Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Welcoming a brand New Year 2009

Wishing all my readers a very happy and prosperous new year! Let's usher in the new year with good health and a bountiful year ahead with prosperity and good wishes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Koorkka Mezhukkupuratti / Stir Fry

This tuber produce is known as koorkka in Malayalam and if I am not wrong, known as Chinese potato that is available in asian stores. Now a days you get to see bigger sized koorkka, that are grown with fertilizers to make them bigger. Originally they were small in size and small ones tend to me more tasty.

Cleaning koorkka is bit tedious, if you have to clean a whole lot of them. After a long time, being back in India, I get to prepare some fresh koorkka. I had a bag full of koorkka to clean, which was covered with dirt. So I rinse off the dirt and just then get to know from my MIL that, putting these in a gunny bag, tying the bag loosely, then beat or toss the bag on a hard surface gently will help remove the skin off. Which really makes the hard part of cleaning so easy.
You don’t have to rinse the koorkka, if you are going to use gunny bag. Put it in dry. Take tossed koorkka out of the gunny bag and rinse off the dirt well. Scrap off any skin remaining on the koorkka.
Soak the cleaned koorkka in water, since oxidization will turn the koorkka brown. Another thing to keep in mind when cleaning koorkka is to use a gloves to avoid hands getting strained. Now this is a very simple recipe and the end result is a delicious koorkka mezhukkupuratti / stir fry.

Ingredients

4 cups – Koorkka, cleaned ( about 1 kilo )
2 tbsp - Garlic, coarsely crushed ( about 15 big flakes )
½ cup – Shallots, coarsely crushed
1 tbsp - Red chili flakes
¼ tsp – Turmeric powder
2.5 cup – Water
Salt to taste

Seasoning

1.5 to 2 tsp – Mustard seeds
3 to 4 sprigs – Curry leaves
3 tbsp – Coconut oil

Method

1 ) Quarter koorkka to small pieces. Use a mortar and pestle to crush garlic and shallots. Or chop very finely.

2 ) Heat a kadai or wok with 3 tbsp coconut oil, on medium heat. Add mustard seeds and pop it. Then add shallots, curry leaves and fry lightly for a second. Then add garlic and fry lightly just till garlic looses the raw smell. Don’t brown the garlic. Then add turmeric powder and chili flakes. Stir and fry till you get a good aroma of the powders fried on a low flame. Add salt to taste and stir in.

3 ) Add koorkka stir and mix in well. On medium heat, stir and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, so that the spices are infused into the koorkka. Then add 2.5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the flame to the minimum. Cover with a tight lid and cook till koorkka is cooked and soft. Check in between to see if the koorkka is well cooked and soft. Once soft, take off the lid and dry off any excess water on high flame.


Serve as a side dish with rice or roti.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Nellikka Achar / Pickled Gooseberries

Indian gooseberry know as nellikka in malayalam, amala in hindi has many health benefits. Sour in taste, this fruit is used fresh and dried for different things.

Have Gooseberries, if you have vitamin C deficiency, like cold, bleeding gum etc for a natural cure, since gooseberry is rich in vitamin C. Also it’s very good for people who have diabetics. Taking gooseberries daily will reduce diabetics. Gooseberries are dried and used as a main ingredient in ayurvedic preparations to make medicines as it provides remedy to many diseases.With all its benefits, it will be a good thing to include gooseberries in our daily diet. Pickling gooseberries works out well. Uppillitta nellikka (gooseberries soaked in salted water for a duration of time) is a popular way of pickling in kerala. These salted gooseberries can then be used to make chammanthi or you can eat these salted gooseberries as is.

Ingredients
15 big size - Nellikka / Amala / Gooseberries
2 tbsp – Red chili powder
¼ tsp – Fenugreek powder / methi / uluva
¼ tsp – Hing powder / Asafetida
1 tsp – Mustard seed
3 to 4 sprigs – Curry leaves, washed and dried well.
4 to 5 tbsp – Sesame oil
3 tsp – Salt or to taste

Method
1 ) Powder the mustard seeds. Wash gooseberries well, then wipe dry off any water. Cut gooseberries to small pieces.

