Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008 !

For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.

- By T. S. Eliot

~ Wishing all my readers a very happy and prosperous brand new year ! ~

Friday, December 28, 2007

Squid Thoran

To make squid thoran, squid is cut round and will look like a ring when fully cooked. Quiet an interesting look and goes well with rice.

Ingredients

1 lb- Squid, cleaned and cut round
1 - Kodampuli, cleaned
2 - Green chili, slit in center
Small piece - Ginger, grated
2 sprigs - Curry leaves
Coconut oil
Salt to taste

Coarsely grind

3/4 cup - Freshly grated coconut
1 - Shallot
1 to 1.5 tsp - Red chili powder
1/2 tsp - Coriander powder
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
A pinch - Uluva /Fenugreek powder
Small piece - Ginger

Method

1 ) Heat oil in a pan, add green chili, ginger, curry leaves and fry for a minute. Then add the coarsely ground mixture, kodampuli and little water. Do not add too much water. Bring to a boil.

2 ) Add squid and salt to taste. Cook covered till the squid is fully cooked and all the water has dried up. Now finally add little coconut oil and stir in. Take off stove and serve.


Serve with rice.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sesame Pistachio Chikki

Crispy Sesame chikki / brittle with pistachio is a sweet delicacy, with all it's sweetness from sugar and honey. Though making chikki is quite simple, there is one or two quick steps to note, such as, once the syrup has reached the correct consistency, then immediately add dry ingredients and then spread the cooked mixture quickly, since it hardens very fast. So just keep everything ready before you start cooking.

Ingredients

1 cup - White sesame seeds
1/3 to 1/2 cup - Pistachio, finely chopped
1 cup - Sugar
1/4 cup - Honey
1/2 tsp - Cardamom powder
Ghee to grease

Method

1 ) Dry roast sesame seeds to a golden color and set aside to cool. Mix chopped pistachio, cardamom powder and mix well. Grease a flat plate or a flat surface well.

2 ) Mix sugar and honey in a saucepan and melt together on a medium heat. Cook the syrup till it turns to a golden color. Switch off the stove. Immediately add the sesame mixture, stir and mix well.

3 ) Quickly spread on a greased plate and spread evenly. To spread evenly you can grease a rolling pin and roll over the mixture to spread. Allow the chikki to cool slightly, but before the chikki hardens completely, cut it into pieces with a knife. Store in airtight container.


Do check out Peanut chikki made with jaggery. Sesame chikki can be made with jaggery too. Just follow the recipe, replace peanut with sesame seeds.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Curried Nadan Chicken


Ingredients

4 - Chicken breast fillets, cut to pieces
2 tbsp - Coriander powder
1/2 tsp - Red chili powder
1/4 tsp - Turmeric powder
1 cup - Shallots, chopped
1/2 '' piece - Ginger, grated
6 flakes - Garlic, crushed and finely chopped
2 - Green chili, slit in center
1 - Tomato, chopped
2 sprigs - Curry leaves
1.5 to 2 cup - Coconut milk
Coconut oil

To marinate chicken

2 tbsp - Coriander powder
1/2 tsp - Red chili powder
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
3 big - Shallot, chopped
1'' piece - Ginger
2 - Green chili
6 big flakes - Garlic
Juice from 1/2 of a big lime
Salt to taste

Garam masala powder

2 sticks - Cinnamon
4 - Cloves
1 tsp - Fennel seeds
1/8 tsp - Nutmeg powder
1 - Star anise
1 - Javithri / Mace
8 - Black peppercorns

To powder

10 - Cashew nuts
5 - Blanched almonds

Garnish

3/4 cup - Coriander leaves, chopped

Method

1 ) Clean and chop chicken to pieces. Grind to a smooth paste marinate ingredients. Apply on the chicken and keep to marinate for one hour.

2 ) Heat oil on a medium heat. Add curry leaves, then stir in chopped shallots and fry till shallot is lightly fried. Then add garlic, ginger, green chili and fry lightly. Now add the powders - Coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, stir and fry on low heat till the raw smell goes. Add tomato, stir and mix.

3 ) Add marinated chicken, stir and mix with the masala. Add little water ( some water will come out of the chicken when cooking ) close with a lid and cook on low heat till the chicken is cooked.

4 ) Powder the masala powder ingredients to a fine powder. Also powder cashew nut and almond to a fine powder. Add masala powder and nuts powder to the chicken. Stir and mix. Add coriander leaves and cook for a minute on low heat. Adjust salt to taste.

