31.1.09

Award


Good Chat Friends Award:

I thought I will never do this in my life, Talking!!! That too chatting!!! And online via Blog Comments!!! Wooooo, this feels so good!!!

I would like to pass this interesting award to my blogger friends, those who chat a lot with me! I know the list is endless!!! Well, I also request all the new budding bloggers to feel free to comment and express yourself.

  • Ann


  • Arundhuti


  • Ana Powel


  • Ambika


  • Asha


  • Anudivya


  • Vinolia


  • Shama


  • Viki Xavier


  • Ramya Bala


  • Vidhya


  • Vijitha


  • Varsha


  • Ujwal


  • Yasmeen


  • Jaishree


  • Priya


  • Lubna


  • Sriharivatsan


  • Rajeswari


  • Mangala Bhat


  • Gita

  • 30.1.09

    Kashmir Chai




    Kashmir Chai:(Cold Version)

    Kashmir Chai calls for Saffron, Nutmeg and Almonds/Pistachios besides all the other strong spices. Makes it very unique and rich apart from other Indian Tea varieties. Saffron gives out a distinct aroma and nutmeg gives an earthy flavor. Almonds and pistachios give the crunch.

    Masala infused will give a spicy touch! Most of the spices used have healing properties. Ginger, gingeroles present in them promotes good digestion and is a good pain reliever. It has been said ginger also stops motion sickness, during travel. One study claims its effect on arthritis pain. Cloves fight against colds and flu's and helps to regenerate body heat. Cinnamon is the stimulant for the other herbs. Peppercorns imparts warmth to the body and also promotes digestion. Fennel seeds calms the digestive system. Cardamom is not only a mouth refresher but also stimulates the mind. Mint activates brains cells(releases the Acetylcholine) and improves memory power. Needless to say tea leaves are packed with anti-oxidants which prevents free radical damages and reduces oxidation.

    Saffron is said to have several healing properties, stomach ailments, colic and stomach discomfort, prevents nausea and to reduce gas. It is used for acne treatments, Eye disorder, Asthma, Arthritis. Also it is valued for its anti poisonous nature, used in the treatment of bee stings, insect bites etc.

    Saffron has powerful antioxidant properties that is, it helps to protect living tissues from free radical damage and reduces oxidation. Even in Ayurvedic text it has been attributed that it has extraordinary properties towards improving eyesight and complexion! It also talks about its property towards rectifying birth defects...in which research is going on to claim it effects. Some studies claim its effect as anti-cancer property! Crocetin and Crocin present in them are reported to promote a good memory power.

    Caution: Any goodness has its own demerits and so does the Saffron too. As a low dosage it does have all the above said qualities...but if it is used in excess 'Saffron' could be fatal. Too much of saffron consumption is poisonous, besides it has severe abortive properties! In olden days...saffron concoctions were used to do abortion. So pregnant ladies watch out...use them sparingly in your diet, take advise from your physician.

    Ingredients:

    Black Tea leaves 2 teaspoons
    Oraganic Whole Milk 2 cups
    Cinnamon 1 small stick
    Cloves 2
    Cardamom 3 crushed
    Ginger 1" grated
    Mint 4-6 leaves bruised
    Fennel seeds 1/2 teaspoon
    Peppercorns 4-6
    All spice powder 1 pinch
    Saffron 1 pinch
    Nutmeg powder 1 pinch
    Almonds/Pistachios grated 2 teaspoons
    Honey/ Sugar to taste.

    Method:

    Throw in all the spices and tea leaves in milk and boil them over low-medium heat for about 7-9 minutes.

    Once the bold color is achieved and aroma fills the room, remove from heat and filter the same.

    Add honey or sugar to taste. Leave it in the refridgerator for couple of hours.

    Garnish with saffron, mint and nuts. Serve chilled.

    27.1.09

    Tapioca Fryums




    Jawarisi Vathal:

    Sago Vatral. Tapioca/Sago Vadiyalu/ Vatral/ Vathal/ Fryums.

    My mommy used to make this during summer vacation. She meticulously used to prepare boxes and boxes of Pappads, Milagu Appalm, Seeraga Appalam, Arisi Vathal, Koozh Vathal, Kai-kari Vathals...etc. All her friends and relatives used to bag her preparations after their long summer stay at our home. I used to wonder where Mom gets all this energy to entertain people! And still say 'No' to me if I ask to visit me at the Hostel.

    Anyways...mommy is an expert in making 20 different kinds of Appalams! Woo...sadly I never learnt anything from her...maybe staying too far away for studies and stuff also a reason. Very rarely when I visit home...I did/do help her in sun drying them. So never mastered that art. But off lately she ain't that energetic to teach me all about Appalams or Vadams. Wish to ask her secret recipe next time! Till then...yeah this sago vathal is prepared by my mother. This is simple and easy for beginners, I guess. Here is her exact recipe...

