Showing newest 15 of 24 posts from December 2008. Show older posts
Showing newest 15 of 24 posts from December 2008. Show older posts

31.12.08

Baby Corn Crispies




Baby Corn Crispies:

Finger Corn. Baby Corn Fritters. Baby Corn Pakoda. Baby Corn 65. Fried Baby Corn. Crispy Fried Corn Fingers. Corn Fingers.

I always appreciated finger foods. Its easy to fix, nice to pop-in!!!:) Since it was always pouring outside last week, I was kind of shut down at home, had lots of visitors besides. So to keep people entertained.....I chose something spicy, crispy, fried and warm finger foods. My friends did enjoy them....and I am glad that they did. So....one of my fabulous creation 'Baby Corn Fritters' today. I generally don't use artificial food color to my preparations, but today I did! As I believe hot chili powder gives rich deep red color to my food....it also signifies the strength of the chili pepper's hotness!!! Its like more red, more chili, eating palate hitting food shows power among my friends!!! But today....didn't go by my rule, as my friends here don't eat so much spicy food, kept it simple...used organic food color!

Ingredients:

Baby Corn 10-15
Salt
Chili powder 1 spoon
Chili sauce 1 spoon
Corn flour 2 spoons
Food color - red 1 pinch
MSG 1-2 pinch
Soy sauce 2 spoons
Ginger-garlic paste 1/2 spoon
Egg whites from 1 egg
Oil for frying

To Garnish:

Green Onions

Method:

Marinate corn with all the above mentioned ingredients, except oil.

Then shallow fry them quickly in warm oil. Never load your oil. Always fry few at a time. Let the corn turn crispy on the outside.

Repeat the same for the remaining batch, set aside on kitchen towels.

Garnish with chopped green onions.

Serve to go with your tea.

Creamy Saffron Chicken Soup






Creamy Saffron Chicken Soup:

Saffron/Zaffron is one of the costliest spice/herb in the world. It costs more than Gold! These are actually flower's anthers.....a fine strand that holds up the pollen grains! So....if one needs a gram of saffron, he needs to pluck at least 10,000 flowers. Now you know....why it is so expensive! These fragile strands has an amazing aroma and it gives rich yellow color to the food! It was used by our ancestors to bring good color to the food! And also it has several medicinal properties.....like it stops nausea, dizziness, clears bronchitis, treated for stomach ailments....etc. Royal cooks kept the secret for several years about this Zaffron! While commoners used 'Turmeric' in their dishes to bring color. Oh yeah......it does give the same color and of course turmeric has its own set of goodness in it. Since its very affordable....turmeric was/is still in practice to make any Indian dishes/curry. Historians and Anthropologist did a good job, releasing all the facts of royal cuisine....now though saffron is pricy, hope everyone could afford it! Maybe not every single day but atleast once in a while! I appreciate Saffron for its distinct flavour! Guess thats it is why Pregnant ladies are advised to have saffron infused milk....it stops nauseating feelings! Anyways....I do use saffron in my Biriyanis, pilaf, soup, tea and cold beverages.

Well.....as usual I was experimenting in my kitchen, it was another rainy afternoon and got so bored! Thought hearty soup could be a healthy choice! Chicken is all time charm for me....threw few spices, kept it simple today, guess what, it turned out great!!!

Ingredients:

Kashmir Saffron/ Spanish Saffron 1 teaspoon
Chicken breast cubed/chunks 1 cup
Veg or chicken broth 1 cup
Corn Starch 2-4 spoons
All purpose flour 2 spoon
Half n Half(in India - tetra pack milk)4 cups
Butter 1-2 cubes
Salt as per taste
White/black pepper ground to sprinkle .

Method:

Soak saffron in 1-2 tea spoons of milk for about an hour or two. Then grind them using mortar and pestle(marble one)....when the milk turns deep yellow, set aside.

In a shallow pan, melt butter. Add flour and corn starch to it. Saute' them for 2 minutes or maybe till they turn to golden color.

Now add chicken and stir-fry them for 2 minutes. Then add chicken or veg broth to this. Bring it to boil. When it is almost half the way reduced....add half and half plus saffron to it. Continue boiling, stir continuously.

Let this achieve to rich creamy soup like consistency. See whether chicken is done, if not...continue cooking for few more minutes.

Serve warm with melted cheese on it. Sprinkle salt and pepper before serving. Enjoy!

30.12.08

Veg Puffs






Vegetable Puffs:

Veg Puffs. Spicy Puffs.

As usual another rainy day snack! Yeah got little better in making puff pastry(after few trial and error with egg puffs). To look at the method of making puff pastry sheets, please go through my 'Egg Puffs' article! I don't want to re do the whole thing!

Ingredients:

For Puff Pastry Sheets:

All purpose flour 1 cup
All purpose flour for dusting 1 cup
Egg whites from 1 egg (for egg wash)
Butter 1 whole stick
Salt as per taste
Baking soda 1/4 spoon
Warm water

For the Filling:

Veggies(carrots, beans, peas, potatoes....)
Onion 1 large finely chopped
Garlic 2 bead minced
Ginger 1" grated
Salt
Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Coriander seeds powder 1 spoon
Cumin seeds powder 1 spoon
Garam masala powder 1/4 spoon
Cilantro leaves few
Mint leaves few chopped
Oil few spoons.

