Archive | April 2012

Bhindi Fry (Okra/Lady’s finger Fry)

When I was a kid, I hated my vegetables like all other kids do. I’d always tried to get away from the veggies my mom used to pack for lunch. It was like eating something which isn’t meant for human beings ;). I never ever thought I’ll have to come across a person who loves the veggies and without them will not survive. Yes! That’s my hubby.. He doesn’t care if I haven’t cooked any curry for rice. Instead he needs a large portion of poriyal/veg side dish for his rice/roti.
I started liking subzi /vegetables after going to the beautiful city “Surat” in Gujarat. I have been there for almost 5 years and I hope that changed our palate. I can proudly say Surat food changed my perspective on food. The way they cook their food and feed the guests with lots of passion is  never forgottable and will always remain with us.
My passion towards food and cooking is all started from there. And now it’s never ending journey..
From wide vegetarian dishes served in Gujarat, we love our Bhindi ki subzi (Okra/Lady’s finger). Lady’s finger is unique in taste and texture. I have posted Bhindi fry recipe with Gujarati touch, which I usually prepare to accompany roti (Indian wheat bread) 

Servings:  2        

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Level: Moderate
Ingredients:
1)      Lady’s finger/Okra                             250 gm 
2)      Onion                                                 200 gm
3)      Tomato                                              150 gm/1 big size
4)      Ginger                                               15 gm
5)      Garlic                                                 5 cloves
6)      Cumin  seeds                                    1 Tsp
7)      Turmeric powder                               ¼ Tsp
8)      Coriander powder                             1 Tbsp
9)      Cumin powder                                  1 Tsp
10)   Red chilli powder                              1 Tsp
11)   Garam masala powder                     ½ Tsp
12)   Salt                                                    as req
13)   Dried Fenugreek leaves                    ½ Tsp
14)   Jaggery                                              ½ Tsp    
15)   Dry mango powder(Optional)           ¼ Tsp
16)   Vegetable oil                                    2 Tbsp  
Method:
Preparation:
1)      Wash the lady’s finger in running water and pat dry each one with dry cloth.  
2)      Chop them into two halves and slit them in the middle. Keep it aside
3)      Chop the onions and tomato finely.
4)      Make a paste of ginger and garlic.
5)      Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large pan. Add the chopped lady’s finger. Fry for 5 mins in medium flame.
This step is to avoid the stickiness of lady’s finger. Turn off the heat when the lady’s finger
 is no more sticky.
Cooking: 
1)      Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a frying pan. Add cumin seeds.
2)      When cumin seeds splutter add the chopped onions and little salt. Salt helps to fry the onions fast.
3)      Fry the onion till golden brown and add ginger garlic paste.
4)      Sauté for few seconds and add chopped tomato. Stir fry for 2-3 mins till tomatoes are soft.
5)      Now add turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder and dried fenugreek
leaves. Sauté for 1 min.
6)      Add the partially fried lady’s finger and mix well. Add the remaining salt.
7)      Close lid and cook for 5 mins in low flame.
8)      After 5 mins of cooking, add dry mango powder which is optional, garam masala powder and jaggery.
9)      Stir well and cook another 3 mins. Turn off the heat and transfer to serving bowl.
10)   Serve with roti (Indian wheat bread)



Note:    

1)      Stir frying lady’s finger alone prior to cooking will avoid the sticky texture to the dish.
2)      Dry mango powder is used to give a tangy flavour. It’s totally optional. Instead of mango powder
you can use ½ Tsp of lemon juice.
3)      Gujarat foods are always little sweet since they add Jaggery/Gur. Again it is optional if you don’t like
your vegetable to be sweet..
Advertisements

Sunday Breakfast 3

Hi friends!!
This Sunday was very beautiful. After so many days being cloudy, we got to see our bright sun. Anyways we had no plans to go out since we’d been BBQ partying the whole evening of Saturday.
I remember when we were staying in North China, our friends would invite us for a get-together event. We’d be around 7-8 people from different countries. Collection of breads, sausages, sauces, cheese were the dinner themes. We loved the slices of brown bread layered with cheese and sausages of our taste topped with mustard sauce. Yummy!!
After we moved to Guangzhou, We missed all of that.. Our friend Martin is from Germany. Few days back he went to Germany for holidays.We requested him to bring us German brown bread. We were excited when Martin brought us the bread. But we had no sausages or cheese with us. So I made some mashed potato salad and fried egg to go with the bread. And some fresh pineapple juice We loved the potato salad.. I added pickled gherkins and olive to it for extra kick..


