Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Khatti Meeti Dal Chawal and Shubh Diwali!!! :)


I know, I know you must be wondering, what, dal chawal and Diwali?!! Well there are two answers to that. Firstly, I don't have too much of a sweet tooth and hence voted against making one. Secondly, we are off to Kerala tonight for a much awaited week-long vacation and thus I thought it wouldn't be a good idea to cook anything before that. And so I decided to make the very famous dal chawal, but with a slight twist! This will be a good wash down after you have had a good rich Diwali spread of yummy food and delicious sweets and savouries.

It has been a little over a year since I moved to Bangalore with my husband. When we moved away from home, we left behind quite a few luxuries that we did not recognize as such until their loss was felt..immensly! One of those was the simple pleasure of having food that we grew up with, the simplest of meals like the Chor, Parippu curry and Meen Vevichathu (rice, lentils and fish curry; Kerala style). Though I make this quite regularly at home, the joy of having that cooked, lovingly, by our mothers in exactness to our preferences is a different feeling altogether. But luckily for us, we get to go home quite often and I make use of that opportunity to gobble all the yummy dishes cooked with so much of love! :) Can't wait for our trip home.


My husband and I are quite South Indian at heart when it comes to a daily meal. But we do love our chapathis and dals and other North Indian delicacies too. Rotis, Parathas, chole, dal and chawal, you name it, we like it. If there is the aroma of a good garam masala in the curry, then we are happy campers.

Dal is made differently (even pronounced differently; Dhal in the South and Dal in the North) across the country. Dal is actually not so much a South Indian staple, we have Sambhar for that. But with increasing culinary exposure and interaction, you find some form of it all over the place. But lovely, fresh aromatic basmati rice cooked along with dals is a popular dish among the North Indians. And so I decided to borrow the concept from the North and add a bit of my own flavours to it to make this yummy dal chawal, the perfect comfort food! It's simple, basic ingredients, tasty and when cooked with lots of love, tastes awesome! :)

Ingredients

Basmati rice - 1/2 cup
Water - 3 1/2 cups
Ghee/Oil - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cloves - 2
Green chilli (slit lengthwise) - 1 (small)
Garlic (finely chopped) - 5 to 6 cloves
Ginger (finely chopped) - 1 small piece
Onions (finely chopped) - 2 (small)
Tomato - 1 (small)
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Bayleaf (tejpatta) - 1
Carrot - 2 (small)
Peas – ¼ cup
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala – ½ tsp
Salt
Pav bhaji masala – 2 tsp
Tamarind pulp – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves
Peanuts - 1/4 cup (dry roasted)


Method

Wash and clean the dal and keep aside. Wash and soak the rice for ½ an hour and drain and keep aside.

Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and add cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and cumin seeds. When cumin seeds crackles, add chopped garlic, ginger, green chilli and onions and saut'e till onion becomes light brown. Add chopped tomatoes and saut'e till soft. Now add all the veggies along with masala/spice powders and saut’e on a medium flame for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice and dal and mix well and saut’e for another 2 minutes on a medium flame. Add 3 1/2 cups of water along with salt and sugar and pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles. Switch off the flame and allow steam to go completely. Once the steam has gone completely, add the roasted peanuts and coriander leaves and mix well. Serve hot.

And there was lunch in a few minutes! Piping hot rice doused with the nostalgic dal! Oh it was heavenly. Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali. Enjoy :)

Notes: You can add any veggies of your choice; like: Cauliflower florets - ½ cup; Brinjal – ½ cup; Beans – 1/4cup etc...

Friday, 21 October 2011

50th post and Express Chicken Bites :)


First of all, I would like to thank all of you for your kind words sent through comments, emails and facebook messages. I much appreciate your lending an ear for my vents, the virtual hugs and support. I am going to continue blogging because I love experimenting with food and photographing it just too much and doing it brings me a lot of joy...

So here I present my 50th post with today's dish, Express Chicken Bites. This is a quick chicken starter/appetizer. This spicy flavoured chicken bites are perfect for a dinner party for friends and family.


