Mushroom Manchurian:(Restaurant Style)
During rainy afternoons, day dreaming, is so inevitable. I prefer day dreaming, to be honest...it just smacks of sentimentality. Not that a trait, I inherited or anything. Just like to live in my own post-apocalyptic life style...hunting, fishing, foraging, building tools?...
Hmmm, looking seriously to join the hunting troop at Oxford (only thing that stops me is, its so unusual for girls)! Just want to experiment 'how it would be to hunt and forage for our dinner plate'! What kind of karmic feeling do we actually experience, while doing so!!
Well, for today's recipe...I didn't gather this mushrooms for sure. Though I strongly wish to do in future...but I am ain't sure, how far my instincts are sharp to analyse an edible or poisonous mushrooms!!
Anyhow, I enjoyed this mushroom manchurian at Rain Forest Restaurant, Adyar Chennai with our family friends. Yeah, yeah you got it right...I was accompanied by bunch of vegetarians and that's why happened to taste this interesting appetizers.:)
White pepper 1 spoon
Soy sauce light
Green chilies 2 chopped finely
Green onions(white part alone finely chopped)
Egg whites from an egg
Oil for deep frying
Soy sauce heavy
Hot sauce(optional, I didn't 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.
Mix salt, MSG, pepper, chilies, soy sauce, flour, egg white and baste them over the mushrooms.
Now deep fry them in warm oil, till golden to reddish brown.
In a separate pan, heat sesame oil. Add chilies, onions, ginger and garlic, saute them. Add fried mushrooms as well. (Well...I skipped this step, as my mushrooms were very hot already and moreover...I consumed some as soon as they were fried, he he)
Now add all the sauces, let it coat to all the sides. Add green onions and remove from heat.
Enjoy. Yummy right!!!
Pepper Fish Fry:
Baked Whole Fish. Baked Pepper Fish. Meen Milagu Varuval.
I have been wanting to cook 'whole fish' for a pretty long time! When you cook an animal whole with its skin-on and bone-in...it always ends up tastier, more succulent, less likely to dry out and its very interesting to spend some quality time, encountering the whole fish on the dinner plate!! For a little more quite an adventurous meal...I would also like to accompany my friends for a fishing trip and head back to grill the catch!! With this weather condition, the plan was completely moot!!!
Anyway, when I spotted this good looking fish (better than the frozen fillets, okay) bagged it quickly. Without putting too much thought into it, I attempted this pepper fish! However, I would like to create a new category saying 'Fast'!! Yeah, its fashioned around the usual style, just prepared some basic spice rub (no, not the store bought one'). Since I have been very successful baking chicken, tofu, mushrooms etc...it was decided to be done in the same way. In many ways it did simplify the process!
Whole fish (still prefer with head tho')
Lemon juice /vinegar
Pepper powder - fresh
White pepper powder 1 spoon
Walnuts/almonds ground 1-2 teaspoons
Olive oil few spoons.
Wash and clean the fish several times, remove the gut and gills.
Combine all the above mentioned ingredients and marinate the fish in it for 2-4 hours.
Bake them for about 20-30 minutes over 350 F. If necessary broil them briefly for 2 minutes.
There is nothing quite fun' like cold weather and hearty comforting meal:) But frankly, I cringe going back to my college days at New Delhi. Imagine, hostel room - without heaters, me pulled over with big huge razaayi(comforter)!!Somehow...it still gives me fright!!!
Anyhow...myself and my roomie used to sneak out to this nearby Chinese fast food place' for some steaming hot soup or fried noodles:) Hmmm, since we were not allowed to eat out without prior notice(?? come on, how is that possible??) so we just go back and bhavla(pretend) to eat the mess food! Oh boy, those were some days...
Well, I have couple of rules to make my noodles. Typically, throw in lots of colored vegetables, as much as possible! So, you need to decide what kind of vegetables that you like the most, and its important to make sure that they remain crunchy. Its not that it is hard to figure...key for better noodles is to cook them in salted water and rinse them in cold water several times(to get rid off that wax coated stuff, that comes in today's packages), Fry them over high heat' to achieve perfection.