5 ) Finally pour the coconut milk and bring to a boil, simmer for a minute, then turn off the stove.

This curry will go well with pathiri, appam, idiappam , puttu or rice.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Kale Dal Curry

Kale is a cold weather crop, but available year round. Kale has a strong flavor to it, so when selecting kale go for the smaller and young leaves. With all its health benefits, it's good to make kale part of your diet. Usually i prepare greens like, spinach, drumstick leaves along with toor dal/lentil and it goes so well together. So i had to try kale with dal and it happens to go well too.

Ingredients

1 cup - Toor dal
2 bunches - Kale, finely chopped
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
2 - Green chili, slit in center
1 - Tomato, quartered
1 - Baby potato, cubed
Salt to taste

Grind to a smooth paste

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup - Freshly grated coconut
1/4 tsp - Jeera
2 - Shallots, chopped
4 - Dry whole Red chili
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder

Seasoning

1 tsp - Mustard seeds
3  - shallots, diced
2 sprigs - Curry leaves
sesame or coconut oil

Method

1 ) Cook dal in enough water along with turmeric powder, green chili, potato and tomato. When dal is half cooked add chopped kale and cook till dal and kale is cooked well.Use only the leafy part of kale.

2 ) Now add the ground ingredients to cooked dal and kale. Add little water to make a thick gravy. Add salt to taste and bring to a boil. Cook for a minute or two and take off the stove.
3 ) To season, heat oil, pop mustard seeds, then add shallots and curry leaves. Fry till shallot is browned. Pour the seasoning on the curry and stir in.

Serve with rice.

When making spinach-dal or drumstick leaves-dal curry, you don't have to add potato and tomato. Rest just follow the above recipe.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Almond Macaroons - Amaretti Cookies

Soft in the center, crunchy on the outside, these Italian almond macaroons, better known as amaretti, are sweet cookies that can be served as a pleasant accompaniment to coffee, espresso or as a light dessert or a cookie treat.

Ingredients

1 cup - Blanched almonds
4 drops - Pure almond extract
2/3 to 3/4 cup - Sugar
1 - Egg white, from a large egg
Little confectioners sugar for dusting

Method

1 ) Using a blender or food processor, finely grind blanched almonds in batches.

2 ) Combine almonds with almond extract, sugar and lightly beaten egg white. Combine mixture well into a dough with hands.

3 ) With moist hands, form very small dough balls.

4 ) Place balls at least 1'' apart on baking sheet, which is lined with parchment paper.

5 ) Preheat oven at 300 F. Place baking sheet in middle rack and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Take care to see the macaroon do not brown. Should be white in color. By 20 minutes the macaroons will be done. Still soft to touch.

6 ) Take out of the oven to cool. Using fine sieve, dust cookie with confectioners sugar while still warm. Cool completely before removing from baking sheet. Store in airtight container.


Serve with coffee or as a light dessert.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Roti with Corn Flour

Roti made with makki / corn / maize flour is quite popular in Punjab. Makki ki roti and Sarson Ka Saag go together. Very healthy and a hearty meal. Visiting my friend who hails from punjab, i got to see a roti prepared using corn flour and left over vegetable sabzi. Mixing with sabzi or any other cooked vegetable will make this roti very soft. Any vegetable sabzi will work for this. If not sabzi, then you could make the dough with boiled potato or paneer or tofu. Now after kneading the dough, it will need a bit of skill to make perfect round roti. Some experts tap with both their palms and roll out the dough. Plastic sheets /wraps has been used to help roll the dough.
For this recipe i am not going to give any specific measurements, since you can just roughly mix the corn flour, left over sabzi and make a firm dough. I hope the detailed and step by step picture will do the talking and help my reader understand.

Ingredients

Corn flour ( white Instant corn masa flour has been used here )
Any left over sabzi or potato or tofu or paneer

Method

1 ) Into a big thali or plate, add corn flour.


2 ) Add left over sabzi.

3 ) Mix the flour and sabzi. Knead well and make a stiff dough.

4 ) Make big dough balls. Place one sheet of plastic sheet on the rolling area. Place a dough ball, then place another plastic sheet on top of the dough.

5 ) With a rolling pin, roll out the roti. Roti will be thicker than the usual roti.Take off the top plastic sheet, then with the help of bottom plastic sheet, lift the bottom plastic sheet slowly and invert the roti to your palm.