This was one of the first recipes I learnt from amma, super chef and express cook (mom-in-law) and as the name of the dish suggests this can be cooked up in a jiffy. I did very badly want to make a sweet to celebrate this joyous day but voted against it because the weighing machine hasn't been very kind to me these past few days! So hope you enjoy this easy pleaser.

Ingredients

Chicken (cut into bite size pieces) - 250 gms (boneless; refer notes)
Shallots/Pearl/Small onions (finely sliced) - a handful (15 to 20 approx)
Curry leaves
Salt - to taste
Oil (preferably coconut oil)

For Marinade

Ginger & Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 to 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 3/4 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - a pinch


Method

Marinate the chicken with the ingredients listed under "For Marinade" and keep aside for atleast 1 hour.

Heat oil in a pan and saut'e shallots and curry leaves till onions become light brown and keep aside.

In the same wok, heat a little more oil and add the chicken pieces and shallow fry it till browned well on both sides. Now add the fried onions and curry leaves into it and mix well. Saut'e for a few minutes on a low flame till onions turn crisp and chicken is cooked well.

Source: Super cook Amma :)

Fresh flowers to say THANK YOU!!

I am so happy to have such lovely people who are constantly encouraging and complimenting my efforts. Without your support it would not have been such a great experience. Heartfelt thanks with bright fresh flowers from my personal photographic collection.


Gobi Biriyani


Biriyani/Biryani is perhaps the most widely consumed rice preparation in the world with maybe a few subtle variations across borders. It is a dish made with rice and a kurma (mixture of meat, seafood, or vegetables cooked with spices and yoghurt in a thick sauce) arranged in layers, mixed together, or sometimes even cooked together. The exact origin of the 'Biryani' was in Persia where nomads dug pits in the ground and placed covered pots with rice, meat, and spices in the morning only to find delicious aromas seeping out by evening. The dish was later brought to other parts of South Asia by travelling Iranian merchants. It found it's way to North India via Afghanistan and has since spread all over the country and evolved into distinct recipes in every nook and cranny and each region swears by the superiority of their version.
                                           
Meat/Chicken/Fish and other non-veg biriyani preparations have always been more popular than vegetarian biriyani. But today's recipe is a delicious vegetarian biriyani preparation made with cauliflower. For those of you who think, a vegetable biriyani can never be tasty, this dish will prove you wrong! Wholesome and packed full of flavour, it is definitely a treat to your tastebuds. Now, you don't have to break your head thinking of what to serve your vegetarian friends, here is a perfect one pot veggie meal!


Please make sure you refer my notes on how to cook ghee rice in an extremely easy way. This idea was given to me by my aunt (mom’s sis), Sheilamama, who is a fabulous cook. Thanks Sheilamama for this wonderful tip. And believe me friends, rice cooked this way is just perfect. Say goodbye to mushy and squashed up basmati rice!

Make sure you bookmark this recipe and try it out sometime soon. Both Reju and I were very happy people after the very first spoonful. :) Happy cooking.

Ingredients

For Ghee Rice

Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Water – 1 1/2 cups
Ghee/Oil - 1 tbsp
Big onion (finely sliced) - 1
Cumin seeds - a pinch
Fennel seeds - a pinch
Cardamom - 2
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Salt - a pinch

For Marination

Cauliflower (finely sliced) - 1 (big)
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch

For Masala

Big onion (finely sliced) - 3
Tomato (finely sliced) - 2
Ginger & Garlic (finely chopped) - 1/2 tsp each
Green chilli (coarsely crushed) - 4
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Cumin (jeera) powder - 1/2 tsp
Mint leaves - 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup
Salt - to taste

For Garnish

Cashew – 10 to 15
Raisins – 12 to 15
Big onion – 1


Method

To prepare Ghee Rice (refer notes)

Heat ghee/oil in a pot and fry cashew, raisin and big onion and keep aside. Soak rice in water for half an hour. Drain it and keep aside. Saut'e cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon for a few seconds. Add finely chopped onions and saut'e till it turns soft and transparent. Now add the rice and fry till glossy. Add water and a pinch of salt into it and cover with lid. Bring it to a boil. When it begins to boil, reduce heat. When the water absorbs and holes appear on top, switch off the flame. Keep the lid closed for half an hour. Separate the rice with a fork without pressing it much.