Method:

In a wok, heat oil. Add ginger-garlic and onions...fry them real good, till golden color.

Add all the powdered spices and bring them to masala consistency. Add veggies and cook them till they are done. Garnish with cilantro and mint leaves. Set aide to cool down to room temperature.

Make a smooth fissure less dough using just warm water + salt and soda.

Make equal parts out of them. Knead them to paper thin.....bast with clarified butter and dust them with flour. Now fold them as shown in the picture. Repeat the same procedure over and over for atleast 4-6 times. So you will end up having neat thick square sheet.

Repeat the same for all the remaining equal parts of the dough.

The more you knead over and over....the more the layers. The more you bast with butter...the more the crispiness.

Well...now to the each of the sheet....coat them with egg white(egg wash). Then place spoon full of masala veggies. Cover them and seal the edges. Repeat the same for as many as puffs you want!

Once again bast the outer sides of the puff with butter. Place them over butter papers, in an oven safe container. (Note: Aluminium foil could actually burn the puffs to char before it is done thoroughly) Bake them over 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Often bast them in between with butter.

Enjoy with ketchup as an evening snack.

26.12.08

Kondaikadalai Sundal



Chana Sundal:(Marwadi Style)

Mommy occasionally used to make this Chana Sundal. She said...this recipe was inspired by her business partner, Subaras Mal's wife. Mrs.Subaras is a great cook....she used to send us over 'Marwadi Mitthai, Soft chappathis, Cilantro chutney......'. As a kid, always appreciated her food! Wonder what? without adding any strong spices, she used to make unbeatable recipes! My mommy specifically loved her chana preparations! This sundal is something like Indian salad, rich in protein and some raw vegetables to go on top! Hope y'll will like it!:)

Ingredients:

Chana/Garbanzo (white & soaked) 1 bowl full
Salt
Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Coriander powder 1 spoon
Fenugreek powder 1 spoon
Yellow mustard powder 1 spoon
Garam masala powder(purely optional, my mommy never used it)
Coriander seeds 1/2 spoon
Cumin seeds 1/4 spoon
Butter 1 cube.

To Top:

Capsicum/Bell pepper 1-2 large cubed
Onion 1 large finely chopped
Chilies 2 finely chopped
Tomatoes 2 finely chopped
Cilantro leaves few finely chopped
Mint 1 spoon chopped
Salt
Lemon juice from a fruit.

Method:

Cook chana with salt till tender. Set aside with its water.

Melt butter in a wok. Add coriander and cumin seeds. Wait till they pop up.

Now add cooked chana plus all the spices mentioned above. Continue cooking without lid.....maybe till all the spices absorbed and no moisture left.

If you don't like to eat raw capsicum, one cook semi-cook them long with chana.

Remove from heat and top with chopped veggies.

Serve to with your meals or as an evening snack.

21.12.08

Alfalfa Lemon Rice





When a seed holds up a tuff cover, packed with high protein and carbohydrate! Upon germination(a crucial period of sudden raise in their active molecules). At the expense of some protein it gets converted into all essential vitamins! Since a germinating plant needs all support for growth(survival of the fittest)....it is boosted with vitamin A, C and B-complex! All challenging the limes, lemons and meat products. Imagine a simple fragile sprouting root+shoot from a seedling has so much capacity!!! That is why it is highly nutritious and most welcomed by vegans and vegetarians to compromise their protein and vitamin need! A cup of raw
sprouts has just 10 calories.......making us all happy. Eat as much as we want, no worries about gaining weight!!!

One of the studies say they have more chlorophyll content than our fav' greens! Its hard to believe tho'......but it does have some chlorophyll content, we have to agree with that. Since sprouts are rich in phytochemicals, it helps to fight against diseases, improves one's immune system!

As I said at the expense of certain protein it gains more vitamin ratio beyond the point, that one could imagine 200-300%. Same goes to fighting against any outbreaks while germination! Like a mother's milk is extra and excess in all vitamins, for fast growth, possessing disease fighting compounds!!! Similar molecules are found here......they have rich enzyme activity. In this fragile plants, significant amounts of glucosinolates and isothyiocyanates....which are very important inducers of phase 2 enzyme production that prevents malignant cell growth! The cancer fighting ones!

Like most of the greens, they too have plant Saponins! Which could lower one's cholesterol! So supports heart related disease. Saponis are said to to promote ones immune system by increasing the activity of fighter cells(Lymphocytes and interferons).Besides they are loaded with antioxidants...prevents cell degeneration process and DNA destruction..... making it a good source to bring down aging related symptoms! Alfalfa sprouts contains great amount of phytoestrogens.....which is very essential for female health. It can prevent menopausal symptoms, early cancer and age-related osteoporosis. It overall provides good heart condition, upon regular consumption.