2 ) Heat a kadai or pan with 2 tbsp of oil on medium low heat. Add the cut gooseberry pieces, 1 tsp salt and fry the pieces till pieces turn soft, which will take 2 to 3 minutes. Once the pieces are soft, transfer the pieces to another utensil and set aside.

3 ) Add 2 to 3 tbsp oil into the pan and heat the pan on low flame. Add curry leaves and fry the leaves crisp, then add red chili powder, fenugreek powder, mustard powder, hing powder, one after the other. Fry the powders in the oil, till you get a good aroma of the powders. But take care not to burn it.

4 ) Add fried gooseberry pieces to this masala , 2 tsp of salt or to taste, stir and mix well. Coat the pieces well with the masala. Take off the stove and cool.

Use a sterilized bottle to store this pickle in. Bottle should be wiped well off any water in it. Once the pickle has cooled off, transfer pickle into the sterilized bottle. Can keep the pickle outside for two to three days then refrigerate.Do shake the bottle to coat the pieces with masala and oil each time you take it.

I was so eager to taste this pickle, that i tasted the pickle, after an hour of making it. By then the masala had settled in a bit on the pieces and tasted like an instant pickle.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ridge Gourd Thoran

A simple prepartion with ridge gourd, that is simple and delicious. The young and tender ridge gourd will make a good vegetable to cook with, but when allowed to reach it's maturity, this vegetable can be used during bath as a body scrubber, which will exfoliate the skin well.

To make this natural body scrubber, ridge gourd is allowed to mature and then let to dry in the vine of the plant.Once dry all that is left is the skeleton of the vegetable with seeds inside.To remove the seeds, top portion of the vegetable is cut off and seeds are removed.Then ridge gourd is washed well and soaked in water, which will make it soft.Then it is dried and is used as a scrubber.

Ingredients

2 to 3 medium size - Ridge gourd
1/4 to 1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder

1/2 cup - Small onion / Shallots, chopped
3 to 4 - Green chili, slit in center
1/2 cup - Freshly grated coconut

Seasoning

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

Method
1 ) With a knife or a peeler, scrub off the hard ridges and then lightly scrub the skin of the ridge gourd. Then wash well and cut into small pieces.

2 ) Heat little oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and pop it. Then add curry leaves, then shallots, green chili and lightly fry them for a minute. Now add turmeric powder, stir a few seconds, then add coconut and fry for a minute on low heat.

3 ) Add ridge gourd, salt to taste and give a good stir. Mix all the ingredients well.Close with a tight lid and cook on a very low flame till ridge gourd is fully cooked. Ridge gourd will give out some water and will get cooked in that water. Once ridge gourd is cooked, open the lid, increase heat and cook, if there is excess water to be cooked away. Stir and cook till all the water is used up. Take off the stove once you get a dry thoran.


Serve as a side dish with rice.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Unakka Chemmeen Chammanthi

A good quality, cleaned and dried small shrimps are avaiable in the market now a days to make this delicious condiment, which will go so well with kanji / rice porridge or can be squished with some rice and had. In the past, chammanthi's are ground to chammanthi form using ammi kallu. But now in modern life style, blender / grinder will have to do. Using ammi kallu to preapare chammanthi, will brings out unique flavors, which a modern day grinder might not.

Ingredients

1 cup - Dried small shrimps
8 to 10 - Dried whole red chilies
1/2 cup - Freshly grated coconut
5 flakes - Garlic
small piece - Ginger
A small marble size - Seedless tamarind
2 sprigs - Curry leaves
Salt to taste

Method

1 ) Heat a pan with little coconut oil, add dried shrimps, red chilies and on a low flame fry, taking care not to burn the ingredients till the shrimps are fried and cooked in that low flame. Take off the stove and cool.

2 ) Add to a blender / grinder, the fried ingredients, run the blender and powder the shrimp and chilies. Then add garlic, ginger, curry leaves, tamarind, coconut and salt to taste. Run the blender and grind all the ingredients well to a coarse mixture.



