Showing newest 13 of 18 posts from November 2009. Show older posts
Showing newest 13 of 18 posts from November 2009. Show older posts

28.11.09

Maaladdu





Maa Laadu:

Maaladdu. Pottukadalai Laddu. Instant Laddu. Fried Gram Laadu. Toasted Chana Dal Laddu. Chutney Pappu Laddu.

My mother is a shopaholic person...whether its groceries, dress or jewelry...she buys them in bulk(mind blowing)!! We had hard time, bringing her back to normal. The funny thing is she ends up buying again and again the same stuff, saying 'its missing' each time. Moreover she will be the last person...when it comes to enjoy the luxury. Anyway, everyone has their own weird trait, right.

Hmmm, besides so much of shopping neither my mother or myself never bought this 'toasted chana dal' in our entire life(I can't say that anymore)! Mommy never made that Chutney or esp' Pottukadalai chuteny' for tiffin. Even when she rarely prepares...it will be 'Thengai Chutney'. When I lived in hostel, I hated the chutney they serve (obviously made of just toasted chana, coconut completely missing!!!). So, my aversion for toasted chana grew...

Recently when I visited my home(India), happened to taste this Maaladdu from my neighbours! I quickly changed my opinion about toasted chana dal and asked my maid to run to the store. Its kind of instant sweet, absolutely requires no cooking and ready in minutes.:)

Ingredients:

Toasted Kabuli Chana 1 cup
Sugar as you like
Cardamom 3
Ghee few spoons
Milk few spoons.

Method:

Blend first three ingredients and bring them in a bowl. Mix the next two ingredients and shape them up into mini laadus.

Award



Mrs.Menaga and Susri has shared this wonderful award with me, Thank you so much.:)

25.11.09

Qubani Ka Meeta - Happy Thanks Giving Y'all










Kubhani ka Meetha:(Hyderabadi Style)

Qubani Ka Meetha. Qubani Ka Meeta. Apricot Halwa. Hyderbad Apricot dessert. Peach Pazham Halwa.

Another exciting recipe from the city of Char Minar (Hyderabad). I am reposting one of my old recipe, here today to Wish Y'all Happy Thanks Giving.:) Enjoy your holidays and have fun shopping:)

Ingredients

Dry apricot 250 gms
Sugar 150 gms
Almonds 1/4 cup(Toasted and peeled)

To Garnish:

Ice cream - vanilla
Fresh cream/Condensed Milk
Mint leaves.

Method

Wash the apricots and soak them in water, overnight...preferably in the fridge.

The next day...once the water is all sucked up, blend and puree them. Set aside.

In a heavy vessel, melt sugar with 1/4 cup of water. Bring it to syrup like consistency.

Now to this sugar syrup, add the puree and continue cooking over low flame/heat.

Once halwa consistency is achieved, remove from heat.

Transfer the contents into a serving dish. Serve warm or chilled accompanied by ice-cream. A spoonful of fresh cream can be used to garnish the dessert.

24.11.09

Bell Pepper Pilaf - Eating a Rainbow






Bell Pepper Pilaf:

Capsicum Pilaf. Kudai Milagai Pulav. Simla Mirchi Pulav.

Hot peppers, Chili peppers, Jalapenos, Habanero and Bell peppers (except that of black pepper) all the chili varieties comes under Solanacea family. They belong to the genus Capsicum. Though the term 'Capsicum' is meant for only 'Bell Peppers'(heat-less species) in British English, all the chili peppers do have an active compound 'capsaicin' (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonemamide). Well, this compound gives that slight irritation to our palate (the heat)to us (humans) and other mammals (herbivores). This is actually located in the veins of the peppers (inner core). Yes, heat doesn't not come from the seeds or flesh (like many think)!

Capsaicinoids - the secondary compound that are present in hot peppers (quite irritant) are not so harmful to birds! And why is not so irritant to birds? Hmmm, natural selection!!! As the brightly colored vegetables and fruits themselves are a part of natural selection...to attract birds and insects...to feed on them, in order to spread their seeds! On the other hand...the secretions of capsaicin is a defence mechanism of plants from being devoured by us (mammals and other herbivores)!! Then are we stealing? (maybe not...as long as we also cultivate, he he...not guilty)!!

Wait...I have seen people advocating on eating raw vegetables a lot these days. These active components are both liphiphilic ('oil lovers' means simply fat soluble vitamins)and hydrophobic ('fear of water' means active molecules will repel from water). Best way to consume them is mild cooking with little fat:)

The phrase 'Eating a Rainbow' means including various colored vegetables and fruits in the diet. Many are aware that, eating 5 servings of colored vegetables and fruits supply us enough essential nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. Probably the colors themselves leave us some clue to identify what kind of vitamins they really posses. For example the different colors of bell peppers may contain following vitamins and nutrients.