Recipe for Mashed Potato salad:

Servings:  2        

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
Level: Easy

Ingredients:
1)      Potato                                 200 gm 
2)      Pickled Gherkins                 20 gm
3)      Olives                                  5 nos
4)      Mayonnaise                        2 Tbsp
5)      Black pepper powder          1 Tsp
6)      Salt                                      as req
Method:
1)      Boil the potatoes with little salt in a pan for about 10-15 mins till it’s tender.
2)      Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
3)      Peel off the skins and mash it using potato masher or hands.
4)      Chop the pickled gherkins and olives.
5)      Add all ingredients to the cooled potato.
6)      Combine well.



Note:

    
1)      You can use fresh cucumber and olives instead of preserved ones.
2)      Be creative to add anything to the mashed potato like apple, ham etc
3)      I have seasoned my salad with little Italian herbs since we like the taste of herbs in salad, which is totally optional. Usually the recipe don’t call for it.

Vishu 2012!!

I took a while to post our “Vishu” feast since I thought to post the menu recipes at first. Our menu had few of traditional dishes. It’s been always difficult to plan whole meal for two persons. So I selected few main dishes to serve along with rice. For those who haven’t read my past posts about “Vishu” here goes a brief description 
“Vishu” is the New year in accordance with Malayalam Calender. It falls on the next day of Tamil New year. The most important event in Vishu is the “Vishukkani” meaning “the first thing seen on the day of Vishu after waking up”. Vishukkani consists of arrangement of various fruits, mirror, konna poo (Yellow flower), raw rice and urli in the pooja room of the house.
Another famous ritual is “VishuKaineettam” where elder people gift money to the young people.
This year I prepared Aviyal, Olan, Cabbage Thoran, Brinjal Sambar with rice and Ada prathaman served as dessert. It was almost like being in hometown. 

Ada Pradhaman

Here goes one of the mouth-watering dessert from Kerala “Ada pradhaman”.  Ada pradhaman is cooked with Ada, Coconut milk and jaggery, in  the form of a thick liquid. Ada is the flakes of cooked rice. In olden days, Ada was made at home and used to make pradhaman. Nowadays we find readymade ada in almost every stores. I have used readymade ada from the brand “Nirapara”. Pradhaman is similar to Payasam or Kheer but with more variety in terms of ingredients and the way it is made.

Servings:  6 cups              

Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
Level: Moderate


Ingredients:
1)      Ada                                      50 gm   
2)      Thin Coconut milk               2 cups
3)      Thick Coconut milk             1 cup
4)      Jaggery                               200 gm
5)      Ghee                                   3 Tbsp
6)      Cashew nut/Almond           8 nos
7)      Cardamom                          2 nos
8)      Raisins                                2 Tbsp
Method:
1)      Ada should be cooked separately prior to cooking pradhaman.  Since we are using readymade ada, it will be best to cook them according to the instruction given in the packet. For “Niraparaada, you should wash the ada in normal water and soak them in boiled water for about 15 mins and drain the water.
2)      I have used coconut milk bought from stores. If you are having whole coconut, grate the coconut and sprinkle ½ cup of warm water. Grind the grated coconut and squeeze them to get the thick milk. Keep it aside.  Add one more cup of warm water to the coconut and grind again. Squeeze them as earlier to extract the thin coconut milk. Use muslin cloth to squeeze. Otherwise use hands.
3)      If you are going to use store brought coconut milk, you need to dilute them in order to get thin coconut milk.  For thin milk take 1 cup of coconut milk and add 1 cup of water to it. For thick milk you can use directly.
4)      Heat 2 cups of water in a pan and add the cooked ada to it. Cook them in medium heat.
5)      Take another pan and melt the jaggery (Unrefined brown sugar) by adding ½ cup of water
and filter using muslin cloth.
6)      When the ada starts boiling reduce the flame to low and add the jaggery (Unrefined brown sugar). Stir well.
7)      Add the thin coconut milk stirring continuously.
8)      Allow it to cook for 10-15 mins and check the ada. It should be soft.
9)      At this stage add the thick coconut milk stirring continuously.
10)   Bring to boil. Add crushed cardomoms and mix well
11)   Heat another pan with ghee. When ghee melts add the cashewnuts/chopped almonds, raisins and fry till it turns golden colour.
12)   Pour the ghee along with nuts into the pradhaman.
13)   Turn off the heat. Transfer to the serving bowl.


Notes:
1)      Adjust the jaggery (Unrefined Brown sugar) according to your taste.
2)      It tastes best when used fresh coconut milk.
3)      I have used almonds here instead of cashewnuts. You can also use pistachios & coconut chips for garnishing.
4)      Serve them warm after meal.