Serve as a side dish with kanji or rice.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Elaanji / Crepes with sweet filling - 2nd Blog Anniversary !

Simply spicy turns 2 years old and it has been quite a wonderful journey so far.With 200 plus posts, it's a pleasure to think back on the day i started this blog.It was with much admiration after seeing some wonderful work of now fellow bloggers, i wanted to have a space of my own and chronicle recipes i have learnt from my mom and over time from friends and relatives. It's been quite a journey and this blog has and have been a learning ground. Over time i have discovered new recipes, traditional and others. And now sharing these recipes i liked with rest of the world, it's a pleasure when someone tries the recipes and gives me a feedback. Those are very encouraging words that has made this journey so wonderful. So thanks a ton to all those wonderful readers out there who seek "simply spicy" for a recipe and come back for more.

Now over to snacking on something sweet. "Elaanji" is what this crepes is known as in norther part of kerala. I have even heard it is called as a 'love letter', but am not sure why so. A sweet snack for tea time, filled with coconut, sweetened with sugar and spiced with cardamom.

Ingredients

1 cup - All purpose flour / Maida
1.5 cup - Cold Whole milk
1 - Egg
A pinch of salt
Ghee

For filling

1 whole - Coconut, freshly grated
10 - Green cardamom, powdered
3/4 cup - Sugar

Method

1 ) To make the filling - heat a pan on low flame, add 2 tsp of ghee, coconut, cardamom, and stir till all the ingredients are mixed well.Let the sugar mix in well with coconut, stir for a minute or 2. Take off the stove and set aside.

2 ) To make the batter - Shift all purpose flour and set aside. To a mixing bowl, add egg and beat well with a wire whisk. Then pour in milk, a pinch of salt and give a good whisk. Slowly, little by little add flour and make thin batter.Batter should be very thin, so if needed add more milk to make a thin batter.

3 ) Heat a crepe pan /non-stick pan over a moderate flame. Wipe the pan with cloth dipped in oil. When the pan is hot, pour a ladleful of batter on the pan and spread around with the ladle in a circular motion to form a thin layer. Lower the heat, drizzle some ghee on the sides and let the batter cook and set.

4 ) Take a spoonful of coconut mixture and place it on the edge side of the crepe. Then fold and roll the crepe till the end.Repeat the same with the rest of the batter and coconut filling and make more crepes.



Serve as a snack with tea.

Note - Few drops of vanilla extract can be added to the batter. This is optional. But if you don't like the egg smell in the batter, vanilla extract will help to take away that smell.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Kaipakka / Bitter gourd Curry

I am sure bitter gourd is not a popular veggie with every one. But then certain preparations makes this veggie likable, as is the case with this bitter gourd curry. When ever my mother prepared bitter gourd this way, there was no complaints to have bitter gourd. Bitter gourd known as pavakka / kaipakka in malayalam, is known for its curative properties and is a good source of iron.

Ingredients

2 medium size - Bitter gourd

Grind to a smooth paste with little water

1.5 cup - Freshly grated coconut
2 big - Small onions/ Shallots
3/4 tsp - Chilly powder
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder

Seasoning

1 tsp - Mustard seed
6 big - Small onions / shallots,chopped
2 - Green chili, chopped
3 sprigs - Curry leaves

Method

1 ) Cut bittergourd into very small fine pieces. Heat little oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and pop it. Then add onion, chili and curry leaves. Fry for a minute then add bitter gourd. On a slow flame, fry till bitter gourd is light brown in color.

2 ) Add ground coconut mixture into the pan with bitter gourd. Add just little water to make a thick gravy. Add salt to taste and just bring to a boil. Don't boil over. Take off the stove.

Serve with rice as a side dish.
For all bittergourd fans out there, other recipes to try out :
  1. Pavakka Pachadi,
  2. Pavakka pulli curry,
  3. Pavakka Thoran
  4. Kaipakka / Pavakka Kondattam

Friday, September 19, 2008

Neer Dosa

Neer Dosa - Neer meaning water in kannada, this dosa gets its name, since the batter prepared for this dosa is very watery. Dosa prepared is thin and light. This is a popular daskina kannada dish. I liked the combination of neer dosa with coconut chutney for breakfast.

