Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Aloo Paratha / Stuffed Indian Flat bread


The best and  most preferred Breakfast Dish in majority of states from Central to the Northern states of India.I still relish the taste of these when I had it from my friend's house who's from North India ,  she served it hot-hot right from her Tava (Iron Skillent) to our plate ,
I think the trick in making Stuffed Paratha/chapathi stress free,  I mean rolling and cooking simultaneously is nothing other than "experience", unfortunately I am not good in multitasking while making Chapathi/Paratha, but Seeing her make these helped me much in learning.

Ingredients

For Paratha

Wheat Flour - 2 cups and more for rolling
Water - 3/4 cup (Approx)
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp ( and a few drops for each Paratha)

For Filling

Potato's - 2 no's big - boiled , cooked and well mashed
Onion- 1/2 medium finely chopped
Ginger - a small piece - finely chopped
Coriander leaves/Cilantro - 1/4 cup chopped finely
Salt - to taste
Amchoor Powder  - 1/4 tsp (Optional)
Cumin seeds/Jeera - 1/4 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder - 2 tsp (or more )
Oil - 1 table spoon.

Method

* Mix flour and salt , and gradually add water to make a  dough , work with you hands to make it  soft , make a ball with it and spread oil on top , cover with a wet towel/tissue-paper and keep  aside.(Use more water if necessary , the dough shouldn't be hard)


* Heat oil , add cumin seeds first , followed by ginger and onion , fry till its golden brown add red chili powder , amchoor powder (is using) , cumin powder and coriander leaves/cilantro , mix well and add in the mashed potato's. mix well to combine, add salt and switch off the heat. keep aside.



* Make 8 to 10 balls from the wheat dough and also make smaller sized balls with the mashed potato mixture.

*Sprinkle a little wheat flour on the surface and roll dough ball's in to 3 inch diameter circle , place the potato balls in the center , seal the outer edges of this roll to make it a big ball shap , work with your hands to shaped it in to smooth ball.
    


*Roll these balls light handed in to bigger circle's.



* Heat the tava/Iron skillet to make these paratha , place the rolled paratha on to the skillet once its really hot. Flip after a few seconds , drizzle a few drops of oil while flipping on both sides , till the paratha is golden brown on both sides.

Serve with Curd and any Pickle , Tastes Awesome !!

 Tips : Can make stuffing by simply mixing the ingredients under filling , combine well and then stuff but I think cooked stuffing tastes better.

Cheers
TN

Monday, December 30, 2013

Beetroot Pachadi


To be frank I am not a fan of Beets, its because of its high Iron content and other high vitamin in it that am forced to cook it once in   a week  2 weeks ;) 
Not sure about the difference between Pachadi and Kichadi in Kerala. Here I read that that pachadi is sweet mostly made with fruits and and no mustard for grinding (which is done for kichadi usually) But "Kichadi " is probably a main course dish with Rice in all places other than Kerala.
So confused about naming this dish now.

Ingredients 


Beetroot - 1 medium grated
Green chili - 2 no's
Ginger - a tiny little piece chopped
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt
Curd - 1 cup

To Grind 
Coconut - 1/4 cup grated 
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1tsp

For seasoning

Coconut oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Dry Red chili - 2 no's (Optional)
Shallots/Small onion- 3 to 4 no's chopped
Curry leaves - 1/2 spring 

Method

* Cook beetroot adding to it turmeric powder , salt ,green chili's ,chopped ginger with a few table spoons of water.Cook till the water dries off.


* Grind to paste the ingredients under grinding , add these to the well cooked beetroot mixture and cook in low heat , add the beaten curd to this and combine well , switch off the heat.

* Heat oil in an other pan , heat oil , pop the mustard seeds , and add in the rest of the ingredients under seasoning , pour this over the kichadi. 
And then Pink color everywhere :) 
Cheers
TN


Unnakka chemmen chammanthi / Dry Prawns chutney


I wonder If there is Hereditary in taste buds.... it may be hereditary with regard to up bringing I guess , we have been fed with some of our family favorites food from childhood and these become our favorites too but there are exceptions like my younger brother who's a vegetarian though he was brought up in a very much non vegetarian family so its hard to conclude.
The reason for this thought here is that myself and my Achachen (Dad) loved this dish , Love to have it with "Kanji" / Rice porridge , takes me back home , am reminded very much of my childhood , dinner with my parents and siblings...