As any good thing has its own demerits, so does the sprouts......always had a apprehension while handling whether there could be a 'Salmonella' or any deadly bacteria, certain strains of E.coli are very dangerous. When you indent to produce your own sprouts, make sure you clean the seeds properly. If the seeds had any soil, kindly forget the idea. Never try to produce with a stale seeds. Mix only clean(but not boiled or any) room temperature water for sprouting. Sterilize your sprouting aparatus. After 2-3 days....be very content with what you got and refrigerate them immediately. Leaving them over for prolonged period could bring a musty smelling, uninvited virus/bacteria to your salads!

A spoon of seeds could give you 10-15 spoons of sprouts, absolutely no hard work.....doest require sunshine, big pot,potling soil, fertilizer.....this was how my friend Tulsi lectured before making me to eat 'Mung sprouts' in the Hostel.

Well....this is my own invention recipe. I generally eat sprouts raw with lemon juice and salt for break fast. Since it is already rich in protein, vitamins and fibre....thought of making them wholesome, by pairing with white rice. It turned up great! Now it became my favourite meal!

Ingredients:

Long grain rice 1 cup
Alfalfa sprouts 1/4 cup
Ginger 2" julienned
Jalapenos 1 large julienned
Salt
Lemon juice 1-2 fruits
Mustard seeds 1/4 spoon
Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
Cumin seeds 1 spoon
Olive oil few spoons.

Method:

Cook rice along with salt till tender. Then spread them in wide platter.....allow them to cool down to room temperature. Let all the rice get well separated and be little stiff.

In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard, asafoetida and cumin seeds. Wait till they pop up.

Now add ginger and chilies to...fry for few seconds and remove from heat.

Now run this seasonings over the rice. Mix well.

Then add chopped sprouts and lemon juice, mix well. Serve to go as a main dish!

Fish in Mangoes, Tamarind based Curry




Koravai Meen Kuzhambu:

Fish Curry using Mangoes & Tamarind. Daddy's Meen Kuzhambu!:)

Serotonin: Another important neurotransmitter that is found in our brain cells. Serotonin is responsible for well- being, content, happiness, brings about feelings of calm, feel good, emotional well-being and satisfaction. When we have necessary amount of serotonin, it brings that 'Satiated' feelings. The fullness after a meal! So, low levels of serotonin leads to depression and strong appetite. We may over eat, when there is tremendous drop in this neurotransmitter. No matter our will power! We indulge voraciously! Many antidepressants work by increasing the availability of serotonin in the brain! Which brings that calmness!!!

A diet rich in carbohydrate boosts this neurotransmitter! And that is why after eating a plate full of rice meal....our mood is so enhanced, feel good and brings satisfaction! These carbohydrate foods actually does increase an amino acid called tryptophan, which in turn happens to be a building block for serotonin!!! There is teeny problem in depending on this 'Carb' rich diet to boost your 'Serotonin. As these are easily converted into simple sugars in our body, there could be sudden shift in the glucose level. That is the period that, makes us happy and well-satisfied. But this instant energy also makes the insulin level to shoot up initialy, do extra duty and fall below the level(nadir). So as it decreases the well-being state also goes down. There would a rush to boost them(crab' cravings)immediately...we tend to eat more Carb' rich food! Cravings!! Ultimately leads to obesity!!!

Myself and my friends used to debate about this neurotransmitters, as I am on 'low carb diet' ever since UnderGrad. We were looking for the other sources of this Serotonin. Dr.Balaji(a Vet Doctor), Tulsi Ram ( Masters in Zoology, HCU output) and I, used to discuss about it all the time. So, we were discussing about certain food, that does have an effect on the neurotransmitter(although it is produced in the brain cells....any cells gets its supply from our food source, right). Like Balaji was more into 'Serotonin' saying 'Ghee' helps to increase Serotonin. Ghee is the secret of his 'Good Memory' power. And also argued 'Serotonin' is responsible for 'Memory Power'! Yep...he is right about memory power...serotonin does have role in it! But no idea about 'ghee'!!! While Tulsi & I were more into 'Fish Diet' and Cold water fish/ diet rich in good Cholesterol(from fish) is a main precursor for Serotonin production. As cold water fish does have an amino acid, tryptopan...which is the building block of serotonin. People who ate more fish have less degenerative process! Between Tulsi & I also agreed on one more point, thinking more of.....sitting straight while studying/ meditation, yoga, regular exercise increses the Dopamine & Seratonin production. Later Balaji too got into us....said, before his exams, when he properly exercised...it does increase the ephinephrine, and that has significant role in the thought process. Well...besides food, as neurotransmitter are only produced by brain cells, to excite certain cells and for chemical change, certain level of controlling telemere damage, to prevent cell degeneration....exercise/ sitting position is also important. As telemere damage in genes are less in people who exercise a lot & meditate. Concentration and Alertness comes only when we sit straight! Over eating (even good food) will only make a person dull and a couch potato! Memory power is improved, only when we eat less (not loaded and stuffed). I agree, a low glucose level will create mental irritablity. But I have seen people with positive attitude with minimum attention paid to food(Saint, Old people...who meditate for long periods, get satisfied with just water and basic food, still hold that long last memory!:).