Ingredients

2 cups - Raw rice , soaked overnight
1/2 cup - Freshly grated coconut
3 cups - Water
Salt to taste

Method

1 ) Soak raw rice overnight in enough water. Drain out the water. Grind rice with coconut to a smooth paste with water in small batches, using up 3 cups of water. Batter should be very thin and watery. Add salt to taste.

2 ) Heat a non- stick flat griddle or tawa on a moderate heat. Wipe clean the inside of the pan with cloth dipped in oil. When the Tawa is hot, pour batter and spread around the tawa to make a thin dosa. Since the batter is watery,you will not be able to spread batter like you can with regular dosa batter.

3 ) Lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook till the dosa is cooked. Then fold the dosa in half and again half. Take off the stove and transfer to a serving plate.Use rest of the batter to make neer dosa in similar way.

Serve for breakfast with chutney or have for dinner with any non- vegetarian curry.

Monday, September 08, 2008

200th Post with a Mutton Biryani

Well now this is the 200th post on Simply Spicy and quiet a delightful feel to reach this point. I have not been able to blog as frequently as before, because of certain constraints.
Now this is a kerala way of preparing mutton biryani, which has been a favourate in our household. Most of the preparation is done in pressure cooker and minimal oil/ ghee is used, so you don't get that heavy feel after having biryani. For the biryani, equal quantity of meat and rice has to be used...ie for 1 kilo meat, 1 kilo rice. This will give good results.


Ingredients

500 grams - Mutton with bones
2 cup - Basmati Rice
2 cups - Water
3 big - onions, chopped finely, lengthwise
1 - Lemon, extract juice
1 - Big tomato, chopped
1/2 bunch - Coriander leaves,chopped
1/2 bunch - Mint leaves , chopped
1 - Bay leaf
1 /2 tsp - Turmeric powder
5 tbsp - Ghee
Salt to taste

Grind to a fine paste

5 big - Green chili
1'' piece - Ginger
1 whole clove - Garlic
1 cup - Medium sour yogurt

Make a fine powder of

3 small pieces - Cinnamon
4 - Cloves
1 tsp - Fennel seed
1 tsp - Poppy seed / Khus-khus
1/2 of a - Javitri
1 tsp - Coriander powder
1 tsp - Black pepper powder

Method

1 ) Wash basmati rice well and soak for 10 minutes. Drain out the water well and let the rice dry out completely.

2 ) To marinate mutton - Mix, finely ground ingredients with powdered ingredients. Add salt to taste and apply this marinade to the mutton pieces. Marinate for 1/2 hour.

3 ) Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a pressure cooker, add onions and fry till onion is translucent. Then transfer marinated mutton to the pressure cooker. Add tomato, close the cooker. After the first whistle, lower the flame to simmer and pressure cook for 20 minutes. Cool and then open the cooker.

4 ) Meanwhile in another big wide pan, heat 3 tbsp ghee on low heat. Add bay leaf, basmati rice and fry the rice lightly for 5 minutes. Add turmeric powder, coriander leaves, mint leaves, salt to taste and fry for a minute.

5 ) Along side bring 2 cups water to a boil, in another utensil. With care pour water into the fried rice and cook till rice is partially cooked. Now add the cooked mutton along with the gravy, lemon juice, stir and mix in. Now cover with a tight lid and cook on simmer for 5 minutes. Switch off the stove and open the lid after 15 minutes.



Serve along with raita (made with yogurt mixed with small onions, green chili, tomato and salt), pappad and coriander chutney.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Boondi Raita

Boondi raita is quick to make with ready made boondi. This raita will be a nice side dish along with pulao's.

Ingredients


2 cups - Yogurt

2 handful - Boondi
1 tsp - Sugar
1/2 tsp - Dry mint leaves

1 tbsp - Coriander leaves
1/2 tsp - Roasted jeera powder
A pinch of - Garam masala powder
A pinch of - Black pepper powder
A pinch of - Red chili powder
A pinch of - Black rock salt powder
Salt to taste


Method


1 ) Beat yogurt and sugar well. Then add boondi, mint and coriander leaves, mix well with yogurt. Sprinkle jeera powder, garam masala, black pepper, red chili, black salt and mix in. Taste to check if you need additional salt. Add little salt as to taste if needed.

