18.7.08



Bahala Bath:

Don't panic by looking at the name.....its just curd rice! As a kid I used to wonder...when my Pappa says 'Bahala Bath' in the restaurant! Of course though its common food/comfort food.....its different when we toss these fruits in it. I am not big fan of Dahi Chawal tho'....but I like this very idea of fruits and nuts in it. It makes me to eat rice!

Ingredients:

Raw rice 1 cup
Salt
Milk 1 litre (well boiled and brought to Luke warm)
Fresh cream(optional)
Yogurts 1 spoon
Fruits:
Apple with skin-on, seeded sliced into bits
Pineapple sliced into bits
Black grapes few
Green grapes few
Guava sliced into bits
Cashew nuts few
Raisins few
Cilantro leaves few
Ghee few spoons.

Method:

In a pan, heat ghee and fry cashew nuts till golden color. Then in the same oil...fry the raisins till they pop. Set aside.

Cook rice till tender. Add salt before cooking. Probably 6-8 whistles in a pressure cooker should be fine.

Let the rice come to Luke warm condition.

Now stir-in well boiled(Luke warm) milk in it. Add a spoon full of yogurts in it. Mix thoroughly.

Let the milk turn into yogurts in this way. Allow this to sit for at least 6-7 hours.

Later toss all the fruits, fried nuts, raisins and cilantro leaves.
Mix cream as a final touch. Serve chilled/plain.

16.7.08



Mughalai Cuisine Spread:

This post is dedicated to my Vellore friends Riswana, Yasmin, Balgees, Rasiya, Sumaiya, Rubeena, Irfana, Mosina, Anjum, Ruksana, Naseem, Nazima, Salma, Salma Aunty, Subedha Aunty, Shahidha Aunty, Aarif, Aftab, Altaf, Adhip, Shawir Bhaiya...................................

I grew up in a perfect Muslim dominated area. My Mommy has several Museleom friends. I got cooking inspiration right from Shahidha aunty, Subedha and Salma aunty.

It is Indian custom to sit on the floor for eating. Pappa says there is lot of scientific benefits while we are dinning so. It seems it gives nice exercise to one's tummy. One would possibly not load fat in the stomach later. Makes sense!

When I visited my friend Naseem's ghar for Bakrid (in her village - forgot the place). Almost every single day they all dinned on the floor. I thought its tradition to eat on the floor only on Ed. Anyway it was a different experience for me.

Otherwise I liked my other family friends dhawat. They make neat arrangements to sit on the floor. I like their etiquette's. Generally in a Muslim family its self service. They spread their food in the centre. All the family members/gents alone/kids alone/ladies alone sit together in a circle. Using left hand for service is a regular custom.

Few rules to follow for dinning off the dinning table:

Clean the area(floor) with both wet and dry mob.

Use jute/mat/cloth/velvet/ any decorative spread. Make sure its clean and dry(free from spores/any filth)

Spray some room freshener.

Place clean white cloth in the centre. Then only spread your food items. Make sure everything is visible with glass top.(since its self service). Follow the same rule as in buffet. Like where to place centre piece, salad tray and dessert cups etc.

Leave enough forks and knives to the guests/family. Most of them hate eating with hands.

Removing shoes is custom when you dine down. So make necessary arrangements for that (off the dinning hall).

Its absolutely up to one to either squat and sit or just fold both the legs to one side.

Try this method of eating.....its quite diffenent experience! I really like this. So when ever I meet my friends....we make such dhawat. It would be extra special...if you plan something like Mughal cuisine!!!

12.7.08





Tofu Steak:

Tofu Steak??? Ha ha......could never agree upon such names! I don't know why would all these vegan and vegetarians relate their special recipes to some speciality Non-Veg! Like I heard people saying 'hmmmm mushroom is much like mutton, u know', 'Paneer 65 is like Chicken Pakoda' , 'Plantain/yam fry is always compared to fish and now tofu is compared to steak! So.....whatever fits you.....imagine yourself.

Ingredients:

Tofu firm and water packed(slice them to your choice)
Honey 1 heavy tea spoon full
Ginger 1" grated and minced
Garlic 1 bead grated and minced
Soy sauce heavy 1 spoon
Hickory sauce 1 spoon
Japanese soy-sesame sauce 2 spoons
Sesame oil for pan frying
Sesame seeds to garnish
Green onions to garnish.

Method:

Bring all the above said ingredients (except oil, green onions and tofu) in a bowl. Mix well.

Now brush them over tofu slice. Better leave it for complete marination. About 3-4 hours.

Now either grill or pan fry them.

I pan-fried today. Do not often turn the slices. Leave to one side for a long time, over low heat. This is a key for firm and crispy tofu.

Garnish with green onions. Enjoy!


Themnu's Chicken:

Aloo Chicken. Alu Murg Curry. Kozhi-Kizhangu Masala. Chicken-Potato Curry.

