Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Aloo Matar Recipe | Aloo Matar Dry in Pressure Cooker


So hello folks, I'm back with a recipe post today. It is none other than the Punjabi Aloo Matar recipe :) Generally I am not a fan of green peas a.k.a the fresh or frozen ones. But dried ones I am good :) So usually I mix the peas with something else or use the frozen or fresh peas as a accompanying ingredient in some dish like the biriyani, Methi malai matar, peas pulav and likes :) And this is one such dish. Actually aloo makes everything else good right. Add it to a chicken gravy or fry it or boil it. Make cutlets or just make a simple sabzi.. Aloo makes everything taste good :) And I just can't believe when someone doesn't eat aloo or picks it and keeps it at the side of a plate for discarding :O

So coming back to this recipe, it is simple and takes no time as you use a cooker to make it :) Just chop some onions and tomatoes. Dice some potatoes, and go saute saute. And it's done :) If you do not want to use a cooker, then also fine. Potatoes do not take long to cook :) And this recipe is very much liked by my little one and so it's extra special to me :D Thanks to Hebbar's Kitchen on that :) So off to the recipe :) 



Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Cooking Time : 10 minutes


Recipe source : Here


Serves : 4 persons 


I Used:


Aloo - 2 medium sized - cubed
Peas (Matar) - ½ cup
Oil - 2 tbsp
Cinnamon - ½ inch piece
Cumin seeds - ½ tsp
Kasuri Methi - 1 tsp
Red Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - ½ tsp
Turmeric Powder - ¼ tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Onion - 1 medium sized - finely chopped
Tomato - 2 medium sized - finely chopped
Coriander leaves 4-5 sprigs - chopped


The Way:


1. In a pressure pan, heat oil. Add the cinnamon stick, cumin seeds and crushed kasuri methi

2. When the cumin starts to splutter, reduce the flame to low. Add red chilly powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and give a quick saute. Take care not to burn the powders


3. Then add the chopped onions and saute till they become soft. Since we have already added the powders in the beginning, it will be difficult to know if they turn colour. So saute for 4-5 minutes till they turn soft

4. Next add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for another 2-3 minutes till the raw smell goes

5. Then add the chopped tomatoes. Saute them. They must turn mushy


6. Once mushy, add the green peas and diced potatoes and give a quick saute. I have used frozen peas here. I soak them in water for 10 minutes before adding to the gravy


7. Then add ½ cup water and give a quick stir. Then close the cooker and pressure cook for 2 whistles in high and 2 in simmer or till they are cooked, Take care not to turn the peas too mushy. If you do not want to pressure cook, go ahead and cook them normally. Add a little extra water around 1/4 cup more and cook covered till the potatoes are cooked. Check and stir in between to see that they do not get burnt or stuck in the bottom

8. Once done and the pressure is released, open the cooker. See if any water is left. if then switch on the flame and allow them to evaporate and the dish to become dry. Once done switch off the flame and add the chopped coriahnder leaves and give a quick stir


Serve wit warm phulkas!

Cheers,
Chitz

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

A trip down to Dapoli (Ratnagiri, Maharashtra) !

While some of you might be thinking what is this post doing in a food blog, let me tell you a little more of myself. I love travelling. I love exploring new places. And beaches make me calm and bring out the child in me. But my partner in crime, the better half (now the little one too) likes "the travelling" part more, you see like riding the car or sitting in a bus and enjoying the fact that it is moving. 

I know many of you out there are the same. But we somehow have struck a balance and explore some places as much as we can with our little one. So I wanted to write out my experience on our short, long weekend trip to Dapoli in Maharashtra during this Easter. I had been planning to post this for long and somehow it is happening today. Better late than never, right !

The hubby is an expert in google search and finding really good looking places to stay when we embark on any trip (I should give the credit right :)). So a week before our trip he had found this amazing looking home stay (Bangli) in Ladghar, Dapoli. I had not seen the pictures of the homestay. He told me it is walk-able distance from the beach and I was more excited about the beach.

So we started our car ride from Pune on a Saturday morning around 10 - 10.30. And we reached Dapoli around 4 - 4.30 in the evening. We were greeted by our pleasant host Ameya and soon he had his helpers bring us some fresh tender coconut water. Then we checked in the room which was on the first floor of the home stay. It was elegant and very good looking with nice simple interiors and furniture. The wooden finish gave the place a very traditional look as well :) The helpers around there were cleaning the courtyard and smearing cow dung on the courtyard floor. I have heard of this practise before but never seen it. It wards away the mosquitoes and keeps the floor cool.




