauliflower. Now this is the non-vegetarian version of the same. The basic ingredients and the method of preparation are the same but the amount changes to suit the taste of Chicken.
Ingredients                                        Serves 6
  • Chicken………………............….2 lb/900 grams (Cut into medium sized pieces, washed and drained)
  • Oil…………………………………...3 Tablespoons
  • Peanuts…………………………….1/3 Cup
  • Cashew nuts………………….....1/3 Cup
  • Onion Chopped finely………..2 Cups
  • Ginger-Garlic paste……….….1 ½ Tablespoons
  • Red Chilly powder………..…..2 Teaspoons
  • Coriander Powder…………….4 Teaspoons
  • Turmeric powder……….…….1/2 teaspoon
  • Garam Masala Powder..…..1 Teaspoon
  • Tomato chopped…………..….1 large
  • Cream or milk….….…………..1/4 Cup
  • Coriander leaves chopped...2 Tablespoons (optional)
  • Salt to taste
Method of Preparation
  1. Heat Oil in a pan on medium heat and fry the Peanuts and the Cashew nuts until golden brown.
  2. Remove it from the Oil and when slightly cooled, grind it into a smooth paste using only just enough water. (Up to 1/2 cup will be good)
  3. To the rest of the Oil in the pan, add chopped Onion together with Salt and saute till it starts to brown along the edges.
  4. Add Ginger Garlic paste and continue sauteing till the raw smell is gone.
  5. Adjust the heat to low and add Red Chilly powder, Coriander powder, Turmeric powder and Garam Masala powder; saute till the raw smell is gone for about a minute or two.
  6. Add chopped Tomato and the ground Peanut-Cashew paste; saute till the Oil oozees out. (Do stir continuously.) This step is very important as it determines the taste of this dish. As we are not using too much of Oil, we will only be able to see small droplets of Oil  towards the sides of the mixture. (By this time all the Water from the Masala will be evaporated.)
  7. Add 2 cups of water to dilute the gravy and add the Chicken pieces; mix well; close the pan and let it boil on high heat.
  8. Once boiled, lower the heat to medium and continue cooking till the Chicken is cooked thoroughly; the level of the gravy is reduced and Oil starts to float on top of the curry for about 30 – 40 minutes.
  9. Add Cream and Coriander leaves (if adding), mix well and let it start to boil along the edges. Add more Salt if needed.
  10. Switch off the heat, close the pan and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Notes:
  • You can reduce the amount of Chicken in this recipe and add Cauliflower and Potatoes to fill that place.
  • Since there are nuts in the gravy, chances are there it may stick to the bottom of the pan. So stir it now and then.
 






Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pavakka/ Bitter Guard/ Karela Fry

Recipe No: 271
Ingredients                               Serves 3
  • Pavakka/ Karela……….250 grams (1 big/ 2 small)
  • Onion sliced thin……….1/3 Cup
  • Coconut sliced thin……1/4 Cup
  • Green Chilly slit………..1-3
  • Curry Leaves……………1 Sprig
  • Salt………………………….1/3 – ½ Teaspoon
  • Oil for deep frying
Method of Preparation
  1. Wash and dry the Bitter Guard/ Pavakka. Cut it lengthwise into two; discard the seeds and the fibrous portions inside.
  2. Slice them horizontally into very thin pieces. (Make it as thin as possible.)
  3. Add Salt to the pieces and keep it aside for 10 minutes. By then some liquid will be oozing out of the Bitter Guard pieces. Squeeze the pieces as hard as possible and discard the juices.
  4. Heat at least an inch of Oil in a deep pan until really hot.
  5. Put the Bitter Guard pieces into the hot Oil and fry on high heat until half done.
  6. Halfway through frying add sliced Onion, Coconut, Green Chilly and Curry Leaves.
  7. When the Bitter Guard pieces, Onion and Coconut slices attain a golden brown color take them out with a slotted spoon after draining most of the Oil. Let the excess Oil drain on a paper towel.
  8. Serve hot with cooked Rice.
Notes:
  • Salt helps to pull the bitter liquid from the Bitter Guard and squeezing the liquid off  will reduce its bitterness. If you are planning to skip this procedure, please reduce the amount of Salt added.
  • There will be a lot of splattering while frying if there is Water content in the Bitter Guard pieces.
  • If you try to deep fry all the ingredients together in the first place, the Onion will burn before the Bitter Guard pieces are fried. So give the Bitter Guard a head start and add the rest of the ingredients half way through the frying.
  • Don't overcrowd the pan while deep frying; this may result in the over absorption of Oil. Do let the Bitter Guard pieces immerse fully in the Oil to ensure even frying.







Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and
serve it to your family with love….