Noodles 1 box
Bell peppers (yellow, orange, green and red)
Soy sauce thick
Hot sauce (optional)
Ginger 2" grated
Garlic 1 clove minced
Sesame seeds (white) 1/4 spoon
Sesame oil 1/4 cup
Green onions to garnish.
Cook noodles in salted water for few minutes and then rinse them well. Set aside.
Stir-fry the vegetables, with a pinch of MSG(or skip it). Set aside.
In a very wide wok, heat oil...add sesame seeds, ginger and garlic. Fry over high heat.
Now throw in noodles and fry till oil coats well and its kind of fried.
Now, add the vegetables and soy sauce...continue frying over high heat.
Remove and garnish with green onions. Enjoy:)
Hot & Spicy Pop Sickle:
I still manage to bring some decent food, using only the basic gadgets at home(some are very primitive tho'). Yes, I prefer stone grinder over a blender for little things, I am the only Indian(atleast I think so') who never owned a pressure cooker!!! It has always been so easy for me trash and donate all the unwanted goods like (electric rice cooker, steamer, deep fryer, etc)considering the fact, that I will never use them! I do the same, when I visit my home...rearrange with only essentials!! Which really makes my Mom very mad(angry)!!!I dunno why, never been an electronic person!
Over the time, I have accumulated many kitchen tools, that is so unlike me! Like I discovered, untouched gadgets in my kitchen...electric mixer, coffee blender, immersion circulator (foam creator?), bullet mixie (used only once), food processor (simply untouched), marianation syringe, couple of thermometers...though I kept saying, I know how to take care of myself with basic essential goods, it happens to me too...shopped so much without any idea!!!
So, I also had this 'pop sickle mold' abandoned somewhere in my kitchen cupboard. Planned to fix something adult today, aaah don't get me wrong or anything, made some hot & spicy pop sickle, just to suit this lovely not-so-cold but yet 'breezy cold weather!!
Salt to taste
Dash of Chaat masala.
Blend and puree everything together and fill them up in a pop-sickle mold, freeze.
Thaw them a little and enjoy:) Yes, I liked it:)
What is so unappetizing in today's microwavable ready to eat meals? Why sometimes the package food, is so complicated to me? Who am I kidding? Am still living in the nostalgic past? I can't put anything in my mouth, that doesn't look close to food!! Simply I wouldn't entertain myself with fancy cup noodles that is designed to fit in the car cup holders!!!
I am just looking backwards, how Mommy used to pack me lunch! No tinned materials to leach away the chemicals, definitely its not microwavable plastic that cause cancer! The food is simply home-made, not greasy, neatly packed and never went bad.
Most of the time, my school bus friends used to devour my lunch in few minutes (that is, before I even reach the school campus in the morning). Sharing the food among friends, eating together and laughing together brought us close! Now miles apart, but still we do cherish each other!!!
Even though I didn't like idly so much with this podi', I used to take them more often for my friends. Yes, exactly they like it well-dipped in ghee and rolled in spicy idly milagai podi(and that's not my taste'). For a fifteen' sixteen' year old, friends come first, right! Well, indeed my mother packed my lunch as per my friends instructions.:)
Kamal Kakdi Curry:
Thaamarai Thandu Kuzhambu.
The native vegetables and fruits, never fails to smoother one with plenty of home feelings. This happens to me once in a while, when I go to shop' at Memphis farmer's market. If you are in an alien land...missing your home cooking, produce section can bring some happiness!
I never tasted lotus stem before, my brother kept talking about 'how he enjoyed lotus stem chips' and raved about delicacies that could be made with lotus seeds. So, when I came across this fresh stem...never gave a second thought, just bagged it home. After cleaning, dissected it in all possible geometrical shapes and enjoyed it raw:) They taste like 'banana stem' to me! Finally, googled couple of recipes and settled with this...
Onion 1 large grated
Ginger 2" minced
Garlic 2 cloves minced
Tomato puree 1/2 cup
Coconut milk 1 cup
Turmeric 1/4 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Oil few spoons.
Wash and peel the lotus stem, treat them like plantain stem. The inner hollow tubules may be filled with sand...so wash several times, until you're confident. Slice them and set aside.