Whatever....neurotransmitters do get released/produced by variety of factors, like drugs, alcohol, caffeine, genetic makeup, genes (is one imortant factor tho')hormones and last but not least Food!!! Since it is Food blog...let me focus on that part.

While still 'Ghee' is only a hypothesis! I consider fish, could an alternative source for serotonin. If only fish is the source....then whole non-fish eating population is not dumb or any, Carbohydrate is the all time charm of serotonin! Than depending upon polished rice/refined atta, please choose 'Banana' as your best carbohydrate. Hmmm...yah it has 'tryptopan'. Balance and limit your portion with positive attitude, life style, food and exercise......that should make it available to you!

Ingredients:

Fresh Water Fish/ use any of these catla, roghu or mirgal
Onions 2 large size finely chopped
Tomato 2 finely chopped
Garlic 2 peeled and crushed
Tamarind Cricket ball size - soaked in water
Raw Mangoes 1 medium cheeks alone chucked out
Curry leaves 3-4 twigs
Mustard seeds 1 spoon
Cumin seeds 1 spoon
Chana dal 1/2 spoon
Urad dal 1/2 spoon
Fenugreek seeds 1/2 spoon
Dry red chillies 3-5 slitted
Black pepper 1/2 spoon
Asafoetida
Thalippu vadagam 2 spoons
Salt
Turmeric powder 1/2 spoon
Chilli powder 1 spoon
Sesame oil 1-2 cup

Method:


In a small pan, heat oil. Once the oil comes to smoky hot.....add mustard, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, chana dal, urad dal, asafoetida, curry leaves, dry red chilli flakes, whole pepper and thalippu vadagam. Set this seasoning aside.

Now heat oil, in a deep vessel. Add garlic and fry them for a while......followed by onions and tomato. Wait till the onions turn color and tomatoes wilt.

Add salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Followed by thick tamarind water to make curry.

Bring this to boil and cook over high heat without lid. Add mangoes too. When the gravy thickens and oil shows up on sides.

Now add cleaned fish to it. Cook them without lid for exactly 2-3 minutes. Then remove from heat.

Run the seasoning on top. Let this stand for 2-4 hours on counter. Let the gravy get well infused in the fish! This makes the fish very delectable!

Serve to go with plain steamed rice! Enjoy!

18.12.08

Vegetable Manchurian







Vegetable Manchurian:

Veg Manchurian. Restaurnat Style Veg Manchurian.

Being a carnivore....never appreciated veggie food in the restaurant. But very rarely do order veg' appetizers and soup for my friends(almost all my friends were vegetarians, during college). So only on such occasions, came across some delightful veg recipes, purely practised only in restaurants.....got to say 'veg Manchurians are the yummiest veg appetizers'. Later I did make them several times at hostel. Since the kitchen was not well equipped, it never turned up like the restaurant ones.

As my pantry was full of veggies and I was bit confused what to fix, thought of my long lost fav' recipe! Good that I had all the sauces this time in hand. As most of the time, I will be missing few ingredients that the recipe calls for....so I give up making them on the whole!!!

Ingredients:

Veggies chopped into teeny meeny bits(carrots, beans, cabbage was my choice)
Salt
MSG
White pepper 1 spoon
Soy sauce light
Green chilies 2 chopped finely
Green onions(white part alone finely chopped)
Corn flour
Egg whites from an egg
Oil for deep frying
Tomato sauce
Soy sauce heavy
Hot sauce(optional, I didnt use any)
Onion 1 medium finely chopped
Green chilies 3-4 chopped
Garlic 7 cloves chopped
Ginger 2" chopped
Green onion 4-6 chopped
Sesame oil few spoons.

Method:

Steam cook all the veggies and squeeze away the water. Maybe use them in making soup later!

Now mix salt, MSG, pepper, chilies, soy sauce, flour, egg white and green onions. Bring them to tuff dough. Make equal parts out of it.

Now deep fry them in warm oil, till golden o reddish brown.

In a separate pan, heat sesame oil. Add chilies, onions, ginger and garlic, saute them. Add fried veg-balls too.

Now add all the sauces, let it coat to all the sides, add green onions and remove from heat.

Enjoy as an appetizer! Yummy right!!!



Chili Shrimps:

Fried Spicy Shrimps. Chili Prawns.

Since its always pouring outside, the nasty weather makes me to fix fried foods these days. Also I am a big fan of finger foods, holiday season...don't have to mention, visitors do appreciate appetizers.

When it comes to finger food, first thing comes to mind is this cocktail shrimps. Its not pricey and also comes in handy package! As a spice lover, I made them in an Indian way. Who doesn't like hot & spicy, palate hitting food, during rainy evenings!!!

Ingredients:

Shrimps 100-200 grams (I like to retain tail fin, but you can shell them completely)
Salt
Chili powder 1 spoon
Chili sauce 1 spoon
Corn flour 2 spoons
Food color - red (optional, I didn't use any)
MSG pinch
Soy sauce 2 spoons
Ginger-garlic paste 1/2 spoon
Egg whites from 1 egg
Oil for frying

To Garnish:

Garlic 10 cloves sliced
Green chilies 4 sliced
Curry leaves 2-4 twigs.