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fish Manjurian

Recipe No: 270
This is another one of my quick and easy recipe that goes well with Flat breads, Fried Rice or even plain boiled Basmati Rice. With its unique 'Indo-Chinese' touch, this is a bit different from the usual Fish preparations but very tasty and perfect for people who search variety in Fish dishes. Enjoy…
Ingredients                                                     Serves 4
To marinate
  • Fish………………....................1 lb/ 425 grams (bones removed and cut into bite size cubes; I used Salmon but any Fish with thick flesh will do.)
  • Corn Starch…......................2 Tablespoons (commonly called Corn Flour in India)
  • All Purpose Flour/Maida….1 Tablespoon
  • Rice Flour……………………….1 Tablespoon
  • Egg………………………………...1/2 (Beaten well)
  • Soy Sauce…………………….....1/2 Teaspoon
  • Red Chilly Powder………......1/4 Teaspoon
  • Salt as needed
To Saute
  • Oil…………………………..........3-4 Tablespoons
  • Spring Onion…………..........5 stalks (chopped; white and green portions separated)
  • Garlic chopped………..........2 Teaspoons
  • Onion cubed………….......….1 ½ Cups (make slightly big cubes)
  • Sambal Oelek……………......1 Teaspoon (If not available use Red Chilly paste/ sauce)
  • Vinegar…………………..........1/2 Teaspoon
  • Soy Sauce……………….........1 Teaspoon
  • Tomato ketch up…………...2 Tablespoons
  • Coriander Leaves…………..2-3 Tablespoons (chopped)
  • Salt as needed
  •  Oil for deep frying
Method of Preparation
  1. Make a batter with all the ingredients mentioned in the ‘to marinate’ section except the Fish. Marinate the Fish with the batter and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat at least an inch of Oil in a deep pan and deep fry the Fish on high heat till they are golden brown. The time for frying depends on the size of the Fish pieces and so, please do adjust accordingly.
  3. Drain the Fish and let the excess Oil drain on a paper towel. Keep it aside till ready to be used.
  4. In another pan (or the same pan with the Oil removed), heat 3-4 Tablespoons of Oil on high heat and saute Spring Onion Whites and Garlic till fragrant for about 30 seconds. (Please don’t brown them.)
  5. Add the Onion and saute for 3-4 minutes or till it is slightly translucent. (It shouldn’t go brown. In fact I like it when the Onion is slightly crunchy.)
  6. Add Sambal Oelek, Soy Sauce, Ketchup and Vinegar; mix well.
  7. Add the fried Fish, Chopped Coriander Leaves, Spring Onion Greens and more Salt (if needed); mix well and serve hot.
Notes:
  • Sambal Oelek is Red Chilly paste in Vinegar and are available in most of the Indian and Asian stores.
  • If Sambal Oelek is not available use any Red Chilly paste and if you can’t find that use either Red Chilly flakes or even Red Chilly powder or half of both. But adjust according to the taste and heat of the Chilly. Red Chilly Garlic sauce works fine too and these are available in the Indian stores as well.
  • I used dark Soy Sauce (Ching’s dark Soy), which is available in most of the Indian stores.
  • While deep frying, it is better to use enough Oil for the Fish pieces to immerse fully to ensure even cooking. Don’t overcrowd the pan while deep frying and if there are more, please do fry them in batches.
  • Once the Fish is fried, all the other processes will be done in minutes, so please do all the prep work before you start sauteing.
  • If you want a bit of gravy for this dish, dissolve ½ teaspoon Corn starch in ½ Cup Water and add to the dish towards the end. Make sure the sauce boils before switching the flame off. (But I prefer without the gravy.)
  • If you like Capsicum cut it into cubes and add it along with the Onion.
  • As most of the sauces have Salt in it, add extra Salt only at the very end.
 






Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Salmon and Egg Rice

Recipe No: 269
This is one easy yet very delicious Rice dish that will be ready to serve in a matter of minutes, making it an excellent after work dinner or a lazy late afternoon lunch. 
Ingredients                                   Serves 3
  • Basmati Rice…………….........1 1/2 Cups (Washed and drained)
  • Hard boiled Eggs………….....2 (cut each into 4 pieces)
To cook the Salmon
  • Salmon……………………….......300 Grams (clean and wash; but don’t cut)
  • Salt…………………………......….1/2 Teaspoon
  • Pepper Powder………….........1/2 Teaspoon
  • Water…………………………......2 Cups
To make the Rice
  • Oil……………………………….......2 Tablespoons
  • Cumin seeds……………….........1/3 Teaspoon
  • Onion chopped……………........1/2 Cup
  • Ginger Garlic Paste…………....1 Teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder……………...1 ½ Teaspoons
  • Turmeric Powder……………….1/4 Teaspoon
  • Garam Masala Powder………3/4 Teaspoon
  • Coconut Milk……………………..1 Cup (medium thickness)
  • Salt……………………………………as needed (I used around ¾ Teaspoon)
  • Chopped Coriander Leaves….2 Tablespoons
Method of Preparation
  1. Soak the washed and drained Rice in warm water for about 20 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in the ‘to cook the Salmon’ section in a deep pan and boil on high heat. (It is good if the Fish is immersed fully in the Water otherwise, turn it over half way through cooking.)
  3. Once boiled, lower the flame to medium low and cook for 5 minutes. (By this time Fish will be fully cooked.)
  4. Take the fish out of the Water and keep aside. Once slightly cooled, tear it into big bite size pieces with the help of a fork. (As Salmon is delicate it will be a bit difficult to cut them into small pieces, but you are more than welcome to do so if you want. But I preferred irregular pieces. If your husband or guests ask why, tell them that it is 'rustic'!!)
  5. Measure the remaining cooking liquid and add more Water to make it up to 2 cups.
  6. Heat Oil in a wide pan on medium high heat and splutter the Cumin seeds.
  7. Add the Onion and saute till translucent for about a minute or two.
  8. Add Ginger Garlic paste and cook till the raw smell is gone.
  9. Lower the heat to low and add Coriander Powder, Turmeric Powder and Garam Masala Powder; saute for 30 seconds.
  10. Add the drained Rice and fry it for about 3 minutes on medium high heat.
  11. Once fried, add the Fish cooking liquid (the one that we added Water to make 2 cups), Coconut Milk and the Salt (consider the fact that the Fish cooking liquid has Salt). Mix well, cover and let it boil.
  12. Once boiled, reduce the heat to minimum and let it cook.
  13. Once the Rice is half cooked, add the Fish; mix gently and let it cook covered till all the liquid is absorbed and the Rice is cooked perfectly.
  14. Once cooked, switch off the heat; sprinkle the Coriander Leaves and mix gently.
  15. Serve hot topped with Egg.
Notes:
  • If you are squeezing fresh Coconut Milk, do combine 1st and the 2nd milk to make a cup for this preparation.
  • The Salt for this dish should be adjusted in such a way that the Rice should have Salt if eaten without any curries.
  • Cumin seeds in this dish can be substituted with Black Cumin seeds too.
  • I like this dish a lot with Salmon and hence too stubborn to try with others.
 



Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

Monday, October 10, 2011

Brinjal/ Eggplant/ Aubergine with Ketchup and Tamarind

Recipe No: 268
Ketchup and Tamarind… What sort of a combination is that? If this is what you are thinking… well, I don’t have an exact answer... but… come on…. Who cares as long as the dish is tasty? It will not make you lose your sleep, but may be at the end of the day you might think… that was one tasty dish and I am not sure but, I am slowly beginning to like Brinjal! Come on give it a try… it will be ready to eat in a matter of minutes…
Oh I forgot to mention… this is my take on a Brinjal dish that was made by a member from our Indiana church for a prayer meeting… Ahh, even though it was a crowd around 30-35, I ended up eating half of that dish… (shhh... please keep it a secret...)
Ingredients                                               Serves 3
  • Brinjal…………………………….250 grams (cut into medium sized pieces)
  • Oil…………………………………..2-3 Tablespoons
  • Onion……………………………..1/2 cup (cut into cubes)
  • Ginger Garlic paste………….3/4 Teaspoon
  • Red Chilly Powder……………1/2 Teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder…………...1/2 Teaspoon
  • Cumin Powder………………..1/8 Teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder…………….1/4 Teaspoon
  • Tomato Ketchup………………2 Tablespoons
  • Tamarind juice……………….1/3 Cup (from a small marble sized Tamarind; depending on your taste)
  • Coriander Leaves.................1 Tablespoon (chopped)
  • Salt as per taste
Method of Preparation
  1. Heat 2 Tablespoons of Oil in a pan on high heat (wait till it is really hot) and fry the Brinjal pieces with Salt until it is slightly brown here and there. Take it out of the pan and keep aside till ready to be used.
  2. Add a bit more of Oil if needed and saute the Onion on medium heat for a minute or till it starts to wilt. (Doesn’t have to brown)
  3. Add Ginger Garlic paste and saute till the raw smell is gone.
  4. Reduce the heat to minimum and add Red Chilly Powder, Coriander Powder, Turmeric Powder and Cumin Powder; saute for 30 seconds.
  5. Add Ketchup and Tamarind juice; mix thoroughly and add the fried Brinjal pieces.
  6. Cover the pan and cook for a minute or two. (The Brinjal pieces shouldn’t be overcooked and mashed. If fried properly, this step will take only a minute.) Do a taste test and add more Salt if needed.
  7. Sprinkle the Coriander Leaves; mix properly and serve hot with Chappathi or Rice.
Notes:
  • I used Chinese Brinjal. It is okay to use the skin of Indian and Chinese Brinjal, but if it is American Eggplant, do take the skin off as it is slightly on the bitter side.
  • You can use a bit more Oil (up to 1 tablespoon more), but don’t add too much as Brinjal is like a sponge and will absorb a lot of Oil if you put more. So it is better to stick to the described amount.
  • The amount of Tamarind used should be according to your taste. (I am not too much of as sour person; so mine is less) Make pulp and add slowly, tasting in between.Don't use more than 1/3 cup Water or the gravy may become loose.
  • If the Brinjal has a lot of seeds do wash by slightly squeezing them in a Colander so that the seed will escape through its holes.
  • If you cut the Brinjal a bit ahead of time, do put it in Water to prevent oxidation and the discoloration that follows.
  • If you wash or put the Brinjal pieces in Water prior to cooking, do squeeze the Water properly and dry it with a kitchen towel to take the extra moisture out.
  • Shallow frying the Brinjal pieces in very high heat is important. It will release all the Water and start boiling rather than frying if low heat is used.
 



Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

Monday, October 3, 2011

Vegetable Biriyani

Recipe No: 267
A few months back, I made this for a party catering order as a vegetarian option along with Chicken Biriyani. When the vegetarians failed to appear for the so called 'Bachelor's party' in which most of the attendees are married, this Vegetable Biriyani was passed down to the female folks, may be as an appreciation for opening their apartment doors when they turn up way past midnight without waking up the neighbors! To my surprise it was a hit among them and so I decided to write it out in my blog… in case someone else want to try it out...
Ingredients                                         Serves 5
  • Vegetables.........................…..3 Cups (Cut into big cubes; I used Carrot, Beans, Potato, Cauliflower and Fresh Frozen Green Peas)
  • Fried Paneer cubes………...….200 Grams/4 oz
  • Oil…………………………….........2 Tablespoons
  • Turmeric Powder……….........1/2 Teaspoon
  • Salt………………………....….......1 Teaspoon
  • Curd…………………….……........1/4 Cup
  • Tomato sliced…………………...1 Large
  • Lemon Juice……………..……...1 1/2 Tablespoons
  • Coriander leaves /Cilantro...3 Tablespoons chopped
  • Mint leaves chopped………....2 Tablespoons
  • Garam Masala Powder……...3/4 Teaspoon (homemade preferred)

To Grind
  • Ginger Roughly chopped......2 Tablespoons
  • Garlic roughly chopped........6 big ones or 10 small ones
  • Indian Green Chilly…...........5 (chopped; adjust depending on your taste)
  • Onion roughly chopped…....2 Cups
  • Shallots……………………………5
To make the rice
  • Ghee………………………….......2 Tablespoons
  • Whole Garam Masala……..8 Cardamom, 12 Cloves, 1 one inch Cinnamon stick and 1 Star Anise broken into pieces
  • Rice…...................................2 Cups
  • Salt……………………...............1 ½ Teaspoons
  • Water………………………........3 ½ Cups (Boiling)
To Blend
  • Almonds………………..…........6 (not necessary to take off the skin)
  • Coconut Milk (thick)………..1 Tablespoon
  • Turmeric Powder…………....1/4 Teaspoon
  • Saffron…………………….........A Small pinch
  • Water……………………………..1/4 Cup
To Garnish
  • Cashew nuts…………….........4 tablespoons
  • Raisins……………………........2 Tablespoons
  • Fried Onion………...............3 Tablespoons
Method of Preparation
  1. Grind together all the ingredients (I used a food processor) given in the ‘to grind’ section into a course consistency and keep aside.
  2. Blend all the ingredients given in the ‘to blend’ section except two Tablespoons of Water  into a smooth consistency and keep aside. Use the left over Water to rinse the blender and mix it along with the blended ingredients.
  3. Wash and soak the rice in warm water for 20 minutes and drain.
To make the Vegetable Masala
  1. Heat the Oil in a pan and saute the ground Onion mixture together with Salt and Turmeric powder on a medium high heat till it is almost brown. Add more Oil if needed.
  2. Add the Vegetables and Curd along with 1/2 cup of water; lower the heat to medium low (once it is boiled); close the pan and  cook  for 8- 10 minutes.
  3. Once the Vegetable are almost cooked add the Paneer cubes, Tomato and Lemon juice; let the Vegetables finish cooking.
  4. Once cooked, add chopped Coriander Leaves, Mint leaves and Garam Masala Powder; mix well taking care not to break the Paneer cubes. Do a taste test and add more Salt if needed. (At this stage the Masala should be a bit on the sour side. Take care about the amount of Salt as it should not be less at this stage or it will affect the final taste of the Biriyani.)
  5. When almost dry switch off the flame and keep it aside till ready to be used.
To make the Rice
  1. Start to boil 3 ½ cups of water.
  2. To a wide pan on medium heat, add the Ghee and fry Cashew nuts followed by Raisins (for garnishing) till the Cashew nuts are slightly brown and the Raisins are plump. Take them off and keep aside till ready to be used.
  3. To the remaining Ghee on medium high heat add the whole Garam Masala and fry till fragrant.
  4. Add the soaked and drained Rice and fry it (constantly stirring is advised) until the Rice on the bottom of the pan starts to move on its own.
  5. Add the boiling water and 1 ½ Teaspoons of Salt; stir well; lower the flame to minimum; cover the pan and cook till all the Water is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Stir gently once or twice in between.
  6. Once cooked,  switch off the flame and keep the pan open till ready to be used.
To assemble and bake the Biriyani 
  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F/180˚C.
  • In an oven proof dish layer almost half of the rice evenly on the bottom. Sprinkle some almond-turmeric water on top and then layer the prepared Vegetable Masala. Layer the rest of the Rice on top.
  • Once layered, drizzle the rest of the almond- turmeric water and sprinkle fried Onions, Cashew nuts and Raisins.
  • Cover this with an Aluminum foil or a damp cloth.
  • Bake this for 30 minutes in the preheated oven and let it stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  • Serve it hot with Raita and Pappadam.
Notes:
  • It is very easy to fry Paneer with less amount of Oil if we cut it into slabs; shallow fry in a flat pan and then cut into pieces rather than deep frying Paneer cubes. This is shown in Mattar Paneer recipe.
  • While cooking the Masala, dont cook the Vegetables till it starts to fall down. It should be just cooked, so that it will withstand the final layering and baking without breaking. 
  • It is important that you salt the Rice while cooking as it is very essential to bring the flavor of the Rice. Since this is a Vegetable Biriyani, imparting as much flavor into the rice is very essential.
  • Drizzle the yellow Almond Water on top  so that it will give some of the Rice that signature yellow color of the Biriyani (without using any artificial color), while some others remain white.
  • If you don't have Saffron, please add a bit more of Turmeric, but take care not to skip this step because that additional moisture will prevent the Biriyani from drying out during baking,
  • If you don’t have an oven, you can make it on stove top itself. Assemble everything in a pan, cover with an airtight lid and put it on a minimum flame and cook for 30 minutes. Take care not to burn the bottom.You can also use a flat pan/ Thawa on the bottom of the Biriyani pan (Biriyani pan placed on the Thawa which is placed on the flame) to give that indirect heat while cooking on stove top.
 



Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chicken Veyichathu

Recipe No: 266
I have vague memories of my paternal Grandmother making Chicken Veyichathu and keeping it in ‘Uri’ (rope that is hanged form roof in the old days to keep ‘Chatti’ (earthen cooking vessel) with cooked  food). As this is made by sauteing everything really nice without any added water, it will stay good for many days even without refrigeration.
Ingredients                                                 Serves 4

  • Chicken…………………......600 Grams (Bone in, cut into small pieces, washed and drained)
  • Oil………………………….....3-4 Tablespoons
  • Coconut pieces………......1/2 Cup (sliced thin; theengakothu)
  • Onion sliced thin…….…..1 Cup
  • Shallots sliced thin……...1/2 Cup (If not available, add the same quantity Onion)
  • Ginger sliced thin………..1 Tablespoon
  • Garlic sliced thin………...1 Tablespoon
  • Curry Leaves……………...2 Sprigs
  • Red Chilly Powder……...1 Teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder……....2 Teaspoons
  • Turmeric Powder………..1/2 Teaspoon
  • Garam Masala Powder…3/4 Teaspoon
  • Pepper Powder…………….1/4 Teaspoon
  • Tomato chopped………….1 Small
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Garam Masala Powder, ½ Teaspoon Coconut Oil and a Sprig of Curry Leaf to sprinkle on top
Method of Preparation
  1. Wash and drain the Chicken pieces thoroughly.
  2. Heat Oil in a pan on medium high heat and saute the Coconut slices till lightly brown.
  3. Once the Coconut is browned, add Onion, Shallots, Ginger, Garlic and Curry Leaves; saute till it is golden brown and crisp. Add Salt at the beginning of sauteing to fasten the process.
  4. Once golden brown, lower the heat to low and add Red Chilly Powder, Coriander Powder, Turmeric Powder, Garam Masala Powder and Pepper Powder; saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly (stirring is important or the spices will burn). This step is very important as it determines the color as well as the taste of the dish.
  5. Add the chopped Tomato and saute till it is mashed thoroughly.
  6. Add the Chicken pieces and Salt if needed (we did add some Salt while sauteing the Onion) ; mix thoroughly; adjust the heat to medium low; close the pan and let it cook for around 10 minutes. By this time Water will be oozing out of the Chicken.
  7. Once the Water has oozed out of the Chicken, lower the heat to low and let it cook for 50 minutes to 1 hour. (Don’t add water; let it cook in its own liquid.) Do stir now and then. If a lot of liquid remains in the Chicken after it is cooked, do keep the dish open and let it evaporate. Add more Salt if needed.
  8. Once the Chicken is cooked thoroughly; the liquid content is reduced and Oil starts to separate (The oozing Oil is the best sign of 'doneness' in this dish.), off the heat; sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder, 1/2 teaspoon Coconut Oil and a sprig of Curry Leaf (tear the leaves for better flavor) on top and let it sit for 30 minutes before serving. (Keep the lid closed if you can keep the leftovers in the refrigerator and keep it uncovered (to prevent the vapor form falling back into the Chicken) if it is going to be at room temperature for longer period of time.)
  9. This dish is best when served warm with hot boiled Rice and Kachiya Moru.
Notes:
  • As excess Water is not so good in this preparation, do drain the Chicken properly after washing.
  • Do take care to cut the Chicken into small pieces as it will reduce the cooking time.
  • Once the other ingredients are added, Coconut slices won’t change much color, so saute it till the color you prefer in the first place itself. I like it light brown as the toasted Coconut slices taste better than white 'not toasted' ones.
  • The stage to which the Onion and Shallots are to be browned require special mention. It should reach a thorough brown color as we do the Onion for Biriyani garnish. At this stage it will be crispy too. This is very important as this browning helps this dish stay good for a long time. Any stages before that can reduce the ‘shelf life’ of Chicken Ularthiyathu. Do stir often at this stage otherwise the Onion will brown in an uneven manner.
  • Do look for the oozing Oil to know the 'doneness' of this Chicken dish.
  • Chicken Ularthiyathu tastes the best when made with Coconut Oil, but if you are making it with any other Oil, please dont forget to drizzle some Coconut Oil at the end, as its aroma makes the dish very inviting.
  • As this Chicken Veyichathu stays good at room temperature for a longer period of time, it is an excellent dish to carry while traveling.
 




Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

Monday, August 15, 2011

Banana Nut Cake

Recipe No: 265
Well most of the Banana Cakes recipes bear very close resemblance to Banana Bread… But this one is very different and you will realize as you go through the ingredient list. This was made for our friend who was an absolute Banana Cake fan when he asked me to make a Cake without Butter and less Egg… but he wanted it soft and moist. So I made this using Oil, less amount of Egg and Caramel for extra moisture and flavor.

" I have been desperately hunting for a banana cake with caramel recipe. The objective was to replicate the taste of the banana cake that I buy from a real good bakery here in Chennai."

I got this request from one of the reader a few days ago and decided to do, as my Banana Cake recipe closely matches what she asked for… I have no idea how the Cake that she was mentioning tasted like, but still I hope this works Priya.. try this out...
Ingredients                                 Makes one 9 inch Cake
  • All Purpose Flour/ Maida….1 ½ Cups
  • Baking Soda………………….....1/2 Teaspoon
  • Baking Powder………………...1/2 Teaspoon
  • Cinnamon Powder…………...1/2 Teaspoon
  • Salt……………………………......1/4 Teaspoon
  • Sugar………………………....….2/3 Cups
  • Eggs…………………………....…2 (For those who want it a bit more healthy do use one whole Egg together with one Egg White)
  • Vegetable/ Canola Oil……...1/2 Cup
  • Vanilla Extract………………...1 Teaspoon
  • Banana…………………………...2 Big mashed / 1 Cup
  • Cashew Nuts…………………...1/2 Cup (dry roasted and chopped)
To make Caramel
  • Sugar……………………………..1/3 Cup
  • Hot Water…………………..….1/4 Cup
Method of Preparation
To Make the Caramel
  1. On medium heat, caramelize Sugar in a very dry pan till golden brown without stirring (swirl the pan now and then, stirring can make the Carmel gritty).
  2. Once golden brown, add hot water and let it mix properly by stirring. Switch off the heat and let it cool completely.
To make the Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F/ 180˚C.
  2. Prepare a pan by buttering and flouring an 8 or 9 inch pan lined with parchment paper. (Or simply use cooking spray)
  3. Sift together Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt and Cinnamon Powder well; keep aside.
  4. Mix the toasted Nuts with a Teaspoon of the above Flour mixture and keep aside.
  5. Beat together Oil, Sugar, Eggs, Vanilla Essence, Caramel and Mashed Bananas really well until it is a homogenous mixture.
  6. Gently mix/fold in the Flour mixture to the above Oil Egg Banana mixture until just combined.
  7. Once mixed well, add the Nuts and stir till it is equally distributed.
  8. Pour this mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake in the middle of the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or till a tooth pick inserted in the middle of the Cake comes out clean.
  9. Let it cool completely before serving. If you want to decorate it as a whole cake or as cupcakes, do use the Cream Cheese frosting.
Notes:
  • I used 'Robusta' type Banana in this recipe. But if you are using the smaller ones please measure it after mashing.
  • If you are using freshly made Cinnamon Powder which tends to be very strong, use only less.
  • Don’t let the Caramel burn or the Cake will taste different.
  • If you use cold Water while making Caramel it will solidify the Caramel. In case if that happens, keep it on low flame and let the Carmel melt thoroughly. Add a bit more Water if needed.
  • To dry roast the Nuts, heat it in a dry pan on medium low heat until toasted and fragrant, stirring and turning often. Let it cool completely before using.
  • Traditionally Banana Cake uses Walnuts; but as Walnuts are hard to get in India, I used Cashew Nuts (and also I like them more!!).
  • Tossing the Nuts with some Flour will prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the pan..
  • Beat the Cake mix really well before adding the Flour. Once the Flour is added, (stop all the mixers at this stage if you are using one) fold it with a wooden spatula till it is combined. If beaten too much, the Flour will start developing Gluten which will make the Cake dry and hard.
  • Don’t open the oven often while baking. Sudden lowering of the temperature may cause the Cake to fall in the middle. So if you want to see how it is doing, please switch on the light and look through the glass panel (I mean, if it is possible.) If not, check the Cake only towards the end of the baking time.
  • Over baking will make the Cake dry. So stop baking once it is done.
  • The Caramel flavor in this Cake is subtle and will not over power the taste of Banana. If you want the taste of Caramel more, do make Caramel with 1/2 cup Sugar and 1/3 Cup Water.
  • This Cake is on the less sweet side as I used to frost it with Cream Cheese frosting. But still, I think the sweetness is adequate for having it with a cup of Tea or Coffee.
 






Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Whole Fish Masala

Recipe No: 264
Making whole chicken is a usual thing in many households but what about whole Fish? This is one such recipe that can be made entirely on the stove top. I used a whole Tilapia, but you can use any fish that fits in your pan but select fishes that have minimum bones.
Ingredients                                    Serves 4
  • Whole Fish……………………......1 (2 1/2 – 3 lb or around 1 kg; skin removed)
To grind and marinate the Fish
  • Red Chilly Powder……………...1 ½ Teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder……………….1 Teaspoon
  • Pepper Powder…………………...1/3 Teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder………………..1/4 Teaspoon
  • Fenugreek Powder……………...1/8 Teaspoon (Uluva Podi)
  • Cumin Powder……………………1/4 Teaspoon (Jeera Podi)
  • Shallots……………………………..4 (Kochulli)
  • Garlic…………………………………5 Big cloves
  • Ginger……………………………….1 inch piece
  • Vinegar……………………………..1/2 Teaspoon
  • Salt as needed
To saute
  • Oil…………………………………..…3-4 Tablespoons (Use Coconut oil for better taste)
  • Mustard seeds…………………….1/2 Teaspoon
  • Shallots sliced………………..……1 cup
  • Ginger sliced thin………………..1 inch piece
  • Green Chilly cut into rounds…1
  • Curry Leaves………………………1 sprig
  • Tomato sauce……………………..3 Tablespoons (instead use 1 big Tomato pureed after removing the seeds)
  • Tomato Ketchup……………..…..3 Tablespoons
  • Water…………………………….…..1 1/2 Cups
  • Salt as needed
Method of Preparation
  1. Remove the skin of the Fish; wash; make a few slits and pat it dry.
  2. Grind all the ingredients given in the ‘to grind and marinate’ section into a fine paste.
  3. Marinate the Fish with half of the ground paste and keep it aside for at least 30 minutes. Keep the rest of the marinade for later use.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of Oil in a non stick pan (will reduce sticking and the amount of Oil used) on medium high heat and shallow fry the fish for about a minute on each side. (Doesn’t have to cook the Fish entirely, we are looking for a light brown color here and there.)
  5. Remove the Fish from the pan and add the rest of the Oil (if necessary) and splutter the Mustard seeds.
  6. Add Shallots, Ginger, Curry Leaves and Green Chilly; saute till it is wilted.
  7. Lower the heat to medium low and add the left over marinade; saute till the raw smell is gone for about a minute.
  8. Add Tomato sauce and Ketchup followed by Water; put heat on medium high and let it boil thoroughly.
  9. Slide the Fish back into the gravy; lower the heat to medium low; cover the pan and let it cook for about 30 minutes. (The amount of Water will be less than the height of the Fish so it is very important to turn the Fish over once while cooking and do pour the gravy over at times.)
  10. Once the Fish is cooked, check the Salt and add more if needed. If the amount of Water is more than what you need, then keep the lid open and let it evaporate.  At this point do take some gravy from the sides and baste the Fish constantly.
  11. Once the amount of Water is reduced to a desired level, switch off the heat and serve it hot with Rice or Flat Breads.
Notes:
  • It is very easy to remove the skin without harming the flesh, if the Fish is semi frozen. Use a bit of Salt to get hold of the skin if you lose grip.
  • Tomato sauce is different from Tomato paste and Ketchup and are available in most of the grocery stores.
  • As per the amount of ingredients given here the dish will be a bit on the spicy side. So adjust the seasonings according to your taste.
  • You can marinate the Fish and keep it overnight in the coolest portion of the refrigerator (not freezer). But in that case let it come to room temperature before cooking.
  • There are chances for the Fish to stick to the bottom of the pan while cooking, but instead to moving the Fish with a spatula which can break the Fish, do move the pan to and fro to move the Fish.
  • Instead of transfering the cooked Fish with a spatula, you can slide the Fish with the gravy into a serving plate to avoid breaking the flesh.
 




Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Carrot and Date Cake

Recipe No: 263
This Cake was born as a complete surprise. A few months back my Mother in Law told me about a Carrot Cake, but memories of that was hidden in the back of my brain until a batch of Caramel that I made for Cashew Caramel tart went bitter. I realized that the batch went bad only after putting the Cashews in the Caramel… but what sort of a cook will I be if I throw that out? So the day after the completion of the blog, I whipped this cake up from that bitter Caramel (without paper and pen, as I decided to celebrate by cooking without them, which rarely happened after starting the blog!!!). But when that Cake turned out to be this good, I decided to make it once more but this time measuring and recording the ingredients….and thus this was born... So let me restart blogging with this Cake recipe…