Yellow & Orange: Rich in Beta-carotene, flavonoids, Zeaxanthin, lycopene, potassium and vitamin C.

Red: Rich in lycopene, quercetin, hesperidin and ellagic acid.

Green: Rich in chlorophyll, fibre, lutein, calcium, folate acid and vitamin C.

Ingredients:

Basmati rice 1 cup
Bell peppers 4 (one from each color)
Onion 1 large sliced
Ginger-garlic paste 1 spoon
Salt
Mint leaves few, I used dried ones:(
Cloves 3
Cinnamon 1 stick
Bay leaves 2
Coconut milk 1 cup (thin)
Ghee/clarified butter 1/4 cup.

Method:

In a wide, heavy bottomed vessel...heat ghee. Add spices and fllowed by ginger-garlic paste, mint and onions.

Fry real good, add salt and rice...stir-fry for couple of minutes. Add coconut milk and continue cooking over low flame/heat.

Once 3/4th of rice is done...add the peppers. Cover and cook. Once the rice is well done and the peppers are cooked but still intact, remove from heat. Fluff them a little before serving.

Do you really want something to go with it?! Kidding, serve warm with spicy curry on the side.

23.11.09

Pilaf of Pearls - Awadh Nawabi Biriyani

Moti Biryani:(Mughalai Style)

Pearl Biryani, Moti Biryani, Moti Pilaf, Pearl Pilaf. Awadh or Lucnowi Biryani.

Its quite hard for me to define what exactly is 'Mughali Cuisine'. The The Timurid mongols revolutionized Indian cuisine! The Muslim invaders like Turks, Arabs, Persians and Afghans introduced feasting culture to India.
India's finest cuisine developed from, the 15th Century to about 19th Century. In the courts of Mughal Emperors, who raised cooking to an art form. Introduced several recipes to India like Biriyani, Pilaf and Kebabs. Today in all parts of India and beyod it is offered as the Countries Royal dish.


Awadh (historically important place...right from Hindu kingdom of Kosalas, Mughals and British raj)) now better known as Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh. Awadhi cooking style is greatly influenced by Mughals much like Hyderbad, Arcot, Kashmir and Delhi.

I don't have to highlight that Mughalai cuisine is known for richness, effort, delicasies..

Displays lavish wealth(from the then tax payers)

Haleem
Kebabs
Zarda

20.11.09

Basundi - Mommy's Touch






Basanthi:(Version 2)

Baasundi. Basundi. Basandhi. Basandhi.

I miss my Mommy, mother's food and I always will...so here is a simple way to ease the feeling!! I have already posted 'Saffron Basanthi' in my blog, long before! Right, why am I posting it again? Lately I thought, it is not the way mommy does that. I tweaked her recipe, beyond imagination, infused lot of saffron (so that's why I have to name it 'Saffron Baasanthi, he he) and it was no where came close to my Mommy's version! Today I present typically our home adopted version! Mommy intentionally adds more nuts in her desserts and that is how she used to prepare, when I was a kid.

While talking about 'wild imagination' in cooking, I need to tell you'll this little story...we had this cook named 'Iyemma', back home...long before!! She cooked 'Bitter Gourd Sambhar' with 'Minced Bitter Gourd and Lentils', yes just that...on her first day duty as a cook!!! We quickly learnt that she doesn't know any ABC of cooking! In fact the word 'cooking' and 'Iyemma' should not even be in the same sentence, if so they should be placed '1000 kilometers' apart! But she attempted to impress us, nevertheless. She had all signs of a person who wanted to cook, but she failed each time! Guess, she must have had this wild imaginations while combining ingredients, the way she substitutes will be mind blowing and even chopping she attempted everything unique...(well, that's all I could say here). In fact if she tried to compete with Sun TV cookery shows, she would have topped them all, he he. (No offence to those of you, who like Sun TV cookery shows)

Some people think different and lose their stand as a cook, in the end...Iyemma was one such example. I still remember the day she tried to make radish fry with whole radish, intact. But, Mommy managed with her 3 whole years...it was Mommy who cooked, and Iyemma just helped around!! Rarely we allowed her to put things together...sure her food tasted like something, yet to ascertain what it is though'!! Sometimes it is easy to follow thumb rule in cooking, I just follow my Mother's foot prints...I think that's the best thing to do, than mere attempting anything new.