In a wide wok, heat oil. Add ginger, garlic and onion...fry real good. Wait till the raw smell leaves the pan. Add tomato puree and sliced stems. Cover and cook till tender.
Add coconut milk and bring this to boil. Remove from heat.
Serve to go with your pulkah rotis.
I grew up making sweets and snacks for our evening chai. Hmmm, that's when Mommy would allow me to play with food.:) I kept perfecting the old recipes and tried something new, each time...never heard the word 'NO' from my mother! Moreover, kitchen is the place, where myself and mommy had our best conversations! And also its a great excuse to take a bite of all the goodies.:)
One good thing about growing up in a not-so-traditional household is, never had any strict convections or laws of taboo food nor they patronised any ethnic recipes. So, I am allowed to experiment both at lab and my home:)
Please do yourself a favour, try this recipe immediately...honestly it isn't that hard at all. The recipe for Indian flat bread has been researched and dissected a million times, so here is my own version for 'Shirmal'. I enjoyed this light bread for the first time at 'Chandni Chowk, New Delhi'.
All purpose flour 1 cup
Salt to taste
Sugar 2 teaspoons
Active yeast 1/2 spoon
Saffron few strands
Warm water/warm milk
Raisin and nuts to garnish
Add salt and sugar to the warm water, add yeast to it. Mix well and allow it to stand for about 20 minutes.
Once the water turns frothy, add flour and saffron, knead to soft dough.
Divide them into equal parts. Roll them thin and stud with raisins, give a egg wash if needed.
Bake them at 350 F for about 20 minutes.
Appam. Paniyaram. Unniappam. Nei Appam.
During summer vacation, We (myself and cousins) used put our Derra'(camp) at Madras, Periamet...Grandma's house. All day long is mostly fun filled activities...learning to drive bicycle in the narrow streets, playing cricket using rubber ball, passing comments on all the baldies from 4th floor, persuading Uncle to take us to the beach, light house, circus, what ever...definitely tired by evening!!!Grandma used to make this 'nei appam' in the evening and we will devour it, in minutes.
This is one recipe, that I requested my Auntie to bring the original recipe for me to try. She is so kind to photocopy all her recipe collection and brought that as a sweet surprise to me, at the airport(when I headed back here). Although I made them using this fancy griddle, my grandma used to bring the same shape without any special equipment...she directly fries the batter in hot ghee, yep' still it turns out very uniform in shape, fluffy and so spongy! Hmmm, kind of still working on it!! Here you go, my short cut version till then...
Raw rice 1 cup
Jaggery 1/2 cup
Coconut milk 1/4 cup
Coconut grated few spoons
Cardamom powder 1/4 spoon
Dash of ginger powder
Ghee/clarified butter for deep frying/pan frying.
Soak rice for several hours and wet-grind the same to thick batter.
Add all the other ingredients to it, except oil.
Now heat oil, in a pan...and spoon-in the batter and fry the same, till golden brown to reddish brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Sathu Maavu Urundai:
I didn't grow up in a farm nor entirely in restaurant special menu, household! There were times, when garnishing was not so important, even on festival occasions! But, none of this bothered us...coz' we were all zeroing down in the main course or simply drowned in the spicy curries.
When, I happen to face myself in the kitchen (rather too early at my age), started experimenting all the delights I gone through at various occasions, (not to mention, was travelling a lot)! But believe me, whenever I wanted to treat myself, I do settle for the long last childhood food! Simply recapture the simplest form of food (salt and steam kind). I never look forward to fix them in million different ways! We call it healthy!
No, no, I am still not talking about 'Diet food' here! In fact that doesn't even exist in my dictionary! All I know is...little about calories, bit of science, good physical activity (many call it exercise, work out), to curb the stress, bring positive outlook during painful moments and sure, Eating Right with loved ones.
Health mix flour 1 cup. (Raagi, bajra, whole wheat, barley, oats, millets, cashew nuts, almonds, and much more)
Sugar 3/4 cup
Cardamom powder 1/4 spoon
Ghee few spoon
Milk few spoons
Cashew nuts 10 sliced and fried in ghee
Raisins 15, fried in ghee.
