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

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.