Tuesday 25 June 2013

Unakka Chemmeen Curry | Dried Shrimp Curry | Dried Prawn Curry

Dried Shrimps/Prawns cooked in tamarind extract & coconut sauce

It's been a while since I posted some non-veg recipes. So when I was going through the draft pics, this one grabbed my attention. What else can be termed as the comfort food of Indians living abroad. It's none other than the dried fish. The fresh or processed fish that you get in many of the countries will not have the taste of the fish that we get or eat in India. No complaints here, as each place has it's own unique cuisine coz of the taste & type of the ingredients that it owns !! And hence the Indian curry or gravy that we prepare here, will also differ in taste to a small extent. 

And that's where the dried fish becomes the hero. On your way back from vacation, neatly pack up some dried fish and it becomes the savior :) It definitely guarantees you the authentic flavor & aroma that you always enjoy back at home !! So without any further pep talk, let's dive into the recipe..

Recipe Source: Mil

Serves: 2 persons

I Took: 40 minutes

I Used:

Unakka Chemmen/Dry Shrimps - ¼ cup
Tomato - 1 no - medium sized
Tamarind - A big goosebery size
Green Chilly - 2 nos
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Salt - As Needed

To Roast & Grind:
Oil - 1 tsp
Grated Coconut - ¼ cup
Shallots - 5-6 nos
Red Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp

To Temper:
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard - ½ tsp
Shallots - 3-4 nos
Curry leaves - A sprig

The Way:

  1. Wash & clean the dried shrimps with a little turmeric powder & keep aside
  2. Soak tamarind in warm water for 20 minutes & extract the pulp out of it
  3. In a pan heat 1 tsp of oil. Add the ingredients under 'To Roast & Grind' & saute on medium fire until it turns slight brown in color
  4. Allow it to cool. Add 2-3 tbsp water & grind them to a paste
  5. In another pan add the tamarind extract, chopped tomatoes, slit green chilly,  turmeric powder, cleaned shrimp & salt and cook for 10-15 minutes or until it's done
  6. Adjust salt as the dried shrimp will already have some in it
  7. Add the ground paste to the gravy and mix well. Cook in low flame for 5 minutes
  8. Meanwhile heat 1 tsp of oil in the first pan. Splutter mustard. Add shallots & curry leaves and saute till the shallots turn golden brown. Take care not to burn
  9. Add this tempering to the gravy, when done
  10. Remove from flame and serve with steamed rice

Sunday 23 June 2013

Mathanga Erissery | Yellow Pumpkin Dhal Curry

Yellow Pumpkin & Tur Dal cooked in coconut paste & dressed with shallots tempering

 What is it that makes us more tempted or attracted towards food? Is it the colour or flavor or aroma or the way it is presented? I guess it differs from person to person, right? Nature has presented us with a wide variety of colours when it comes to food. We have the bright red to baby pink and greens and yellows, even hues of violets.. You know why I got reminded of this suddenly? Coz, I know someone who does not like a particular colour of food and is attracted to some specific colours. Yo, it's none other than my sister. She hates when it is green colour food and loves when mom makes yellow colour food. So that makes pumpkin one of her favorites. But she savors Pumpkin Kootu the best :)

So do you have any specifics in colour when it comes to food? Lemme hear from you on this :) And coming to the dish of the day, it's a Mallu (Kerala special) favorite and is yet another important item on Kerala Sadhya menu. The dish in itself can be had both as a side dish or as a main gravy with steamed rice along with pappad. Either ways, it tastes yum & perfect. There are quite a many variations to this recipe in different parts of Kerala, but the ingredients remain more or less the same. It is just the order & manner in which they appear on the recipe that differs :) So come on, let's see how it is made in a part of Northern Kerala..

