Stuffed Kovaikkai:(Andhra Special)
Kovakka Nirachadhu. Gutti Dondakaya. Stuffed Tinda. Stuffed Tindora. Bharwa Tindora.
My Mommy never bought nor prepared Tinda at home. As a child never saw this vegetable. My whole life was from hostel to hostel and mess to mess. I sometimes really missed how the food tastes at home:(
When I was in Tamil Nadu hostel...I used to hate this vegetable, used to be angry at the mess boys saying 'eppavume kovaikkai sambhar thaana:(' (always tinda sambhar' eh).
My attitude completely changed when I moved to Hyderabad. I understood that this is such a delicate vegetable. Its all in the hands of cook, right. Typical Andhra meals are hot and spicy, which indeed turned me a foodie, later. My cooking passion also got shaped slowly. Stuffed Tinda is one of delicacy there, with myriad flavors.
Kovaikai/tinda/dondakai 1/4 kilo
Sesame oil few spoons.
To be Toasted and Powdered:
Coriander seeds 2 spoons
Cumin seeds 1 spoon
Pepper 1/2 spoon
Cinnamon 1 stick
Poppy seeds 1/2 spoon
Sesame seeds 2 spoons
Dry red chilies 5
Dry coconut 2 spoons.
Slit the veggie twice and boil them for 10 minutes.
In a wide wok, heat oil and fry ginger-garlic and onion...add the spices to it. Now puree them.
Stuff the above masala in the vegetable.
Once again, heat oil in a wide wok...add these stuffed vegetable and stir-fry over high heat. Once the oil shows up on the sides plus the raw odour of the masalas are gone, its done.
Serve to go with your rotis or plain steamed rice.
Kattu Choru' literally means 'Pack Rice'. In olden days, this is one of the method to preserve the food' for their long journies. The strong spices and tamarind kept their food fresh and aromatic for days. Especially in tropical weather, food goes rancid very quickly...we tend to heat food for long time with lots of hot chilies. Pickling, salting, drying and adding something citric are all some of the basic preserving techniques followed in those days. Though my mother never made this for us...I vaguely remember my grandmother's cooking, she used to pack this kind of rice for our train journey.
Parboiled rice 1 cup
Tamarind fruits 3 (shelled, deseed & pureed)
Dry red chilies 5
Curry leaves 3 twigs
Chana+Urad dal 4 spoons
Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
Mustard 1/2 spoon
Turmeric 1 pinch
Oil few spoons.
In a pan, heat oil. Add the spices and followed by tamarind puree. Add 3 cups of water. Boil this for couple of minutes.
Add rice and slow cook over low to medium heat.
Once the rice is done, remove from heat.
Pack them in your lunch box, share with your friends and accept the kudos:)
Dum Cooking This is one of the slow-cooking method that was introduced to India, by Mughals. It is one of the oldest cooking methods, which dates back to 1500s! Abu Fazl's book 'Ain-i-Akbari'( about King Akbar) describes various cooking styles and recipes in the Royal kitchen. He has also mentioned about 'Dumpukht' a style of cooking, derived from Persian word 'Dum' meaning 'air-cooked' or 'baked'. Although it is not literally air cooked!! What it means is, meat is cooked with its own water, through internally generated steam, where the vessel is sealed with elastic dough/with softened clay. Thus it actually prevents the steam from escaping and the food is done very slowly(with internal steam). The earliest documented 'Dumpukht recipe' is found in Ain-i-Akbari.
Even though this culinary technique was quite familiar to the royal kitchen, however the credit goes to later Mughal ruler, who actually popularised it! And that is how the technique once that was restricted only to the royals, reached common man.
During, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah(1700s)of Awadh, dumpukht got famous. In the year 1780, the state of Awadh had severe famine and unemployment was also high. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah, the erstwhile ruler decreed the never ending construction of a giant edifice, the Bara Imambara...creating unceasing employment to the locals. So, arrangements were made to provide food, both day and night. It was a complete one pot meal, where rice, meat, lots of local vegetables, sour fruits and spices were cooked together.
Huge containers were filled with rice, meat, vegetables and spices. They were sealed and slow cooked, they ensured an uniform heat from the top by just placing some hot charcoal on the lids. Thus food was made available to the work force during day and night. When the King came to take a look at the arrangements procedures, he got really impressed with the cooking techniques. When the containers of slow cooked meals were opened, the aroma of spices filled the air, the meat turned out to be very tender that it kept falling off the bones and vegetables like turnips, eggplants and sour tasting fruits with rice gave out a complete health gumbo of deliciousness . So, it was once again adopted by the royal cooks and many recipes were later developed using this simple technique and it received an impetus appreciation from Royals as refinement in cooking.
All purpose flour/Whole wheat flour 1 cup
Pinch of turmeric
Combine and bring a soft dough.
