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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sambar Podi

Homemade Sambar Masala Powder



Sambar powder can be made and stored in an air-tight container for a couple of months. This gives the delicious aroma to the Sambar. Usually homemade powder contains fewer ingredients, but I have tried to match up the taste with the commercial packs.

Ingredients: Quantity
Dry Red Chili* 1 cup
Coriander Seeds 1 Cup
Cumin Seeds 2 tbsp
Black Peppercorns 2 tbsp
Bengal Gram Dal 2 tbsp
Red Gram Dal 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds 1 tbsp
Poppy Seeds 1 tsp
Dry Ginger Powder 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Curry Leaves 2 strands
Cinnamon stick 1 small stick
Copra (Dry coconut) Grated 1-2 tbsp
Oil 1 tsp


Preparation:
1) Heat oil in a pan and roast the red chilies.
2) Dry roast each ingredient separately (excluding the dry ginger powder and turmeric powder) until they emit aroma. Spread them all to cool down.
3) Grind all the ingredients together into fine powder and let it cool down for a min and then store it in an air tight container. This can be kept safe for a couple of months if stored safely in a good air tight container and kept free from water and heat.

Note:*I have used a variety of dried red chilies to balance color and spiciness. It contains round red chili (which is usually used), very spicy red chili and Kashmiri red chili.

Sambar

South Indian Dal



Sambar the South Indian Dal Curry, the most common food prepared in every household. It is prepared using Lentils, main source of protein for the vegetarians. Every mother has her own recipe and method for cooking sambar, there are several variations. The below recipe is a simple and basic one which is prepared using sambar powder, cooked lentils and vegetables.

Ingredients: Quantity
Toor Dal/Red Gram Dal 1 cup
Onions Chopped 2 nos
Tomatoes Chopped 2 nos
Vegetables Chopped** 1 cup
Tamarind Paste 1-2 tbsp
Sambar Powder 2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Asafoetida 1/4 tsp
Cumin Powder 1/4 tsp
Salt To taste
Oil 1-2 tbsp
Tempering:
Oil/Ghee 1/2 tbsp
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Urad Dal 1 tsp
Dry Red Chili Halved 2 nos
Curry Leaves 1-2 Strands
Fenugreek Seeds 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida 1/4 tsp
Coriander Leaves Chopped To Garnish


Preparation:
1) Clean and soak the Dal for 30 min's. Add two cups water, Dal, salt, half of the turmeric powder, Asafoetida and cumin powder in a pressure cooker and cook up to 2-3 whistles.
2) Meanwhile heat oil in a sauce pan and sauté the chopped onions and sauté until the onions caramelize, then add vegetables (if using) and fry for a couple of min's .
3) Add chopped tomatoes and sauté for a min and then add the remaining turmeric powder and sambar powder and let it cook until the tomatoes soften.
4) Add the tamarind paste and a cup of water and cook covered until the raw smell of the tamarind disappears and vegetables are well cooked.
5) Let the pressure release and then add the cooked Dal into the pan and cook for a couple of more min's for the Dal and tamarind mixture to blend in well.
6) Meanwhile heat oil/ghee in a small pan and add all the ingredients for tempering. Once the mustard sputter, add it into the saucepan. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with steamed rice or Idly, Dosa or Upma.

Note:
Variations - * The sautéed onion and vegetable mixture is pressure cooked along with the Dal or half cooked Dal and then the tamarind is added to the pressure cooked mixture.
* The sautéed onion and vegetable mixture and Dal are pressure cooked separately and then mixed together along with the tamarind and cooked.
** Any vegetable such as Brinjal/Baby eggplant, drumstick, Radish, Turnip, Squash, Pumpkin, carrot, beans or potato or mixture of any of these vegetables are used. Usually Brinjal and Drumstick make a tasty combination. Carrot, beans and potato are used too. Kadambha Sambar has mixture of 4-5 vegetables.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Crème Brûlée

Chocolate Cream Brûlée



White Chocolate Crème Brûlée is a very tempting and tasty dessert, made with very few ingredients. It is definitely a treat for people with sweet tooth.

Ingredients: Quantity
Cream 500 ml
White Chocolate* 90 gms
Sugar 1/4 cup + Extra for Caramelizing
Egg Yolks 4 nos
Vanilla Essence 2-3 drops


Preparation:
1) Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat the cream in a sauce pan.
2) Beat the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla essence.
3) Remove the cream from heat and add the chocolate.
4) Once it melts, add the beaten egg mixture very little at a time. Whisk them well and add the mixture into two 14" ramekins (or 4 small ones).
5) Fill a bigger baking tray with hot water and place the ramekins in them and bake for 30-40 min's. It should be slightly wobbly and not completely firm.
6) Let it cool and then place it in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours or overnight.
7) Before serving time sprinkle sugar and use a blow torch and caramelize the sugar or broil/grill for 30-40 seconds. Serve immediately so that the sugar doesn't get soggy.