Recipe Source: Mil

Serves: 4 persons

I Took:

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

I Used:

Yellow Pumpkin - 2 cups (deseeded & diced)
Tur Dal - ¼ cup
Red Chilly Powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - ½ tsp
Grated Coconut - ¼ cup
Cumin seeds - ½ tsp
Salt - As Needed

To Temper:

Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - ½ tsp
Red Chilly - 2 or 3 no
Shallots - 2-3 no
Curry Leaves - A sprig

The Way:

  1. Wash and clean the tur dal and soak in water for 20 minutes
  2. Peel the skin of the pumpkin & discard the soft middle portion with the seeds. Dice the pumpkin & keep aside
  3. Add a little water (sufficient enough for the dal to cook) and pressure cook the tur dal for 2 or 3 whistles until almost done
  4. Once the whistle is released, remove excess water from the dal if any
  5. Add the diced pumpkin pieces, red chilly powder, turmeric powder & salt & pressure cook again for 1 or 2 whistles. Alternately you can cook it uncovered as well, but then add ¼ cup of water to it
  6. You may mash the pumpkin once done. If you prefer to have whole pieces reduce the number of whistles
  7. Grind together the grated coconut & cumin seeds with 2-3 tbsps of water. Add this to the pumpkin gravy & mix well
  8. Allow it on flame for 2-3 minutes until the coconut paste mixes well with the pumpkin and the raw smell goes off
  9. In another small pan, heat 2 tsp of oil. Add mustard to it. When it splutters add red chilly, sliced shallots & curry leaves. Fry until they turn golden brown (Do not burn them)
  10. Add this tempering over the gravy. Mix well & serve 


Instead of the mentioned tempering, you can also do a different one. For that heat coconut oil. Splutter mustard. Add a handful of grated coconut. Keep frying in low flame till the coconut turns golden brown. Take care not to burn them. Once done, add this to the erissery


Friday 21 June 2013

Pulissery | Kachiya Moru | Mor Kuzhambu

Curd in coconut sauce, tempered with fried shallots

After a month & a half of heavy & heavenly food, I am on a seriously low diet nowadays.. Laying low, you could say ;) A simple veg gravy with a veg stir fry & an occasional pappad seems to be the perfect idea for lunch. The calories that I have accumulated over the vacation seems to compensate both my stomach as well as heart ;) So the recipe of the day is a simple gravy in curd - Pulissery, which is also a must for a Sadhya in Kerala..

The name Pulissery always reminds me of my BFF 'P'. We were 'THE TWINS' in college.. Give her a plate full of rice & Pulissery, she is the happiest person on earth. How we both used to savor the Pulissery-rice-fried sardine combo lunch of our hostel !! Bliss :) By the  way, we had an awesome mess in our hostel !! Nothing can beat that mess till date :) Even after college days when I call her up, these statements would never miss our conversation
Me:  'Entha ennathe menu ?' 
She:  'Ohh, Pulissery um Avial um undu.. Athu vechu adjust cheyyam ;)'

So let's see how to make this favorite of ours :)

Recipe Source: Ma

Serves: 3-4 persons

I Took: 25 minutes

I Used:

Curd - 1 cup
Shallots - 5-6 no
Mustard - ½ tsp
Fenugreek  - ½ tsp
Asafoetida - ½ tsp
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Curry leaves - A sprig
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt - As Needed

To Grind:

Grated Coconut - A handful 
Ginger - An inch piece
Cumin seed - ½ tsp
Green Chilly - 2 or 3 no

The Way:

  1. Grind the ingredients under 'To Grind', preferably green chilly towards the end. This is to retain the flavor & hotness of the green chilly
  2. Beat the curd (in a mixie or using a whisk or spoon) so that it is liquidy with no lumps. You may also add water as required depending on the consistency of the curd. I had to add ½ cup of water 
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Splutter mustard. Add fenugreek, shallots, asafoetida, curry leaves, turmeric powder, salt and saute
  4. Once the shallots turn slight brown, add the ground paste and saute till the raw smell goes off. This may take around 3-4 minutes
  5. Now simmer the flame to low. Add the curd and stir. Do not allow it to boil. Once the curd has mixed well with the coconut paste, remove immediately from flame 

Monday 17 June 2013

The French Laundry's Gougère - Baking Partner Challenge #11 | Cheese Puffs

It's time for yet another Baking Partner Challenge. This time it was to learn to prepare Pâte à choux - the light French pastry dough, which is used to make sweet and savory delicacies. The challenge was to make Chocolate Eclairs or French Gougère or both using Pâte à choux. I was in deep confusion on which one to choose to bake this time & the problem was I have not had both before, so it was kinda difficult to decide.. If time had permitted, I would have done both. After much thought & research I zeroed in on the savory Gougère a.k.a the Cheese Puff.

