Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Slowly fried potatoes

This is something I learned from my servant, she has some interesting dishes up her sleeve, which she shares only on special request. She made this for my son who simply loves potatoes in any form like all of us do!

Potatoes - 4-5 diced and cubed
Sambhar Masala - 1 to 1 1/2 tsp

With your hands rub the potatoes with salt and sambhar masala and keep aside for about 5 minutes. Heat a wok and lightly coat with oil and fry the potatoes on low fire till nice and crispy. You may experience the potatoes sticking to the pan once in a while, you could spritz in teeny bits of water every now and then to prevent that from happening.

Shepherd's Pie spruced up with Indian Spices

It couldn't be rotis and come curry because we have that every day, I wanted to have a pie, something stimulating, and interesting. So whipped up this with a little difference from the actual by just adding our very own Indian flavors.

500 gm Chicken breasts (boiled and shredded)
1 tomato chopped
1 onion chopped.
3-4 medium potatoes (boiled)
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp sugar
A couple of green chillies chopped
A couple of tablespoons of milk
salt and pepper to taste
Cheddar cheese and bread crumbs for sprinkling

Saute onions till they become translucent pink, add the ginger garlic paste and saute well. Followed by the powders till the masala is cooked. Then add the tomatoes, and chillies till all is well done. Tip in the soya sauce, tomato sauce and sugar. Once the mixture is combined well add the shredded chicken and saute for another 2-3 mins.
Mash the boiled potatoes to a spreading consistency using milk, salt, pepper and a bit of grated cheese.
Grease a baking dish and layer the meat mixture as the base and spread the mashed potato on top. Finally sprinkle the breadcrumbs to make that the third layer, and grate cheddar cheese for the topping. Bake for 20 minutes at 120 degree C. Serve fresh from the over with some bread rolls.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The buttermilk mixture known as "Kalan"

Kalan is a preparation usually made for Onam or other festive occasions. My mum made this almost every other day because her kids simply loved it. It's even better if a fish curry were to accompany with the rice.

Raw Banana - 1 cut into rounds of 1inch thickness
Sour curds - 4 cups
Turmeric powder - 1 1/2tsp
Fenugreek powder - 1/2 tsp
Fennel powder - 1/2tsp
Coconut grated - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 3
Dry red chillies - 4-5
Mustard seed - 1tsp
Garlic - 4 pods
Curry leaves - a sprig

Combine the sliced up banana, 1/2tsp of turmeric powder,a bit of salt and water into a non-stick pan till the banana is pan coated. In another pan cook the sour curds with the rest of the turmeric powder. Cook on low heat continuously stirring to avoid curdling the mixture. Remove pan from fire and continue stirring till the mixture is slightly cooled. Wet grind the masala of coconut, garlic, 2 shallots, fennel powder and green chillies. For the tempering splutter mustard seeds, curry leaves, sliced shallots and red chillies till brown.Once the tempering is ready add the fenugreek seeks. Keep the yoghurt mixture back onto the stove and add the ground masala till the mixture is combined well. Add the salt and the cooked plaintains and stir well. Add the tempering to the dish.And its ready to be served with rice.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yardlong beans and Potato Sauteed

On our usual weekend getaways to my in laws, I would admire the way my father in law would pitch in to cook. He has a way of dealing with his vegetables, as if it were fragile and delicate. For this dish he would accurately measure out each bean and cut it with such precision, that itself is a wonder to see.
Yardlong beans - 400gm cleaned and cut into 1inch pieces
Potato - 3-4 peeled and cut into fingers
Onion - 1 finely sliced
Garlic - 3-4 pods crushed
Green chilly - 1 finely chopped
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Aniseed - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste

Cook the beans and potato with the turmeric and bit of salt and about a quarter cup of water in a non-stick pan till it becomes al dente or the water dries up and the vegetables are pan coated. In a frying pan, heat oil and saute the onions till browned. Add the crushed garlic and chilly, saute for another minute. Then tip in the beans and potato and fry till almost done. Add the aniseed powder and more salt if required and cook well.