Mixture added into Ramekin Ramekin placed in hot water tray
Ramekin out of the Oven Ramekin from the fridge
Caramelized Crème Brûlée


Note:* You can use milk chocolate or dark chocolate or make it plain, without adding chocolate.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pumpkin Halwa

Pumpkin Halwa


Ingredients: Quantity
Yellow/Orange sweet Pumpkin Grated 1 LB
Sugar 3/4 cup*
Ghee 1/4 cup
Milk 1/2 cup
Saffron 2-3 strands
Cardamom Powder 1/4 tsp
Nutmeg Powder A Pinch
Cashews Roasted 8-10 pieces
Raisins Roasted 1-2 tsp
Rose Water (optional) 2-3 drops
Chopped Nuts (Almond, Pista...) 1-2 tsp To Garnish


Preparation:
1) Heat half the ghee in a pan and add the grated pumpkin and sauté for couple of min's (for about 5-6 min's) or until the raw smell disappears.
2) Once the raw smell disappears add the milk and let it cook until the liquid evaporates. Stir often.
3) Soak the saffron in 1 tbsp warm water/milk and add it to the Halwa. Stir in the remaining ghee, cardamom powder, nutmeg, roasted raisins & cashews and rose water. Let the flavors blend for 1-2 min's.
4) Garnish with the chopped nuts and serve.**

Note:* Adjust sugar according to your taste.
** You can pour the Halwa into a sheet and let it cool and cut into cubes and serve.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mutton Kheema

Mutton/Lamb Minced Meat Curry



Mutton Kheema/Kothukari/minced meat is a very famous TamilNadu recipe, esp. in the southern parts of TamilNadu. I have got this recipe from my mother in law and did a bit of improvisation to it. It is a spicy semi-gravy curry which tastes great with any Roti, Parotta or rice items.

Ingredients: Quantity
Mutton/Lamb boneless finely minced* 1.5 lbs
Shallots/Small onions chopped 2 cups
Ginger Garlic paste 2 tbsp
Red Chili Powder 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Salt To taste
Oil 2-3 tbsp
Tempering:
Cloves 2-3 nos
Cardamom 2 nos
Cinnamon Stick 1 inch piece
To Grind:
Grated Coconut 1/2 cup
Dry Red Chili** 8-10 nos
Coriander Seeds 2 tbsp
Fennel Seeds 1.5 tsp
Cumin Seeds 1 tsp
Poppy Seeds 1.5 tsp
Peppercorns 1 tsp


Preparation:
1) Heat 1 tbsp oil in a fry pan and fry all the ingredients listed to grind, except coconut. Add coconut and little water as required and grind into a smooth paste and set aside.
2) Meanwhile heat oil in the pressure cooker and add the whole garam masala listed for tempering and then add the chopped onions and ginger garlic paste. Sauté until the onions caramelize and the raw smell of ginger garlic paste disappears.
3) Add the minced meat to it and add very little water and pressure cook upto 2-3 whistles or well cooked.
4) Wait and release the pressure and add the ground masala and let it cook until the raw smell of the masala disappears and the gravy thickens.
5) Serve with any Indian flat bread or rice item.

Note:* If you do not get minced meat, then you can finely chop the meat and process it in a food processor (Mixie).
** Add or reduce dry red chilies according to the heat of the chilies and your tolerance level.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Parotta

South Indian Layered Flat bread



Parotta is a very popular pan fried layered flat bread served with spicy curries. It is very tasty and tempting, only disadvantage being, it is made of all purpose flour and needs lot of oil to get the consistency, taste and texture. When occasional Naan or Pizza are allowed even Parotta can be an exceptional food once in a while.

Ingredients: Quantity
All purpose flour/Maida* 3 cups
Baking Soda/Soda bi carb* 1 tsp
Salt* To taste
Egg 1 nos
Sugar 1 tsp
Warm water 1/2 cup or as required
Oil 3-4 tbsp + enough for frying


Preparation:
1) Sieve the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder and mix with egg and then add water and kneed well. Add the oil to the dough and kneed it very well. The dough should be very soft and slightly sticky. Wrap it with a wet cloth or cling film and let it rest for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.
2) Make medium sized balls of the dough and roll them into a very thin sheet with a rolling pin.
3) Make fleets of the rolled thin sheet of dough. Circle them and roll it again into a medium sized sheet. Add oil at each stage as required.
4) Fry them on a hot pan turning sides until well cooked applying oil on it. Serve hot with any spicy South Indian Curry like Kurma or Kuzhambu. Usually it is served with Salna as side dish and popularly known as Parotta Salna in southern parts of TamilNadu.