So foremost, a small note which I had gathered on the pastry dough & the savory appetizer, before I take off on the recipe. Gougères are made all over France though they are said to have originated from Burgandy. They are small & light on the outside and soft, eggy & cheesy on the middle or inside. These puffs are best served warm & usually as an accompaniment to Wine. Some like to fill them up with some stuffing or sandwich them with ham. I personally enjoyed having them with Nutella (Nugatti) ;) And you must be wondering what's with the name 'The French Laundry's Gougère', it's nothing else but Thomas Keller's Michelin 3-star restaurant 'The French Laundry' in California. There these famous little Gougère appetizers are served with wine.

And talking about pâte à choux, here the dough is cooked first before baked. That's instead of using a raising agent it uses the heat from cooking the dough to puff the pastry. Also cooking the dough dries it out a bit & makes it easier to absorb the eggs. And while baking it uses two different temperature that allows it to first puff and then dry into crispy little delights. So that's a lot of information for now I guess, so quick into the recipe  ..

Recipe Source: Adapted from Bouchon Bakery Book

Makes: 30 bites

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 20 minutesBaking Time: 30 minutes

I Used:

Water - ½ cup + 1 ½ tbsp
Butter - Unsalted - 4.5 tbsp
Kosher Salt - ½ tsp
Freshly ground pepper - ¼ tsp
All purpose flour - ½ cup + 2 ½ tbsp
Eggs - 150 gm / 2 large nos
Gruyere Cheese (Aged & shredded - scant 1 cup

The Way:

  1. Preheat the oven at 220 degrees for 10 minutes
  2. In a saucepan, combine water, butter, salt & pepper and place over medium heat and stir until the butter is melted
  3. Increase heat to medium high once the butter has melted. Then bring to simmer and remove from fire
  4. Using a wooden spatula stir in the flour for about 2 minutes until it has a paste like consistency
  5. Now place this saucepan again over medium-high heat and stir rapidly for 1 minute, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and the bottom of the pan is clean. Remove from fire
  6. The dough should be glossy and smooth but not dry
  7. Now beat in the eggs, ONE AT A TIME, beating until each addition is completely absorbed by the dough. Use only large eggs not extra-large or jumbo or small as this may cause the puff to be too liquidy or be under-baked
  8. Mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl pulled with the spatula but immediately grabs back on again. When the dough is lifted, it should form a bird's peak- it should hold it's shape and turn down on itself but not break off
  9. Now add the cheese and mix to incorporate
  10. In a baking tray place the baking sheet and take a tablespoon of the dough & drop on into the baking sheet with a distance of at least 1 ½ inches in between each drop. Use wet fingers to smooth the surface of each drop
  11. Bake for 10 minutes and then turn down the temperature to 190 degrees and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until they are completely golden brown. Make sure they bake until they’re completely browned up the sides so that they don’t sink when cooling

Friday 14 June 2013

Gobi Manchurian - Dry | Cauliflower Manchurian

 Deep fried Cauliflower florets sauteed in onions & Chinese sauces

Gobi Manchurian, that's the first dish that comes to my mind when I am expecting some vegetarian guests at home. Coz, it's rich & heavy and very seldom vegetarians have an aversion to it and moreover, it's deep fried !! Definitely a winner, right?? Many of those who do not like to have cauliflower curry or gravy or stir fry, would say YES to Gobi 65 & Gobi Manchurian :) And it's very difficult to find a restaurant that doesn't have this in their menu, isn't it?? Be it any cuisine restaurant, this would be definitely on their list... So how about we look into the recipe, which is a perfect side for Chappathis and Kulchas and even fried rice..