To prepare Biriyani

Marinate the cauliflower with the ingredients listed under "For Marination" and keep aside for 10 minutes. Fry the marinated cauliflower slices till crisp.

Heat oil/ghee in a wok and add finely sliced onion to it. Saut'e till it becomes golden brown. Add crushed green chillies and chopped ginger and garlic and saut'e for a few minutes till raw smell goes away. Add the garam masala and cumin (jeera) powder and saut'e for a few seconds. Now add the sliced tomatoes along with desired salt and saut'e till tomato turns soft and oil floats. Once oil separates, add the crispy fried cauliflower slices and mix well. Add coriander and mint leaves and toss well. Then layer the cooked basmati rice on top and cover and cook for around 4 minutes on a low flame.

Garnish with fried onions, cashew and raisins.

Notes:

1. Make sure the cauliflower is fried till crispy.

2. Easy way to cook ghee rice: Heat ghee/oil in a pressure cooker and add the spices. Saut’e for a few seconds. Add chopped onion and saut’e till it reduces and loses colour. Now, add the rice and fry till glossy. Add the desired water along with salt and stir. Cover and cook without the weight. When a high steam comes, turn the flame to low and cook for exactly 5 minutes and then switch off the flame. Open the lid after half an hour. Separate the rice with a fork without pressing it too much.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Stuffed Bell Peppers


So what is everyone doing today? Cooking up something special for your family? Sweet and simple home cooked? Or perhaps it is just like any other day? For me today was like any other day and so to take away the boredom, I decided to make something different from the usual sabzi to go with chapathis. Stuffed Bell Peppers, now how does that sound?

Well, I was introduced to this recipe from my lovely sis, Sharon who is an expert cook. I always wonder why she doesn't start a blog of her own, she is a fabulous cook. But again that would be very difficult because she has her hands full with her two wonderful kiddos and so I decided why not post a recipe passed on to me from her! So, Sharon this one is for you :)

You know what I really like about the oven? It does all the work for you! No standing over the pot for hours stirring or waiting to see if it is done. Pop in the stuff that you need cooked, set the timer for the appropriate cooking time, and then indulge yourself in a book or your favourite show! When done, it lets out a beep and you can take out a perfectly delightful meal.

Today I have for you one such simple recipe. It goes extremely well with chapathis or chawal (plain rice) and dal or also passes off as a wonderfully healthy and wholesome snack. As I had a few bell peppers in my refrigerator, I decided to make this tasty dish. This was my first attempt at making this dish and the end result made me very happy.

Roasted Bell peppers are to die for. The outer crust was crunchy, supple, light yet flavourful. This dish is pretty healthy and extremely easy to cook.

Something about these crunchy peppers just makes you want to jump in and devour the whole thing instantly! Try them and you won't be sorry :)

Ingredients

Red Lentils (Masoor dal) - 1 cup
Water - 2 1/2 cups
Green chilli - 2 to 3
Ginger & Garlic paste - 1 tsp each
Big Onion (finely chopped) - 1 (big)
Cumin (jeera) powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Gram (besan) flour - 4 tbsp
Egg (beaten) – 1 (refer notes)
Salt - to taste
Oil
Coriander leaves


Method

Add water to the washed lentils and pressure cook till done. (approx 1 whistle on high and 1 or 2 minutes on low flame. Switch off and open after steam goes completely) Drain well.

Heat oil in a pan and add chopped onions. Saut'e till it becomes soft and changes colour slightly. Add green chilli and ginger & garlic paste and saut'e for 1 or 2 minutes. Throw in the spice powders and saut'e till raw smell disappears. Add cooked lentils along with salt and coriander leaves and stir. Now add the gram flour and combine well. Switch off flame and keep aside to cool. Add the beaten egg and combine the mixture thoroughly to bind. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cut open the top portion of the bell pepper and scoop out all the insides. Now stuff the dal mixture into it to it's brim. Repeat same procedure for all bell peppers. Brush the peppers lightly with oil and place onto a greased baking tray.

Pre-heat the oven at 100°C for 15 minutes. Place the baking tray into the pre-heated oven and roast the bell peppers till done. (30 minutes approx)

Notes:

Make sure the bell peppers are cooked well. It should be supple yet crunchy.