Fried/dried onions 1 cup
Black cumin seeds
Rose syrup 1 spoon
For the Dish:
Rice 2 cups
Meat (lamb/goat/poultry) 1 cup
Vegetables (carrot, beans, turnips, beets, cauliflower, peas, potatoes, soya etc)
Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Corinader seeds powder 1 spoon
Cumin seeds powder 1/2 spoon
Garam masala powder 1/4 spoon
Green chilies minced
Onions 2 grated
Ginger 2" grated
Garlic 4 minced
Mint leaves 10 crushed
Cilantro 1 cup chopped
Ghee 1 cup.
Marinate meat with all the spices other ingredients(except oil, vegetables and rice)mentioned above.
Now wash rice several times in running tap water, once the water runs clear, retain the rice. Then semi cook the rice and set aside.
In a wide wok, heat ghee and add the marinated meat. Fry for few minutes, once the meat turns opaque and raw smell of spices are gone, throw in the vegetables. Remove from heat.
Now, in a wide oven safe tray...spread the meat-vegetable and followed by semi-cooked rice, repeat the same for more layers. Cover the vessel with a prepared elastic dough. Now set your oven at minimum possible temperature. Slow cook till tender and nice.
Garnish them as you please with fried onion, nuts, raisin and saffron.
Enjoy as a main course.:)
Ande Ki Salan:
I decided to embrace 'Slow Cooking Ritual' at least once in a while. Its very therapeutic to me. With my time schedule and working commitments, it’s not always possible. But that is not an excuse, to deny myself 'The Pleasure of Cooking', which, I enjoy the most. Again, I didn't mean that, only slow cooking' is a better cooking or anything! But its what I like.:)
As you know, I love experimenting new dishes and flavors. This is one such experiment, in my kitchen. It was a cold Sunday evening, when I was left with no good movies in the TV' decided to try 'Ande ke Salan'.
Prolonged cooking will make the egg protein to go rubbery. The protein molecules(egg whites)will entangle and tangle, over and over...on heat, which will leave an extraordinary tuff bond!!! So, how did I tackle this dish? There comes the knob' to set in minimum possible temperature!
I challenged every laws of physics, that exists. So, this is an incredibly slow poached eggs in 'hot and spicy gravy'. That imparted a great deal of flavor. What else to say...'Happy Meal', at last.:)
Green chilies 1-2
Onions 2-3 medium
Ginger 2 cloves minced
Ginger 1" grated
Turmeric 1/4 spoon
Chili powder 1/2 spoon
Cilantro leaves few
Oil few spoons.
Saute chilies, ginger, garlic, onions and tomatoes for few minutes and add 2-3 cups of water. Cover and cook, till tender.
Now mash and puree them, set aside.
In a wide wok/pan, heat oil. Add this puree. Add salt, turmeric and chili powders.
Cover and cook over low heat. Once you see them bubbly...make a small well in the gravy. Break open an egg, right into it. Repeat the same...for as much as eggs you wanted to be poached. Now turn them down to minimum possible temperature. Put a tight lid, on the top.
When the egg is half the way done, remove the cover...and spoon the thickened gravy and layer them on the top. Let this all happen on the same, minimum temperature.
Now, aim for...completely cooked eggs and a well thickened gravy. If possible...bring each eggs into separate entities.
Haleem is a minced meat plus wheat based delicasy, that is prepared during the fasting month of Ramzaan(Ramadhaan). I happended to taste this heavenly dish at Hyderabad. I was told that, it is a speciality food and its prepared only at two places (Lucknow and Hyderabad). The exciting fact of the recipe is, its long cooking hours. Oh, yes...it takes a whole day...soaking, grinding and cooking it. This really heightens the joy feasting, after a fast. As I mentioned before, I really enjoy slow cooking...its lot of fun.
I tried the same recipe with minced chicken, they turned out fairly decent 'palatable'. Guess, vegetarians could craftly use shredded soy chucks or meal maker in place of meat.:)
Lamb/goats meat - minced 100 grams
Whole wheat 250 grams
Yogurt 1/4 cup
Ginger-garlic paste 1/2 spoon
Green chilli paste 2 spoons
Cilantro leaves - minced
Lemon juice 2-4 spoons
Black cardamoms crushed and powdred
Garam masala powder 1 spoon
Ghee 1/4 cup (Yes more, I know...it requires)
Salt as per taste
Onion 1 large sliced and fried to garnish.
Mix together the Ginger garlic paste, chili paste, yogurt, lemon juice, cilantro paste, cardamom, salt and garam masala powders. Marinate the meat in this mixture for about 2-4 hours.
Soak the whole wheat overnight. Mkae sure that it doesnt fermet or anything...its good to soak in the fridge. Next day, cook the wheat till tender. Bring this down to room temperature and puree them. Wet grind using little or no water.