Method:

Marinate shrimps with all the above mentioned ingredients, except oil.

Then shallow fry them quickly in warm oil. Never load your oil. Always fry few at a time. Let the shrimps come out crispy on the outside.

Repeat the same for all the shrimps, set aside on kitchen towels.

In the same oil or using different oil....fry all the garnishing items too, then toss them together.

Serve to go with your tea.

16.12.08

Minced Meat Stuffed Whole Wheat Bread




Whole Wheat Keema Kulcha Roti:

Keema Kulcha Roti. Minced Meat stuffed Chappathi. Meat Stuffed Indian Bread. Kaima Stuffed Chappathi.

  • Arundhuti

  • has tagged me to participate in this noble event by 'Breadline Africa'. Thanks for tagging me dear! Though its a bake event, One should post something related to bread baking. When it come to baking, I really chicken out, so will post something that I knew, an Indian bread! Minced Meat stuffed Whole Wheat Bread.



    I always make sure that the atta is along with husk, right from the start. As Mommy used to make chappathi with ultra refined atta/fortified one. I used to drive to the nearby diabetic centre to buy just 'husk of atta/barn/the polished waste'. Everyone around me criticized my action(those days). Now, I guess people are little aware of the fact all vitamins lie only on the husk. Eating whole meal will also make us to less crave for carb' and sugary food. As any carbohydrate gets burnt quickly and there will be sudden raise in the insulin production....this is not so good! Slowly it will lead to failure in insulin production(that is type 2 diabetes, over usage of anything leads to failure one day). So instead of giving heavy duty by eating a refined flour food, better choose 'whole wheat' meal....where it burns slowly in the body, there by giving a steady flow of glucose(energy) to us. Pairing the carbohydrate with a protein(meat/lentils)will make it complete planned food.

    While one side of the world has gone foodie and fighting obesity, eating disorder (over eating food - related problems)...the other side of the world is struggling for their daily bread, hope Y'll understand the need and attention! Lets do our best friends!:)

    I would like to tag 5 of my friends for this event:

  • Viki

  • Jaishree

  • Bicks

  • Varsha

  • Pallavi


  • The following is quoted from the Breadline Africa Bake-Off site:

    On 15 October, we launched The Breadline Africa Worldwide Blogger Bake Off. The Blogger Bake Off is an online campaign that challenges blogger to get involved by baking bread, and then acting by donating to end poverty. And then, challenge their readers and five other blogger to do the same.With the money raised, we will be supporting grass roots community projects aimed at ending poverty and hunger in Africa. We’ll be placing container kitchens, vegetable gardens and more in poor communities, sending emergency food relief where needed
    and helping these poor communities to help themselves.

    The rules for blogger are outlined below:

    If you are tagged, copy and paste the rules into your post.

    Bake bread, do something you would’t normally do, and blog about it. Upload your picture and recipe.

    Give dough, donate to Breadline Africa and help us end poverty.

    Tag five blogger, and ping us so we know you’ve done so.

    The person who raises the most funds will get to name a Breadline Africa community kitchen and win $500 Amazon Vouchers.

    There are also three minor prizes of $250 Amazon vouchers for people who receive the most votes in the following categories: Most Unusual Recipe; Most Nutritious Recipe and Most Traditional Recipe.

    Breadline Africa is a registered charity in South Africa that is seeking to put an end to poverty in South Africa and further afield in Africa. Their aim is to break the cycle of poverty and help communities to achieve long term self-sustainability. Breadline Africa was founded in 1993 by social workers and communities in South Africa with minded colleagues in Europe, (who were well placed to source out donations). They are geared to help fund small ground level projects in Africa which are most likely to succeed with financial help.

    On Blog Action Day Breadline Africa launched their Worldwide Blogger Bake-Off campaign. The aim is to raise $1 million in funds for a project to convert shipping containers into locations for food production and distribution in Africa. It is hoped that these sustainable community kitchens will not only provide food such as bread and soup to those in need, but also opportunities for skills development within poor communities.This bake-off gives us baking blogger the power to make a difference in this world. What do we do? Bake bread. Give Dough. Feed Africa. Vals says, "You can sign up for the campaign, make a donation, upload your bread recipes and document your culinary adventures in the media center to spread the word. You don't have to donate money but simply just mention the campaign and create awareness."

    Ingredients:

    Keema Thokku:

    Minced Goat's meat 1/4 kilo
    Onion 1 small finely chopped
    Green chilies 3 finely chopped
    Ginger-Garlic paste 1 spoon
    Tomato 1 small crushed
    Salt
    Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
    Chili powder 1 spoon
    Coriander powder 1 spoon
    Garam masala powder 1/4 spoon
    Cumin seeds 1 spoon
    Coriander seeds 1/4 spoon
    Oil few spoons
    Cilantro leaves few.

    For Bread:

    Whole Wheat flour 2 cups
    For dusting 1 table spoon flour
    Luke warm water
    Salt
    Baking soda 1 pinch(optional)
    Clarified butter 1/4 cup(for kneading + toasting).

    Method:

    Knead a soft fissure less, smooth dough. Set aside well covered for atleast 2 hours.