Tip: The beans need to be nipped off at the ends. The beans could be held in bundles and hashed to get even sized pieces of about an inch.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chicken in ground coriander reamed with fried button onions and rice

After a long outing on the previous day I was in no mood to cook the next day. Situations don't always work out in my favour and nor did I have the option of ordering home delivery. So I had to bring up something to the table or else I'd end up with too many cranky babies (my husband, my son and my brother if he turns up for lunch). I had lunch ready in a matter of minutes..a simple chicken and rice meal.

Chicken - 1kg cleaned and cut into medium pieces
Coriander powder - 6tbs
Chilly powder - 1tbs
Turmeric powder  - 1/4tsp
Aniseed powder - 1tsp
Button onion - 15-20 finely sliced (otherwise known as shallots or sambhar onion)
Coconut milk - 1 1/2cups

Grind the coriander chilly and turmeric along with aniseed powder to a fine paste. Mix the ground paste with diluted coconut milk (2nd extraction of milk for those using grated coconut). Add the chicken and salt as required to the diluted coconut milk with ground masala. Cook the chicken for 7-10mins. Remove the partially cooked chicken and lightly fry in oil in another pan. Fry the sliced button onions till they are browned, taking care that they do not burn. Add half the fried onions to the cooked gravy. Once the chicken is fried put it back into the cooked gravy, add the remaining coconut milk and cook on low flame. Do not boil the gravy. Once the dish is cooked and transferred onto a serving plate, top with remaining fried button onions. The fried onion gives the curry a distinctive flavor.

Semolina Moulds alongside Chicken Delight

The day Uppumau is made at home, my brother and me would have this unusual silence at the kitchen table. As children we were to eat this with sliced up bananas and sugar sprinkles while my dad gets his uppumau accompanied with chicken/ fish or any meat  depending on what was the previous day leftover. The story still continues in my household - my husband and brother would eat this provided the approved non vegetarian condiments are served alongside...


Semolina/ Bansi Rava/ Roasted Rava - 1 cup
Onion - 1 finely chopped
Tomato - 1 finely chopped
Ginger - 1 inch finely sliced and cut into thin strips
Green chilly - 1 finely chopped
Boiling water - 1 1/2 cups
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Carrot finely grated -  2tbs

Depending on the type of rava, roast the rava on a non stick pan without losing the colour. Wipe the pan using absorbent paper and saute the ginger and onion until translucent. Add the chilly and tomato and fry till the tomato becomes soft. Pour the boiling water, and once the water starts bubbling, add the rava and cook for another 3-4 mins till the water is absorbed and the rava is cooked. Fill a ladle with the rava mixture and unmould onto a plate and serve. Top the semolina hillocks with grated carrot.

Chicken Delight

Chicken - 1kg cleaned and cut into medium pieced
Ginger garlic paste -2tbs
Garam masala - 1/2tsp
Turmeric - 1/2tsp
Vinegar - 1tbs
Onion - 3-4 finely chopped
Tomato paste - 2tbs or 3 tomatoes blanched and pureed 
Dry red chillies - 6-7 without the seeds and ground to a paste
Water - 1 cup
Red colour optional
Salt to taste

Marinate the chicken with garam masala, ginger garlic paste, turmeric, vinegar and salt for an hour. In the meantime, heat oil in a wok and saute onion till evenly browned, Then add the ground chilli paste and tomato paste and saute till the masala is cooked through. Add water and red colour and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Fry the marinated chicken till browned and add the fried pieces to the cooked gravy.  Serve with uppamau moulds.

A Sweet Makeover ~ Coconut Laddoo and Wheat Pedha

I was wanting to send some mithai for the folks at my husband's office, that's when my batch mate from college put up her recipes for 'Mithai DiwalI Special' on her blog which look absolutely divine and tempting. I didn't think twice, went to the store procured the ingredients and started at it right away. When you have a toddler at home you wouldn't want to go through methods that need surgical precision but something that would get you through the dish with absolute ease. And these mithai recipes are just that!

Coconut Laddoo


(Makes 30-32 ladoos) 
Condensed milk (Milkmaid) - 300ml/ 1 tin
Grated coconut - 4 cups

Set aside about 50 gms of coconut. Then in a kadai, add the rest of the coconut and the milkmaid and mix well. Cook on low flame for about 5 minutes. When the mixture starts to leave the sides of the kadai, take it off the flame and transfer the mix to another bowl and let it cool. Grease your palms with butter and make small laddoos. Roll them in coconut and arrange them on a butter paper.