You can see the cow dung smeared floor here right :)

Ameya and his family grow mangoes and coconuts and many other spices. So the home stay is located in the middle of their very large plot and adjacent to their house. All around you can see coconut trees and spices like all spice, nutmeg, pepper and so on.. And the best part is standing there near the home stay you will never feel that just a 500 metre walk will get you to the Ladghar beach :) Just the roaring sound of the waves may hint at it though ;)

And the impatient me was very much itching to go to the beach and so went straight to the beach after dropping our luggage inside. The most beautiful part of the beach is that there is practically no crowd and I literally mean it. There were a few people and in no way you can call that a crowd and those few people were from the nearby resorts and home stays. And you get that awesome feeling of being in a private beach. Cool na ;)

A walk to the gates of the home stay gives you this view! 

The best part - Almost private beach kinda feel :) :D

So we spent the evening in the beach to my heart's content :) Then we came back and had dinner and signed off for the day.. One thing about this place is that it has very little (for Vodafone) or no (for Airtel) mobile network coverage. So it is that perfect vacation spot which takes you away from the hustles of the city and lets you pamper yourselves without any intervention from the outside world. Your boss can't reach you? Blame it on the network ;)

Sea gulls in action..



And so the next day, we had breakfast and set about to roam the quaint little place. There are beaches, beaches and more beaches for all those interested :) We went to Karde beach which was also very quiet and almost like a private beach and it was around 6 kms from our home stay. We spent some time wading our feet in the waters there. We wanted to cover Murud beach as well and almost went till there. But we had some difficulty in parking the car and also the little one was getting impatient as he hadn't taken the whole beach thing too well. His feet were getting dirty in the sand and he didn't seem to like it much ;)  So we returned back to our resort for lunch.


While we were in Dapoli we had all our meals at our home stay itself. One thing is there were more of resorts only nearby and no hotels as such. But the primary reason was that the food at Bangli was awesome. Tasty Konkan cuisine and that too homemade. So it was very light on our tummy and lip smacking good.. We had the Konkan style prawn gravy, semolina crusted Bangda (mackerel) fish fry, aloo methi and fresh curd (from their farm). Even the breakfast with poha and thalipeeth and the fresh fruits from their farm was so simple and extremely delicious. While we were about to leave from there, then only I realised I had not clicked any pics of the food that we had. Since there was no network connection I had not bothered to take the phone with me always ;)

A Sunday afternoon siesta after that yummy meal is mandatory, right. So we took a nap and then in the evening had some fresh Aam ka panna and Aamras. All made from the mangoes in their farm. And then Ameya took us for a small tour of their farm showing us the mango orchard, sapota trees, all the spices and such. And he also told that there were some temples nearby (Keshavraj & Kadyvarcha Ganapati temple) that we could visit if interested.


Then we again paid a visit to the Ladghar beach. Not everyday you get a beach to your own right. So we made full use of it :D There were parasailing and horse and camel riding and all that happening in the beach. But we just took a ride in the ATV (all terrain vehicle) alone :) And we saw a car riding through the beach in all that filmy style ;) See the perks of a crowd free beach :D


These beaches are also home to Olive ridley turtles but we were not that lucky to see them nor they hatching the eggs. Our host told that it was that season but we didn't get that lucky. But what we did see were some dolphins in the Ladghar beach. Yes, the next day morning around 8 'o clock, we went on a Dolphin safari (costs 200 bucks per person). We saw quite a number of dolphins during our safari which was close to 30 minutes. But they did not porpoise ;) And that was ok, coz I saw quite a number of them and was contented with that :D




Once the safari was over, we went back and had breakfast. Then we packed our bags and said goodbye to our dear host Ameya and started back to our nest :) We visited around the end of March and the mango season was just starting. If we had gone during the peak season we would have go t 2 kgs of those Alphonso mangoes from their farm as complementary :) But we did bring some farm fresh pepper and spices back with us :)

And so, that was one quiet and tranquil vacation that I had been to in quite a while. There are many more beaches and some temples and caves to visit there in Dapoli. But we were not on a checklist and were quite relaxed with our stay at the home stay. So if you stay in Pune or around and are looking for such a vacation then do include Dapoli in your list coz you will not be disappointed :) Hope you enjoyed reading my experience. Until I come back with another vacation or outing details!