Ingredients:

Milk 2 litres
Almonds
Cashew nuts
Pistachios
Sugar
Saffron pinch.

Method:

Boil milk over low-medium heat...do not stir or anything, once they form thin layer of cream...use a wooden spatula and carefully remove them and store the same.

Repeat this continuously until the milk reduced to 1/4 of its original volume.

Now to this left milk, add sugar syrup and saffron and throw in toasted sliced nuts.

Mix this reduced milk with cream you gathered. Chill them.

Should I even tell you all to grab your fork, now?!:)

19.11.09

Paruppu Paniyaram - Chettinad Special






Paruppu Paniyaram:(Chettinad Style)

Lentils Paniyaram. Dhal Paniyaram. Parippu Paniyaram.

Nothing much to say...I like chettinad cuisine. Especially their wide array of paniyarams:) I prefer 'Paruppu Paniyaram'(Mixed Lentils Puff?!!)better, as it is good source of protein. Unlike deep fried/shallow fried vadai it consumes less oil, so guilt free indulgence.

Ingredients:

Tuvar dal
Moong dal
Chana dal
Urad just few spoons
Rice few spoons
Salt
Soda 1 pinch
Ginger 2" grated
Green chilies 3 finely chopped
Cilantro few chopped
Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
Cumin seeds 1/4 spoon
Ghee/ Pam spray oil/ oil few spoons.

Method:

Soak the lentils and rice together for 2-4 hours and wet grind them coarsely.

Now throw in all the above mentioned items, except oil.

Heat the paniyaram/puff skillet, spray oil. Ladle down the batter. Cook over medium heat and turn them using fork/needle. Cook the other side too.

Is it ready?? Then what, flip them...serve yourself, enjoy:)

17.11.09

Chicken White Korma



Kozhi Vella Korma:

Chicken White Korma. Kodi Kuruma, Kozhi Vella Kuruma.

Vegetables in White Korma is mostly prefered with plain Nei Saadham in my home. My Grandma used to make it, to go with her speciality Thengai Birinji Saadham.

Vegetarians Choice:

Plain Onion-Tomato Korma
Eggs White Korma
Brussels Sprouts White Korma

Though neither my mother or grandmother attempted to cook this with meat, I felt like giving it a try! All day long...I tried to bring out 'Chicken in White Korma' and in the end I managed to bring out 'Chicken in Green Korma'!! So, here it turned out, pale green today!:( I love hot food...Guess I overwhelmingly used lot of Jalapenos!! Besides I don't get those regular green chilies here:( But trust me, despite of its color the korma was really good:)

Well...to bring out perfect color, use plenty of coconuts (if you are not guilty like me), use very less spices (as the spices will turn the curry yellow) and last but not least, use green chilies that are very small in size but super strong in heat!! Hope all this tips works out for me the next time:)

Ingredients:

Chicken breast and thighs (with skin-on & bone-in) 1/2 kilo
Coconut half a shell, grated and pureed
Salt
Green chilies 3
Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon
Fennel seeds 1 teaspoon
Cloves 2
Cinnamon 1
Cardamom 3 crushed
Onion 1 grated
Tomato 1 cut into big chunks
Ginger 2" grated
Coconut oil (preferably).

Method:

Blend ginger, onion, chilies, coconut, cumin and fennel seeds together. Set aside.

Heat oil, in a wok...add cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Wait till it crackles.

Now add chicken...saute for few minutes in oil, till they turn opaque. Add salt, cover and cook...maybe till its kind of half the way done.

Now add coconut puree from the step 1, continue cooking over low-medium heat. Once the raw odour of the gravy leaves the pan, oil shows up on top and chicken is tender...add tomato pieces to it.

Serve warm to go with your rice or rotis.

Tumkur Thatte Idly - Karnataka Special






Tumkur Thatte Idli:(Karnataka Style)

Karnataka's Flat Idlies. Thattae Idly. Thatte Idly. Flat Idlies. Madras Rathna Cafe Idly - Triplicane, Chennai. Palace Cafe Idly - Vellore. Thattai Idlies. Thattai Idly.

Thatte idly is certainly from Karnataka, as far as I know! It is said that its quite famous around the Tumkur district. Well, they have an unique set of idly steaming vessel and laddles for making this! The idly molds/laddles here are very shallow, much similar to plates (thattu)! So the idly comes out 'very flat' (thatte).