Wheat Pedhas


(Makes approximately 30 pedhas)
1  1/2 cups Wheat Flour/ Atta
1 cup Sugar
½ cup Milk
3-4 tbs Clarified butter/ Ghee
½ tsp Cardamom powder

In a kadai add ghee and roast the flour for about 3-4 minutes on low flame. You'd know the flour is roasted from the wonderful aroma that would start to emanate. Add the sugar and give it a good mix. Now add the milk and continue stirring till it becomes a single mass and starts to leave the sides of the kadai. Sprinkle the cardamom powder and switch off the flame.  Grease a plate with ghee and set this mixture onto it and let it cool. When it is cool enough, make small balls and flatten it a bit. Roll them in powdered sugar and store in airtight containers.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Caramell'd Banana

Every one in my family including my toddler loves this snack. My maternal grandmother used to make banana fritters regularly whenever we visited her during summer holidays, but this recipe was something she would secretly make for my uncle who never quite liked the batter coated plantains. And if we ever tried, just tried sneaking a piece kept aside for her son, we ended up getting a good slap on our hands, and she'd immediately retort, "this is for my Kuttappan"..(a name she lovingly called my uncle). I remember her when I make this for my son and maybe some day I'd get to make this for my grandchildren.

Plantains - 3 ripe sliced round/ or cut lengthwise
Honey - 1 tbs
Clarified Butter/ Vegetable oil - 1tbs
Powdered Sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle

In a frying pan, heat the clarified butter. Add the honey, when it bubbles pop in the cut plantains and fry till it turns to a  golden glaze. Sprinkle powdered sugar and cinnamon just before serving.

Tip: I have cut the plantains into rounds for the convenience of my son, if I were to serve this to guests it would be cut lengthwise, so that it is visually presentable.

Bombay Toast aka French Toast

Bombay toast or rather French toast was a delicacy during my MBA days. We were 12 girls staying together at a paying guest, sharing one frying pan and one hot plate. You would have to wait in queue for your turn to cook, no matter how hungry you were. For me and my friends, if one had the milk, the other had the eggs and the third had the bread. We'd go around scraping off whatever sugar was left from all the sugar pots everyone owned and get busy cooking an absolute rumble.

Wholewheat bread/ brown bread/ white bread of your choice 10-12slices
2 eggs
2 tbs honey/ 2tbs castor sugar
1 cup  milk
Bacon slivered
2 tomatoes sliced into rounds

Whip the milk, eggs and honey/ sugar well into a shallow dish. Heat a griddle, drop a bit of oil so that the pan is lightly coated. For those not counting their calories you could use  a wee bit of butter instead. Soak the bread into the mixture and let it soak for a couple of seconds and gently turn to coat the other side. Fry till golden brown. In another pan, heat some olive oil and fry bacon till just crisp and in the remaining oil quickly fry the tomatoes till they turn a orangey black hue.Serve the rash and tomatoes onto your slice of toast.

Tip: For those having this without the bacon and tomatoes, strawberry jam, honey or maple syrup would do just fine as well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pizza time!

Thursday nights, my parents would go to play badminton while me and my brother would go to Sunday school (because in the gulf weekends were Thursdays and Fridays). Post which came the fun part, dad would leave money on the buffet counter. So we were to do as we please after we came home from church. As always our routine was to dial 2465-05-0. We never argued on what we wanted to order, because either of us was okay with the choices we made that day as long as it took only 45 minutes for the pizza to get delivered home and the pizza was hot ; thank god for the invention of the microwave and yes mum owned one; because we'd still run a 30sec on our pizza even if it was still delivered hot just to get that cheese cheesy enough. A Pizza hut pizza was something we never got tired off and still don't.....

Chicken Pizza

Chicken shredded - 1 cup
Pizza Sauce - 4 tbs
Grated low fat cheddar cheese - 1/2 cup
Thinly sliced onion - 1/4 cup
Corn kernels - 1/4 cup
Coriander leaves - 1 tbs
Whole wheat tortilla/ khubbus/ pizza base - 2

Pizza Sauce:
Onion - 1 minced
Garlic - 3 pods, minced
Tomato puree - 200ml
Sugar - 1/2tsp
Oregano - 1tbs
Vegetable oil- 1tbs

To make the sauce:
Heat oil and saute the onion and garlic till they turn light brown. Add the tomato puree and rest of the ingredients. Blend in a mixer and let it cool.