    Ingredients:

    Sago/ Jawarisi 1 cup
    Green chilies 3-6
    Cumin seeds 2-4 spoons
    Salt
    Food color (optional)

    Method:

    Soak Sago for couple of hours.

    Then grind the sago along with chilies, salt and cumin till thick.

    In a sauce pan, boil water. Add this thick sago to it. Continue cooking over low-medium heat...with constant stirring. You will notice it turning to translucent to glassy appearance, much like a glue! One can add color at this point. Then remove from heat. Bring it to room temperature.

    Take a clean sheet(plastic sheet preferably) or one could use cotton cloth also. Place this sheet under direct sun rays (Terrace/ Patio/ Sit-out)...place something hard on the 4 corners. So that the sheet won't fly away during windy days.

    Well...now carefully take a spoon full of sago porridge and uniformly place on the sheets. Leave enough gap between each application. As you know...they tend to spread a little. Now sun dry them for couple of days to a week or until they are dry completely without any moisture.Remove these from the sheets and store in an air-tight container.

    At the time of serving...heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough...fry few fryums at a time... it takes less than 20 seconds to get fried...so remove immediately using slotted spoon.

    Serve to go with your rasam rice and that I call as comfort food!:)

    Jack Fruit Nut Salad




    Pala Kottai Poriyal:

    Jack Fruit Seeds/Nuts Poriyal. Pala Pazha Kottai Poriyal.

    Jack Fruit belongs to Moraceae family similar to Mulberry trees. Its native to Eastern Indian part. The Botanical name of this tree is Artocarpus heterophylla. Well its appreciated for its huge fruit...which can be shared among groups. Very thorny outer leathery shell and inside aggregated fruits. Distinct odour,(some people like it, some hate it).

    Anyways...enough about the fruit, here I used its seeds for cooking. My mother used to add these seeds/nuts along with her mutton preparations. They used to taste like heaven! Also sometimes along with potato poriyal! So when I visited home(last vacation)...I made it as a point to save some jack fruit nuts for cooking! But my brother 'didn't like the idea about using them with mutton!:( So prepared plain poriyal for myself! Well...I got to say, it turned out pretty amazing!

    The seeds are rich in carbohydrate...very soft after cooking( tastes much like tapioca)for a variation one could try it! Heard some people make flour out of it and mix it with their regular atta...sounds interesting, but never tried tho'! Well...it could be also eaten as a snack, just after toasting...tastes much like chestnut!

    Ingredients:

    Jack fruit nuts/seeds 1 cup
    Salt
    Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
    Chili powder 1 spoon
    Mustard seeds 1/4 spoon
    Cumin seeds 1/4 spoon
    Asafoetida 1 pinch
    Curry leaves few
    Sesame oil few spoons.

    Method:

    Sun dry or toast the seeds till the thin skin turns opaque. Then peel the skin carefully.

    Cook with limited water for about 7-10 minutes. Then slice them and set aside.

    In a wok, heat oil. Add tempering spices and add the chopped nuts to it. Saute for few minutes and remove from heat.

    Serve to go with your meals.

    25.1.09

    Plantain Flower Qorma



    Vazhai Poo Korma:

    This is my back home cook, Usha Nandhini's recipe. She is a real sweet heart. Whenever I visit home...I take over the kitchen, she will be helping me around. I always take tips from her before cooking certain vegetables. Since I never get a chance of seeing most of the endemic species/Indian veggies lately...I make it a point to prepare only native vegetables, when I visit home. So she will be letting me know some of her secret recipes. She is smart in making country style recipes. Both my Dad and Mom appreciate her cooking. I owe a lot to Usha!:) She is paying my duty there...

    Well...one fine day, she brought these plantain flowers for me. I planned on making the usual, either vadai or kootu! Because that is what Mommy would do! Usha asked me to try this curry recipe, in fact 'Korma'. I was really skeptical about it. Lots of spices in this humble vegetable...how it will turn up??? But she assured me...that I will like it. It was also different to use 'Chana Dal' in this Korma. Chana dal will be cooked and still intact in shape tho'. Adds stregth to the curry actually. She told...its her best meat alternative recipe. Truly it was...very flavoursome...flowers tasted like mutton to me! That was whole lot of experience...every one enjoyed it, absolutely became a fan of this korma, lately. Thanks Usha.

    Ingredients:

    Plantain Flower 1 large(cleaned)
    Chana dal 1 cup soaked 20 minutes ahead
    Onions 2 finely chopped
    Tomato 2 finely chopped
    Fresh ginger paste 2 spoons
    Fresh garlic paste 2 spoons
    Green chilies 3 slitted
    Curry leaves 3 twigs
    Cloves 3
    Cinnamon 3
    Cardamom 3 pods
    Fennel seeds 1 - 2 spoons
    Bay leaves 2
    Cas cas milk few spoons(2 spoons of cas cas wet ground...maybe after soaked in warm water)
    Fresh coconut 1 (chopped and wet ground to thick milk)
    Oil 1 cup
    Salt
    Turmeric powder 1/2 spoon
    Chili powder 1 -2 spoons
    Oil few spoons
    Cilantro leaves few to garnish.