6 ) Heat a tawa. Place the roti in the hot tawa and cook on both sides by flipping to both sides. Smear some ghee and cook.

Serve hot. This roti will not be good cold. So roll out the roti and cook when you want to have it. Rest of the dough can be stored in the fridge. This roti is good to eat by itself.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Crab Masala Curry

Getting fresh and meaty crab is important, to make a delicious crab curry. Usually i buy blue crab from asian market, which is the same crab we cook back in kerala. Live crabs are the best. If not then to select fresh crab, these are the things i look for. Press on the soft shell side of the crab and see if it is firm. Is quite heavy and not light in weight. If the crab is sick, it will not have any meat and will not taste good. To learn how to clean crab, click here for a picturized method. This curry will be best, cooked in a mannchatty /earthen pot.

Ingredients

6 - Crab, cleaned and cut into two
3 to 4 tbsp - Coriander powder
1 tsp - Red chili powder
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
1 big - Tomato, chopped
4 big - Shallots
4 to 6 - Green chili, slit in center
2'' piece - Ginger, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Coconut oil

Seasoning

1 tsp - Mustard seeds
2 to 3 sprigs - Curry leaves

Method

1 ) Heat oil in a earthen pot or a deep skillet. Add mustard and pop, then add curry leaves, shallots, green chili and ginger. Stir and fry for a minute on medium heat.

2 ) Add the powders - coriander, chili and turmeric powder. Fry in the oil till the raw smell of the powder goes on a low heat. Add tomato and cleaned crab. Stir and mix with the masala.

3 ) Add little water to make little gravy. Do not add too much water. Add salt to taste. Close with a lid and cook on low heat. Once the crab is fully cooked, take off the stove and serve. If you want little more gravy, add 1/2 cup of thick coconut milk and just before it comes to a boil take off the stove. This is really optional; this will change the rich masala flavor a bit.

Serve with plain rice.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cauliflower Sabzi

A dry preparation with cauliflower. The masala spikes up the flavor and taste of the cauliflower. This has been a favorite sabzi to go with roti. Mix the sabzi with little yogurt, it tastes so good.

Ingredients

1 - Cauliflower, cut into florets
Oil to fry

Masala powders

2 to 3 tbsp - Coriander powder
1/2 to 1 tsp - Red chili powder
1/4 tsp - Turmeric powder
1.5 tsp - Chat masala powder

1/2 tsp - Amchur powder/ dry mango powder
1/4 tsp - Black salt
1/4 tsp - Jeera powder
1 tsp - Salt

Method

1 ) Wash and drain cauliflower florets very well. Heat a good amount of oil in a kadai /wok to deep fry cauliflower. In small batches, fry cauliflower till crisp and lightly brown in color. Drain excess oil out, by spreading fried cauliflower in a kitchen paper towel.

2 ) Mix all the masala powders together and keep ready. In the same kadai, heat little oil on low heat. Add the mixed masala and stir well. Take care not to burn the masala. Immediately add the fried cauliflower and mix with the masala and fry for 2 minutes. Take off the stove and serve.

Serve with roti. In picture is Richa's soft and tasty sweet potato paratha.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Parsley Paratha

The highly nutritious parsley is used more for garnishing, decorating and in smaller quantity in most of the dishes. Having checked the goodness of consuming parsley, parsley paratha is a good idea to consume parsley for all its health benefits. This is a non-stuffing type of paratha.


Ingredients

2 cups - Whole wheat flour
1/2 bunch - Parsley leaves, chopped
2 - Green chili, finely chopped
1/2 inch piece - Ginger, grated
3 flakes - Garlic, grated (optional )
1/2 tsp - Roasted Jeera, crushed mildly
1 or 2 tsp - Oil
1/2 tsp - Salt
Water to knead

Method

1 ) In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients with wheat flour and knead with enough water to make a chapati dough. Rest the dough for 15 to 20 minutes. Cover with wet towel, so that dough doesn't dry out. Then again knead the dough to get a soft workable dough.

2 ) Make small balls of the dough. Take one dough ball and roll out a thin paratha with a rolling pin.

3 ) Heat a tawa or a non-stick pan, on medium heat and place the paratha in it. Smear some oil on top and around the paratha. Flip and cook evenly on both sides, till it's golden brown in colour on both sides.


Serve with sabzi and yogurt.

Make palak/spinach paratha by following the same recipe. Just replace parsley with spinach. Also make methi/fenugreek paratha with methi leaves, by replacing parsley and following same recipe.