Serve chilled as a side dish.

Note - 1 ) You can soak boondi in warm water for 2 minutes and squeeze out the water and then use to make raita. This way you can squeeze excess oil out.

2 ) Serve raita chilled after 2 hours, if you like boondi very soft.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Potato Methi Poori

A twist from the plain poori.Combining Potato-methi gives flavor and taste to this poori.

Ingredients


1 cup - All purpose flour / Maida Or Wheat flour
1 big - Potato, boiled & mashed

1 tbsp - Dry kastoori methi leaves
Salt to taste

Method

1 ) In a mixing bowl, add maida, kastoori methi leaves, boiled potato and salt to taste.
Mix and combine the ingredients well. Knead well to make a dough. If needed sprinkle some water, which most properly will not be necessary.

2 ) Make small key lime size dough balls out of the dough. With a rolling pin, roll out the
dough to make circular shape. Dust some flour, to help roll the dough.

3 ) Add enough oil to a kadai or wok. Heat oil on medium heat. To test if the oil is hot enough
to fry the poori's, take a small dough piece, drop into the hot oil. If the dough fries and comes up immediately, then the oil is ready to fry the pooris. With care, add one rolled out dough at a time and make pooris. Flip and fry on both sides. Poori will fluff up when the oil is at the right temperature. Mostly medium heat will work fine.

4 ) Drain poori out of the oil and transfer to a plate with paper towel.

Serve with chana masala or curry of your choice.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chicken Cutlet

A cutlet with chicken, with cooked chicken meat, potato and spices makes a nice snack or can be placed in between bread slices or buns to have as a sandwich or burger.

Ingredients

2 medium - Chicken breast pieces, cut to small piece
1/2 tsp - turmeric powder
1/2 tsp - Black pepper powder
1 big - Potato, quartered

Salt to taste

Seasonings


1 small - Onion, chopped finely
2 to 4 - Green chili, chopped finely
1 tbsp - Grated ginger
1 tbsp - Grated garlic

1/2 cup - Coriander leaves, chopped finely
2 tsp - Coriander powder
1 tsp - Garam masala powder

For Coating

1/2 cup - Bread crumbs

1 big - Egg


Method


1 ) Cook chicken in little water, along with potato, turmeric powder, pepper powder and salt to taste in pressure cooker for 3 to 4 whistles. Turn the cooker off and cool. Take out the chicken pieces and shred/ mince in a blender in small batches. Transfer to a bowl. Take out the potato pieces and mash it up and mix with shredded chicken.

2 ) Heat oil in a pan, add ginger and garlic, fry for till lightly browned, then add onion, green chili, fry till onion is lightly browned. Add coriander powder, garam masala powder, mix and fry. Then add coriander leaves and fry for few seconds. Transfer to the chicken bowl. Mix and combine well. Adjust salt to taste.

3 ) Make small oval shaped chicken patties out of the chicken mixture. Beat egg and set aside. Spread bread crumbs in a plate, set aside. Now dip each pattie in egg and then roll in bread crumbs.

4 ) Heat a non stick pan with oil to shallow fry the patties. Place patties in the oil and fry on both sides to deep brown color. Drain out of the oil and transfer to a plate.

Serve hot as a snack or place between bread /bun and have as a sandwich / burger.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Strawberry Raita

Raita with strawberries is lightly tart from the strawberries and spiced with a dash of spices brings out a flavorful raita.

Ingredients


1/2 cup - Strawberries, chopped to small pieces

1 cup - Chilled yogurt
1 to 2 tsp - Sugar
Dash of - Black rock salt

Dash of - Red chili powder

1/4 tsp - Roasted
jeera powder
Salt to taste

Method


1 ) Beat yogurt with sugar and little salt to taste. If the yogurt is too sour, add more sugar otherwise less.