    Method:

    Clean plantain flower carefully. Smear oil in your palm before doing so...as they leave a stain in your fingers. Remove the make stigma, pith and the bract(see my previous plantain flower posts for effective cleaning tips). Then chop them coarsely, leave in cold water, until cooking.

    Soak chana dal in water 20 minutes ahead of cooking.

    In a pan heat oil, add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel seeds, bay leaves, curry leaves and green chilies. Fry them for a while.

    Now add onions and fry till golden brown.

    Then add ginger - garlic paste to it. Fry them till its raw smell leaves.

    Later add tomatoes and fry till its water content is lost.

    Now add little bit of salt, turmeric, chili powder. Saute for few minutes.

    Further add chopped flower and chana dal. Saute till oil and masala coats to all the side.

    Now add water. Cover and cook over medium heat.

    When the veggies and dal are done....add cas cas milk and thick coconut milk to this. Let this come to boil 3-5 times.

    Remember chana dal will be cooked...but still intact in shape.

    Garnish with cilantro leaves.

    Serve warm to go with chapathis/dosa/idly/iddiyappam. Serves best with plain steamed rice!

    24.1.09

    MTR Rava Idly




    Rawa Idly: (MTR style)

    Steamed Pancakes. Semolina Steamed Cake. Spiced Idly. Spicy Sooji Idly.

    MTR - Rava Idly. Well, now if I claim its MTR style rawa idly, don't think that I opened a ready MIX MTR rawa idly packets!! MTR - Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, Bangalore is famous for this rava idly...it is said that they experimented this dish, when they we were out of rice flour, during world war II. Since then, rava idly became part of the culture.

    Idly is something that I make once in a blue moon! Can you believe this and don't curse me or anything for being a South Indian & saying this. I hate Idly/ anything carbohydrate for that matter. Anything that is fermented is definetely is not my cup of tea!:( As I was staying away from my home for pretty long time in my life never liked hostel food, maybe that the reason, I hate breakfast! And after I started cooking never owned a idly cooker, who has time to make breakfast! Anyways, my breakfast will be either oranges or hard boiled eggs or sometimes just carrots!!!

    So this idly was made when I visited home(India). I carefully altered the rice batter to semolina batter(Rawa/Sooji). Though even this is carb' its kind of 'chaltha hai'(its okay) for me. Spiced up a little!:) Now I feel sorry for telling...I hate idly, did I really say that!!!

    Ingredients:

    Semolina 1 cup
    Idly batter 1 cup
    Salt
    Butter milk
    Green chilies 3 finely chopped
    Cilantro leaves finely chopped.

    Tempering Spices:

    Chana dal 2 spoons
    Urad dal 2 spoons
    Mustard seeds 1/2 spoon
    Cumin 1/2 spoon
    Peppercorns 1/4 spoon
    Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
    Curry leaves few
    Sesame oil few spoon.

    Method:

    Mix semolina and idly batter togather. Add salt, buttermilk, chilies and cilantro leaves to it.

    Temper the spices and run to the batter mixed above.

    Let this stand for a about 2 hours. When semolina sucks in all the moisture and comes to heavy batter like consisteny its ready.

    Add a cup of water to your steamer/idly cooker. Greese the idly mold and fill the laddles with the batter. Nver overflowing...

    Steam cook for about 10 minutes. Perfect, nice aromatic idlies are ready.

    I am thrilled to receive this Refreshing award from three of my blogger friends. Thank you Sweet Hearts.

  • Vidhya

  • Ann

  • Sriharivatsan


  • I would like to pass this award to few of my blog buddies:

  • Asha

  • Akal's Saappaadu

  • Arundhuti

  • Usha Nandhini

  • Vijitha
  • 15.1.09

    Buffalo Wings / Hot n Spicy Fried Wings




    Hot Chicken Wings:

    Cornish Hen Wings. Fried Wings. Rock Cornish Hen - Buffalo Wings. Hot & Spicy Wings.

    Well, everyone knows that Buffalo doesn't have wings, yet the name traces its origin to Buffalo(name of a place)in New York. The first recipe was created with left over chicken wings. Later the recipe underwent series of change, ever since. Now I could relate this spicy fried hot wings to my own Indian style of cooking. The special kick of this recipe comes from Southern hot-sauce (the Louisiana Hot Sauce), a perfect blend of hot peppers and vinegar.

    After holidays its common to have lots of leftover in the fridge...staring at you! Especially when it comes to chicken wings, flaky fish or cocktail shrimps...I would like to work on it. I don't like wasting food, I try to fix them...create a new innovative dish & present!