Dry toast the health mix powder for couple of minutes, or till aromatic.
Now add powdered sugar to it. Mix the other ingredients too...sprinkle milk and bring them into soft dough. Divide into equal parts and shape them into laadus.
Yep, that's it...pop them into your mouth! Delicious, right!!!
Kappa Kizhangu Chips:(Kerala Style)
Yucca Tubers Chips, Cassava Tubers Chips.Manioc Chips Maravalli Kizhangu Chips. Kuchi Kizhangu Chips. Tapioca Chips. Impossibly crunchy homemade chips!!!
Manihot esculenta is the Botanical name of this plant. Where they have modified tap root...rich in starch(Yes, like potato). Its eaten in many parts of the world today, but traces its origin to South America.
In India, it is often associated with famine food'. During depression, people mainly sustained with just few tapioca plants planted at their backyard...the starchy tubers satisfied their hunger.
Nothing fancy today, just spotted this tubers at Korean market', manipulated it in quite number of ways, but the best results came, when I intended to do the chips!!! Yeah, it did turn out very crispy, than I thought it would be! It was bit tricky to slice them thin, but patience is virtue, right.
Tapioca roots 1 large
Dash of chili powder
Crisply fried curry leaves few
Oil for deep frying(Want ethnic flavor? Use coconut oil for frying).
Peel and then slice them thinly. Set aside.
Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry these in hot oil. Few at a time.:)
Now, to the fried chips add salt, chili powder and curry leaves. Mix well and store in an air tight container.:)
Enjoy with tea. It serves as a good muchie, while watching TV, reading a book (should I even say that!).
Chicken Masala. Kozhi Varuval. Kozhi Porichadhu. Kodi Kura.
There are zillion of ways to prepare a chicken, in my kitchen!!! Its hard to resist eating chicken, at least once every single day. I know, I know you are horrified on hearing the word 'fried'! Yeah 'lipophobia' is a national epidemic we all share today.
Definitely this post is not about 'heart healthy' or 'trimming the fat'...its just suitable to anyone, who wants to deepen their 'pleasure of eating'. Walk an extra mile or do something productive at your work place...head home for a juicy pan-fried ginger chicken, now say me a honestly 'are you still guilty'?
Chicken - I used boneless, skinless, breast meat - cubed! But I recommend bone-in, skin-on thighs for sure.
Green chilies 6-8
Chili sauce 1/2 cup
Ginger garlic paste 2 spoon
One large purple onion grated
Cilantro 1 fistful
Lemon juice few spoons
Curry leaves 1 fistful(optional)
Beer 1/4 cup(optional)
Oil for pan-frying.
Ginger julienned 1 cup
Cilantro chopped 1 fistful.
Add salt and lemon juice to the chicken. Let this stand for a while.
Now pan fry the chicken briefly in hot oil. Do not throw the oil.
Once the meat is done, opaque and crispy...stir-in all the above mentioned ingredients and keep frying over medium to high heat, until you achieve this above finishing color. And its totally the end product' that will compel you to conclude cooking. So, garnish them right away and enjoy:)
Chekodi, Ring Murukku, Andhra Murukku. Kara Murukku.
I am not a big fan of 'murukku'. But my Dad likes 'Andhra Style Murukku' so much. And we buy this 'Chegodilu' from all over the city shops for him! Its not that, I won't take a bite or anything...but just won't buy it for myself!! Archana Sweets, Chennai has the best one.:) My mommy never attempted this at home, she always keeps repeating the same Tamil Nadu style 'Thenkozhal', despite Dad likes it or not!!! So, here is my attempt...
Rice Flour 1 cup
Tymol seeds 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds 1/2 spoon
Sesame seeds 1/2 spoon
Chili powder - more!!!
Baking soada 1 pinch
Curry leaves - toasted and crushed
Mung dal - toasted and powdered 1 fistful (I didnt use it tho')
Oil for deep frying.
Mix all the above mentioned items(except oil)together...sprinkle warm water and bring them to smooth dough. Run few spoons of oil if necessary.
Now, divide them into equal parts...make them as shown in the picture. Deep fry in hot oil.
Enjoy with your tea.:)