Cheers,
Chitz

Friday, 17 August 2018

Instant Mango Pickle | Manga Achar | Manga Urukai | Raw Mango Pickle


I make this pickle almost every year. This year I made it twice :)  So you can understand how easy it is to make :)  During summer, I almost always have the pickle powder (mustard-feungreek powder) ground in bulk and stored. So it is a breeze to make the pickles as and when needed.. This pickle is the family favorite and is loved by all. Now who can say no to fiery, salty and sour lip smacking mango pickle na :) The more it sits the more darker and tastier it gets.. So shall we see now how to make this yummy and easy pickle?



Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Cooking Time : 10 minutes


Recipe source : Ma


Makes : A 300 gm bottle 


I Used:


Raw Mango-3 medium sized ones (cut into small pieces)
Salt-As Needed
Gingelly Oil-¼ Cup
Mustard-1 tsp
Asafoetida-2 tsp
Red Chilly Powder-1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder-½ tsp
Mustard -2 tsp
Fenugreek-2 tsp
Mustard-Fenugreek powder-½ tbsp


The Way:


1. In a pan dry roast the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds for 4-5 minutes on low flame. Take care not to burn them. It starts giving a nice aroma and also the mustard will start spluttering. Then off the flame. Allow it to cool and powder them in a clean and dry mixer jar. You can grind this powder in bulk and use it for all of your pickles


2. Rinse the mango nicely in water. Then pat it dry using a kitchen towel. Then cut the mango into small quarter inch pieces. You can remove the skin or keep it as per your wish. I always keep the skin and discard the seed. After cutting the mango into pieces, add required salt to it and mix well and keep aside in a clean and dry container. If you like, you can leave it like that for 3-4 days for the salt to nicely soak in. Else you can make the pickle instantly as well 



3. Take a pan and heat the gingelly oil (nallennai). Now reduce the flame. Splutter the mustard seeds


4. Then add asaoetida, don't go stingy here :) Add it liberally

5. Now add red chilly powder, turmeric powder and saute for a minute



6. Then add the mustard-fenugreek powder


7. Give a nice mix and then add the cut mango pieces and give a nice stir and switch off the flame 

8. Store the pickle in a clean, dry, glass container. You should be able to see oil floating on the top of the container else chances of the pickle getting spoilt are very high. Leave in a clean place for a day or two for the flavours to soak in and then refrigerate it



Notes:

  • Store in a clean and dry glass container for longer shelf life
  • Refrigerate if possible after a day of making the pickle for longer life
  • Always use a clean dry spoon to take the pickle from the bottle
  • Allow a layer of oil on top of the container for longer life and it prevents from mold formation on top of the pickle

Cheers,

Chitz

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Karuveppilai Podi | Easy Karuvepilai Podi for Idly/Dosa/Steamed Rice | Karivepila podi | Curry leaves powder recipe


I am a fan of this podi recipe of my mom's. It is slightly different from the normal recipes which use more of dal but my mom uses coriander seeds. They give a nice flavour as well as a slightly different taste to the podi. She is a fan of the coriander flavour so she uses more of them in her cooking :) I feel that coz of the coriander this podi tastes more yum with rice and I eat them with rice more than with idly/dosa. Where as Deepak feels this is more yum with idly and dosa and has it only with them. So you get the general feeling right? This recipe is a winner. We make some or the other excuse and finish them off soon ;)  And it is a nice way to include curry leaves in your diet too :) So let's see how this is made.. 




Preparation Time : 25 minutes

Cooking Time : 25 minutes


Recipe source : Ma


Makes : A 200 gm bottle


I Used:


Curry Leaves  - 1 cup 
Urad Dal - 1/8 cup
Coriander Seeds - 1/8 cup
Red Chilly - 2 nos
Jeera/Cumin Seeds - 1 tbsp
Hing/Asafoetida
Salt
-
-
1 tsp
As Needed

The Way:


1. Remove the curry leaves from the stalks and rinse them in water 2-3 times. Sometimes they may contain dirt or sand particles. Hence rinse them thoroughly

2. Then drain them well and spread them in a plate or a flat surface and allow them to dry properly. If there is moisture content the podi will not have a longer shelf life

3. When it is dried properly, take them in a pan/kadai and saute them on low flame till they become crisp and dry. Then keep them aside


4. Then take the coriander seeds and red chilly in the pan and saute. The coriander seeds should slightly change colour and become deep in colour. This would take about 3-4 minutes in low flame. Then remove them and keep aside

5. Next take the urad dal and keep roasting them also in low flame till it changes colour to golden. This would also take around 3-4 minutes. Once done remove and keep aside


6. Now take the cumin seeds and hing and saute on low flame. Once the cumin seeds start to splutter, remove them from flame as well

7. Now take everything in a blender/mixie jar. Add sufficient salt and grind to a coarse powder


8. Preserve them in an air tight container and keep away from moisture. Use a clean and dry spoon to take the podi every time so that the shelf life is not affected

Serve with gingelly (sesame) oil for your idly or dosa or even steamed rice!