Chansen Them is my dear wall mate(back then at Hyderabad) we shared a common wall ! She is a kuki speaking, Nagaland based......but born in Assam and brought up in Andhra girl. She is very sweet. She used to narrate me all about her home land. Its still like a dream.....we used to talk and talk and talk! I miss those days! Well....sometimes she described how her granny cooked and what kind of veggies are popular in their place! I liked their Bamboo rice, sticky rice to go with bitter gourds. Though they arent so spicy....I think they all ate for health or what they locally got! Nice huh!

Once Themnu's mommy sent this chicken curry to hostel. We both had it. The taste still lingers in my mind. She had used potatoes as base for this curry. Like me Them likes lot of garlic in her food too. Yeah.....garlic, potatoes and crushed cardamom! Yummm! I think it goes well with poori or chappathi. Don't miss it!

Stay tuned more North-East recipes. My other North East(Tiripura) friend Rammi is a good cook herself. She was my Madras Hostel mate.

Ingredients:

Chicken thighs 2
Golden potatoes 2 large (boiled, peeled & mashed)
Garlic 10 beads peeled
Cardamom 6 crushed
Salt
Turmeric 1/4 spoon
Green chilies 3 slitted
Oil few spoons.

Method:

Heat oil in a wok. Add slitted chilies. Wait for a minute. Let them crack.

Add cardamom, garlic and chicken. Salt them. Sprinkle turmeric too. Cover and cook for a while.

Add 3-4 cups of water. Cook chicken till tender without leaving any water.

Now when chicken is almost done, stir-in mashed potatoes. Cover and cook...till they blend.

Remove from heat and garnish with spring/green onions.

Enjoy with Poori/Chappathi.



Ellu Podi Dosai:

Its seems 'Kaara Dosai' street food is getting popular in chennai. They use nothing but plain chili powder. Some people are using Idly milagai podi as topping. Crazy!

I remember begging at Hyderabad hostel 'kaaram thakkuva ivvandi...please'(please use less chili for me).

Though I didn't like the way of using plain chili powder...but felt like trying it by making a slight change. 'Til aur Mirch' sounds nice right!

Ingredients:

Black sesame seeds 4-6 spoons
Whole Coriander seeds 6 spoons
Urad dal 4 spoons
Chana dal 4 spoons(optional)
Dry red chi;li 4
Curry leaves few
Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
Regular dosa batter
Sesame oil.

Method:

As usual dry toast all the above said ingredients(except oil and batter) and powder them coarsely.

Make regular thin dosa crepes....sprinkle this powder on top.

It goes well with less spicy chutneys and dip!



Vazhai Poo Bajji:

Plantain Flower Fritters. Aratti Poo Bajji. Kela Ka Fool Pakodi.

Just like that......thought of this recipe! Turned out great! Give a shot, quite easy.

Hope you'll know how to clean plantain flower. If not scroll for my other plantain flower recipes....I have mentioned it earlier.

Ingredients:

Plantain florets 1 cup
Gram Flour 1 cup(besan)
Salt
Soda 1 pinch
Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Coriander seeds powder 1/2 spoon
Garam masala 1/4 spoon
Oil for deep frying.

Method:

In a bowl, bring all the ingredients together except oil, and florets. Make a thin running consistency batter.

Now heat up the oil. Dip each floret into the batter, let it coat very thinly. Remove the excess dripping.

Deep fry in oil till golden to reddish color. Fry few at a time. Maintain stove over medium heat. Leave the fried ones over kitchen tissues for a while.

Serve warm with tomato ketchup.

8.7.08

Water Liver Wort Greens Curry




Vallarai Keearai Kuzhambu:

Centinella asiantis is called 'Vallarai' in Tamil. It is called as Brahmi in Hindi...if I am not wrong! Its English common name is 'water liver wort'.

This is a creeper that spreads over the bunts of paddy fields. Generally found abundant during water fed seasons. It doesn't require any attention....it creeps pretty faster.

Once I happen to accompany with my Dad to Top Slip. He was on official duty. I was on vacation tho'. Top Slip is about 50-100 miles from Coimbatore City(city?). Its a dense reserve Forest. When Pappa got really busy...I got acquainted with local tribe there. I had a really good time. I gathered more information of herbs, plants, trees & what not.

I was really impressed when they told something about 'Vallarai'. Vallarai green's leaf will pretty much resemble like a human brain. Yeah...indeed it does! Which implies it is good to your brain/ brain cell/memory power! I was truly amazed. How keen their observation. Does nature really leave us such clues or what? I don't know which DNA they sequenced. They are correct. Anthropologist should work on this area!

Vallarai Greens are good for memory power(minds receptive capacity).