For Chennaiittes, much similar to Tumkur idly (more or less flat idlies, but not exactly the same) can be found at Ratna Cafe Hotel, Triplicane - Chennai. Another place I enjoyed thatte idly is from my home town, 'Palace Cafe Hotel, Opposite to CMC Hospital, Vellore. Though not exactly the same, they are more or less flat and definetely large ones! This place is known for its trendy 'two idlies and a Bucket full of Sambar'.

Well, I don't own that specilized thatte idly vessel, used a plate to prepare it, turned out fairly perfect. Since it is known as two idlies and bucket sambar at my place (Vellore)! I made the same, Ratna Cafe & Palace Cafe Hotel Style Sambar to go with it.

Ingredients:

Parboiled rice 1/2 cup
Raw rice 1/2 cup
Urad dal 1/2 cup
Fenugreek seeds 1 spoon.
Salt
Soda
Sesame oil

Method:

Soak raw and paroiled rice together in water for at least 5 hours.

Urad dal and fenugreek should be soaked separately for half an hour.

Wet grind them separately. Using less water.

Later mix them together.

Add salt, soda (dissolved in water), sesame oil 2 spoons.

Allow it to ferment. May be for about 7 hours.

Once the fermentation part is over...the Idly batter is ready.

In a Idly mold/thatte laddle...smear either ghee or sesame oil.

Pour little batter to it.

Steam cook for about 10 mins.

Serve warm along with chutney and sambar.

15.11.09

Vegetarian's Fish Curry - Arusuvai Arasu's Recipe









Saiva Meen Kuzhambu:(Chettinad Style)

Vegetarian's Fish. Vegetarian's Fish Gravy. Saiva Meen Kuzhambu. Dhall-Machchili ka Saalan. Pappu-Chappalu Pulusu.

Auntie told that she learnt this recipe from The Famous Chef 'Arusuvai Arasu'. When the crew cooked for the family function. And its a big hit.:) This curry was too good and the sentiment was shared by all (Vegetarians and Not so Vegetarians).

Did I ever tell you'll that many(80%) of my relatives are all hard core vegetarians!! One of my Auntie said that 'she never had a chance to see an egg' until the day she got married to my uncle:( Although its hard to believe, I have to respect her feelings. I generally don't talk about my food expeditions to her.

At the same time...I feel pretty bad, when people make faces at non-vegetarians! Come on, its just a food! Well...I am this person who doesn't mind what is cooked, but do care a lot 'how it is cooked, presented and eaten! Get the point? I expect hygiene at every level (right from procuring the produce, treating the stuff in the kitchen, the presentation and the table manners). I have a cousin who eats plain 'curd rice' in a very disgusting manner (with all her 5 fingers going in and out each time, yogurts running till her elbow and the slurping noise exceeding 1000 decibels). I don't mind whether it is a 'crab meat or quail feather or frog leg or bat tissue', all I expect is...it should be well done, neatly presented and if people enjoy it...wish everyone learns to respect them! Yeah, this will make me very happy.

Ingredients:

For Vegetarian's Fish Fillets:

Dry whole thuvar dal (cow peas, I guess), Muzhu thuvarai in Tamil.
Salt
Ginger 2"
Garlic 2 cloves
Dry red chilies
Fennel seeds
Curry leaves
Oil for shallow frying
Banana/plantain leaves
Skewer
Steam cooker.

For Curry:

Garlic 1 fistful, peeled & crushed
Red onions 2 finely chopped
Tomatoes 2 chopped
Salt
Turmeric
Chili powder
Tamarind paste 1 spoonful
Sesame oil few spoons
Vadagam (Tempering spices of Tamils)
Mustard seeds 1/2 spoon
Cumin seeds 1/2 spoon
Fenugreek 1 pinch
Peppercorns 2
Asafoetida
Curry leaves
Dry red chilies.

Method:

Soak and wet-grind the lentils, along with spices to a thick batter.

Now clean the banana leaf, sprinkle water...place the skewer stick. Now mount a fistful of batter on the top, pat them into fish shape, you get it??

Now repeat the same for all the batter, oh yeah each time in different leaf with skewer placed, okay. Maybe you chop the leaves accordingly.

Now carefully place them in your steam cooker (idly cooker, if you have one), I used bamboo steamer here (yes Chinese one, very good indeed).

Once they are done, probably took 10 whole minutes for me. Then remove the skewers gently.

Then I also shallow fried them for brief time, to get that nice reddish tint up there, sounds cook, huh.

Again...should I even talk about making the curry...you'll know!

Once the curry is thickened, drop these fried vegetarian's fish and cook over medium heat for few minutes...never overdo here, they may tend to disintegrate.

Serve warm to go with your rice.

