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Sweet and Tangy Mango Curry

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I love mangoes in any form... be it ripe, tangy, sour, sweet etc., it really doesn't matter, I enjoy eating them. I once read that Mango is the Ayurveda King of fruits. Ayurveda considers ripe mango sweet and heating. It balances all the three doshas and acts as an energizer. Green, unripe mango is also used in Indian cooking. The fruit is added to dhals and vegetables, or made into chutneys and pickles. They should not be eaten alone or in large quantities because they can aggravate the doshas, especially Pitta dosha. However, prepared with combination of dhal and spices they help digestion and improve the flavor of food.

Illustrated here is a very popular south Indian mango curry that is prepared with dhal and some spices and finally glazed with some jaggery (or brown sugar can be used) to enhance the flavor. This is a great combination with white rice.  

Ingredients
Raw Mango - 1 (Peel the skin and cut into small pieces)
Green chilli - 1
Turmeric powder - little
Moong dhal - 1 tablespoon
Jagger or brown sugar - about 1/2 tablespoon (alter this to taste)

For seasoning
Mustard seeds - little
Curry leaves - few
Red chilli - 1

Method

Add cut mango, dhal, green chilli and turmeric powder with about half a cup of water to the pressure cooker and cook for about one whistle and 10 minutes. If you do not have a pressure cooker then cook the ingredients in the stove top for about 20-25 minutes until the dhal is soft. Let the cooker to cool for about 10 minutes and then mash the dhal and the mangoes until soft. The dhal should be mashed completely and you should be able to see some pieces of mango (do not mash the mangoes completely). Heat oil in a pan, then add mustard seeds, curry leaves and 1 red chilli. To this add the mashed mango dhal. Let this boil for a minute and then add the jaggery and cook for 5 more minutes.

Serve hot with some white rice!

Mini Puris and Chenna Masala (Chole)

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In this post I have illustrated how to make deep fried Indian wheat bread called Puri accompanied with an Indian curry called Chole made of chickpeas/garbanzo beans. Puris are usually as big as any regular wheat tortilla and there is a variation to this puri called the Batura which is about 3 times the size of a regular puri. Since my daughter likes to eat finger foods I usually make them small.

Ingredients for Puri

whole wheat flour - 1 cup
salt - to taste

In a mixing bowl add the wheat flour and the salt and mix well with sprinkling some water until a smooth dough is formed. Then roll them and cut small circles using a cookie cutter or any small lid as illustrated in the pictures below.






Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the puris until golden brown.

Ingredients for Chenna Masala

Canned or cooked Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans - 1 cup
Onion - 1
Tomato - 2
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Garlic - 3 pods
Cinnamon stick - 1
Cloves - 3
Cardamon - 1
Red Chilli Powder/Paprika - 1/4 teaspoon (or per taste)
Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - to taste

For seasoning
Jeera/Cumin Seeds - little

Coriander leaves (for garnish)



Pressure cook onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, cardamon, cinnanon and cloves with 1/2 cup water for about 1 whistle and 10 minutes. If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can cook the ingredients in the stove for about 30 minutes with the lid covered.


Grid the cooked ingredients to a smooth paste after letting it cool for about 15 minutes.


In a pan, add oil and when the oil is hot add the cumin seeds. Then add the ground mixture and cook well for about 2 minutes. To this add chilli powder, coriander powder and salt. Let this cook for about 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and let it boil for 2 more minutes. Butter is optional. Now add the cooked chickpeas to the gravy and let it cook for 10 more minutes. A very tasty chickpeas gravy is ready to be served with the puris.


Baby Potato Fry

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Baby Potatoes are house favorites because of their thinner skin and sweeter flesh. And these when cooked with Indian flavors are just too delicious to resist. They pair along very well with any rice dish. A secret tip when cooking dry fry veggies: Mix the curries and salt with a little water and coat the veggies; Then add them to the pan and saute well. This ensures that the masalas are evenly coated on the veggies.

<Ingredients>
Baby Potatoes - 1/2 Pound
Red Chilli Powder/Paprika - 1 teaspoon ( ). Alter this to taste.
Coriander Powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - little
Garlic 3 pods
Aniseed  - little for seasoning
Curry leaves - for seasoning
Salt - to taste



Method

Thinly slice the baby potatoes. In a mixing bowl, add the chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt and a few tablespoons of water and mix well. To this paste add the sliced baby potatoes and mix well.

In a frying pan, add oil and when the oil is heated enough add aniseed and the curry leaves. Let it saute for a couple of seconds and then add the marinated potatoes. Saute for a few minutes. To this add some crushed garlic and close the lid and let it cook for about 10 minutes in low flame.

Now the potatoes  should be almost done. Increase the flame and saute in hing flame for about 2 minutes.  The potatoes should be well roasted and ready to serve!