Dough Balls
Dough Spread and made into fleets
Rolled into circle Circled dough rolled again




Served with Kothukari
Note:* One of my friend suggested that we can replace the self-raising flour to make Parotta. I had used it this time and it came out better than All purpose flour by itself. Leave out flour, salt and baking soda and replace it with self-raising flour.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chicken 65

Spicy Deep Fried Chicken



Chicken 65 is a spicy deep fried South Indian dish. It is a very popular snack dish which is available in most of the non-vegetarian restaurants to road side shops. Usually I avoid deep fried foods and prefer to bake or shallow fry or grill. Some food items are so temping and let me break the rules. Here is one of it. Though it is dry dish it is very juicy and soft inside and crispy outside.

Ingredients: Quantity
Skinless Boneless Chicken Thighs* 1 lb
Yogurt 2-3 tbsp
Ginger Garlic Crushed/Paste 2-3 tsp
Red Chili Powder 1 tsp
Green Chilies Slit 2 nos
Curry Leaves One Strand
Oil For Deep Frying + 1 tbsp
Red food color (Optional) 2-3 drops
Marinade:
Egg 1 nos
Corn Flour 2 tbsp
Red Chili Powder 1 tsp
Pepper Powder 3/4 tsp
Coriander Powder 1/4 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1/4 tsp
Salt To Taste
Ginger Garlic Paste 1 tsp
Lemon Wedges To Garnish


Preparation:
1) Clean and cut the chicken into cubes. Add the red chili powder, corn flour, ginger garlic paste, pepper powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt and mix well. Then add the egg and mix well and let it marinate for atleast one hour.
2) Deep fry the marinated chicken until they are almost cooked, nearly 6-8 min's** and set aside on a paper towel.
3) Heat oil in a fry pan and add the slit green chilies, curry leaves and chopped (or paste of) ginger and garlic. Sauté for a few seconds and then simmer the stove (or remove from the stove) and add the yogurt and stir well. Add the red chili powder, very little salt, and food coloring (if using it). Stir for a few seconds, do not let the yogurt to curdle.
4) Add the fried chicken into it and sauté until the chicken is well mixed with the yogurt gravy. Simmer it until all the liquid evaporates. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve it as a snack or with Biryani.

Note: * Use thigh pieces instead of chicken breast pieces, since they don't turn dry so soon. They are more soft and tender than the breast piece.
** The frying time varies on the size of the chicken pieces, no of chicken pieces you fry at a time, oil temperature. Check one piece before you remove them out of oil. Do not overcook, it will become dry.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Pudalangai Milagu Kootu

Snake Gourd and Lentil Curry



Kootu is Lentil and Vegetable curry which is part of the South Indian thali. This is also called as poricha Kootu or milagu kootal. Various other vegetables can be used in this Kootu like the Chayote Squash(Chow chow), Turnip, Pumpkin, Beetroot and any other vegetable.

Ingredients: Quantity
Red Gram Dal 1/2 cup
Bengal Gram Dal 1/2 cup
Snake Gourd medium sized 2-3 nos
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Asafoetida 1/4 tsp
Salt To taste
Spice Paste:
Dried Red Chili 2-3 nos
Coriander Seeds 1 tsp
Black Peppercorns 1/2 tbsp
Cumin Seeds 1 tsp
Bengal Gram Dal 1 tsp
Urad Dal 1 tsp
Grated coconut 2 tbsp
Coconut Oil/Ghee* 1 tsp
Tempering:
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Urad Dal 1 tsp
Dried Red Chili halved 1 nos
Curry Leaves 1-2 strands
Coriander Leaves Chopped 2-3 tbsp
Coconut Oil/Ghee* 1 tbsp


Preparation:
1) Wash and soak Dal in water for atleast 30 min's. Peal and cut the snake gourd.
2) Pressure cook Dal's, Snake gourd, Asafoetida, Salt and turmeric powder up to two whistles.
3) Meanwhile heat ghee/coconut oil in a pan and fry the ingredients for spice paste and grind them into a fine paste.
4) Add the ground spice paste into the cooked Dal and let it cook until the raw smell disappears.
5) Heat ghee/coconut oil in a pan and add the ingredients for tempering and once the mustard seeds splutter add it into the Kootu. Serve it with steamed rice and Kuzhambu.

Note: * Usually Coconut oil is used in this Kootu. If you do not have any you can use ghee for a unique flavor.
* You can add 1 tsp tamarind to the Kootu at step 4.
* You can leave out Bengal gram Dal and just add red gram Dal or add Moong Dal.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Coconut Chutney

Coconut Chutney Saravana Bhavan Style



Coconut Chutney is the South Indian Dipping sauce served with most of the Tiffin/Breakfast items like Dosa, Idli, Upma, Vada and several other dishes. Every household have their own recipe or variation do make this chutney. The most famous and my favorite one is the Saravana Bhavan style chutney.