12.11.09

Honey & Nuts Milk Shake



Nuts and Honey Milk Shake:

Honey Milk Shake, Nuts Milk Shake.

Honey is truly an insect product. It has high nutritive value, loaded with vitamins. However the food value of honey may be estimated by the presence of sugar in it, approximately 80% of sugar. One should not be confused with honey is a direct plant product because of the nectar, pollen and cane-sugar being secretions of flowers!! As they are all digested by honey bees, get mixed with their saliva and undergo certain chemical changes due to enzyme action. At this stage sucrose (sucrose) is converted into dextrose and levulose (invert sugar). At this very same time, some of the ingredients of honeybees are also added to the mixture and the water content gets reduced (so honey thickens). The whole mixture is then collected into the crop of honeybees...until the bees reaches the hive. As the bees reaches the hive, this compound is regurgitated into the hive cell and now it is officially known as 'Honey'.

Ingredients:

Dry figs 3
Dates 6 ( de seed)
Almonds 5
Cashew nuts 5
Pistachios 5
Walnuts 5
Piyal seeds (sarai paruppu)few spoons
Banana 1 large
Honey 3-4 teaspoons
Organic whole milk 4 cups.

Method:

Blend all the above mentioned ingredients together till smooth.

Serve chilled in a tall glass. Makes a healthy choice for breakfast.

11.11.09

Deep Fried Jumbo Shrimps



Deep Fried Jumbo Shrimps:

Shrimps Tempura (Japanese Style), Epi-Fry. Prawns Bajji, Shrimps Bajji. Beer battered Shrimps Fry. Fried Shrimps Crispies.

Fried Shrimps is a dish for party...When you are looking for not so messy Finger foods. Its quickly whipped, ready in minutes and a best way to use up the leftovers from the pantry, he he. Vegetarians, please use thinly sliced vegetables in place of shrimps. The results? Pretty good, pretty good indeed.

Ingredients:

Large Jumbo Shrimps (with tail fins-on)
Salt
Beer few teaspoons (optional)
Egg whites
All purpose flour
Bread crumbs (Panko, Japanese bread crumbs)
White pepper pinch
Peanut oil (preferably)
Skewers.

Method:

Do not butterfly the shrimps or anything, have them intact...leave the tail fins-on.

Now marinate them in beer, salt and pepper for few hours. Then coat them with egg or buttermilk...roll them over flour + bread crumbs.

Carefully run the skewer in the middle...deep fry them in hot oil, till crisp.

Enjoy as a starter or as a snack.

9.11.09

Restaurant Style Rawa Dosa







Hotel Style Rawa Dosai:

Saravanaa Bhavan Hotel Style Rawa Dosai. Restaurant Style Rawa Dosa. Paper Thin Rawa Dosa. Rava Dose. Sooji Dosa. Semolina Crepes.

Though I claim here, its Restaurant style but I have to admit that mine isn't that perfect after all! But I am glad that I tried.:) I am not a big fan of Saravana Bhawan's food.:( I am sorry. One main thing is 'its totally vegetarian' and the second thing is 'I feel its kind of greasy' always! Anyway...that's my opinion. But many of my vegetarian friends consider this place, heaven. They simply rave over the number of tiffin items prepared there. Well, I ought to contradict my own statement now...I love Hotel Style Paper Roast and Onion Rawa Dosa...which is very hard to fix at home (or at least for me). Aaah can I say this after gazing at so many food blogs out there, girls are super smart competing with Restaurant secret recipes!

Between, I have been trying to perfect this recipe to win some lucky fellow's heart, here. Hmmm, indeed I did.:) Well...he liked my 'rawa dosa' better than Saravana Bhawan's, he he. I know he is lying to me...but its kind of sweet.

Ingredients:

Semolina/Sooji/Rawa 1 cup
All purpose flour 1/4 cup
Butter milk to liquid the batter
Salt
Hing/Asafoetida pinch
Green chilies finely chopped
Cilantro finely chopped
Ginger finely chopped
Peppercorns few
Cumin seeds few
Curry leaves few
Grated coconut 1 spoon
Sesame oil or ghee.

Method:

Make a thin batter using all the above said ingredients except oil. Make them too watery like buttermilk in fact.

Heat up the skillet, make them too hot...now run oil.

Sprinkle the batter unevenly and reduce the heat...now join those dots using batter. Turn over high heat. Run spoon full of oil and remove from heat.

Well...the griddle should be super hot to achieve perfection, maybe don't consider your first dosa...mostly they won't budge.

Enjoy with chutney and sambar.