For healthier version, add only egg whites or avoid egg completely. I did not add it.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Pineapple Salsa


Pineapple is such a perfect juicy fruit with it's vibrant tropical flavour that balances the sweet and tart. It is available year around at a nominal price. I made this salad with pineapple and a few other veggies in hand and it tasted delicious. Of course, you can be creative and throw in other veggies or even nuts. (roasted peanuts, almonds etc...)

Delicious, refreshing and no fat or cholestrol. This easy salad with pineapples and bell peppers is very gourmet-tasting! And if you have guests and have loads of cooking to do, here is an easy salad that can be done in a few minutes and it will definitely leave your guests wanting for more. Simply toss in some pineapple chunks with other simple ingredients and voila - a perfect salad that looks and tastes like summer itself! This summer salsa would be an excellent accompaniment to asian cuisine in particular (especially thai food) or you could even take it to a barbeque party or potluck where it's sure to be the talk of the party!


Try out this flavourful salsa and you are sure to love it.

Ingredients

Pineapple (cut into medium size cubes) - 1/2 of a whole (refer notes)
Red Bell Pepper/Red Capsicum (cut into medium size cubes) - 1 (big)
Carrot (cut into medium size cubes) - 1 (big)
Big Onion (diced) - 1 (small)
Lemon juice - a few drops (refer notes)
Pepper (crushed) - a pinch
Salt - a pinch


Method

Take a serving bowl, add all the ingredients into it and toss well. And that's it! Cool or what?!

Notes:

Choose a good ripe pineapple which is juicy and has a good balance of sweet and tart.

Make sure not to overdo the lemon juice because the sweetness of the pineapple is the key flavouring agent in this dish.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Creamy Onion Soup


Sometimes there is nothing better than a simple soup to satisfy the soul. A soup that is easy to make, with familiar flavours but is presented differently, that warms you from the inside on a cold day. Soup is always perfect for a chilly day and are the easiest to prepare. They are always elegant and haute couture. I like such hands-free and no fuss meals. They are easy to make, taste great and leave you feeling full and happy! Besides, you can always use what you have and create variety easily.

So many posts with the word 'Simple', you must think I really mean business. I do! Stick with me and there will be more of it coming up.. :) The idea behind these meals was to maximise the time I get to spend with Reju on a weekly basis while still managing to get good food on the table that lent a little special touch. Plus this food blog keeps me on my toes, mentally and physically and that makes me very happy :)

I have always loved soup and still do. It surprises me that I have not posted more recipes for soup on the blog. The truth is, I have never tried many variations of soup. But I will try posting a few good ones when I come across them. I hope you will enjoy this soup as much as I do.

Ingredients

Big Onion (finely chopped) - 3 (medium)
Butter - 3/4 tbsp (refer notes)
Cornflour - 1 1/2 tbsp
Milk (boiled) - 2 3/4 soup bowls
Vegetable stock - 1/4 cup (refer notes)
Salt - to taste
Pepper - 1 to 1 1/2 tsp (black or white)
Cheese - 1 1/2 tbsp (refer notes)
Fresh Parsely (finely chopped) - 2 tsp (adjust as per taste) {optional}


Method

Heat butter in a pot and add chopped onions and saut'e till golden brown. (make sure it is browned and caramelized well) Add boiled milk and simmer for a few minutes. Add cheese along with pepper, salt and freshly chopped parsely and stir well. Now add vegetable stock and mix well. At this time, add cornflour and stir well till it starts thickening. (be sure to get rid of any lumps) Serve hot with sandwiches (chicken, egg or any filling of your choice) or as it is.

Notes:

1. I have added less butter to make it healthier. You can add more because it tastes better.

2. Please check:

http://culinaryexperimentsofanamateur.blogspot.com/2011/10/gobi-manchurian.html for instructions on how to prepare vegetable stock.

3. You can use any cheese, cream cheese, mozarella, or any cheese of your choice. You can also increase the quantity of cheese as per taste.