For the pizza:
Preheat the oven to about 200 C if or else heat the bottom of the pizza base onto a tava/ skillet over medium flame for about 2-3  mins just so that it turns a nice brownish hue. The same goes for the khubbus.
Toss the chicken with 2 tbs of pizza sauce. Spread the remaining sauce over the pizza base. Spread the chicken, corn, onion and sprinkle the grated cheese.
Bake the pizza for about 20mins. For those not using the oven microwave the pizza for about 3mins till the cheese is bubbly and warmed through. Sprinkle chopped coriander and dig in!!

Mushroom and Bell Pepper Pizza

Mushroom - 1 cup thinly sliced
Yellow bell pepper - 1 cut into thin rounds
Balsamic Vinegar - 1tbs
Garlic - 3 pods grated
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Tomato Paste - 1 tsp
Mozzarella cheese to sprinkle

Saute the mushrooms till they turn soft. Add the sugar let it caramelize the mushrooms, then add the balsamic vinegar. Mix the mushrooms well in the vinegar and then add the tomato paste and saute for another 2-3 mins. Spread pizza sauce over the pizza base and then spoon the mushroom mixture over the pizza base. and top with the yellow pepper rings. Lastly sprinkle cheese and bake for about 20 mins or microwave for about 2-3 mins until the cheese melts. And lastly...enjoy your creation with a glass of iced coke and a good movie to watch. How about that?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Date Spice Cake

Its the weekend and I have to stock my house with 'something'. Found this recipe from a book my mum gave me when I got married, thinking I'd riot my new household with dishes no one has ever savored. Well this was one recipe for a cake, baked it for the first time and it was an instant hit. My cousins, friend and her fiance had their luck in tasting my culinary creation for the day. Thank you all for at least leaving the crumbs for my husband! And most of all thank you Amma!!

Flour - 1 1/2 cups
Baking powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Soda Bicarbonate - 1/4tsp
Nutmeg powder - 1 tsp
Castor Sugar - 1 cup
Butter - 1/2 cup (at room temperature)
Salt -1/4 tsp
Egg - 1
Sultanas - 1 cup
Cashew nuts - 1 cup (broken)
Dates - 1 cup (minced)
Boiling water - 1 cup

Pour the boiling water over the minced dates and keep it aside till cool. Sift the flour, baking powder, soda bicarbonate and the nutmeg powder together. Cream together the butter sugar adding the whisked egg little by little. Put 1/3rd of the flour and dates and mix well each time. Fold in the nuts and sultanas carefully mixing them. Bake in a greased tin at 325 F/ 170 C for 40 minutes. For those using the microwave to bake, 180 C at 45 minutes should be just fine. You would want to check in on your cake at the end of 40 minutes with a skewer/ toothpick. Once the cake is out of the oven and slightly cool, sprinkle some powdered sugar over the cake and rub it all over.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dunkin Doughnuts

I was so bored a Sunday evening, and I knew I'm expecting a bunch of hungry people post their long day at church. That's when I stumbled upon this recipe and decided why not?...so thus you have it...

1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp baking power
1/4 tsp salt
55g butter at room temperature
1/4 cup cold milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
oil for deep frying

To dust:
Powdered Sugar
Powdered Cinnamon

Process flour, baking powder and salt in the food processor, or gently combine them with your hands. Add butter, then sugar and process again. Mix in milk, egg and vanilla essence and continue processing till a dough is formed.
Roll out dough on a floured board, and using a doughnut cutter cut out doughnuts. Deep fry 3-4 at a time. When they turn golden brown and double in size transfer to absorbent paper. Allow the doughnuts to cool a bit and dust sugar and cinnamon.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Honey Chilli Chicken

Its the summer of 1998 and my mum enrolled me into my Aunt's Summer Cooking classes to learn the basics of cooking, not that there wasn't anything better to do, but I was just as excited and eager to go for it. A ten day course and this was one of the first recipes she handed her students. It has now become a hit with my family. Oh yes, at the end of the ten days we were given our certificates - an achievement isn't it? what say!