2 ) Mix strawberry with yogurt. Sprinkle, black rock salt, red chili powder, roasted jeera powder. Mix in and serve.


Serve fresh.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Paneer in Rich Cashew & Almond Sauce

A north Indian preparation of paneer, that is cooked in a rich sauce made with cashew and almonds and called shahi paneer or Butter paneer . This dish will compliment well with naan, roti or basmati rice.

Ingredients

14 oz / 400 gram Packet - Paneer, cut into cubes

1 small - Onion, cut thin, lengthwise
4 medium - Tomatoes, chopped
2 to 3 - Green chili, chopped

6 big flakes - Garlic, chopped

1 '' pieces - Ginger, chopped
1/2 cup - Cashew & almonds ( mix of both making 1/2 cup)
1 tbsp - Whipping cream


Seasoning


1 tsp - Cumin/jeera seeds
2 to 3 tsp - Coriander powder

1/2 to 1 tsp - Red chili powder

1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
2 tsp - Garam masala powder

1 to 2 tsp - Shan Vegetable curry mix Or MDH kitchen king


Garnishing


1/2 cup - Coriander leaves

Method

1 ) In a pan, add enough oil to fry paneer. Set aside 2 cubes to use later. Place rest of paneer cubes in hot oil and fry on all sides lightly to golden color. Drain and set aside.Grate the 2 paneer cubes.

2 ) To the same oil add onion and fry till onion is lightly browned. Then add green chili, ginger, garlic, cashew and almonds. Continue frying for 2 minutes. Then add tomato, sprinkle little salt and cook till tomato is well cooked. Take off the stove and cool. Transfer into a blender and grind to a smooth paste along with whipping cream. Add little water if needed to grind.

3 ) Transfer the paste to a pan, add enough water to make a semi- thick gravy. Bring to a boil, add fried paneer pieces, grated paneer, salt to taste and simmer.


4 ) Meanwhile in another pan, heat some oil, add jeera, fry for few seconds, then add coriander, red chili, turmeric, garam masala powder, shan vegetable curry mix or MDH kitchen king and fry in the oil for few seconds. Add coriander leaves and fry lightly. Pour this seasoning into the pan with paneer, stir and mix well. Close with a lid, simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the stove and serve.


Serve with roti or naan.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bhel Puri & Inspiration Award

Bhel puri is a mixture of different savory ingredients, put together and then tart tamarind date chutney, green cilantro-mint chutney is drizzled on this mixture and served fresh. I have used ready to use haldiram's bhelpuri pack to make this snack, rather than buying all the ingredients separately. In addition to the ingredients in the packet, other fresh ingredients are put in.

Ingredients


One 200 gram packet - Haldiram's bhel puri
1/2 cup - Beaten rice

1/2 cup - Besan boondi / Masala boondi
1/2 cup -
Aloo bhujia
1/2 cup - Red onion, chopped small

1 medium size - Tomato, chopped small
1/2 of a - Cucumber, chopped small

1 big - Potato, boiled and cubed

1/2 cup - Coriander leaves, chopped
1 to 2 tsp -
Chaat masala powder
1/4 tsp -
Garam masala powder
1 tsp - Lemon juice
Salt to taste


Chutney's

Tamarind date chutney

Green chutney


Method


1 ) Lightly roast beaten rice in a pan and let it cool. Into a big mixing bowl, add haldiram's bhel puri. The packet has a masala packet, out of which you can make chutney. And also a sev packet. Empty the sev into the bowl. Then add roasted beaten rice, boondi, aloo bhujia, onion, tomato, boiled potato, cucumber, coriander leaves and lemon juice.

2 ) Sprinkle chaat masala powder, garam masala, salt to taste, toss and mix all the ingredients together. Now when ready to serve, add tamarind chutney, green chutney, the chutney that came in the packet, as to one's taste.

Serve and have it fresh.

I have received an 'Inspiration award ' from Jamie. Inspiration Award has been coined in by Jamie of ' Flavor Pantry', who has been inspired by other blogger's for their recipes, pictures and wonderful posts. Thank you so much Jamie :D

About this award...