Source: Mum

Monday, 17 October 2011

Gobi Manchurian


Have you ever eaten at these really small street joints that serve yummy Gobi Manchurian, Chilli Chicken and other delicacies?! I remember while studying in college, friends and I often frequented restaurants like these and they served the tastiest Chinese food that we would crave for almost every week! Of course, none of these dishes were authentic Chinese but had a huge influence of India in it too. Nevertheless, it tasted simply amazing! As I talk about it, my mouth waters. :) :)

Chinese food is a favourite around India and I have lost count of the number of Chinese joints I have frequented since college times. I am sure you will agree most of us Indians like Chinese food. A lot! So now we have invented all these Indo-Chinese dishes like Manchurian, which probably is a universal favourite. You might also have seen endless versions of Gobi Manchurian. I am no different and today I have the same for you.

Start your fun week with some awesome Gobi Manchurian! If you are not a fan already, I guarantee you will be. Have a good week, guys.

Ingredients

Cauliflower (cut into florets) - 250 gms
Cornflour - 1/2 cup
All Purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Egg (beaten) - 1 (refer notes)
Red Chilli powder - 1 to 1 1/2 tsp
Water - just enough to bind the ingredients
Capsicum (cut into cubes) - 1 (small)
Big Onion (finely chopped) - 2 (medium)
Ginger & Garlic (finely chopped) - 1/2 tsp each
Green chilli (slit lengthwise) - 1 (adjust as per spice tolerance)
Green Chilli sauce - 1 tsp
Soy sauce - 2 tsp
Tomato sauce - 4 tsp
Vegetable stock – 2 tbsp (optional; refer notes)
Pepper – 1 to 1 1/2 tsp (adjust as per spice tolerance)
Salt - to taste
Coriander leaves - to garnish
Oil


Method

Take a bowl and add cornflour, all purpose flour, a pinch of salt, red chilli powder, cauliflower, beaten egg and a little water and bind it all together. (Be careful not to add too much water, add just enough to bind all the ingredients together) Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the cauliflower pieces till golden brown. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan and saut'e ginger, garlic, green chilli and onions till onions turn light brown. Add chopped capsicum and saut'e for a few minutes. Now add the sauces and pepper powder and stir well for a few minutes. Check for salt and add if necessary. Throw in the fried cauliflower florets and toss well till everything is combined well. Pour the vegetable stock and toss on a high flame till dry. Switch off the flame and add coriander leaves and mix well. Serve hot as a starter or with rotis/chapathis/pulav.

Notes:

1. For healthier version, you can add only the egg whites or even omit the egg completely.

2. For preparing vegetable stock: Collect the waste bits of carrot, celery stems, spring onions, onion or any veggie and boil with water and salt for sometime. Strain and store in the refrigerator. You can also use store-bought vegetable stock.

3. You can make "Chicken Manchurian" following the above recipe.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Chicken Roast


Roast as you know is any meat/chicken or fish in a semi-thick gravy. And chicken roast can be made with different gravies. The difference between the gravies are the ingredients used to make them. I would call the most basic one to be of onion and tomato. The variations from the basic is when consistency and richness is changed by addition to the basic. Fresh cream, coconut milk, cashewnuts or poppy seeds ground to a paste etc are to name a few. I will continue to update my blog with the variations in future.And today I am sharing a slightly different roast which centres itself around shallots and red chillies without the usual addition of spices. The shallots and red chillies really enhances the flavour of this dish and hits our senses so to speak. Potato and chicken have always been thick friends and here the crispy potatoes and onions makes this chicken roast absolutely mouth watering.

This roast not only looks luscious but is packed with awesome flavour. It's definitely worth a try. We absolutely enjoyed this dish and I hope you do too. Have a fun weekend :)


Ingredients

Chicken - 1/2 kg
Whole Red Chilli (seeded) - 12 (refer notes)
Shallots/Small/Pearl onions - 110 gms
Ginger - 1 medium piece
Garlic - 8 to 10 cloves
Vinegar - 3/4 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Potato (thinly sliced into rounds) - 1
Big Onion (finely sliced) - 1
Cashewnut - few
Oil

Method

Marinate chicken in 1 tbspn vinegar, 1/2 tspn turmeric and a little salt for 1 hour. Soak red chillies in 1 tbspn vinegar mixed with 1 tbspn of water after taking out the seed and leave it for a while to soak. (split chili in half and tap it to get the seeds off).  Add a little water to the vinegar. Crush the ginger, garlic, shallots and the soaked red chillies and add the mixture to the chicken and cook for 20 min on medium fire. Heat oil in a pan and on medium fire shallow fry the chicken and set aside. Once all the chicken pieces are fried (read golden brown on both sides) pour the gravy into the pan and cook till oil clears the pan. Pour the gravy on top of the fried chicken. Decorate with fried potatoes, onions and cashew nuts.