The best accompaniment for " Kanji "



Ingredients 


Dry Prawns - 1/2 cup (Heads removed)
Shallots/small Onion - 5- 6 no's
Coconut - 1/2 cup grated
Dry Red Chili - 2 no's (or red chili flakes - 1 tsp) optional 
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp (or more if not using the dry chili's)
Curry leaves - 1/2 spring 
Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Tamarind paste - 1 tsp ( or dry tamarind )
Salt to taste.

Method 

* Dry roast the prawns for 5 minutes in medium heat , add the shallots/small onion , dry red chili and roast it for another 5 minutes in low heat.


* Add coconut , curry leaves , coconut oil and red chili powder to it and roast for another 3 to 4 minutes in low heat , just to get the flavors out from all the ingredients.Do not over heat the coconut.


* Switch off the heat , add salt and tamarind paste to it , and sprinkling a little water to help grind it better , grind till it becomes a coarse paste and every thing holds together.


Have it with Keral Rice or Kanji 


 Today am @ my home in Kerala....

Cheers
TN






Sunday, December 29, 2013

Prawns Dry Roast / Konju Ularthiyathu


I remember once during the initial days in US , I was not aware of the frozen foods available here , we saw Pearl-spot / "Karimeen " a Kerala delicacy, in an Indian store, 
I grabbed it without a second thought and excitedly asked my parents to come online in Skype to show them the fish.Seeing my excitement Achachen (Dad) asked me , how I managed to get these , I replied its frozen and then I thought to check its packed - date , to both of our surprise it was almost 6 months that it was packed and that was the only time we had "Karimeen" here :( 

Thank God Prawns is one fish we get very fresh here most of the time , though its difficult to clean,its worth doing , as prawns always tastes good, the real tastes is when you make it with the uncooked prawns  as we get the half cooked ones which becomes kind of rubbery when you cook it again.

This is how Ammamma (Soccer Man's Granny) prepares prawns , its simple and very tasty too , in our place (Alleppey ) its a little complicated with the addition of (meat) spice mix , its a different taste though I like it this way.

Ingredients


Prawns - 1 cup uncooked (cleaned ) 
Cocum (Tamarind) - 3 to 4 no's 
Ginger and Garlic - 1 tsp each (finely chopped , I added a little more garlic)
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp(optional)
Chili Powder - 1 table spoon.
Coconut pieces - 1/4 cup (Optional , I didn't have these) 
Onion - 1 medium chopped (use shallots if you have ,10 -12 no's that taste awesome )
Coconut Oil - 2 table spoon.
Salt to taste
Curry Leaves- 1 spring 

Method 

* Marinate the prawns with salt, pepper powder (if using) , turmeric powder ,ginger , garlic and 1/2 spring of curry leaves , coconut pieces (if using) and  Cocum , marinate for 10-15 minutes and cook in medium flame for 10 minutes keeping it covered. sprinkle little water before cooking.


* Add the chopped Onion or shallots to the almost cooked prawns , stir and combine , cook for another 5 minutes in medium heat till the water in the prawns almost dries.

* Make space (well ) in the middle and add oil ,wait till th oil heats up to add the chili powder. 
Coconut oil acts stubborn sometimes 

* Add the rest of the curry leaves and mix well to combine. Serve Hot with Rice.


Couldn't wait to take a stylish picture of the same , we were hungry....

Cheers
TN





Salmon Curry


Its almost a month that we haven't had non veg because of Christmas fast , I was craving to have some fish.
Salmon is  one of the  most available fish in the United States and  this is one fish I haven't even heard of , in India , though Salmon is very much consumed in other Asian Countries. 
Have read many articles stating Salmon as one among the Super fish , because of its high Omega3 in it.

I , all the time fry salmon or Bake it - that's the best option , but then to match the Malayali taste, we prepare it like this one here , its good with Rice. I have learned that the fat in most living organisms are seen as a layer beneath the skin , when cooked with the skin we make use of 99 % benefits from it , the rest 1% is a question mark...... 

Ingredients 


For  Shallow Frying 

Salmon Fish - I used 2 fillets (cleaned and sliced in to medium size) 
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
Chili Powder - 2 tsp
Vinegar - 2 tsp
Oil - 3 table spoon approx 
Salt to taste.