" This is given to bloggers whose stories and recipes inspire us.Whether it’s to eat healthier, dive back into our past to conjure up something we ate as children, or just make the light bulbs in our brains go on with a new idea for a recipe."

As recipients of this award, please share with us what inspires you and then pass on the Inspiration Award to 4 other deserving bloggers. Please let them know what the award means and what to do with it.

I am inspired by...

1 ) By good chefs, who have magic in their hands and create so beautiful and delicious food.

2 ) Inspired by my mother's cooking, which now i realize is the best, served with love :D

3 ) As a teenager i would try my hand at cooking, which was appreciated by my family, which really inspired me to try more.

I would like to pass this award on to -

Kalai of - Samaithu paarkalaam

Madhavi of - Recipes From My Favorite Place - Kitchen

Sagari of - Indian Cooking

Cham of - Spice - Club

Please accept this award and congrats to you ladies :)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Mixed Vegetable Pulao

Basmati rice cooked with mixed vegetables and spices to make an aromatic pulao.

Ingredients

1 cup - Basmati rice, wash and drain
3/4 cup - Fresh peas
1/4 cup - Carrots, chopped to small pieces
1/4 cup - Beans, chopped to small pieces
2 small sticks - Cinnamon
4 - Cloves
2 - Black cardamom
2 - Bay leaves
1 tsp - Ginger paste
1 tsp - Garlic paste
1 medium - Onion, sliced
1 tsp - Cumin seeds
2 cups - Water
Salt to taste

Method

1 ) Heat ghee or oil in a deep pan. Add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, cumin seeds and fry for few seconds. Add garlic - ginger paste, then add onion and fry till onion is lightly browned.

2 ) Add mixed vegetables and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add rice and fry for a minute. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil. Pour this water slowly into the rice pan. Lower the heat to low when pouring the water. Stir in, add salt to taste. Close with a heavy lid and bring to a boil on medium heat. Once it come to a boil, lower the heat and cook till all the water is used up. Switch off the stove and let the rice cook further in it's steam. When pan has cooled down , open the lid and stir in.

Serve into a serving platter and decorate with coriander leaves.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Strawberry Smoothie

Stores were stocked with fresh red Strawberries and i was so drawn to them. Got home to make a smoothie out of it.

Ingredients

2 cups - Strawberry, washed & chopped
1 cup - Chilled milk
1/2 cup - Medium sour yogurt
1/2 cup or more as to taste - Sugar
Few ice cubes


Method

1 ) To a blender add strawberry and grind to a smooth paste. Add sugar, ice and run to crush the ice. Then add milk and yogurt , blend to make a smooth, smoothie.

Enjoy the smoothie.

I have received a few more awards .













Good Chat blog award from Purnima. Thank you Purnima for this award and for the beautiful chats we have had.

Madhavi has presented me with a "Nice matters award" and Kalai has presented me with " rockin girl blogger" award. Thanks to both of you. I am thrilled to yet again receive these two awards.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Chana Dal Pulao

Simple in its taste, yet flavorful with the spices and chana dal, this pulao is easy to put together.

Ingredients

1 cup - Basmati rice, washed & drained
1/2 cup - Chana dal
1/2 tsp - Cumin seed /Jeera
4 - Cloves
2 small sticks - Cinnamon
2 - Black Cardamom
2 - Bay leaves
2 and 2/3 cups - Water
Ghee or Oil
Salt to taste

Method

1 ) Soak chana dal for at least 2 hours. Drain off the water and set aside.

2 ) Heat ghee or oil in a deep pan, add Cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, cumin and fry for few seconds. Then add chana dal and fry for 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat. Add rice and fry for 2 minutes.

3 ) Meanwhile in another pan, heat 2 and 2/3 cup water and bring to a boil. Pour this water into the rice pan, lowering the heat. Add salt to taste and stir in. Close with a heavy lid and bring to a boil and then lower the heat to low heat. Cook till the rice and dal is cooked and all the water is used up. Switch off the stove and don't open the lid yet. Let rice cook in the steam for a little more while. After 5 minutes or so, open the lid and stir the cooked rice.