Last weekend, we had an awesome time at Chikamagalur. We stayed at a beautiful homestay there called Thippanahalli Homestay. A lovely weekend getaway nestled in a scenic coffee estate. We had a relaxed holiday and saw quite a few interesting sights. Here are a few pictures of the interesting stuff we came across there.


Amazing right?! Yup...and these antiques had very interesting stories to tell.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Hara Bara Chicken/Green Masala Chicken


Bangalore is simply beautiful now with fresh rains and cool weather and we are enjoying it thoroughly.

I got this recipe from a cookery show I watched the other day and decided to try it because it was different from the normal chicken curry prepared in coconut milk or any creamy gravy with loads of spices. The chef said she always bagged first place in cooking competitions for this particular dish! And so I thought, why not give it a shot!

And I did! And what came out was definitely a good good dish. Very refreshing, light, easy to cook and yummy. The freshness of the coriander is the highlight of this dish. And as is the nature of chicken, it absorbs all the flavour and makes it succulent. The simple aromatics and hot green chillies have done a fantastic job in taking this simple dish to a new level.


This chicken dish can be made in a jiffy. An ideal preparation to make when you are in a hurry. And if you follow the recipe to the T, you will have a very tasty Hara Bara Chicken!

I thought it was perfect for the weather yesterday and a couple of rotis with this dish was icing on the cake!

Ingredients

Chicken - 1/2 kg
Big Onion (finely sliced)- 2 (medium)
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil

For Masala Paste

Coriander leaves - 1 bunch
Green Chilli - 3 to 4 (adjust as per spice tolerance)
Ginger - 1 big piece
Garlic - 8 cloves
Pepper corns - 1 tsp


Method

Wash and clean the chicken and cut into medium size pieces. Keep aside.

Grind all the ingredients listed under "For Masala Paste" into a coarse paste and keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok and add sliced onions into it. Saut'e onions till very soft and has reduced. (fry it till you observe a tinge of brown here and there) Once the onions are done, add turmeric powder, salt and chicken and saut'e for 5 minutes till the pink colour of the chicken disappears. Cover and cook on a low flame till the chicken is tender. (do not add any water, let it cook in it's own juices) Stir in between. Now add the ground masala paste and stir till all the masala coats the chicken well and is almost dry. Serve hot with rotis. Enjoy!

Notes: If you find the dish too spicy, reduce the number of green chillies. The original recipe calls for 8 chillies, but I have reduced it to 3 to 4.

Make sure the masala is not ground to a very smooth paste. It should be coarsely ground, that adds to the flavour.

This dish has gravy that is quite dry as you can see in the pictures. It tastes better like that. But make sure it stays moist and doesn't dry out completely.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Yard long Bean Stir Fried with Crushed Red Chilli


I love Yard long beans (Achinga payar) just like any other Keralite and I'm sure you must have come across the recipe I posted earlier with this yummy veggie. If not, you can find it here in Achinga Payar Mezhukuperatti/Yard Long Beans Stir Fry. I did promise you all that I would show you different ways of saute'eing this vegetable. And so here it is.

Today was 'all veggie lunch day' and I was thinking of what to make and like a flash of lightning, this idea struck, "Why not make Yard Long Beans Stir Fry".


I love my mama's beans stir fried with crushed red chillies and I learned from her how to make it without any lumps. I hope you will have the same experience and be happy with this authentic mama's recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Yard long Beans (Achinga Payar) - 1 bunch (about 30)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Crushed Red Chilli/Red chilli flakes - 2 tbsp (adjust as per spice tolerance)
Shallots/Small/Pearl onions (crushed) - 20 to 22
Garlic (crushed) - 8 to 9 cloves
Curry leaves
Coconut oil


Method

Snap the beans into small strips and cook with turmeric powder, salt and sprinkles of water. (2 to 3 sprinkles) Cook till done and water evaporates completely.