    Pressure cook meat along with little salt and set aside with its water.

    In a wok, heat oil. Add cilantro seeds and cumin seeds. Wait till they pop.

    Add chilies, onion and ginger-garlic paste, fry real good....maybe till its raw odour leaves the pan.

    Add crushd tomatoes and all the powdered spices to it now. Fry till oil shows up on top.

    Now stir-in cooked meat along with its water. Continue cooking over high heat without lid. Maybe till all moisture leave the pan. Make sure that it is still moist but not watery...this will good for stuffing!

    Now as usual make roundels out of the dough. Knead them to chappathis, place a spoon full of meat filling, close them and roll again. Dust with flour to ensure neat roll.

    Heat a skillet and toast them with little bit of butter/ghee. Repeat the same process for all the rotis and remaining filling.

    This is a whole food, but one could makea raitha/ korma as a side entry.

    15.12.08

    Snow Peas with Lentils



    Avaraikkai Kootu:

    Snow peas with Lentils. Indian Broad Beans Subzi. Chikudukai Koora.

    Ingredients:

    Indian Broad beans/ snow peas 300 grams
    Thoor/ Moong/ chana dal 1/4 cup
    Green chilies 3 finely chopped
    Onion 1 finely chopped
    Garlic 6 cloves chopped
    Ginger 2" peeled and chopped
    Tomatoes 1-2 finely chopped
    Salt
    Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
    Chili powder 1/2 spoon
    Mustard seeds 1/4 spoon
    Cumin seeds 1/2 spoon
    Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
    Curry leaves few
    Oil few spoons
    Cilantro leaves few to garnish.

    Method:

    Cook any one of the dal(thuvar/moong/chana dal) in a pressure cooker.

    Trim the ends of beans and also remove their strings. If they are too big, slice them to your desire.

    In a large wok/handi, heat oil. Add chilies, let it crackle well.

    Then add ginger and garlic, fry real good...till its raw odour leaves.

    Add onions and salt. Fry till onions turn to golden color.

    Now add tomatoes, cover and cook. Once tomatoes wilt, stir-in beans.

    Fry for few minutes, maybe till the vegetables coats oil. Add cooked dal(lentils).

    Cover and cook over medium heat.

    When the vegetable is done soft and much of the moisture is absorbed, remove from heat.

    Heat oil, in a separate pan...add mustards, cumin, asafoetida and curry leaves to it.

    Allow it to crackle well. Now run this seasoning over the 'kootu' prepared above.

    Garnish with finely chopped cilantro leaves.

    Serve warm as a side dish for South Indian Meals or as a subzi for chappathi/roti.

    14.12.08

    Keema Poriyal



    Kaima Pepper Poriyal:

    Keema Fry used as filling in Indian bread or as topping on Dosa. Minced meat fry.

    Dopamine: There are 3 important neurotransmitters (Endorphin, Serotonin & Dopamine)in our brain. But I always fancied about reading this neurotransmitter ' Dopamine'. Which creates awareness and alertness and also responsible for the state of well-being (being happy/excited). Yeah.....most of the neurotransmitters are produced by our brain cells....our brain chemistry is responsible for our state of behavior/attitude.

    So whatever....this Dopamine production increases on excitement/gift/reward/praise something like that.....Although, it produced when we are rewarded....As a kid(the production is more, like when a kid is rewarded he gets more excited - (as 3 parts of the brain produces this neurotransmitter). But when we age the excitement comes down....as the dopamine production comes down. Maybe due to the wear and tear of the cells....as we age, cell degenerative process too can a be a reason. Prolong stress, hatred feelings, loss of loved people......a real life philosophy made us, not to get excited/slow production of dopamine??? Is still a question? But I have seen people who are at their ebb(aged) too.....fancy about little things and being competitive with kids....maybe the emotional well being comes from the diet???
    Maybe, that could be. As we are, what we eat? Certain food is said to have an affect our brain chemistry!!!

    Anyways....today let me just stick to one neurotransmitter, and that is DOPAMINE!!! Protein rich food, could have an effect on dopamine production. As our brain cells uses L-Phenylalanine as a raw material (precursor) to produce this neurotransmitter!!! If one eats a diet rich in Phenylalanine could possible bring some changes in the Dopamine production. Phenylalanine are rich in High Protein food like ' Meat ', 'Cottage Cheese'. Well other study says 'quercetin' found in apples, on overall prevents the neurodegenaration! Tyrosine is an amino acid that gets converted into neurotransmitters, Dopamine. Eating a diet rich in tyrosine, banana could be beneficial too! Since dopamine is also oxidised quickly....to prevent the free-radical damage, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Keep the fatty foods, refined sugar, refined flour, sat-fat, caffeine rich food at bay. All this may affect the neurons that carry the dopamine. Well.....these neurotransmitters are greatly affected by addiction(coffee, nicotine & alcohol) so plan yourself to give up! Besides this, 'Sitting Straight', certain asana in Yoga and regular Meditation does have an effect on Dopamine production, naturally (Have seen any wise people, saints...whose diet is so simple, they achieve their memory power and attitude by practising meditation. I think these areas should be studied extensively)!!!