    If the meat/fish was lying there for really long time(but yet not spoiled)if it perfect for consumption...my idea will either pan-frying or deep frying. It brings up the flavor & makes them crispy. Also adding vinegar/lemon juice will allow them to stay firm. Dusting flour could help holding up too. When we add a little extra-spice(than usual)no one could actually notice...that these were only a fix recipe!!! So one of my such fix recipe is this 'Rock Cornish Hen Spicy Fried Wings', TaDa...

    Ingredients:

    Left over Rock Cornish Hen Wings 8-12
    Chili powder 1/2 spoon
    Paprika powder 1/2 spoon
    Louisiana Hot Sauce 1 spoons
    Soy Sauce 1 spoons
    Green chili Sauce 1 spoon
    Tomato Sauce 4-6 spoons
    Salt
    White Vinegar 1 table spoon
    Peanut oil for deep frying
    Vegetable oil for stir-frying 1/2 table spoon.

    Method:

    Marinate wings with salt, vinegar, chili and paprika powders. Maybe for at least 2 whole hours.

    Then deep fry them till crisp and golden brown.

    Now in a separate stir-fry pan, heat oil. Add these fried wings and add all the sauces mentioned above. Saute them real good.

    Once all the sauces coat up well and no moisture left in the pan, its perfect to transfer.

    Arrange them in your salad tray or serve as appetizers.

    13.1.09

    Kodi Kai Kuzhambu



    Pongal Special Kodi Kai Kuzhambu:

    Pongal Festival Special Legumes Curry. Pongal side dish Kuzhambu. Kadhamba Kuzhambu. Kadamba Kuzhambu. Ven Pongal Side Dish. Milagu Pongal Side Dish. Kadalai Curry. Kadalai Kuzhambu.

    My parents used to make this curry to go with Pongal(rice dish)recipe only on Pongal day(A festival that falls on Jan 14th). Its a harvest festival. I guess almost all countries have their own harvest festival! Its like giving thanks to natural forces, water, sun, fire...etc which helped them to succeed in their produce.

    So the food prepared on this day will be all from fresh produce! Pongal dish(main course, rice dish)calls for raw rice, freshly husked/hand pounded...something city dwellers can't find!:( So we substitute with 'plain store bought new raw rice bag'! This dish calls for all legumes and all vegetables(produced during the season), sounds very interesting to me! Absolutely no use of powdered spices/ready made sambar sachets or anything is allowed!:( Again whole cooking episode here takes place under the sun/in a mutram(central open space, in a country house). They use only fire woods and specially build stone stoves for the day...all signifies thanking & living with natural forces! Anyways...Happy Pongal to Everyone!!!

    Much like Thiruvathirai Kootu/Ezhu Kari kuzhambu(7 vegetable curry)...but here they use still lot more vegetables + Legumes.

    Use 1 or 2 pieces of each vegetables(like potatoes, carrots...)Use just 1 small slice of few vegetables(Yam, pumpkin...). Use 1 fistful of legumes...soak them ahead of preparing, usually overnight!

    Ingredients:

    Vegetables:

    White Pumpkin
    Red pumpkin
    Carrots
    Plantain
    Yam
    Collacasia
    Potato
    Turnips
    Beet Root
    Radish
    Broad Beans
    Beans

    Dry Legumes:

    Mochai(Indian Lima Beans)
    Karamani- both large and small variety/white & brown variety(Black Eye Beans/Kidney Beans)
    Pattani- both Yellow & Green(Peas)
    Kondaikadalai- both Brown & White(Garbanzos)
    Verkadalai(Peanuts/Groundnuts)
    Pachai Payiru(Green Gram)
    Thuvarai(Red gram)

    Spices for Curry:

    No Onion
    No Garlic
    Chilies yes 3-6 slitted
    No Tomatoes
    Tamarind fresh pods 6-8 shelled & soaked in warm water then de seed, puree
    Salt
    Turmeric 1/2 spoon
    Chili powder 2-4 spoons
    Peanut Oil/Sesame oil - freshly cold pressed.

    Tempering Spices:

    Mustard seeds 1 spoons
    Cumin seeds 2 spoons
    Fenugreek seeds 1/2 spoon
    Peppercorns 1/2 spoon
    Asafoetida 1/2 spoon
    Curry leaves few
    Sesame oil few spoons.

    Method:

    In a wide + deep, heavy bottomed vessel, heat oil. Add chilies and wait till it splutters.

    Then add all the vegetables + soaked legumes. Saute for few minutes. Then add salt, turmeric and chili powder.

    Add tamarind puree to it. Cover and cook till they are done.

    In a separate pan, heat oil. Add tempering spices and run this over the curry prepared.

    Serve to go with your Ven Pongal or Milagu Pongal.