Heat oil in a wok and add crushed garlic and shallots/small/pearl onions into it. Saut’e till onions turn golden brown. Once the onions have browned, add the cooked beans along with curry leaves and toss till everything is combined well. Now add the crushed red chilli/red chilli flakes and saut’e well. (Saut’e on both high and low flames alternately) Once done, switch off the flame.

Serve with Rice.

Notes: You can also use olive oil or any other refined oil for this dish (I used olive oil) for healthy cooking. But coconut oil enhances the flavour.

Source: My Mama

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Potato and Chickpea Salad


Today's recipe is extremely easy and a very refreshing salad. It also turns out to be a yummy lunch option (I had this for lunch today) Easy to put together and good on your stomach, it is great to take a break from heavy food. I'm sure we all love chickpeas (black or white) and we often make delicious chickpeas curry to go with puttu (steamed rice flour) or a tasty, spicy chole to go with batura and poori. But this dish is different from what we normally cook. Today I decided to make a refreshing salad with chickpeas and potato.

Remember I told you that both Reju and I are trying to be careful with food? It definitely has worked for Reju because he has been very consistent with his exercise too. Unfortunately for me I haven't been consistent with my exercise regime at all and hence have put on oodles of weight :( :( And I think things are getting out of hand and so I thought I would resort to a healthy salad for sometime. (without the creamy rich dressing, of course) Since I felt I have abused my stomach enough, I thought I would resort to a lighter salad and what follows is how I put it together.

Ingredients

Chickpeas (Kabuli Chana) - 1 cup
Tomato (finely chopped) - 1 (big)
Big Onion (finely chopped) - 2
Green chillies (finely chopped) - 1 (adjust as per spice tolerance)
Potato (cut into small cubes) - 1 (small)
Coriander leaves

For the Dressing

Chaat Masala - 2 to 2 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp

Method

Soak the chickpeas overnight and cook in the pressure cooker till done. Keep aside. Parboil the potatoes and keep aside.

Take a serving dish and add the cooked potatoes and chickpeas into it. Throw in the rest of the ingredients and toss till everything is combined well. Check for salt.

Notes:

1. You can parboil the potatoes with a pinch of salt.

2. Add more lemon juice if you like it nice and tangy.

3. You can avoid the potato if you want to, the chickpeas with the lemon juice dressing is tasty too.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Mushroom and Peas Curry


I haven't really experimented much with mushrooms except for the mushroom fried rice that you can find in the blog. Reju has been asking me for a while to make a mushroom dish but it somehow never worked out. But yesterday when I went out shopping, I came upon some nice fresh mushrooms and thought I'll cook up a simple mushroom and peas curry. This recipe is from Sanjeev Kapoor's show, Khana Khazana. (I think he has it in his book too)

The dish is very basic, nothing complicated. So you now have one more dish to add on to your veggie recipe list! Hope you enjoy making it.

Ingredients

Mushroom - 200 gms
Peas - 1 cup
Big Onion (sliced fine) - 2 (big)
Cardamom - 4
Cinnamon - 1 (medium size piece)
Ginger & Garlic paste - 1 tbsp each
Tomato (pureed) - 1 (big)
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Cashewnut - 15
Coriander leaves
Salt - to taste
Oil


Method

Soak cashew in warm water for 10 minutes and grind it to a smooth paste with a little water and keep aside. Puree the tomato till smooth and keep aside.

Cut the mushroom into bite size pieces. Heat oil in a pan and add cardamom, cinnamon and onion and saut'e till onion turns golden brown. Add ginger & garlic paste and fry for a few minutes. Now throw in the spice powders and fry till raw smell disappears. Add the tomato puree and saut'e till oil separates.


Mix the cashew paste with 1 cup of water, add this to the curry and cook till it starts boiling. Once it starts boiling, add chopped mushrooms along with peas. Cook till veggies are done on a low flame. Add coriander leaves and stir well. Switch off the flame. And there you go, your Mushroom & Peas curry is ready to eat! Serve with chapathi/roti/Pulav.