Ingredients: Quantity
Grated Coconut 1 cup
Roasted Gram Dal 1-2 tbsp
Ginger chopped 1 - 1 1/2 tbsp
Green Chili 1-2 nos
Curry Leaves 4-5 nos
Chopped Coriander 1 tbsp
Salt To taste
Tempering:
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Urad Dal 1 tsp
Asafoetida A pinch
Curry Leaves 1 strand
Chopped Coriander Leaves 1 tbsp
Dry Red chili broken 1 nos
Oil 1 tbsp


Preparation:
1) Add all the ingredients listed for the chutney and a little water in a blender and grind into a fine paste of medium consistency.
2) Heat oil in a small pan and add the items for tempering and once the mustard splutters add it in the chutney and serve with any south Indian tiffin item like Dosa, Idli or upma.

Murugal/Crispy Dosa served with Coconut chutney and Sambar
Note: Variations:- * You can add garlic instead of ginger and 1/4 tsp Cumin seeds.
* Mostly Tamarind is added to the chutney made at home.
* Add 1-2 dry red chili instead of green chilies.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gobi Paneer Matar Kheema

Minced Cauliflower, Cottage Cheese and Peas Curry



Cauliflower is a good option to make Kheema for vegetarians. It tastes subtle and goes well with any flat bread.

Ingredients: Quantity
Grated Cauliflower 1 1/2 cups
Grated Paneer 1 cup
Green Peas* 1/2 cup
Onions Chopped 2 nos
Tomatoes Chopped 2 nos
Ginger Garlic Paste 1 tbsp
Green Chili 1-2 nos
Red Chili Powder 1/2 tbsp
Coriander Powder 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
Garam masala Powder 1/2 tsp
Salt To taste
Oil 2-3 tbsp
Caraway Seeds/Black Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp
Whole Garam Masala** 1-2 nos
Chopped Coriander Leaves To Garnish


Preparation:
1) Heat oil in a pan and add the caraway seeds and whole garam masala. Add the green chilies, ginger garlic paste and onions and sauté until the onions are caramelized. Sprinkle salt.
2) Add the tomatoes and cook until it turns soft and then add the turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder and sauté for a minute.
3) Add the grated Cauliflower, Paneer and green peas and sauté it well. Let it cook until the cauliflower is well cooked and the raw smell disappears.
4) Garnish it with chopped coriander leaves and serve it with roti or pulao rice.

Note:* If using fresh green peas cook it before you add it at step-3, if using frozen peas just wash it and add it in step-3.
** Whole Garam Masala is usually cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and bay leaves.
You can leave out Paneer and just do the Gobi Matar Kheema.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Vatha Kuzhambu

Spicy Tamarind Curry



Vatha Kuzhambu is spicy tamarind curry usually served with yogurt rice (thair sadam). Simple and easy to cook yet very tasty. It goes well with steamed rice too. It can be stored for a few days in refrigerator.

Ingredients: Quantity
Shallots 6-8 nos
Sambar Powder 1-2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Thick Tamarind Paste 2 tbsp
Salt To taste
Sundakkai (Optional) 10-12 nos
Rice Powder (To thicken, optional) 1-2 tsp
Oil 1 tsp
Tempering:
Mustard 1 tsp
Curry Leaves 1-2 strands
Urad Dal 1 tsp
Channa Dal 1 tsp
Asafoetida A pinch
Sesame Oil 2 tsp
Dry Red Chili 1-2 nos
Fenugreek Seeds 1/2 tsp


Preparation:
1) Heat oil in a pan and sauté the chopped shallots. Add the salt, turmeric powder and sambar powder and sauté for a min.
2) Meanwhile fry the sundakkai in a separate pan for few min's and set it aside.
3) Add the tamarind paste and enough water and simmer until the raw smell disappears. Add the sundakkai and let it cook for 2-3 min's, if the Kuzhambu is too watery add the rice powder to thicken the Kuzhambu.
4) Heat sesame oil in a small pan and add the items for tempering, once the mustard splutters add it into the Kuzhambu and remove it off the heat.
5) Serve it with steamed rice or curd/yogurt rice.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Missi Roti

Missi Roti: Gram Flour and Wheat Flour Flatbread


Ingredients: Quantity
Gram Flour 1 cup
Multigrain/Whole Wheat Flour 1/2 cup
Onions finely chopped 1/4 cup
Finely Chopped Coriander 1-2 tbsp
Green Chili 1 nos
Turmeric Powder 1/4 tsp
Chaat Masala(Garam Masala + Amchoor Powder) 1/4 tsp
Salt To taste
Oil 1 tsp + For greasing
Ajwain/Omam Seeds crushed* 1/8 tsp
Cumin Powder* A pinch
Paprika* A Pinch
Crushed Kasoori Methi* 1/2 tsp
Black Salt/Kala Namak* A Pinch
Asafoetida* A pinch


Preparation:
1) Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a small pan and sauté the chopped onions for 2-3 min's (This step is optional and you can use onions raw without sautéing them).
2) Shift the gram flour, wheat flour and salt for them to mix evenly. Add all the other ingredients along with the sautéed onions and 1/2 tsp oil. Add enough water and make it into a soft dough. Cover and let it rest for 10-15 min's.
3) Make small Atta balls and roll the roti, dusting little flour.
4) Heat a griddle/tawa and cook the roti turning sides and greasing oil on both sides.#
5) Serve hot with raita or Subzi.