    11.1.09

    Nilgiri Chicken Korma



    Nilgiri Korma:

    Nilagiri Chicken Korma. Neelgiri Chicken Korma. Nilgiri Chicken Korma. Chili Coconut Chickn Korma. Hot & Spicy Green Chicken Korma. Greenish Chicken Korma. Chili Blend Chicken Korma.

    Now don't ask me why Nilgiri Korma is in Green Color & not in blue!!! Nilgiri literally means Blue Mountain! I happen to taste this interesting korma at Nilgiri, Top slip & Yercaud. All three fascinating hill stations! First thought its some hill staion special food! They said its their regional speciality! Almost through out western ghats...its found in every star hotel menu! On using fresh herbs from the hills, it gets this delectable green color! The recipe is too spicy and hot! Even the spices were got right from the hill's plantations! Lavish use of green chilies and coconut, make it hot + sweet! Sounds yumm, right! Well...the original recipe was prepared from goat/lamb! But today it took various dimensions! Using chicken, vegetables and cottage cheese are not uncommon. The recipe is said to have originated from Nilgiri tribes(Badugans)...who make their curry using only fresh green herbs! Most of their recipes have turned out as restaurant special today! Interesting to know!

    Ingredients:

    Chicken 1 kilo (bone-in, skin-on, chunks)
    Curry leaves 2 twigs
    Cloves 5
    Cinnamon sticks 2
    Green cardamom 6-7 pods crushed
    Bay leaves fresh 2-3 leaves
    Star anise 1
    Fennel seeds 2 spoons
    Green chilies 6-8 grated
    Onion 1 large grated
    Ginger 2" minced/paste
    Garlic 4-6 cloves minced/paste
    Tomato 1 large chopped/puree
    Salt
    Turmeric 1/4 spoon
    Mint 1 fistful(leaves alone)
    Cilantro 1 fistful(leaves alone)
    Coconut 1 large(made into puree, use limited water)
    Ghee 1 cup.

    Method:

    In a wide wok, heat ghee. Add all the spices one by one(cloves, cinnamon cardamom, bay leaves, anise, fennel seeds and curry leaves). Wait till they pop and splutter.

    Now add grated chilies, onion, ginger and garlic paste. Fry real good. Maybe till their raw smell leaves the pan.

    Now stir-in tomatoes and fry till they lose water content and oil shows up on top.

    Add salt and turmeric to it. Stir-in chicken and fry for 2-4 minutes or maybe till it turns opaque. Cover and cook for 7 minutes.

    Then add 2 cups of water and bring this to boil, let this get slow cooked over medium heat for 20 minutes. Or maybe till chicken is done.

    Meanwhile wet-grind cilantro and mint leaves.

    When chicken is almost done, add green paste and coconut to it. Bring this to boil and remove from heat.

    Serve warm to go with your chappathis or pooris.

    10.1.09

    Chicken & Vegetable Pasta Salad







    Chicken Mushroom & Veggie Pasta Salad:

    Sometimes salad itself can be a filling meal! On a hectic day...I try to balace my salad with carbohydrate(Omega 3 enriched pasta), vegetables, both animal protein(chicken) & plant protein (mushrooms). Thats all here you go simple and complete planned food!

    Ingredients:

    Pasta 1 cup
    Chicken breast 1 (sliced into strips)
    Mushroom 4-6 sliced
    Zucchini 1/2 sliced
    Bell pepper 1 large cubed
    Roma tomatoes 2 cut into wedges
    Salt
    Pepper as per taste
    Ragu white sauce 1 table spoon
    Sour cream 1 table spoon
    White vinegar 1 cap full
    Olive oil few spoons.

    Method:

    Cook pasta along with little salt in it. Then drain the water & set aside.

    Stir-fry chicken strips ith salt and pepper. When they are done, set aside.

    Stirfry veggies for few minutes.

    Then bring pasta in a large bowl. Add chicken, veggetables and vinegar to it. Mix sour cream and ragu sauce. Mix thoroughly. Cover and leave it in fridge for 4 hours.

    Serve chilled as a salad/ main meal!

    Mexican Rice



    Spanish Rice:

    Endorphins - Endorphins are another interesting neurotransmitters found in brain. This neurotransmitter is responsible for 'intense pleasure', 'excitement' & 'Ecstasy'. So....when it is in peek production, we wouldn't feel even pain! Doesn't that sound interesting. I am proud to say I am kind of addicted to this neurotransmitter. Yeah regular exercise produces this in the brain. As I told y'll earlier I am driven by more epinephrine and endorphins than drugs/alcohol! Anyways...this neurotransmitters get released after a rigorous exercise or power walking! Dudes if you're not exercising, please consider about it....