Notes:

1. The gravy tends to get thick after sometime, so make sure to adjust the quantity of water added into the curry.

2. You can also add more veggies (carrot, beans, cauliflower, or any veggie of your choice) to make it more wholesome and healthy.

Source: Sanjeev Kapoor, Khana Khazana

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Chilli Beef to say "Happy B'day Reju" !


Dear Reju,

I wish for you to have people to love, people in your life who will care about you as much as I do. Happy Birthday dear!

Dear Readers,

My spirits are quite high today, it's my dearest hubby boy, Reju's birthday. I wanted to make something special for Reju to wish him on his Birthday and to let him know how special he is to me. And knowing his love for red meat (beef, mutton anything) I decided to make this yummy chilli beef dish. I hope you all will join me in wishing him a very happy Birthday.

This was my first attempt at making this dish and it turned out to be a success! Yippee!! And Reju, this recipe is specially for you. Love you... :)

Ingredients

Beef (cut into medium sized cubes) – 1/2 kg
Big Onion (sliced or diced) – 2
Capsicum (diced) - 1/2
Ginger (finely chopped) – 1 1/2 inch piece
Garlic – 7 cloves
Green chillies (chopped) – 4
Pepper powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Curry leaves
Soya sauce – 2 tbsp
Tomato sauce – 1 tbsp to 2 tbsp
Cornflour – 1 tbsp
Oil – 2 tbsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Salt


Method

Grind garlic into a paste. Cook the beef with garlic paste, turmeric powder, kashmiri chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt. Once cooked, open the lid of the pressure cooker, remove ½ cup of the gravy/stock and keep aside. Reduce the remaining gravy/stock by cooking on a low flame.

Heat oil in a wok and sauté onions and capsicum till it turns soft and reduces in quantity. Add ginger, green chillies and curry leaves and saut’e till raw smell of ginger disappears. Stir till aroma spreads out. Add the cooked beef with pepper powder and sauces. Adjust salt.

Now mix cornflour with the gravy/stock that has been kept aside and add this to the dish. When it starts boiling, remove from fire and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with fried rice/chapathi/roti and loads of LOVE :)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Idli Upma


As a kid I always loved upma. It used to be one of my most preferred breakfast. Idli upma is a yummy twist to the usual upma we make everyday. Indian food is so versatile that the same dish with a little variation by an addition or subtraction of a few ingredients or spices can produce a whole new tasty dish! Sometimes, I think that's about how cooking goes around the world.

We just got back yesterday after a relaxed weekend at home. My mom-in-law sent us some yummy grub that will last for another day for sure and I'm so happy about that. Coming back after a holiday and getting back to the usual routine is always a painful task for me. I'm sure it's like that for a lot of us.

Coming back to the recipe, this dish is a little different from the normal upma and is extremely easy to make. Amma (mom-in-law) had sent us a few idlis along with chutney so we could have it for breakfast. I still had a few more left after yesterday's breakfast and thought I'll make an upma with the left-over idlis. This is a fun, quick and delicious breakfast or a perfect tiffin/snack for your lil ones.

I have shared below the way I cook it and I hope you will enjoy this as much as we do.

Ingredients

Idli - 8 no.s (cut into cubes)
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Bengal Gram (chana dal) - 2 tsp
Black Gram (urad dal) - 2 tsp
Big Onion (finely chopped) - 2
Green chillies (finely chopped) - 2 (adjust as per spice tolerance)
Ginger (finely chopped) - 1/2 inch piece
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp


Method

Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds. Fry bengal gram and black gram till colour changes. Then add finely chopped ginger, green chillies, onions and curry leaves and saut'e till onion becomes light brown. Now add the idli pieces and salt and toss till everything is combined well. Add 2 sprinkles of water (so that all the masala gets coated on the idli pieces) and cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on a low flame.

And there you go, Idli Upma is ready to eat! Serve hot with any chutney of your choice.

Notes: You can use coconut oil instead of refined oil (I used sunflower oil) along with a pinch of gingelly oil to make this dish. It adds to the flavour.
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