    What is Dopamine? that I am lecturing so much! To understand quickly,

    High Dopamine - Creates Awareness, Alertness, concentration, Thought process/Memory power. Feeling of happiness, bliss and pleasure.

    Low Dopamine - Droopy, Sad, Depressed feelings, whole world looks hollow and hopeless.....

    Today I intended to give minced meat recipe in a old fashioned way, using only few basic spices. While talking about Dopamine, it became necessary to give a recipe that is rich in Phenylalanine! Use a whole steak or minced meat to create this recipe.

    Ingredients:

    Goat's Meat 1/2 kilo well minced
    Ginger 2" grated
    Garlic 15 peeled
    Country tomato 1 small
    Salt
    Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
    Chili powder 1/4 spoon
    Peppercorns 2 spoons(powdered freshly)
    Sesame oil few spoons
    Curry leaves few
    Cumin seeds 1 spoon.

    Method:

    Pressure cook meat along with little salt in it. Maybe till tender for about 6 whistles. Then remove from pressure and retain its water.

    In an iron wok, heat oil. Add cumin seeds, wait till they pop.

    Then add curry leaves, ginger, garlic and tomato. Fry real good till aromatic.

    Now stir-in cooked meat along with its water. Continue cooking over high heat without lid.

    Add salt, turmeric, chili and pepper powder and fry real good. Once the moisture is completely evaporated...remove from heat.

    Use this as a filling for Roti, Burrito or as a toppings for ur Dosa. Serves well.

    11.12.08

    Thalippu Vadagam - Tempering Spices of Tamilians



    Thalippu Vadagam:

    Other Names:Karuvadam, Vadavam, Vadagam, Vadaam, Vadiyalu, Koppu Vadiyalu, Thalikkira Vadagam, Vadawam, Thovaiyal Vadavam, Thuvaiyal Vadavam. Tamizh Nadu Thalippu Vadagam. Tamizhar Vadagham. Mudhaliar Thalippu Vadam/ Vadagam. Vadavam, Venghaya Vadavam, Kopu Vadiyalu. Tempering Spices. Sambar, Kuzhambu, Varuval - Sesonnings.

    I don't know how to introduce/categorise this item!!! Although we (Tamilians)do our regular seasonings like anybody else...we also use this 'Vadagam' along with usual tempering!! It happens to be very aromatic and signaling the whole neighbourhood, that you are cooking!! During summer, Mommy prepares this 'Vadagam' all by herself. As a kid, I have assisted her several times.

    Anyways...this 'Vadagam' is kind of special to me. Because I didn't make it! This is made by my mother(3 years before)!!! Raje, her maid has assisted her in chopping, grinding and sun drying them. Thanks Rajamma.:) Later Pappa got transferred & my parents moved to my native town. This whole 'Vadagam' was forgotten/got lost while shifting.

    When I visited home(vacation) I happened to spot a container, left unnoticed in the dinning room cupboard. To my surprise, it was 'Thalippu Vadagam'. Imagine...its been 3 years now...still perfect in color, odour, shape, texture & appearance! I was so excited and tested it immediately...it was perfect in taste. Awesome work by my Mother and kudos to Raje.

    I brought just 3 vadagam(s) for myself (in check-in baggage). Guess what?...they are still intact! I feel bad to break them for cooking:(

    Unfortunately...I don't have the exact recipe for this vadagam:( All I could do is 'to guess'!! Mommy did mention a few tips and corrected me while I was guessing. She promised me that next time, she will let me know the secret ingredients! So till then....

    Possible Ingredients:

    Mustard seeds
    Fenugreek seeds
    Asafoetida
    Turmeric powder/virali manjal- crushed
    Dry red chilies
    Curry leaves
    Chana dal
    Urad dal
    Thuval dal (Mommy said...she asked Raje to stone grind thuvar dal + red chilies...from her home/using aattu kal) I don't know the significance!!

    Castor oil (I thought its Sesame oil....Mommy corrected me as Castor Oil)

    Pearl Onions (Mommy was talking everything in bulk 5 kilos or so...absolutely no clue about measurements...)

    Country Garlic
    Tamarind puree
    Rock salt

    Method:

    No Clue!!! All I know is chop Onions, crush garlic with skin. Grind thuvar dal + red chilies. Then mix them together with other spices(mustard, asafoetida, turmeric, curry leaves...etc). Add plenty of oil + tamarind puree. Make roundels and sun dry them. Still working on, to perfect this recipe....hope to share with you'll in future(bit clearly).

    Omlette Curry



    Omlette Kuzhambu:

    Fried Eggs Curry. Omlette in Curry.

    I was thinking about using that 'omlettes' in a curry dish. So prepared a tangy Kuzhambu and sneaked 4-5 omlettes in it, not bad, turned up good. In fact eggs were spicy inside and crunchy on the outside.