Notes:

  • Store in a clean and dry air tight container for longer shelf life
  • Always use a clean dry spoon to take the podi from the bottle

Cheers,
Chitz

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Koorka Upperi | Kurka Ularthiyathu | Kerala Style Koorka (Chinese Potato) Stir fry


I know that this is not the season for Koorka (Chinese Potato). But I so love them that I have been dreaming about them for the past couple of days :D They are very tasty but slightly difficult to clean ! To know more about them read my Koorka Thoran post. You can actually call this a cousin of potato. But I feel it's more tastier than potato coz of the fibrous feel in that every bite :) I know I'm praising this tuber too much but if you can get past the cleaning and make this stir fry you wouldn't think twice to agree with me ;) And today's recipe is an easy stir fry with koorka and that also without coconut. My family is little partial to Koorka Thoran which is with coconut. But this also tastes excellent. Pair it with moru curry or moru kachiyathu and a non veg ularthiyathu or just some hot pickle, you will definitely go for that extra helping of rice :D So let's dive into the recipe!


Preparation Time : 25 minutes

Cooking Time : 25 minutes


Recipe source : Amma


Serves : 4 persons



I Used:


Koorka-250 gm (around 2 cups after slicing)
Coconut Oil-3 tbsp
Mustard -1 tsp
Curry leaves-2 sprig
Shallots/Small Onions-10 nos
Red Chilly-2 nos
Garlic
Turmeric powder
Salt
-
-
-
5 nos 
¼ tsp
As Needed


The Way:


1. Soak the koorka/chinese potato in water for half an hour to one hour. Then scrape the skin off it using a knife. Alternately you can pressure cook the koorka for 1 whistle and then peel the skin off like you do for a potato. Or there is a third method that is predominantly followed in many Kerala families, you take the koorka in a jute or sack or a gunny bag and hit the bag gently on the floor repeatedly. After a while you can see that the koorka skin comes off easily

2. Once the skin is removed completely, rinse them again in water. Then chop them or slice them, as you prefer, to bite sized pieces


3. Take shallots, red chilly and garlic in a mixer jar and give a coarse blend. 3-4 pulses is sufficient. Do not grind to a smooth paste

4. Heat coconut oil in a pan/kadai. Splutter mustard 


5. Then add the coarsely ground shallot paste. Saute for 3-4 minutes till it's cooked and the raw smell of the garlic and shallots goes off

6. Then add turmeric powder and salt. And then add the curry leaves


7. Now add the koorka and give a stir. Allow it to cook in low flame with the lid of the pan closed. This will take around 15 minutes or so. In between remove the lid and give an occasional stir so that it does not get burnt 

8. If needed sprinkle water. Do not add more water as the koorka will turn soggy. Once cooked, remove from fire and serve


Serve with red rice, moru curry and pappad!

Notes:

  • There are a few ways in which you can clean koorka like
    • Soak the koorka/chinese potato in water for half an hour to one hour. Then scrape the skin off it using a knife. 
    • Pressure cook the koorka for 1 whistle and then peel the skin off like you do for a potato
    • This method is predominantly followed in many Kerala families, you take the koorka in a jute or sack or a gunny bag and hit the bag gently on the floor repeatedly. After a while you can see that the koorka skin comes off easily
  • Always if possible, parboil the koorka, drain off the excess water and use it. Or cook the koorka normally like potato as detailed in this recipe. Pressure cooking the koorka reduces it's taste. It tastes much better while cooked normally 
  • I have used lesser quantity of garlic here as my family prefers it that way. If you like the flavour more then you can add more
Cheers,
Chitz

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Vanpayar Thoran | Kerala Style Red Cow Beans Thoran


I love eating legumes.. And lentils too :) And for me this is one favorite way to eat Vanpayar (Red Eyed Beans).. I loove to pair it with some moru kachiyathu, matta rice and any non vegetarian dry dish. Ahh, bliss :) I like it more when I add some grated coconut to it but Deeps and Dhruv prefer it without coconut. It is such a simple dish and comes in very handy when you run out of stock of veggies :) Only thing to remember is to soak the beans overnight :) So shall we see how to make this yummy & simple thoran..