Well...the greens are bit bitter. So I chose to make kuzhambu instead of masiyal! Ingredients:

1 bowl full (leaves alone)
Onion 1 large chopped
Country tomatoes 2-3 chopped
Garlic 8-10 semi crushed
Green chilies 3 finely chopped
Thoor Dal 1 small cup
Tamarind water 1 cup(tamarind paste 1 spoon diluted in water)
Salt
Turmeric powder 1/2 spoon
Chili powder 2 spoons
Oil 1 cup
Mustard seeds 1/2 spoon
Cumin seeds 1/2 spoon
Asafoetida 1/2 spoon
Chana dal 1/2 spoon
Urad dal 1/2 spoon
Curry leaves few.

Method:

Pressure cook thoor dal with salt...till tender for about 3-5 whistles. Set aside.

In a pan heat few spoons of oil. Add greens and fry them for a while. Add enough salt...cover and cook for 3-5 minuted.

Then in earthen pot(kal-chatti/mann-chatti) coarsely grind greens and dal together.

In a separate pan. Heat oil. Add green chilies, garlic, onions and tomato....fry them till tender. Further add salt, turmeric, chili powder and tamarind water. Cover and cook till they form a thick gravy.

Now add greens+dal paste to this gravy and cook over medium heat for about 4-6 minutes.

In a separate pan...heat oil. Add mustard, cumin, asafoetida, curry leaves, chana and urad dal. Let it pop and splutter well. Run this seasoning over the gravy.

Serve this gravy along with plain rice. Both dal and tamarind removes much of the bitterness by now. Run a spoon full of ghee to go with your rice! Enjoy!

Country Chicken:

This post is dedicated to my blogo friend Selvi. Dear Selvi, hope this post really helps you honey!

Country chicken is totally different from broiler chicken. One should not confuse with herb fed or corn fed chicken with country chicken again.

Desi ka Murg/ Naattu Kozhi/ Country Chicken weighs about 3/4 kilo on average. Its flesh tastes gamier and bit harder. The bones will be pretty harder too. It may not be meatier. Since this bird eats upon anything(cage free...you know) and gets lots of exercise....they are thin and stronger.

Well....Halal cutting,is nothing but chanting a manthra before slitting the bird's /animal's throat. Though one would think it has nothing to do with science! You see when we cut an animal.....the frightening state of the animal.....may induce lots of adrenal secretion in it. Which is considered harmful for humans. Or even if we think generally....killing an animal after scaring it for a long time, is not so good, right! So its a method they follow to put the misery quicker. Hope you got the point!

Well....people generally cook meat as soon as they bought from the butcher. I don't think its a very good idea. See soon after cutting the meat(chicken or mutton) flesh goes to a rigor state. Soon after killing an animal.....all the remaining ATP molecules are used up by the body. So the flesh becomes too tight. This stage is called 'Rigor Mortis' in science. So one need to give some time after slaughtering. If we cook immediately after cutting the meat will be rough and harder.

Approximately chicken and Mutton needs about 6 hours after cutting. So I generally prefer marination during this time. Marination also helps in tenderising meat. To talk about marination.....it Worth's one whole new post(wait for it....coming up soon)

I prefer papaya, milk and ghee marination for mutton/lamb. I prefer yogurts and tomatoes for broiler chicken. When it comes to country chick....I marinate it with sea salt and turmeric. Well....sea salt(rock salt) gives kind of earthiness to it. Though the iodised salt is not that bad...it gives kind of metallic taste to the chicken after cooking. Again turmeric is the best antibiotic....since its country chicken, I marinate it with turmeric for pretty long period and wash it down several times in running tap water.

Burning country chicken's skin! Yeah....I do that. Chicken has finest feathers called filoplumes(hardly visible sometimes)which may upset ones tummy. So slightly burning its skin will destroy it. Though skinning is a handy choice....when it comes to country chicken, skin is considered as delicacy. So I always cook it with skin-on. If you are too calorie conscious like me...better cook this chicken with skin on, but avoid eating skin later. Avoid second helpings or more gravy. Sounds pretty nuts huh!

Cooking country chicken really takes time dear! When broiler needs 20 minutes country hen needs about 45 minutes over medium heat. At the same time over cooking may make the meat go very rubbery(like your husband complained).

Yeah bone-in chicken is good over bone less for cooking. Bone's hold the latend heat inside the meat and makes it to get cooked faster. While deep frying and grilling....I always choose bone-in for this reason. It avoids undercooking!

Actually I stir-fry this chicken for a brief period in oil...before adding water. I give some time to denature the protein. (denaturing protein is nothing but chicken's pink flesh turns to pale and opaque) You would have noticed egg whites turning to bright white soon after tossing over wok/tawa.

One more thing....never eat this chicken's left overs on the other day. Eat it on the very same day. Trash them down when you are done. Refrigerating, microwaving.....nothing helps .

So hope all this tips helps you to procure the best one. Hope now cleaning is not a big a deal for you. Hope my Halal definition is right as well. Cheer up....you could cook tenderised meat and perfect curry now!