Microwave Whole wheat flour cakes

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Microwave whole wheat cake


Last weekend I was traveling with a friend of mine to New Jersey. We didn't know each other much but had met a few times in common parties and both her and I were traveling to NJ the same week so decided to car pool. During the journey I came to know that she is also a food lover like me :-) Good... so our conversations was entirely around food and cooking (for the entire 4 hr journey :-). She shared this quick and easy cake recipe with me and I tried it this week and it was really really delicious and took only about 5 minutes to prepare!


Microwave whole wheat cake
Ingredients
whole wheat flour - 3 tablespoons
Milk - 1 tablespoon
Yogurt - 1 tablespoon
Nutella - 1 tablespoon
Chocolate syrup - 1 tablespoon
Butter - 1 teaspoon
Baking powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Sugar - if needed (I did not use)
Oil/butter spray (to coat the cup for baking)

Method
Coat the coffee mug or cereal bowl with PAM spray and mix all the ingredients into a smooth paste and microwave for 2 minutes in high setting. Remove the cup from the microwave and let it cool for 5 minutes and then serve with some chocolate ice cream.

Microwave whole wheat cake
Tapthi was extremely excited to make this cake all by herself. A real easy way to keep the kids occupied in the summer and make them feel so special that they can also bake :-) Isn't that wonderful...




Corrinader chutney

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This is Tapthi's favorite side dish for idli or dosa and she calls this the green chutney. This can be made with Mint/Coriander leaves/Curry leaves or even by combining all 3. Here I have used just Coriander leaves.

Ingredients
Oil
Mustard Seeds - little
Urad Dhal - little
Asafoetida - little
Onion - 1 big (Finely copped)
Tomato - 1 big (finely chopped)
Ginger - 1 inch piece (peeled and sliced)
Garlic - 2 pods (sliced)
Green Chili - 2
Red Chili - 3
Shredded Coconut - 3 tablespoon.
Tamarind - little piece
Coriander leaves - 1 bunch.

Method
In a pan add oil, and when it gets hot add mustard seeds, urad dhal and asafoetida. Fry for a minute and then add chopped onions and tomatoes. Cook until onions are soft. Then add ginger, garlic, green chili and red chili and fry for a few more minutes. To this add the shredded coconut, salt and tamarind. Fry until coconut turns a little brown. Finally add the coriander leaves and fry for a minute and then remove from the fire and let it cool.



Grid this mixture to a chutney consistency and serve with Idli, Dosa or Chapathi.



Raw Banana fry tastes more like a non vegetarian dish and is a great ac-compliment for curd rice. I love this fry because it is so easy to make at the same time extremely delicious.

Ingredients
Raw Banana - 1 (Peeled and thinly sliced)
Chili Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt

For seasoning
Fennel seeds - 1 teaspoon
Urad dhal - little
whole black pepper - little
Curry leaves
Garlic - 2 (crushed)

Method
Mix the sliced raw banana with chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt and a little water. The raw banana should be well coated with the masalas.

In a pan add add oil and when it is hot add fennel seeds, urad dhal and whole black pepper. To this add curry leaves and crushed garlic. Fry for about a minute and then add the marinated raw banana and fry well for about 10 to 15 minutes until the banana is completely cooked. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with yogurt rice.



This is the same recipe that I posted in Chettinad Fish Curry
but using Smelt Fish (Nethili Meen). This fish curry should be made a little thicker than the regular fish curry for a better taste.

Ingredients
Nethili Meen (Smelt) - 15 - 20. (With head removed)
Red Onion - 1 small (finely chopped)
Plum Tomatoes - 2 (Finely Chopped)
Garlic Pods - 15 (Thinly Sliced)
Green Chili - 4 (Slit them into 2 halves)
Tamarind - 1 lemon sized ball (Soak in water for 1/2 hr and then extract the juice)
Chili Powder - 1 teaspoon (or more as per taste)
Coriander Powder - 2 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - little
Salt

Seasoning
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds - little
Urad dhal - little
Methi seeds - little
Curry leaves

Method

Marinate the fish with some chili powder, turmeric powder and salt for about 1/2 hr.



In a pan add oil and when it is hot add the seasoning (mustard seeds, urad dhal, methi seeds and curry leaves). To this add the chopped onions and tomatoes and fry until the onions are soft and then add the garlic, green chili and saute for a few minutes. (The garlic should not turn too soft).

In another vessel add a cup of tamarind extract, 1 cup of water, chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt and mix well.

Add this mixture to the sauteed onions and let it boil for about 15 minutes.

To this curry now add the marinated fish and cover the pan for about 5-7 minutes.

The oil should be floating on top of the curry when you open the lid. The curry is now ready to be served.