Serve rice along with a veg or non vegetarian curry, yogurt and pappad.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mixed Dal with Spinach

Mixed dal/ lentil used here is masoor dal and moong dal. Both the dals have their distinct flavor and taste. Combining both dals and adding spinach to it, makes it even more healthy dish to have.

Ingredients

1/2 cup - Masoor dal
1/2 cup - Moong dal
1 big bunch - Spinach, washed & chopped
4 to 6 - Green chili, slit in center
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
3 to 4 big - Garlic, chopped
1 tbsp - Ghee
Salt to taste

Seasoning

1 tsp - Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp - Jeera
A dash of - Hing powder
2 - Dry whole red chili, split into two
3 to 4 big - Shallots, chopped
2 to 3 sprigs - Curry leaves

Method

1 ) Wash both dals. Heat 4 to 5 cups of water in a pan, add dal, turmeric powder, garlic, green chili, ghee and bring to a boil. When dal is 1/4 th cooked add spinach, salt to taste, simmer and further cook till dal and spinach is fully cooked, covered partially with a lid.

2 ) In another pan for seasoning, heat some ghee or oil on medium heat. Add mustard and pop it, then add jeera, hing, chili, shallot, curry leaves and fry till shallot is browned lightly. Pour this seasoning on the dal, stir and mix.


Serve hot with basmati rice, pappad and curds / yogurt.

Note - You can add one tomato, for sourness and a slight different taste.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Award & Top 10 Picture Meme

Yet again i have received a " you make my day award " from Kalai of " Samaithu paarkalaam " and from Easycrafts of " Simple Indian Food- An Easy Cooking Blog ". Thank you both for this award. Both of you have always made my day, when i get to read the lovely comments on most of my posts. Thank you for those encouraging words.
I want to pass on this award to all my readers and so much more to those who take a moment to say something in the comment section. It may be a few words, but it does really make my day and bring a smile to my face :D

I was also tagged to do the Top 10 picture MEME by Sashree of " A warm welcome to all the foodies ". Thanks sashree for this tag. So to list a few, here are some. Few among them have been tried and liked by some of the readers for which i got feedbacks.

1 ) Almond Macaroons - Amaretti Cookies


2 ) Eggless Banana Cake with Raisins, Dates & Nuts


3 ) Butter Cookies


4 ) Ela Ada - Steamed Sweet Dumpling


5 ) Egg Pakoda


6 ) Potato Bonda


7 ) Shammi Kababs / Kheema Kababs

8 ) Aloo Paratha


9 ) Ras Malai


10 ) Potato Ishtoo / Stew

Hope you all like this post and do let me know your thoughts...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Chutney - With Coconut or Yam

Chutneys are of different varieties, freshly made crushing or grinding together ingredients and seasoned or otherwise that goes along side with dosa, idli or rice. Here are two chutney's with same recipe but the main ingredient is different. One is a coconut chutney and the other yam chutney.

Ingredients

1 cup - Freshly grated coconut
4 - Whole dry red chili
1 tbsp - Urad dal
1/2 tsp - Jeera
1 flake - Garlic
A small marble size - Tamarind, seedless
Salt to taste

Seasoning

1/2 tsp - Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp - Jeera
1 sprig - Curry leave
A pinch of - Hing powder (optional )

Method

1 ) Heat little oil in a pan, fry red chili and take it off the oil. Then add to the oil urad dal and fry in oil till urad dal's color changes to a golden brown. Take it off the oil and set aside with red chili.

2 ) To a blender /grinder add grated coconut, fried red chili, urad dal, jeera, tamarind, garlic and salt to taste. Adding water, just enough to make the blender run, grind to a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl.

3 ) Heat little oil in a pan, add mustard and pop it. Then add jeera, curry leaves and hing. Fry for few seconds. Pour this seasoning on the ground chutney and mix in.

To make Yam Chutney - Follow the same recipe as above. Replace coconut with one cup grated yam to make yam chutney and season as above.

Serve with dosa or rice.