Heat ghee in a wide wok. Add the marinated meat. Turn around over high heat, once the meat tuns opaque. Add water to cover and cook. Set over low to medium heat.
Once meat is done, add the wheat paste and continue to cook for another 20 to 30 minutes.
Garnish with fried onions, fried chilies and run a spoonful of ghee on the top.
Serve steaming hot.
Kothu Barotta: (Repost)
Kothu Barotta. Street Food - Kothu Roti. Kyma Barotta. Chili Barotta. Fried Barotta. Kai-endhi Bhawan Style Kothu Barotta.
While growing up, I had a profound curiosity over street food...since I spent much of life in hostel, there were typical moments in my daily life! Myself and my friends end up exploring 'Street food'! It tends to be more authentic, fresh, inexpensive and more fun than a typical restaurant. My brother kept advising me to refrain from eating out...but I never budged. After encountering considerable number of germs and microbes in the lab, started with some light cooking in the room and now completely gave up eating out(at fast food joints and unknown places)!
This is something from my home state - Tamil Nadu, where the stall cooks usually throw the barotta dough(like pizza dough)and do all sorts of gymnastics to attract their customers...One thing that never bothered me back then was 'how heavy handed these cooks are, when it comes to using oil'! After done talking to my friends(on New Year's day)...it stirred up all nostalgic days of childhood, early teen...so just re posting one of my old work.:)
How to make the barottas?
Soft cold barottas-4(made into bite size pieces)
Green chilies 3 finely chopped
Curry leaves 1 cup
Onion 2 finely chopped
Tomato 1 finely chopped
Ginger-garlic paste 1 spoon
Turmeric powder 1/2 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Garam masala powder 1/2 spoon
Coriander powder 1 spoon
Cumin seeds 1/2 spoon
Eggs 3 well beaten
Cooked minced meat/Mutton keema 100 grams(optional)
Lemon juice few spoons
Oil 1 cup.
In a wide, non-stick wok, heat oil. Add cumin seeds and curry leaves. Followed by green chilies and onion. Fry them crisply. Now add tomatoes and fry real good.
Then add ginger-garlic paste....fry them till its raw smell leaves the pan.
Add eggs and scramble them completely. (Add minced cooked meat too. Fry till it turns opaque.) Now add salt, turmeric, coriander and garam masala powder to this.
Followed by barotta, fry them till it coats well. Run few spoons of lemon juice over this.
Garnish with cilantro leaves, serve steaming hot.
Milk Peda, Milk Fudge, Doodh Peda, Paal Peda, Paal Halwa.
Even though I didn't post daily in 2009 (as I did in 2008), this year has continued to be all 'slow cooking classic recipes'. It has been active, challenging, energetic, realistic and somewhat glorious year. I can't imagine what 2010 hold up for me...yet I am ready, alright bring it on!!!
How about some milky milk fudge to treat everyone on New Year's eve? This is a classic, delicious, creamy and very simple fudge. It sets up beautifully and is not too soft, texture is bit grainy and yet melt in mouth perfection.:)
I didn't measure today, but it is probably closer to a gallon of milk and two cups of sugar. Well, if you are planning to cook in a jiffy...I got to tell you this 'The short cut version of doodh peda recipe, exists all over the Internet'...but this is something from my kitchen, the slow cooking method(to kill the time)!
Note: I insist to measure the essential ingredients (sugar and milk)ahead of time, because you will be standing at front of the stove top, stirring the whole time.
Whole milk - a gallon
Sugar - definitely as per taste
Ghee few spoons - to grease one's palm for shaping them into pedas.
No cardamom, no saffron, no vanilla essence...just plain and simple:)
Put milk and sugar in a heavy bottom, non-stick vessel and heat over low to medium range. Stir, stir and stir.
How long one should stir?
"One got to stir till shoulder hurts."
My mother would rather say, "Stir till the whole mixture(sugar and milk)get thick and start to loose off from the sides of the pot and it will start to splutter and splutter.
Be careful, when milk fudge splutters...it really hurts your hand, I have ruined enough:(
Now pour the contents into a well greased pan, then shape them into lovely pedas. And sprinkle chopped nuts (optional).
Leave to cool and harden.
Note: If you boil the fudge too long its going to get too hard; if you don’t boil it enough, its going to stay sticky and moist...so timing is essential, but nobody can actually tell exactly when one should to take it off from the stove.
Other Information:I started around 11'O Clock in the morning and finished stirring around 3.30 in the afternoon. Another 45 minutes of shaping and trying to put an impression(in vain)all happened. Between...did I tell you all, cleaning the stove took at least one and half hours the next day morning.:(
Once you mastered the art of making it, invite your friends, nibble fudge, laugh and shrug off the pain from your shoulders.:)