Kneaded Atta Rolled Roti
Note: # Usually Missi Roti is cooked in a hot Tandoor. I have used hot griddle to cook the Missi roti at home.
* The ingredients listed with * tag are optional. They are for flavoring purposes so can be left out or only a few items picked up.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vengaya Chutney

Onion & Ginger Chutney



Chutney is a south Indian dip. Varieties of chutneys are available for each dish. Usually Idly and Dosa is served with an array of chutneys. One of them is the onion chutney, this is made with several variations and combinations. It is frequently prepared in our family and served with our favorite Dosa. Our beloved perimma used to make a wonderful vengaya chutney and Dosa, which we used to love to eat.

Ingredients: Quantity
Large Onion Chopped 2 nos
Ginger Chopped 2 inch piece
Garlic Chopped 4-5 nos
Coriander Leaves 1 tbsp
Dried Red Chili 3-4 nos
Urad Dal 2 tbsp
Freshly Grated Coconut** 1/4 cup
Tamarind 1/2 tbsp
Curry leaves 4-5 leaves
Oil 1 tbsp
Salt To taste
Tempering:
Mustard Seeds 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal 1 tsp
Asafoetida A pinch
Curry Leaves 1-2 leaves
Dry Red Chili 1 nos
Sesame Oil 2 tsp


Preparation:
1) Heat oil in a pan and add the curry leaves, urad dal, dry red chili, chopped ginger and garlic and sauté for a min. Then add the chopped onion and coriander leaves. Sprinkle salt and sauté until the onions caramelize.
2) Remove from heat and let it cool. Add the grated coconut and tamarind and blend into a fine paste in the blender.
3) Heat the sesame oil in a small pan and add the ingredients for tempering. Once the mustard seeds splutter add it to the chutney and it is ready to be served with dosa/idly/uttappam/rava dosa.

Onion Tomato Chutney Chutney with Idly
Note: Several variations can be made to the onion chutney.

* Chutney is made with raw onions without sautéing them.
* Tomatoes can be added to the chutney replacing ginger or along with ginger.
* Chutney can be made without using coconut.
** If you are using the coconut flakes from freezer, dry roast it for a few seconds and soak it in a little warm water for 10 min's for the coconut to soften.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Panko Breaded & Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Panko Breaded and Parmesan and Herbs Crusted Tilapia



The grilled fish dish is again from a fusion cooking. It is cooked with Italian Parmesan cheese and herbs mixture, Japanese Panko breadcrumbs, and marinated with Indian spices grilled to crisp.

Ingredients: Quantity
Tilapia 2 pieces*
Paprika Powder 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
Pepper Powder To taste
Kosher Salt To taste
Ginger Powder 1/2 tsp
Garlic Powder 1/2 tsp
Onion Powder 1/2 tsp
Grated Parmesan Cheese 1/2 cup
Italian Herbs Mixture# 1-2 tsp
Panko Bread Crumbs 1/2 cup
Egg beaten 2 nos
Olive oil 2-3 tbsp
Mayonnaise To serve


Preparation:
1) Clean and marinate the fish in Paprika, Pepper Powder, Turmeric powder, Salt, onion powder, ginger and garlic powder for 20-30 min's.
2) Heat a hot grill/griddle and drizzle with little oil.**
3) Mix the grated Parmesan cheese and dried Italian herbs. Dip the marinated wish in the egg wash and then coat the fish with the cheese and herbs mixture.
4) Again make a quick dip in the egg wash and dust it in the breadcrumbs and place it on the hot griddle.
5) Repeat steps 3 & 4 for the second piece of fish. Turn sides and cook for about 12-15 min's or until done. Cover with a lid for 3-4 min's in between. Drizzle oil while cooking.
6) Serve hot with Mayonnaise.

Note: *If the piece of fish is too big cut it in between to two halves for them to cook through evenly and soon.
** You can also cook these fish in a 400°F pre-heated oven for 12-14 min's or until done.
#-Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, and Marjoram

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fish En Papillote

Salmon En Papillote with Indian Spices



A complete fusion cooking, using the technique of cooking the fish in parchment paper using the traditional Indian spices which is used in the karimeen pollichathu masala. Usually a flat fish (Karimeen) is cooking using banana leaf with ground spice masala paste. I have used a similar method of cooking fish in oven tied up in paper, filled with the pollichathu masala paste.