Recipe Source: Ma

Serves: 3-4 persons

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 90 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

I Used:

Caulliflower - A small sized one
Maida - 3 tbsp
Cornflour - 3 tbsp
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
Pepper - 2 tbsp
Onion - 1 no - medium sized
Ginger - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 1 tbsp
Green Chilly - 3 nos
Soya sauce - 1 tbsp
Chilly sauce - 2 tbsp
Tomato sauce (optional) - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Salt - As needed
Oil - For Deep frying
Spring Onion - 2 sprig

The Way: 

  1. Clean & separate the cauliflower into medium sized florets
  2. In a wide pan heat water, sufficient enough to submerge the cauliflower florets. Add turmeric & salt to it
  3. When the water boils, add the cauliflower florets to it. Allow it to be in the boiling water for about 2 minutes. Then drain off the water completely. This process is to get rid of the small worms that are prevalent in cauliflowers 
  4. In a kitchen towel, pat dry the excess water off the florets. Else they will absorb excess oil while frying
  5. In a wide bowl mix maida, cornflour, ginger garlic paste, pepper & salt with water. Marinate the cauliflower florets in this for about an hour
  6. Heat oil in a kadai & deep fry the marinated cauliflower florets & keep aside. Place the deep fried florets on a kitchen tissue to drain off the excess oil
  7. Preserve the remaining marination mix to add in to the manchurian
  8. In a kadai or wok heat 2 tbsp oil. Add chopped ginger, garlic & green chilly & saute
  9. Add chopped onions & whites of the spring onions & saute till translucent
  10. Now tip in the sauces - soya sauce, chilly sauce, tomato sauce & pepper powder
  11. Add the fried cauliflower florets & mix well
  12. Now add the remaining marination mix to the manchurian. If the quantity is less add in little corn flour and mix with water & add this to the manchurian & saute well
  13. Remove from fire & garnish with the greens of the spring onion 

Monday 10 June 2013

Pudalangai Poriyal (without coconut) | Padavalanga Upperi | Snake Gourd Stir Fry

Snake Gourd boiled with onion & sauteed with Roasted Gram

Friends & fellow mates, I am back from THE long vacation. Food, food & food everywhere. Savoring the chakkas & maangas & payasams (Jackfruit, Mango, & Kheer), I had a really good foodie vacation. And yes, you could say that it was this so called writer's block that took me a week after I am back, to post something new !! Or is it my lethargy or the need to clean & set up my home as it was before ;) Anyways, the reasons could be plenty, but the point is that it's been a long long time since I took a serious peep into my blog & so I am back with a vegetarian side dish :)

This is a very simple easy to make recipe with a slight twist in the climax. Who doesn't like a twist, isn't it !! Usually we add grated coconut or roughly ground peanuts at the end of a veggie stir fry. For a change, it is roasted gram this time.. Or as u may call it, pottu kadalai or udacha kadalai (chutney dal or fried gram). Taste is high & also the crunchiness. A very taste effective way to substitute your daily share of coconut, right? So shall we dive into the recipe??

I Took: 30 minutes

Serves: 2-3 portion

Recipe Source: Ma

I Used:

Snake Gourd (Pudalangai) - ½ cup
Onion - 1 no (medium sized - chopped)
Roasted Gram (Udacha Kadalai) - 1 tbsp
Red Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - ½ tsp
Mustard - ½ tsp
Curry leaves - A sprig
Salt - As Needed

The Way:

  1. Clean (discard the middle soft portion) & cut snake gourd into small cubes
  2. Grind the udacha kadalai coarsely in a mixer/blender
  3. In a pressure cooker add the diced snake gourd, chopped onion, red chilly powder, turmeric powder & salt. Add a little water & mix
  4. Pressure cook the gourd for a whistle and release the full pressure immediately. This is to allow the gourd to cook & at the same time to prevent it from getting mashed
  5. In a kadai, heat up 2 tsp oil. Splutter mustard & curry leaves
  6. Add the cooked snake gourd to it & saute for it to become dry leaving off the excess water
  7. Add the coarsely ground udacha kadalai & mix well & remove from fire 
Serve hot with rice & Sambar