    PEA(Phenylethylamine) is the precursor of this endorphin. Besides exercise, food that are rich in Carbohydrate and Sugars will give sudden rise in this neurotransmitters. Yeah...I know you Girls are happy about it. Sugary desserts, Rice, potatoes, ice cream......will produce this neurotransmitter! That is why we are all so happy while having chocolates and ice creams! Once again there is a teeny problem....if we depend upon these sources for triggering our brain chemicals. A sudden flow of glucose in the blood stream will also make the insulin to produce more. So initially we may be happy.....but it will put us depressed, when it falls back. So ultimately we will be unhappy, even below the state that we were before!That's very bad, right! Moreover the diet rich in refined sugars and simple carbs' will slowly lead to obesity! Which is not...I suppose, any ones goal here! So to understand it, a simple trick to your brain chemicals....please follow a complex carbohydrate diet and natural sugar source as your choice. Such as Unpolished rice, Whole corn, honey, jaggery and rarely a dark low sweetened chocolate. Once again, the best way to boost this neurotransmitter is exercise!

    If you don't find unpolished rice or fan of wild rice...at least switch to parboiled rice, which is enriched in vitamins.(Par boiled rice is something...paddy seeds are boiled along with husk, so that vitamins from the husk gets seeped into the rice. Then they dry it, later husk it). So the rice is bit extra large than the raw rice & also has an yellowish tint, don't worry for the color! Well...rice has wonderful kushboo when it is cooked, I love it. Suit well for this Spanish rice.

    Ingredients:

    Parboiled Rice 1 cup
    Garlic 2 cloves minced
    Jalapenos 1 deseed and finely chop
    Roma tomatoes 2 chopped
    Cayenne pepper + Paprika powder(totally optional for an Indian palate)
    Salt
    Butter 4 cubes
    Cilantro leaves 1-2 spoons chopped.

    Method:

    Cook rice along with salt. Then spread them in wide tray...cool them down & nice, well separated.

    In a wide skillet, melt butter. Add minced garlic and jalapenos...fry real good for 2 minutes or until aromatic.

    Now stir-in crushed tomatoes and add some spices(paprika and cayenne). When it comes to glossy appearance add rice and mix well. Add cilantro leaves too.

    Then spread them in display vessel and microwave for 4-6 minutes...to make it steaming hot and remove some excess moisture.

    Serve warm with pico de gallo/ guacamole.

    Pico De Gallo



    Pico De Gallo:

    One of the easiest Mexican relish! Much like Indian Salad finish!

    Ingredients:

    White onion 1 large chopped
    Jalapenos de seed & finely chop
    Roma tomatoes 2-3 chopped
    Salt
    Lime juice from 1 fruit
    Cilantro leaves few chopped

    Method:

    Toss all the items together and serve to go with your mexican menu/Indian salads!

    6.1.09

    Country Chicken Tomato Curry




    Naatu Kozhi Thakkali Kuzhambu:

    Country Chicken In Rich Tomato Based Curry. Desi Ka Murg, Tamatar Curry. Kodi Tomato Pulusu. Thakkali Kozhi Kuzhambu. Hot & Spicy Country Chicken Curry. Fiery Hot Tomato Chicken Curry. Fiery Hot & Tangy Chicken Curry. Desi ka Murg ki Salan.

    I could say, I invented this dish...whatever I liked in my pantry and spice rack has gone into this curry. Turned out pretty amazing, actually! Well...very hot version, it could be either you like it or hate it!

    Ingredients:

    Country Chicken 1 pound(Cage free bird/ Amish Chickens will do)
    Garlic 2 whole head, peeled and grated
    Country Tomatoes large 3-6 (made into puree)
    Dry Red Chilies 10-15 (Roasted and Powdered)
    Lemon 1 large fruit
    Mustard seeds 1 spoon
    Cumin seeds 1/2 spoon
    Fenugreek seeds 1/4 spoon
    Asafoetida 1/2 spoon
    Dry red chilies 3 - crisply fried for decoration
    Curry leaves crisply fried for decoration
    Sesame oil 1-2 cups.

    Method:


    In a large non-stick wok, heat oil. Add mustard, cumin, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. Let them pop and splutter well. Set aside to garnish on the gravy later.

    In a pressure cooker, cook chicken with limited water till tender/semi-tender maybe...6 whistle sounds will do.

    In a wide wok, add oil....add garlic and fry them till fragrant. Then followed by chili flakes/powder...fry till fragrant.

    Stir-in chicken along with its water, add salt and turmeric now. Wait till all the moisture dries up.

    Now add tomato puree to it. Cover and cook over medium heat. This gravy will splatter around your stove top. So keep it covered.

    Once gravy consistency is achieved and oil shows up on top, remove from heat.

    Squeeze lemon juice to it now. Garnish with the tempering spices(step 1).

    Serve warm to go with you plain steamed rice, idly, dosa or barotta/roti.

    Koduka Puli



    Koduka Puli:

    Manila Tamarind. Kodukkai Puli/Kodi-kai puli. Sweet Tamarind. Thai-Sweet Tamarind. Camachile Fruit.

    My back home cook, Usha Nandhini...brought some surprise to me! These Camachile fruits!!!