Ingredients: Quantity
Salmon* 1 lb cut into two pieces
Shallots finely chopped 3-4 nos
Tomatoes 1 nos
Crushed Garlic 1 tsp
Crushed Ginger 1 tsp
Green chilies finely chopped 1-2 nos
Mustard Seeds 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves 2 strands
Coconut milk 2 tbsp
Tamarind Water (Optional) 1 tbsp
Garam Masala Powder 1 tsp
Salt To taste
Coconut Oil/Oil 1 tbsp
For Fish Marinade:
Chili Powder 1 tsp
Coriander Powder 1 tsp
Pepper Powder 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
Salt To taste
Ginger Garlic Paste 1 tsp
Lime juice 1 tbsp


Preparation:
1) Cut and clean the fish and marinate the fish in the ingredients provided for marinade for 20-30 min's.
2) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a baking sheet with oil and set aside.
3) Heat coconut oil in a pan and fry the mustard seeds once they splutter add the curry leaves, shallots, green chilies, crushed ginger and garlic. Sauté until the shallots turn translucent and then add the chopped tomatoes and sprinkle garam masala and sauté until the tomatoes are well cooked.
4) Add the tamarind water if you are using or just water and coconut milk and cook for 2-3 min's.
5) Cut two parchment papers to cover the fish. Place each piece of fish on the parchment papers and spread the cooked masala on the fish. Fold the paper covering the fish well. Ensure that the paper is folded well so that the steam doesn't escape.
6) Apply oil on the paper and so that it doesn't burn in the oven. Place them on the greased baking sheets and bake it in the oven for about 10-12 min's or until the paper puffs out. Check in between not to burn the oven.
7) Remove from oven and let it stand for 5 min's and then cut out the paper* and serve hot with steamed rice.

Fish Placed on Paper Fished folded in paper
Paper greased with oil and oven ready Cooked and Out of oven
Note: * You can use any other flat fish.
** Be careful not while cutting the paper, since it contains hot steam inside.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Banana/Plantain Chips

Crispy Banana/Plantain Chips



Simple and crispy homemade Plantain chips or Banana Chips, is very easy to make. Kerala style chips at home for people who are staying away from home. 

Ingredients: Quantity
Plantain/Unripe Green Banana 2-3 nos
Chili Powder 1/2 tsp
Paprika 1/2 tsp
Salt To taste
Vegetable Oil For Shallow Frying


Preparation:
1) Peel and cut the plantain into thin slices. Wash it in water and pat dry.
2) Heat oil in a shallow pan. Let the oil boil up to 350-360°F.
3) Fry the plantain slices in the oil for less than a minute and turn them once in between and remove them from oil. (Be careful not to splash hot oil while placing the slices in the oil.)
4) Place them on a paper towel and sprinkle salt and chili powder immediately, so that it would stick well while it is hot and oily. Plantain/Banana Chips is ready to eat. Store it in a airtight container and enjoy for a couple of days.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Veggie Lasagna

Vegetable Lasagna Primavera with Cheese Sauce



Lasagna baked with vegetables and pasta sauce and served with a creamy Parmesan cheese sauce. When I ate this lasagna primavera at Olive garden just loved it. So had tried to imitate that dish.

Ingredients: Quantity
Lasagna 4-5 sheets
Zucchini finely chopped 1 nos
Squash finely chopped 1 nos
Roasted Red Pepper chopped 1 nos
Roasted Garlic finely minced 2 tbsp
Pasta Sauce* 1 cup (or as needed)
Grated Mozzarella Cheese 2-3 tbsp
Grated Parmesan Cheese 1-2 tbsp
Fresh Basil Finely Chopped 1-2 tbsp
Dried Oregano 1/2 tsp
Dried Thyme 1/4 tsp
Pepper Powder To season
Salt To taste
Olive Oil 1-2 tbsp
Parmesan Cheese Sauce To serve
Fresh Parsley Chopped To Garnish


Preparation:
1) Cook Lasagna according to package instructions. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2) Mix the chopped zucchini, squash, roasted peppers, roasted garlic, little olive oil, salt and pepper.
3) Brush a baking tin with olive oil and layer the pasta sauce and layer it with a cooked lasagna sheet.
4) Add the mixed vegetables and little pasta sauce. Repeat the Lasagna and vegetable layers.
5) Complete it with sprinkling grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
6) Cover it with a foil and bake it for 40 Min's and then remove the cover and bake it for another 5-10 Min's.
7) Cut into half and place them on the Parmesan cheese sauce and garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot.