Olan

One another Side dish from Kerala. Very simple to cook yet tasty. Olan recipe has very few ingredients and less time taking dish to prepare. During any festivals in Kerala you can find “Aviyal” , Olan, Kalan, Thoran etc.. served as side dish for steamed brown rice. And most of the recipes including dessert will have coconut as an ingredient. I prepared this recipe for “Vishu”.
“Vishu” is the New year in accordance with Malayalam Calender. It falls on the next day of Tamil New year. The most important event in Vishu is the “Vishukkani” meaning “the first thing seen on the day of Vishu after waking up”. Vishukkani consists of arrangement of various fruits, mirror, konna poo (Yellow flower), raw rice and urli in the pooja room of the house.
Another famous ritual is “VishuKaineettam” where elder people gift money to the young people. We used to wait the whole year to get the gifts from our elder members from family ;).
 Olan is prepared with Ash gourd and coconut milk. In some places it is prepared with Ash gourd and black eyed bean as well. Here I have posted Olan recipe which uses only Ash gourd and coconut milk.

Servings:  4        
Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
Level: Easy
 Ingredients:

 1)      Ash gourd                          100 gm 

2)      Coconut milk                      3 Tbsp
3)      Salt                                     as req
4)      Coconut oil                         2 Tbsp
5)      Curry leaves                       8-10
Method:
1)      Peel off  the skin of ash gourd and chop into thin slice square  
2)      Take 1 ½ cup – 2 cups of water in a pan. Add ash gourd and salt.
3)      Place it on heat and cook for 8- 10 mins.
4)      When its cooked enough add 1 Tbsp of coconut milk and stir well. After few secs add
 another Tbsp of coconut milk and mix again. Do it same for the rest of milk.
5)      Check the ash gourd for doneness. Turn off the heat and transfer to bowl
6)      For garnishing heat coconut oil in a tawa. Add curry leaves. Pour this on the Olan.
7)      Serve with steamed rice
Note:
    
1)      You can use Black eyed bean and pumpkin along with Ash gourd

Aviyal

One of my favourite side dish is Aviyal which is from my motherland Kerala. I used to be very proud whenever I’d to say I am from Kerala. Mostly the reasons behind feeling that way are it’s been my birthplace, as it got the title “God’s own country”and undoubtedly the cuisine.

My family migrated from Kerala to Tamil nadu even before my birth. So I can say that the relationship between me and Kerala is just my birth and the summer vacation we have at our Grannies home during schooling.

Everytime when we visit Kerala I’d always have these jobs to do, jumping into the lake, walking by the sides of deep Canal (even if I feel nervous), collecting the fallen mangoes, having our meal served in banana leafs 3 times a day ;).. 
Picking the mangoes was always my routine job. We had 4 mango trees of different kind. Since we always go in summer which is the mango season, we would grab a basket half of our size and go to each tree, collect the mangoes and of course one in hand to bite.  
The good thing about their food is they grow vegetables at their garden. And most of the days they cook with their garden vegetables. Hardly few times I see them buying from markets.
So Aviyal is a side dish for rice, prepared with many vegetables whatever available at your garden cooked with Kerala’s identity “Coconut” and a touch of sourness from curd.
Only recipe you need not worry about unavailability of any vegetables I mentioned in here.. But you definitely require coconut and curd. I got this recipe from my mom. Hope you guys find it easy to cook. Traditionally, vegetables like Yam, Drumstick, Raw Banana, Raw Mangoes Carrot, Ash gourd, Pumpkin, Bitter gourd, Cucumber, Green beans and Cow beans are used. Here I don’t get Yam, Drumstick, Raw banana. So it’s all upto you to add or omit any vegetable.

Servings:  6        
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Level: Moderate
Ingredients:
1)      Carrot                                  100 gm 
2)      Green beans                       50 gm
3)      Ash gourd                           100 gm
4)      Pumpkin                              50 gm
5)      Cow beans                          50 gm
6)      Bitter Gourd                       100 gm
7)      Green chillies                     2 nos
8)      Cumin seeds                      1 Tbsp
9)      Coconut (Grated)               1 Cup
10)   Curd                                    1 ½  cups (Adjust depending on sourness)
11)   Turmeric powder                ½ Tsp
12)   Red chilli powder               ½ Tsp
13)   Coconut Oil                        1 Tsp
14)   Salt                                     as required
15)   Curry leaves                       8- 10 nos
Method:
1)      Chop all the vegetables approx. 5cm in length. You need to peel the skins of Ash gourd & Pumpkin before chopping them.
2)      In a deep pan, add all the chopped vegetables with turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt.
3)      Pour 1 cup of water and cook by closing lid with reduced flame.
4)      Grind together grated coconut, green chillies and cumin seeds to a coarse paste by adding little water time to time.
5)      When the vegetables are half cooked pour in the coconut mixture and combine gently.
6)      Again close the lid and cook for 5 more mins or till the vegetables are soft.
7)      When all vegetables have been cooked, add the beaten curd and mix very gently. Make sure not to break the vegetables.
8)      Turn the heat down and transfer to another bowl
9)      For garnishing heat coconut oil in tawa and add curry leaves.
10)   Pour on the Aviyal. Serve as side dish for steamed rice.