    Ingredients:

    Egg Omlettes 4-6
    Cricket ball size tamarind or 1 spoon of thick tamarind paste
    Red onion 1 large finely chopped
    Garlic 1 large peeled and semi crushed
    Tomato 1 large chopped
    Jaggery or brown sugar 1 spoon
    Salt
    Turmeric powder 1/2 spoon
    Chili powder 1 spoon
    Rice powder 1 spoon
    Sesame oil 1 cup
    Mustard seeds 1 spoon
    Cumin seeds 1 spoon
    Fenugreek seeds 1/2 spoon
    Chana dal 1/2 spoon
    Urad dal 1/2 spoon
    Asafoetida 1/2 spoon
    Dry red chilies 3-5
    Curry leaves few.

    Method:

    In a deep pan heat few spoons of oil. Add garlic, fry till its raw smell goes off. Further add onions, fry till they turn to golden brown color. Now add tomatoes, fry them till they loose their water content.

    Now add salt, turmeric, chili powder, sugar/jaggery and rice powder. Blend them together.

    Then add tamarind paste and 2 cups of water.

    Once the gravy thickens, oil shows up on top, add omlettes. Allow them to cook over medium heat for 4-7 minutes. Then remove from heat.

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

    Serve this along with plain steamed rice. Run a spoon full of ghee over it.....just before serving.

    Karandi Omlate / Old Fashioned Omlette




    Old Fashioned Omlette:(Country Style)

    Mommy has a long spoon/mini pan.....with a long handle (see picture) an iron pan! We call that 'Thalippu Karandi' in Tamil. Used to temper spices separately and top it above the curry/dish made. So the spices will be hot and sizzling, makes a wonderful feast, all aromatic and inviting. Since they were not aware of any ebonite handles those days....a long handle was helpful to hold. This pan/ spoon was saved by my mother from her mother. When I visited home, used it with great excitement. Sure iron spoon, does have something to promote flavor in food!!!

    Anyways.....my mother occasionally makes an Omlette in this spoon(only when my Brother pesters, I don't know what he likes about). The omlette looks like a 'paniyaram' 'idly' or whatever to ur imagination.

    Caution: Sometimes...if you pour extra oil in this spoon and left it on the stove(without attention)...it catches fire quickly. Although the spoon is long....even at the tip, it may be hot....use a kitchen mitt/glove.

    Ingredients:

    Eggs - as many as you want
    Salt
    Turmeric
    Chili powder
    Pepper powder
    Oil few spoons(iron consumes lots of oil than non-stick!)

    Method:

    Heat up the long spoon, over medium. Carefully smear oil.

    And add eggs,salt and pepper them. Turn gently to the other side and cook thoroughly.

    Ha....wonderful omlletes ready. Now one could eat them just like that for b'fast or treat it as side dish.

    Here is the twist....I used them in my Kara-Kuzhambu.

    10.12.08

    Mutton Mullu Keerai Kuzhambu







    Mutton Mullu Keerai Kuzhambu:

    We call this greens as 'Mullu Keerai' in Tamil. Belongs to the same Family 'Amaranthus' like Araikeerai. Only thing is, it has lots of spines in the stem. The Botanical name of this greens is 'Amaranthus spinosus'('spinosus' species name signifies, it has spines). I could never buy the fact that is native to America(when I was in UnderGrad).....it grows all over India. Anyway, Mommy never cooked this greens, just for this reason, it has too many thorns & it looked like weed.

    During my last vacation to India, our Cook Usha mentioned about some greens grown in her yard & I compelled her to bring them to me. To my surprise it was 'Mullu Keerai'. So, for the first time....attempted to cook it! Usha asked me to pair this greens with mutton, I did the same....it turned out great. Never ever confuse with pest infection/anything.....looking at the damaged leaves(like my Mommy). Its just this spines have poked the leaves during windy days. The stem although looks thick...they are very tender and perfect to consume, don't discard the stem. They are delicacies. Pairing with Mutton was a Great hit and I became a fan of Mullu Keerai now. Wish I could find them here.....since it is native to America!!!

    As most of the greens, they are laxative, diuretic and research is going on to claim its effect on Gastoentero' problems. Hope Pharma' firms come up with nice solutions!

    Ingredients:

    Amaranthus spinosus 1 large bowl full
    Goat's meat 1/4 kilo
    Onion 1 large grated
    Ginger-garlic paste 1-2 spoons
    Tomato large chopped
    Salt
    Turmeric 1/4 spoon
    Chili powder 1 spoon
    Garam masala powder 1/4 spoon
    Sesame oil few spoons.

    Method:

    Trim the spines carefully, using long scissors. Then chop the tender stems and leaves. Wash and clean them, set aside.

    Pressure cook meat with limited water. Maybe 6 whistles will do. Retain the water, set aside.

    In a wok, heat oil. Add ginger-garlic paste and grated onion. Fry real good, maybe add salt at this point to hasten your procedure.

    When they are golden color, add tomatoes and fry till they wilt and oil shows up on sides.

    Stir in cooked meat along with its water. Add turmeric, chili and garam masala powder. Cover and cook, till meat is tender and spices have infused in them.

    Now add chopped leaves and stems of the greens. Cover without cover, maybe till greens are done.

    Serve warm to go with your Idly, dosa, chappathi or plain steamed rice. Enjoy.