Note: * You can use store bought pasta sauce or home made sauce. To make your own sauce refer to Marinara Sauce recipe.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Parmesan Cheese Sauce

Creamy Parmesan Cheese Sauce with herbs


Ingredients: Quantity
Parmesan Cheese Grated 1/4 cup
Milk 1/2 cup
Heavy Cream 1 cup
Dried Basil crushed 1/2 tsp
Dried Oregano Crushed 1/2 tsp
Dried Parsley Crushed 1 tsp
Salt To taste
Pepper Powder To taste


Preparation:
1) Heat heavy cream in a sauce pan. Simmer until it reduces to half.
2) Mix the Parmesan cheese and milk and add it to the simmered heavy cream and let it cook for 2 Min's.
3) Add the dried herbs and season with pepper and salt (Parmesan Cheese contains salt. Finally adjust salt if required). Serve it immediately with pasta or roasted or grilled chicken.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Ricotta Cheesecake

Baked Ricotta Cheesecake



Baked Ricotta Cheesecake with a almond meal base. I have substituted the usual biscuit/cracker base with almond meal.

Ingredients: Quantity
For Base*:
Almond Meal** 1/2 cup***
All purpose Flour 1/2 cup***
Sugar 4 tbsp
Unsalted Butter 6 tbsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
For Filling:
Ricotta Cheese 15 oz
Cream Cheese 4 oz
Sour Cream 1/2 cup
Caster Sugar 3/4 cup
Eggs 3 nos
All purpose Flour 4 tbsp
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Orange/Lemon Juice 2 tbsp
Orange/Lemon Zest 1/2 tsp
Berries (optional) To Garnish


Preparation:
1) Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 8" round baking tin with butter.
2) Mix all the ingredients for the base and fill it in the baking tin and press it evenly. Bake it for 12-15 Min's in the preheated oven.
3) Beat the eggs and sugar and vanilla extract. Then add the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, flour, orange juice and orange zest and blend them with an electric blender. Pour it into the cake tin over the base. Tap lightly to remove any trapped air to avoid air bubbles.
4) Bake it in the preheated oven for 50-60 Min's. Let it cool and then refrigerate it until it is cold and sets well.
5) Serve slices topped with berries.

Note: *You get a nice thin base with the recipe above. If you prefer a thicker base, then you can add a little more of the ingredients in the same proportion.
** You can use store bought almond meal or just make a fine powder of unblanched almonds.
*** You can crumble digestive biscuits or plain biscuits substituting the almond meal and all purpose flour.

Mango Milkshake

Mango Milkshake


Ingredients: Quantity
Medium sized Mangoes 4 nos
Milk 2 cups
Sugar 1-2 tbsp
Rose Water Essence 1 tsp
Saffron soaked in warm water 2-3 strands
Cardamom Powder A Pinch
Crushed Ice (Optional) 1/2 cup


Preparation:
1) Peel and cut the mangoes. Reserve a few tiny pieces for garnishing.
2) Puree the mangoes in a blender/juicer and then add the milk, crushed ice (if using) and rest of the ingredients and pulse it for few seconds.
3) Garnish with the reserved mango pieces and serve chilled.

Note: Do not add crushed ice and mango pieces if it is for little ones.
You can use berries, banana or any other fruit of your choice or a combination.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Malai Kofta Curry

Malai Kofta cooked in Curry Sauce



Rich and creamy restaurant style Malai Kofta Curry. Panner and Vegetable Kofta balls cooked in Onion and Tomato Gravy.

Ingredients: Quantity
Boiled and ground Onion 2 nos
Tomatoes Pureed 3-4 nos
Ginger Garlic Paste 1 tbsp
Cashew Paste 1/4 cup
Garam Masala 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder 1 tsp
Crushed Kasuri Methi Leaves 1/2 tbsp
Butter 1 tbsp
Fresh Cream 1/4 cup
Sugar 1 tsp
Salt To taste
Tempering:
Cinnamon 1 stick
Cloves 2-3 nos
Cardamom 1-2 nos
For Kofta:
Panner finely grated 1 whole packet
Potato boiled and mashed 2 nos
Carrot boiled and mashed 2 nos
Peas cooked and mashed 1/4 cup
Onion finely chopped 1/4 cup
Ginger Garlic paste 1/2 tsp
Green Chilies finely chopped 2-3 nos
Bread soaked in water and crushed 2-3 nos
Garam Masala 1 tsp
Paprika(Optional) 1/2 tsp
Corn Flour 1-2 tbsp
Oil 2-3 tbsp
Salt To taste


Preparation:
1) Preheat oven to 375°F*. Mix all the ingredients for Kofta together and make them into equal sized balls**. Line them in a baking sheet and sprinkle some oil.
2) Bake them for 15 Min's on one side and turn them to the other side without breaking the Kofta balls and bake them for another 12-15 Min's. Broil them for 2 Min's***. Kofta balls should be crispy and browned on all sides.
3) Meanwhile heat a sauté pan with butter/oil and all the whole garam masala listed in tempering. Saute for a few seconds and then add the boiled and ground onion paste and ginger garlic paste. Sauté them for 2-3 Min's.
4) Add the pureed tomato, cashew paste, red chili powder and garam masala powder. Close with a lid for few Min's and let it cook until the raw smell disappears.
5) When it is almost cooked add the cream into it and sauté for a min.
6) Add the cooked Kofta balls just before serving and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with Naan or Pulao Rice.