    The Botanical name of this tree is Pithecellobium dulce. Sources say it originated from Mexico to America, Central Asia and to India. Although I have seen these trees through out the highways(in India). Never had a clue of their culinary use. It resembles tamarind and it is widely called as Manila Tamarind. I had hard time finding its Tamil name.....'Koduka Puli', when thoroughly analysed the words...got the meaning...like 'Kodi-kai puli'(vined tamarind)! It is commonly called as 'Madras Thorn' or 'Monkey Pod' in English and 'Jungle Jilebi'/ 'Bilayati Imli' in Hindi. My friend Kranthi just furnished me with its Telugu name 'Seema Chintakayalu', probably means 'Foreign/Alien Tamarind'! Well...again my blog friend Rajeshwari told they call it as 'Kona Puliyankai' in Tamil, since this is pod coils so much...'Twisted Tamarind', nice name! Even my cook called it as 'Konakkai' means 'Twisted Vegetable'!

    It is generally eaten my school kids, from road side vendors! I have never seen them hitting any market place(so far). Considered as intruding weed, if it grows in the residential area! The pod/pulp is widely used in the tanning industry(to clean their leather, I guess!)

    The pod is kind of twisted(unlike tamarind, which is straight). They are greenish is color and on maturation goes to pinkish to deep red! Parrots and Squirrels like them a lot. The Pulp is in white color and sweetish in taste(when they are ripe). It has many medicinal properties, they are astringent in nature...used to treat venereal diseases. The bark is said to be very curative for bowel movement/constipation! The leaves are used in folks remedy for indigestion.

    If anyone of you know their culinary use or folks remedy...please don't hesitate to share with me!:)

    1.1.09

    Beer Battered Veg Seekh Kebabs





    Vegetable Kebabs:

    Beer Battered Vegetable Kebabs, Beer Battered Kebabs. Meat alternative Kebabs.

    One place I really enjoy eating out is Delhi, over the series of successive dynasties, it had brought great influence in their culture and food. I consider 'Delhi' as the best place for eating out. Whether its punjabi Dhaba, Rajputs food, Afgani's cuisine, Mughals or English & now International...I love it! As being a great fan of Mughal food, it became like a ritual for me to explore more about their culture, music, art and architecture. If I want to talk about Mughals history of food & life, I could talk all day long. So let me keep it simple... Delhi, Karim Restaurant the legendary place is always on top of my list! Very few places still prepare their menu in the old original form, as they did for our Mughal Kings & Royals. Old Delhi still holds up the tradition! Several Restaurant owners prepare their secret spice blend right from the scratch using mortar and pestle(like me).Imagine series of outside influence from English to Tandoor. Maybe most of the chefs today in these famous restaurants are descendants from Royal kitchen(not sure, but came from trustable sources).

    I love goofing around with my friends at Chandani chauk and Connaught place. Chandani chauk has several oldest restaurants to dine, all from a century ago! Myself and my friends Suneeta Mukherji, Neetu Bansal had a great time out there!!!

    This is one of my favourite appetizers, Kebabs!!! Yeah.....I happen to taste meat kebabs at Karim's place, but worked on recreating the same with available veggies here, as AK never gets his chance of appreciating Mughal cuisine. So here is my Veg Version, hope you all will enjoy it!

    Ingredients:

    Veggies of your choice(I used carrots beans, cabbage)
    Golden potatoes 2 large (boiled, peeled 7 mashed)
    Salt
    Green chilies 3 finely chopped
    Ginger grated 2 spoons
    Garlic minced 2 spoons
    Onion large finely chopped
    Cinnamon powder 1 pinch
    Cloves powder 1 pinch
    Caradamom powder 1 pinch
    All spice powder 1/4 spoon
    Garam masala powder 1/4 spoon(optional)
    Pepper powder 1/2 spoon(optional)
    Beer 1 pint
    Cilantro few chopped
    Corn flour 2-4 spoons
    Egg whites for binding(optional)
    Oil for deep frying(if you intend to fry/one could bake, broil, grill them too).

    Method:

    Steam cook veggies and squeeze away excess water. Then mix them with all the other ingredients(except oil). Make a neat dough.

    Allow this to stand for about an hour or so in the refrigerator.

    Now make equal parts out of it, Then skewer them.

    Either grill, bake or broil them. To get the deep color I deep fried from for quick 2minutes.

    Achaar Gosht




    Mutton Acahari Curry

    Achaar Gosht. Mutton in Rich Pickle style Curry. Mutton Curry with Pickling Spices.
    Mutton with bitter tasting spices curry.

    Being a South Indian, I rarely make Gosht recipe at home. Always appreciated Northies pickles, although same spices, they make it different from southerners. When there is no mood for hot southern version, I try this pungent-bitter curry for the variation.