Serves: 2-3 persons


I Took: 


Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Soaking Time: 8 hours

Cooking Time: 30 minutes


I Used:


Red Eyed Beans/Vanpayar-¼ cup heaped 
Coconut Oil-2-3 tbsp
Mustard
Red Chilly
-
-
¼ tsp
2-3 nos (broken)
Shallots
Garlic
-
-
12-15 nos (sliced)
5 nos (sliced)
Curry leaves-A sprig
Salt-As needed


The Way:




1. Rinse and soak the vanpayar/red beans overnight for around 8 hours. While making the thoran, discard the water. Take the beans in a pressure cooker. Add enough water (around 2 cups) and salt and pressure cook till done. It took me 2 whistles in high and 2 in low. Keep aside


2. Meanwhile peel and slice the shallots and garlic

3. Heat the coconut oil in a pan. Splutter the mustard seeds


4. Then add the sliced shallots and curry leaves

5. Also add in the sliced garlic and saute till they slightly turn colour and become soft (around 6-7 minutes)



6. Now add in the boiled beans/vanpayar and give a stir. Keep on high flame and allow all the water to evaporate off (If you like it semi dry, then you can adjust the consistency accordingly) 

7. Finally add the grated coconut and saute for another minute or two. Switch off the flame and serve with a gravy of your choice



Notes:


  • Do not cook the beans very mushy. It tastes nicer when they are not soggy and just cooked right
  • If you like the dish super dry, then saute coconut first for a minute or two after the shallots and garlic have changed colour. Then finally add the cooked beans
  • if you do not like garlic flavour, you can skip that

Cheers,
Chitz

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Carrot Beans Thoran | Carrot Beans Poriyal | Kerala Onam Sadhya Recipe


Today's recipe is a simple and easy-peasy side dish with beans and carrot. It is another quick dish that you can prep for your Onam Sadhya :) This is a colourful dish and can grab the attention of toddlers too.. Ohh but not all toddlers and if at all, not always ;) That's the way with toddlers right :D I'm sure everyone has their own way of making this dish and while I was typing out the recipe was thinking if at all this needs to be blogged :D But you know, then I felt this is how I make it and sometimes even I google the simplest of recipes just to get some insight or confidence or coz 'I have not made it before, so let me check' thoughts. So I thought chalo, let me blog it anways ! And so, here's how I make this simple deli thoran with carrot & beans :)


I Took: 

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

 

Serves : 3-4 persons


I Used:

Carrot
Beans
Coconut Oil
Mustard
-
-
-
-
100 gm/0.5 cups (chopped) 
100 gm/0.5 cups (chopped) 
1 tbsp
¼ tsp
Turmeric powder-¼ tsp
Salt
Curry Leaves
-
-
As needed
A sprig


To Pulse:


Coconut-½ cup
Green Chilly-1 no


The Way:




1. Scrape away the skin of the carrot. Nip away the ends of the beans. Then rinse them well in water. And chop them finely into small quarter inch pieces.

2. In a pan take the chopped carrots and beans along with ¼ tsp turmeric powder and salt and little water. Allow them to cook covered in a medium low flame until done. Check in between if water is sufficient, take care not to overcook or burn. When cooked transfer to a plate and keep them aside



3. Coarsely pulse together the grated coconut and green chilly in mixie without adding water. Do not grind to a smooth paste. Just 3-4 pulse until all the ingredients get crushed and mixed well would be sufficient

4. In the same pan used to boil the veggies, heat the coconut oil. Splutter mustard seeds and curry leaves



5. Add the ground coconut paste and and saute for 2-3 minutes. Now add the cooked carrot & beans and give a nice stir. Then switch off the flame in a minute or two and serve


Serve along with brown rice, Sambar and pappad or as a side dish in your Onam Sadhya :)


Notes:

  • Coconut is the key ingredient for thoran. So do not compromise on it :)
  • If needed can add 2-3 shallots and a tsp ¼ of cumin seeds while pulsing the coconut. We prefer it this way, so I do not add them
  • If you need a crunch, can add a tsp of urad dal while tempering the mustard as well

Cheers, 

Chitz