Boneless chicken - 500gm
Tomato Sauce - 2 tbsp
Balsamic Vinegar - 2 tsp
Soya Sauce - 1 tbsp
Honey - 1tbsp (you could be generous depending on how sweet you want it)
Ginger - 1 inch sliced in strips
Garlic - 5-6 pods sliced in strips
Green Chillies - 2-3 chopped
Plain Flour
1 Medium Onion chopped
Spring onion

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and lightly coat with flour. Deep fry the chicken in batches till it turns a golden brown and is cooked through. Pour away any excess oil and leaving about 1 tbsp of oil in the wok fry the chopped onion till translucent, followed by ginger and garlic. Saute for a minute or two and then add green chillies. Add the balsamic vinegar, followed by soya sauce and tomato sauce and saute well. Drizzle in the honey, add the fried chicken to the mixture. Let the chicken absorb the sauces for about 3-4 minutes. Just before serving add the chopped spring onion.

Tip: If you don't have balsamic vinegar, synthetic vinegar and lemon juice of 2tbsp each should do!

Mango Bavarian Cream

It was my son Elijah's 2nd birthday and I had to think of a dessert which had the season's best choice...I was lead to choose from the best..."King of fruits  - Ripe juicy sweet mangoes"!! And thanks to a friend she came up with a Bavarian cream recipe.

Gelatine - 50gm
Cold water - 300ml
Mango - 800gm
Boiling water - 300ml
Sugar - 300gm
Egg white - 5
Cream - 450gm (needs to be whipped)
Strawberries to garnish

In a saucepan soak the gelatin in cold water for about 5 mins. Add the boiling water and sugar and stir over the heat until the gelatin and sugar are dissolved. Blend the mangoes to a puree. Add the pureed mangoes to the gelatin mixture and refrigerate until partly set. Beat the egg whites until stiff and gradually fold into the mango puree mixture. Fold in the whipped cream and pour into a greased dish. Refrigerate until fully set and garnish with strawberries. This is an absolute delight indeed!

The Vindaloo Express~ Chicken Vindaloo

The first time I ate a pork vindaloo was at the Koshy's Cafe. The other day I was thinking of the steaming white rice served with the vindaloo, the same day Aditya Bal demonstrated the recipe on NDTV Good times. Also AXN had Nigel Lythgoe on the show 'So you think you can dance' calling a pair of dancers ' the Vindaloo Express'.  My patience just ran out and immediately checked my freezer, saw that I had chicken and decided on the spot to try the chicken version because there was no stopping me now.

Chicken/ Pork - 1kg cut into medium pieces
Dry red chillies- 15-20
Onions chopped - 2
Garlic - 6-7 pods
Ginger - 1" piece
Cloves - 5-6
Peppercorns - 10-12
Black cardamom - 1
Cinnamon - 2 sticks
Fenugreek - 2 tsp
Cumin - 1/2tsp
Vinegar - 2tbs
Tomato paste - 2tbs (about 3-4 chopped tomatoes could be used instead)
Sugar - 2tsp
Salt to taste

Vindaloo Paste:
Grind red chillies, ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, cardamom, fenugreek, cumin and vinegar and keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok, and saute onions till browned. Then add the sugar, let it caramelize a bit followed by the tomato paste. Once the fat separation starts to happen add the vindaloo paste and saute till the masala is cooked. Add the chicken and cook till the gravy is thickened and chicken is cooked. Usually vindaloos are best served with plain white rice.

Dark Chocolate Secrets~ Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Chocolate is known to be an anti oxidant and an aphrodisiac. Couple it with some biscuits and low fat cream and you have a cake that's simply tasty and involves no effort at all!(Under 20 minutes). Sending this across to Divya for her event 'Best Chocolate Cake'

Dark Chocolate/ Chocolate bars - 400gm
Chopped walnuts and almonds - 1/4 cup
Low fat cream - 200ml
Multi-grain Biscuits /Plain Marie biscuit - 300gm.

Heat the low fat cream in a saucepan. Remove it from the fire when it comes to a boil, add the chocolate and stir as they melt into the cream forming a silky sauce. Add crushed biscuits, omega 3-rich nuts to this mix coating them well. Pour it all into a lightly greased cake pan and let it set in the refrigerator. Slice and enjoy!
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