Note:* Usually the Kofta balls are deep fried in oil. To reduce the amount of oil I have roasted them in oven. You can use the traditional method too.
**Squeeze out any excess amount of water from the ingredients before making into Kofta balls.
***Need not broil if the Kofta balls are roasted well in the oven.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Achaari Bhindi

Crispy and Tangy Okra



Crispy fried Okra's cooked in Tangy Tomato Gravy with Achaari masala.

Ingredients: Quantity
Okra/Bhindi 1 lb
Tomatoes finely Chopped 2 nos
Ginger grated 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder 1 tsp
Coriander Powder 1 tsp
Garam Masala 1/2 tsp
Amchoor Powder 1/4 tsp
Yogurt 2-3 tbsp
Lime Juice 2 tsp
Salt To taste
Olive oil 2-3 tbsp
Achaari Masala:
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Fennel Seeds 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds 1/4 tsp
Nigella Seeds/Kalonji 1/4 tsp
Asafeotida A pinch


Preparation:
1) Preheat oven to 400°F. Clean, pat dry and cut the okra lengthwise into four pieces.
2) Spread the Okra on a oven proof plate and sprinkle oil and salt. * Roast them for 10-12 mins and then broil them for 2-3 mins.
3) Meanwhile heat oil in a pan and add all the spices for Achaari masala and fry until mustard splutters.
4) Add the finely chopped tomatoes and grated ginger and sauté for 2-3 mins and then add the red chili powder, coriander powder, amchoor powder and garam masala.
5) Saute until the raw smell of the masala disappear. Remove the pan from heat and add the yogurt into the tomato masala. Simmer and cook for 5 mins.
6) Add the crispy okra into the masala and add the lime juice and let it cook for 4-5 mins. Adjust salt and serve the crispy and tangy okra with Roti or Dal and rice.

Note:
Usually the cut okra is fried in a pan, but frying in pan consumes lot of oil to get rid of the stickiness of the okra.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Madurai Chicken Salna

Madurai Chicken Salna



Salna/Chalna is a very popular gravy, esp. in Madurai along with Biryani or Parotta.

Ingredients: Quantity
Whole Chicken 1 nos
Large Onion Finely Chopped 2 nos
Tomatoes chopped 2 nos
Ginger Garlic Paste 1 tbsp
Green Chili 1-2 nos
Coconut Milk(Optional) 1/2 cup
Grind to paste:
Dry Red Chili* 6-8 nos
Coriander Seeds 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds 1 tsp
Fennel Seeds 1 tsp
Black Peppercorns 1 tsp
Poppy Seeds 2 tsp
Roasted Peanut** 1 tbsp
Garam Masala Powder 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
Grated Coconut 1/2 cup
Tempering:
Mustard 1 tsp
Curry Leaves 1-2 strands
Cinnamon 1 stick
Cloves 2-3 nos
Cardamom 1-2 nos
Oil 2-3 tbsp
Salt To taste


Preparation:
1) Dry roast all the items for spice paste and grind into a smooth paste.
2) Heat oil in a sauce pan and add all the items for tempering and then add the finely chopped onions and sauté until they are translucent.
3) Add the ginger garlic paste and green chili and sauté for 2 Min's and then add the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are well cooked. Add the cleaned and cut chicken and sauté it for a min and then add the ground masala paste.
4) Add 2 cups water and let it cook for 30 to 40 Min's on medium flame until the chicken is well cooked.
5) Add the coconut milk, if you are using and let it cook for 2-3 Min's.
6) Garnish it with chopped coriander leaves and serve with Biryani, Parotta or Dosa.

Note: * You can use chili powder(1 tbsp), coriander powder(1 tbsp), Cumin Powder(1 tsp), Fennel Powder(1 tsp) and pepper powder(1 tsp) instead of the whole spices.
** You can use cashewnuts instead of peanuts.
Usually salna is watery in consistency and not made as a thick gravy.

On request from vegetarian friends, wanted to update some vegetarian alternates.
# You can fry Brinjal and add it to the gravy instead of chicken or just leave the chicken and the gravy would taste good enough.
# You can add boiled egg cut into half/quarters, into the gravy 5 min's before it is done.