For the gravy/ Sauce 

Onion - 1 medium chopped 
Tomato - 1 medium chopped
Ginger and Garlic - crushed 1 tsp each 
Curry leave - a few leaves 
Fenugreek Powder - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Chili Powder - 1 table spoon (or less)
Salt to taste.
Method 

* Marinate the fish slices with the ingredients under frying for 10 -15 minutes.
*Heat oil in a Pan and shallow fry the fish and keep aside.

I know the skin doesn't look glamorous , discard'em if you don't like having the skin.

* In the same pan with the fried oil , add the ginger , garlic , chopped onion and curry leaves and saute till all are cooked well or till the onion looks more than golden brown.


* Add in the chopped tomatoes and saute till the oil starts to separate, add in the powders one by one (Chili Powder , Turmeric Powder and the Fenugreek Powder & salt )

* Saute well and add the fried fish to it , followed by 1/2 a cup of water (poured water first on to the dish in which the fried fish was placed)  and cook till it starts to boil , switch off the heat


Enjoy !!

Did you know Salmon is one of the SECRETS for a healthy and longer life of Japanese People.

Cheers
TN






Friday, December 27, 2013

Neer Dosa / Mangalore Style dosa


While we were in Mumbai , we had an "Ammachi " a Granny who was a Mangalorean married to a Malayali , she being the elderly - half Malayali neighbor ,we adopted her as our own granny, A fun loving one of a kind lady who's very happy to share drinks with Soccer man during weekends and he being a food lover was pampered by her with her delicious dishes.
She introduced this Mangalore style dosa to me and its now our -once in a week break fast ,as its easy because there is  no fermentation needed for the same.
Neer means Water hence this dosa batter is very much watery.


Ingredients

White Rice - 1 cup
White rice Cooked - 2 table spoon
Coconut shredded - 3 table spoon
Coconut milk - for grinding (optional use water otherwise)
Salt to taste.
Ghee/oil a few drops for each Dosa

Method

* Wash and soak rice in water for at least 3 hour's , drain the water before grinding.
* Grind the soaked raw rice along with cooked rice and grated coconut ,  pouring coconut milk (or water) little at a time to grind it till smooth and not gritty when the batter is rubbed with fingers.Add salt and the batter is ready.











* Heat a Dosa pan or a Pan cake pan , add few drops of ghee/oil and smear it with a cloth or sliced onion/potato as you do for a regular Dosa , pour a ladle full batter on to the pan and tilt the pan (if your pan is small circle shaped) to make a round shape or spread with the same ladle as you do for regular  dosa's (the dosa pan should be in medium heat only or else its hard to spread or shape these dosa, as the batter is watery and cooks very soon).Cover the pan with a lid for a few seconds until the dosa is cooked and comes out easily.

* Serve hot with chutney , I like to have Mint chutney or Tomato Chutney with this  Dosa.
Please read the notes , if making these for the first time.


Tips : If the batter looks too much watery and you find it difficult to make dosa's with it , add a few table spoons of rice flour and make the batter thicker in consistency.
       : The pan should be medium heated while making these dosa's  as otherwise it will be difficult to spread or shape these , tilting and rotating the pan after pouring the batter is what they do traditionally i guess.
       : I had tough time initially to make these, but with practice it came out well, its that watery consistency of the batter which makes it difficult to spread and it tends to be sticky. Coconut milk and grated coconut helps much , hence its a mandatory ingredient to make this Dosa.  
       : These have shapeless sides when compared to the regular dosa's , may fold it and serve. 
       

Cheers
TN

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Strawberry Chocolate Dip


That was a Beautiful Christmas , till last year I had my Achachen (Dad) with me for Christmas , the only thing and the biggest thing I missed during this Christmas was " His Presence " I really wished Santa would show me a dream of my Achachen's smiling face and also a hug from him...I didn't want to write all these here but then I don't want to delete what I have written. 

The beautiful thing I enjoyed this Christmas was my NA's expression after she saw her "wish - toy" under the Christmas Tree , she was dumbstruck for a few seconds ....moments which made me very happy and satisfied.....
The funniest thing was her question to me " why Santa forgot to take the gift wrap " OMG I really didn't notice that gift wrap - roll lying in the room anyways that's a lesson learned now.