Notes:
1)      As I mentioned earlier you can use yam, raw papaya, raw mango, drumstick or any other kind of vegetables. But make sure the vegetable are little hard like yam or carrot. So that it won’t disappear while cooking
2)      Adjust the quantity of curd upon the sourness. If it is too much sour reduce the quantity of curd and add little water to it.

Sambar

Sambar is very common side dish for rice in South India. Every home prepare sambar everyday for rice, idli, dosa etc.. It’s a mixture of split pea and vegetables. Throughtout the south the sambar has been cooked in different way and the recipe varies widely region to region. I know to cook sambar in three different ways, one from Kerala which i got it from my mom, the second one a Tamil nadu style and the third one is easy & fast sambar cooked in pressure cooker. This recipe is from Tamilnadu. I will post the other ways of preparing sambar later. I have used brinjal in this recipe.

Servings:  6        
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Level: Moderate
Ingredients:
1)      Brinjal                                  250 gm 
2)      Toor Dal                               100 gm
3)      Pearl Onion                          10 nos
4)      Tomato                                 1 medium
5)      Tamarind                              10 gm
6)      Garlic                                   2 cloves
7)      Green chillies                      2 nos
8)      Asafoetida                          A pinch
9)      Coriander powder               1 Tbsp
10)   Sambar powder                   ½ Tbsp
11)   Turmeric powder                 ¼ Tsp
12)   Dried Red chilli                   2 nos
13)   Fenugreek seed                  1 Tsp
14)   Mustard seeds                    ½ Tsp
15)   Curry leaves                        8- 10 nos
16)   Salt                                      as req
17)   Vegetable oil                      2 Tbsp
18)   Coriander leaves                For garnishing
Method:
1)      Soak dal in normal water for about 15 mins. This is usually not necessary if you are going
to pressure cook it. Soaking dal will save your cooking time when you cook dal in pan.
2)      Soak tamarind in 1 cup of warm water for 10 mins. Do these two procedures before chopping
vegetables. So that when you are ready to turn heat on dal and tamarind paste would have soaked well.
3)      Start preparing by chopping brinjals. If you need large chunks you can cut it into two halves.
Otherwise chop them into four pieces lengthwise. You need to right away immerse the chopped
Brinjals in cold water in order to prevent it from oxidizing. If the chopped brinjals or potatoes
are exposed to air it turns the colour to black or brown due to oxidization effect.
4)      Peel the skin of pearl onion and keep aside. No need to chop them. We are going to add it wholly.
5)      Chop the tomato into lengthy pieces, crush the garlic and slit the green chillies.
6)      Now turn on the heat and place the pressure cooker
7)      Pour in 2 cups of water and add the soaked toor dal (Split pigeon peas). To it add asafoetida,
¼ Tsp turmeric powder,crushed garlic, green chillies and ½ Tsp Vegetable oil. Close the cooker.
Bring to full pressure, reduce heat and cook for 5 mins. Let it cool naturally before opening the lid.
8)      Meantime heat another pan and add oil.
9)      When oil is hot add the pearl onion, sauté  well.
10)   After a minute add the chopped brinjal.
11)   Stir fry them till the brinjal’s skin colour change to brown approximately 3-4 mins.At this stage
add the tomatoes. Now reduce the flame since we are going to to add the masalas.
12)   Add remaining turmeric powder, salt, coriander powder and sambar powder. Stir well.
13)   Now squeeze the tamarind and extract the water. Pour the tamarind water into the vegetable mixture.
14)   Add one more cup of water and cook for about 10 mins closing the lid.
15)   While the vegetables are cooking, open the lid of the cooker ( make sure pressure has been released fully)
and mix the dal mixture well with spatula or use any mashing tools and combine well.
16)   Add the dal mixture to the vegetable and mix well. The consistency of the sambar at this stage should be
little watery. If it is very thick add some more water.
17)   Cook for another 5 mins in medium flame.
18)   Turn off the heat and add coriander leaves. Transfer to a bowl
19)   For tadka place the tadka pan or any other normal pan on the heat.
20)   Heat ½ Tbsp oil. Add mustard seeds. When it splutters add a pinch of asafoetida, fenugreek seeds,
curry leaves and red chillies respectively.
21)   Pour this tadka on the sambar. Serve with steamed rice, idli or dosa.