Chettinad Fish Curry (Vanjaram Meen Kulumbu)

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Fish Curry (Meen Kulambu) is one of the easiest dish to make yet very tasty. More often I find myself being appreciated and be asked for the recipe and usually people are surprised as to how easy it is to make this dish. I guess you cannot go wrong with this recipe. Today I used Spanish Mackerel (Vanjaram) but you can use any kind of fish (Red Snapper - Sankara, Cat Fish -- Keluru, Tilapia -- Nei meen)


Ingredients
Spanish Mackerel (Vanjaram) - 500gms
Red Onion - 1 small (finely chopped)
Plum Tomatoes - 2 (Finely Chopped)
Garlic Pods - 15 (Thinly Sliced)
Green Chili - 4 (Slit them into 2 halves)
Tamarind - 1 lemon sized ball (Soak in water for 1/2 hr and then extract the juice)
Chili Powder - 1 teaspoon (or more as per taste)
Coriander Powder - 2 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - little
Salt

Seasoning
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds - little
Urad dhal - little
Methi seeds - little
Curry leaves

Method

Marinate the fish with some chili powder, turmeric powder and salt for about 1/2 hr.



In a pan add oil and when it is hot add the seasoning (mustard seeds, urad dhal, methi seeds and curry leaves). To this add the chopped onions and tomatoes and fry until the onions are soft and then add the garlic, green chili and saute for a few minutes. (The garlic should not turn too soft).

In another vessel add a cup of tamarind extract, 1 cup of water, chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt and mix well.

Add this mixture to the sauteed onions and let it boil for about 15 minutes.

To this curry now add the marinated fish and cover the pan for about 5-7 minutes.

The oil should be floating on top of the curry when you open the lid. The curry is now ready to be served.

Refreshing Pasta Fruit Salad

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I was so bored of eating fruit salads and wanted to make it special this time, so added pasta to it and it made a world of difference. I used 2 kids of pastas: Ditalini and Campanelle. You can typically use any kind of pasta and any variety of fruits.




Ingredients
1. Ditalini Pasta - 1 cup
2. Campanelle Pasta - 1 cup.
3. Apple - 1
4. Pear - 1
5. Mandarin Orange fruit cup - 1
6. Blueberry - few
7. Raisins - few
8. Walnuts - few
9. Almonds - few
10. Pepper
11. Salt
12. Sugar - 1 teaspoon.
13. Raspberry vinaigrette - 1 tablespoon (You can use any dressing)
14. Strawberry - few
15. Grapes - few

Method
Cook the pastas as per instruction and let it cool for at least 1/2 hour. To the Pasta add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Server chilled.



Tried this recipe as a main dish for the Chettinad chicken gray and it turned out to be great!

Ingredients to grind
1. Coconut - 3 tablespoons
2. Green Chili - 10 to 15. (Thai Red hot peppers)
3. Mint leaves - 1 bunch.
4. Garlic - 4 pods
5. Ginger - 2 inch piece.
6. Red Chili Powder - 1/4 teaspoon.
7. Coriander Powder - 1/2 teaspoon.

Grind the above to a smooth paste.

Other Ingredients
1. Basmathi Rice - 2 cups
2. Ghee to fry - 1/2 teaspoon (Clarified butter)
3. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon.
4. Onion - 1 large finely chopped

Garam Masala Spices
1. Bay leaf - 1
2. Cinnamon stick - 1
3. Cloves - 4
4. Cardamon - 2.

Method
Soak Basmathi rice for 1/2 hour. In a flat bottom pan add ghee and the soaked basmathi rice and fry for a few minutes and set it aside. In the same pan add a little oil and the whole garam masala spices and fry well. To this add the chopped onions and fry well. Then add the chicken and turmeric powder and fry for a few minutes and then add the grinded masala along with necessary salt. Cook the chicken until it is completely done. To this add the fried rice and add 4 cups of water. You can either cover the pan with a lid until the rice is cooked or transfer it to a Rice cooker and then cook the biryani. I used the rice cooker this time and it took about 10 minutes for the rice to be cooked.

Served with Chettinad Chicken Gravy.



This is typically my style of cooking chicken. Very quick, less work, simply delicious and always appreciated! Doesn't this sound good. Try it out and let me know!


Ingredients for the Masala
Red Chilli - 10 nos
Corriander seeds - 1 tablespoon
turmeric powder - little
cloves - 3
cinnamon - 1 inch piece
cardamon - 2
ginger - 1 inch piece
garlic - 3 pieces
Sombu - 1 teaspoon
Jeera - 1 teaspoon
kus kus - 1 teaspoon
pepper - 2 teaspoon or more as per taste
small onions - 10
Curry leaves - few
coconut - 1/2 cup

Fry the above ingredients in ghee and grind them into a smooth paste. I call this the brown masala and make them in batches and freeze them. Once this is ready, you can cook this curry with no effort ;-)


Other ingredients
Chicken - 2 pounds (with the bones)
Mustard seeds
Urad dhal
curry leaves
big read onion - 1
very ripe plum tomatoes - 1
turmeric powder - a pinch
chilli powder - a pinch



Method
In a non-stick pan, add mustard seeds, urad dhal, curry leaves, finely chopped onions and tomatoes. Fry well and then add the cut chicken pieces with some turmeric and salt. Fry well for a few minutes, then add a pinch of chilli powder. When the chicken is about 3/4th cooked, add the grinded masala and cook for another 15-20 minutes!

The Chettinad Chicken Gravy served with Mint Chicken Biryani!!