These Strawberries here was the centerpiece this Christmas , its a super easy and attractive way to decorate your table , insert these in skewers/ toothpick and place it in a glass or insert the other end of the skewers/tooth pics in a cake or any other edible stuff or fruits like Pineapple or Melon. 


Ingredients 

Strawberries - A few 
White Chocolate chips - 1/4 cup or less 
Green color - a drop (Optional) 

Method 

* Wash and dry the strawberries , insert a toothpick or skewers (if you have it ) in to the strawberries through its leaf end.

* Melt 3/4rth of the White chocolates (of how much ever taken) in a microwave for 7 seconds , take out , touch to see if its all melted , if not ,place it back again and microwave for another 5 seconds , to melt it completely , do not over heat it ,  as if over heated it becomes thick  (other option is to double boil the chocolates to needed liquid y consistency ) .  

* Dip the strawberries when the chocolates are hot and liquidy . Freeze these strawberries for a few seconds to keep the coating intact.


* Melt the remaining white chocolates in the microwave with a few drops of water. Need'em to be more flowing , mix green color to the melted chocolate and pipe these on to the strawberries how ever you want it , can be creative here. (I used a plastic storage bag , cut its ends off to pipe these chocolate)

I know its not neatly done , excuse is that I was tired after the Christmas Cooking :( 


Happy Day After Christmas :) 

Tip :  Use fruits of your choice to dip.


Cheers
TN






Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Port Wine / Grape Wine


The history of Port Wine in Kerala/India : That's a long long story I guess .....in short - A story of Portuguese influence in Kerala , as Port wine is a Portuguese wine. These are sweet Red wine.

Its a pleasure for the Homemakers in Kerala to make these at home during Christmas season and one thing I cannot omit is that its now almost a custom to serve this Port Wine and the Kerala Plum cake (which is made during the Christmas season ) to the newly wedded couples when they visit their relatives for the first time....
Initially I thought Wine has to be made in a "Baranni " A unique  earthen ware , which can be made air tight ,which is also dark in the inside and doesn't allow light to pass in but then I read in a couple of blogs that "Barani" is not a mandatory thing in making wines , so thought to try making wine in a glass container , the people here uses these container for dry storage , what so ever , Soccer man with full-spirit bought for me this glass ware and I decided to try making this wine half minded as there wasn't 21 days left for Christmas to try these , 21 days is the minimum to make wine that's what I have heard , anyways I strained my wine today kept these for 19 days  and am supposed to keep it untouched for another 7 days , don't ask me why that's how it is , I really don't know the reason , need to do some research , may be the time for the sediments to settle down or something , wine experts forgive me if I am wrong....

This is how my mummy used to make and her wine was appreciated much so thought to follow the same recipe.



Ingredients 


Equal Quantity of seedless Grapes & Sugar - I took 3 kg each.
Water - 2 liters 
Yeast - 3 tsp 
Wheat Kernels/ Godambu - a hand full or more  
Cinnamon and cloves - few (Optional) 

Method 


* Boil water and cool completely. 
* Wash the grapes and steam it just for 5 minutes in a steamer or Idli maker , steaming is optional. 

* Blend half of the total grapes in a blender for just a few seconds , just for crushing the grapes.
* Clean the container and layer first the whole grapes (which is not blended) followed by little sugar and then the crushed grapes and the procedure of layering sugar and grapes goes on till the whole ingredients are arranged , inside the container.
*Pour the boiled and cooled water to the container.
* Add in half of the wheat kernels in a muslin/cheese cloth along with the whole spices , twist and tie the cloth to make it like a small bag. put this bag in side the container with the grape mixture.
* Add in, the left over wheat kernels and yeast on to the grapes and close the container tight. Keep it in a comparatively warmer and dark place.
* Stir this mixture daily with a dry wooden spoon , not sure why a wooden spoon ,I sometimes used a metal spoon to stir it though.
*On the 21st day ,strain it using a muslin / cheese cloth , transfer to clean glass bottles or to an air tight container.

Tips : I like burgundy color so I added 1 Beetroot to the wine mixture , just cut and put that in. Can add caramelized sugar syrup too gives it a different color. I was lazy to caramelize sugar so went with the easy way.  

     : Steaming and blending are not necessary ,can make it with simple whole grapes without much fuzz I did it because I couldn't keep these for a full 21 days , thought this would make the process easier .

Merry Christmas 

Cheers
TN