    Ingredients:

    Goat's Meat 1/2 kilo(with or without bones)
    Bay leaves - 3
    Green chilies 3 - slitted
    Yogurts 1 cup
    Country tomatoes 1-2 - chopped
    Lemon/Lime juice – from 1 large fruit
    Sesame oil – 1/4 cup

    Achaari Masala Powder:

    To be Toasted & Powdered:(Achaar Powder 1)

    Mustard seeds 2 spoons
    Fenugreek seeds 2 spoons
    Coriander seeds 2 spoons
    Black pepper 2 spoons
    Dry red chilies 10
    Cumin seeds 1 spoon
    Fennel seeds 1 spoon.

    Other Ingredients for (Achaar Powder 2):

    Turmeric powder
    Salt
    Mango powder 2 spoons (Amchoor powder)
    Dried Ginger powder
    Dried Garlic powder.

    Method:

    Mix achaar powder 1 & 2 together. To this achaar masala mix lemon juice and set aside.

    Now slit green chilies and stuff few spoons of above masala in it. Set these stuffed chilies aside.

    Now chunk your meat, trim their cholesterol sheets. Then leave them in remaining achaar powder + yogurd mixer. Let this sit in marination for complete 2-4 whole hours.

    Heat oil in a strong bottomed Handi(preferably iron vessel). When the oil is hot enough, add bay leaves to it.

    Then followed by stuffed chilies. Let the chilies splutter well.

    Now add chopped tomatoes to it. Fry this real good. Maybe till tomatoes are soft and oil shows up on sides.

    Add marinated meat to it along with yogurts. Cover and cook them. Maybe till the chicken is almost done and gravy thickens and oil shows up on top.

    When the gravy is done and oil shows up on sides. Remove immediately from stove top and transfer the contents to display bowl.

    Variation: One can fry dry red chilies/green chilies separately in a pan and garnish it later. This looks better while serving.

    Garnish as you please...with chopped cilantro leaves or fried curry leaves.

    Serve this gravy warm along with Naan, Pulkas, Chappathis or Pooris. It tastes good with even plain steam cooked rice and Idly too.

    Kheema Biriyani





    Kaima Biriyani:

    Keema Biriyani. Minced Meat Biriyani. Kothukari Biriyani.

    Imagine getting meat in every bite of biriyani you have!!! I have friends saying.....they like just Kushka but not the meat in Biriyani so much! My another set of friends here are passionate meat lovers! To be a good host, one should know what the guest wants....not that one could prepare something easy/good at it! When one of the guest was a Non-Vegetarian at Gandhiji's Ashram....Gandhiji asked to prepare meat for his guest(of course the Great man genuinely refused it, that's the different story). I was told to do the same by my Dad!

    When it comes to making biriyani its always the ratio for me....balancing meat with rice. When I had guests who love lots of meat in their food, I tried to figure out this innovative minced meat one' so that as per the schedule I could balance the ratio and offer taste in every single bite. Kool, everyone enjoyed it to the core! Hope y'll should find it interesting too!!!

    Ingredients:

    For Meat Marination:

    Minced meat 1/2 kilo
    Ginger-garlic paste 1 spoon(freshly prepared)
    Green chili 2 minced
    Scallion 1 grated
    Country Tomato 1 grated
    Mint 6-8 leaves bruised
    Cilantro leaves bruised few
    Lemon 1 fruit freshly squeezed
    Rock Salt
    Chili Powder 1/4 spoon
    Yogurts 1/4 cup.

    For Biriyani:

    Short Grained Rice 2 cups
    Green chilies 6 slitted
    Onions 2 sliced
    Tomatoes 6 chopped
    Salt
    Chili powder (optional...its not used generally)
    Mint 10 leaves
    Cilantro few leaves
    Ghee 1 cup.

    Spices:

    Cloves 3
    Cinnamon 2 sticks
    Cardamom 6 crushed
    Bay leaves 3 crumbled
    Star anise 2
    Marati Mokku 3
    Rose petal few(dried)
    Birinji flower 1
    Saffron few strands - tapped

    Method:

    In a wide crock pot, heat ghee. Throw in all the spices. Let them crackle up.

    Then add chilies, wait till it splutters and turns white.

    Followed by onions...fry real good till golden. Maybe add salt to hasten your process.

    Now tomatoes....cover and cook. When tomatoes turn pulpy, add chili powder.

    Stir-in marinated minced meat. Cover and cook till meat is tender. It takes really...........long time!

    When the meat is tender and oil shows up on top, make sure there is no extra moisture. Then stir-in rice.

    Let the rice get well fried for brief period. Then measure your water and add the same.

    Cover and cook in a least possible heat. I always slow cook under sim, the no-1 knob here. Again it takes 1 to 1 and a 1/2 hours on stove top. Well one could set these in oven over 350 degrees for 3 whole hours. Choice is yours!

    Enjoy with accompany of Vellore Serva, Spanish Onion raita and Hard boiled egg!