Before coming to the actual recipe, let me explain a bit about this Cake… If you go through the ingredient list, you can see that the amount of Carrots, Dates and Nuts are far more than the amount of Flour (than most of the other Carrot Cake recipes) and hence this will be a bit difficult to cut (will crumble fast) while hot or at room temperature. So it is better to cool it in the refrigerator before cutting and serving. And also the slight hint of bitterness from the Caramel complements the Cake well when served chilled.
Ingredients
  • All Purpose Flour/ Maida…..1 Cup
  • Baking Soda……………………..3/4 Teaspoon
  • Salt………………………………....a pinch
  • Vegetable or Canola Oil……..3/4 Cup
  • Sugar……………………………….3/4 Cup
  • Eggs…………………………………2
  • Vanilla Extract/ Essence…...1/2 Teaspoon
  • Grated Carrots………………….1 Cup
  • Chopped Dates………………...1 Cup
  • Chopped Cashew Nuts…..….1/2 Cup
To Make the Carmel
  • Sugar………………………….…..1/2
  • Hot Water………………….……1/4 Cup
Method of Preparation
To make the Caramel
  1. Heat Sugar in a dry pan on medium heat till nicely caramelized. (Don’t stir the Sugar while making the Caramel which makes it gritty, but do swirl the pan often to get the Sugar caramelized equally on all portions.) Make the Caramel really dark and on the bitter side. The bitterness of the Caramel complements this Cake really well.
  2. Add hot Water to the Caramel and switch off the heat as soon as the Caramel is dissolved. Keep aside till it is cooled thoroughly.
To Make the Cake
  1. Line a loaf pan (9 x 5 inch, alternately use a 9 inch round pan)with Parchment paper and spray with cooking Oil. (Alternately, apply a thin layer of Butter on the pan and sprinkle some Flour evenly on top and dust the extra off.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350˚F/ 180˚C.
  3. Sift together Flour, Baking Soda and Salt together and keep aside.
  4. Mix together Eggs and Sugar really well until most of the Sugar is melted through.
  5. Add the Oil and beat really well until it is thickened and the mixture looks like Mayonnaise.
  6. Add the prepared Caramel and Vanilla Essence; mix well.
  7. Add the Flour mixture and mix slowly and gently until just combined. (Don’t mix the batter too much after adding the Flour as the Flour may develop the Gluten which can make the Cake tough.)
  8. Add a tablespoon of Flour into the Carrots, Dates and Nuts and mix slightly (This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the pan (specially dates and nuts) and will aid to separate the Date pieces). Add this into the batter and mix till everything is distributed evenly.
  9. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan, level the top and bake for 35 – 45 minutes or till a tooth pick inserted in the middle of the Cake comes back clean.
  10. Once out of the oven, wait for some time for the Cake to cool and then keep it in the refrigerator.
  11. Once chilled, run a knife along the sides and unmold the Cake. Cut and serve while cold. Keep the left over Cake in the refrigerator.
Notes
  • Using hot Water will help the Caramel dissolve fast. On the other hand using cold water will solidify the Carmel and will take a long time for it to dissolve back. So it is better to use hot water while making Caramel.
  • Caramel had an extremely high temperature, so take care and stand back while pouring the Water (hot or cold) into the Caramel as it bubbles up vigorously.
  • Grate Carrots using the big holes of the box grater and chop dates with the knife. I prefer not to use the food processor as it will make them very fine and sticky which may affect the texture of the Cake.
  • Do chop the Dates into small pieces or their weight will make them sink.
  • Don’t open the oven while the cake is baking because sudden temperature changes may lead to the falling of the Cakes. (sinking in the middle)
  • Do insert a toothpick only if the top of the cake feels cooked. If you do it before it  is almost cooked,  the Cake may fall in that area.
  • It is very difficult to cut this Cake while hot. So do chill it before cutting.
  • When chilled there are chances that the borders of the Cake become a bit chewy. So do remove it before serving. (If you have a family of at least two, it is almost certain that one among the two will love the chewy sides, unfortunately for me, all of us love the sides and it will be over before cutting the actual Cake!!!)
  • Be sure to make the Caramel a bit bitter or this Cake will be over sweet. I like it when less sweet.
  • This recipe can be doubled with the same quality if you want to serve more people.
 






Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Awards....

Sojo of My Culinary Experiments and Tahemeem Shaik of Not So Gourmet has passed on this 'One Lovely Blog' award some days back... Let me take the time to thank them for remembering me...

I would like to pass this award to these amazing and talented fellow bloggers...
Kurinji of Kurinji Kadambam
Dr. Sameena Prathap of My Culinary Creations
Umm Mymoonah of
Divya Vikram of Dil Se
Miriam Korula of In Vogue at Home
Kalpana Sareesh of Life with Spices
Sonali Pradhan of Only Fish Recipes
Jincy of Third Kitchen
Priya Mahadevan of Now Serving.

Now this is what you have to do
  1. Accept the award and post it in your blog with the name of the person who has given you the award with his or her blog link.
  2. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
  3. Let them know about the award by leaving a comment in their blog.
Thanks a lot once more for showering me with encouragement....