Friday, 12 October 2018

Special vegetable pulao

Basmati rice- 1 1/2 cups

Baby corn- 1/4 cup, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
Carrot- 1/4 cup, peeled and cut into small cubes
Bell pepper- half of a medium pepper, chopped into small cubes
Green peas- 1/4 cup (I used frozen ones)

Ghee- 2 tbsp
Cinnamon- 1 inch stick
Cardamom- 2 pods
Cloves- 2
Bay leaf- 1
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder- 1/4 tsp
Soup cube- 1/2 of one cube (you can use chicken, beef or vegetable cube)
Kasoori methi- 1/2 tbsp
Milk- 2 tbsp (use cream for a richer taste or just use water as well)
Salt- to taste
Boiling water- 3 1/4 cups
Lemon juice- 1/2 tbsp
Coriander leaves- to garnish
Rinse the rice well and soak till you slice and cook the vegetables.

In a wide pan, large enough to hold 3 cups of water, melt ghee and throw in all the whole spices-cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf and cumin seeds.
Once they splutter a bit and the aroma comes through, add the ginger garlic paste and saute continuously till the raw smell disappears. Keep heat on medium and make sure the paste doesnt burn.
Tip in all the vegetables, garam masala, pepper and salt and cook on high for a couple of minutes, till the vegetables have slightly wilted.
Sprinkle the soup cube and kasoori methi and give a good mix.
Add the milk and scrape the bottom of the pan and loosen all thats stuck to the base.
Cover and cook till the vegetables are about 1/2 done.
Drain the rice and add to the pan. carefully mix with the vegetables.
Pour in the boiling water, lemon juice and enough salt (the salt should be standing forward when you do the taste test and only then will your rice be perfectly seasoned) and mix well.
Increase heat to maximum, cover the pan, and let the mix come to a boil. Let it boil for about 3 minutes.
Open lid, give a good stir, close and then reduce heat to low.
Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or till all the water has been absorbed.
Once the time is up, using a fork, check that there is no water at the base.
Sprinkle the coriander leaves and drizzle about half tsp ghee over the top and cover and leave aside for about 1/2 hr.
When ready to serve fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

Notes: You can use any vegetable of choice. Just make sure they amount to about 1 cup in total for that quantity of rice. I have previously used beans, cabbage, sweet corn and even paneer.
The pulao has a very distinct taste with the addition of kasoori methi. If you are not a big fan of that taste omit it. 
You can also dilute the soup cube in the 3 cups water and use that to flavour the rice instead of adding it in the beginning. If diluting, then use an entire cube instead of half.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Roast potatoes (Indian style)

Recipe adapted from here (serves 3 to 4 as a side dish)
Baby potatoes- 20-22 (around 500 gms)
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
Chilli powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste

Oil- 1 tbsp
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Double cream- 1/2 cup
Kasoori methi- 1 scant tbsp
Coriander leaves- 1/2 cup
Lemon juice- 1 tsp

Rinse the baby potatoes and leave the skin on.
Slice them in half if you think some of them are big. Try and get them in similar sizes.
Par boil in enough water till 3/4th done. Drain and keep aside to cool.
Once cool, marinate the boiled potatoes with ginger garlic paste, chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt.
Keep aside for about half an hour.

In a large pan, heat the oil and on medium heat roast the potatoes till they turn brown.
This may take a while. Keep tossing in between and make sure you dont break/mash the potatoes. Try and use a pan that will hold all the potatoes in one layer.
It is very likely that the masalas will start sticking to the bottom of the pan, so just keep adding splashes of water if you feel they are getting burnt (a tsp or 2 at a time).
Once the raw smell of the ginger and garlic disappears, add the curry leaves and continue roasting till they turn golden brown. 
Pour in half the double cream, mix well and wait for it to be absorbed by the potatoes.
Follow with the the second half and continue to stir carefully.
Cook for a further 5 minutes or so, till the masalas are all coated on the potatoes.
Add the kasoori methi, 3/4th of the coriander leaves, and also salt if needed and give a final mix.
3 more minutes over medium heat and take it off the flame and stir in the lemon juice. 
Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with remaining coriander leaves and serve hot with either pulao, chapati or even as a side to to your favourite English Sunday roast.
Ive previously paired them with beef smore, roast chickenbeef chops, murgh mussalam, and roast poussin
Notes: You can of course use large potatoes. Just make sure you slice them evenly into large pieces. Dont make them too tiny.
Its a very versatile dish in the sense it goes very well with Indian and non Indian dishes.
Replace lemon juice with aamchor for a distinct taste.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Tandoori chicken

Recipe adapted from here

First marinade
Chicken 1kg, with bone (i used skinless leg and thigh pieces, comparatively large pieces))
Kashmiri chilli powder- 1/2 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste 1tbsp
Lemon juice 1 tbsp
Salt- to taste

Second marinade
Yoghurt- 200gms
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tbsp
Kashmiri chilli powder- 2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Garam masala- 1 tsp
Black salt- 1/2 tsp
Mustard paste - 1 tsp (I used English mustard)
Kasoori methi- 1 tsp
Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
Oil- 2tbsp
Salt- to taste

Put slits in the chicken pieces and marinate with all the ingredients in the first marinade.Rub it into the pieces well and in between the slits.
Keep covered in the refrigerator for an hour.
Get the second marinade ingredients ready by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Bring out the chicken after an hour and pour the second marinade over it. Nicely massage the marinade on to the chicken and keep covered in the refrigerator overnight for best results, or at least for 3 hours minimum.
When ready to cook, bring the chicken to room temperature and preheat oven to 250C (the highest on your oven).Line a baking tray with heavy duty foil and brush a thin layer of oil on it.
Place the chicken pieces and whatever marinade leftover on to the tray and place in the oven for 7 minutes.
Then reduce heat to 220C and cook for another 10 minutes.
Take the tray out, turn the pieces over and cook for another 10 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and change oven setting to grill/broiler mode on highest temperature.
Baste the chicken pieces with oil and place under the broiler for 5 minutes. (Watch well, as it could burn the chicken. Anytime between 3 and 5 minutes should be fine. This is just to char the chicken for that tandoori effect)
Remove and serve with coriander-mint chutney

Notes: Use thick drained yoghurt, so that the marinade sticks to the chicken. I used thick set yoghurt, but squeezed out the water content by hanging it in a muslin cloth.
You are using salt in the first marinade and black salt in the second, so taste before you add more salt.
If you cant find black salt, normal salt is fine.
Of course oven cooking times will vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces. Adjust a few minutes here and there accordingly. It should be anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes including broiler time.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Mutton sukka/chukka

Recipe adapted from here (serves 3 or 4 as part of main meal) 
Mutton- 500gms (with bone)

To grind
Cumin seeds- 1 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds- 1 1/2 tsp
Peppercorns- 1 1/2 tsp
Dry red chilli- 2
Indian shallots- 4, small, roughly chopped
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste

Ghee- 1 tbsp
Cinnamon- 1 inch stick
Cardamom- 2
Cloves- 2
Fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp
Onions- 2 small/ 1 large- finely chopped
Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
Coriander leaves- 1/4 cup
Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
Ghee- 1 tsp (optional)

Grind together the cumin, coriander seeds, peppercorns and dry red chilli to a powder.
Add the shallots and ginger garlic paste, a tbsp or so of water and grind to a paste. Don't add too much water.
Marinate the mutton with the ground mix, turmeric and salt and keep aside for half an hour or more if you can.
Pressure cook the mutton with around 1/3rd 1/4 cup water till done(don't add too much water as you want a dryi-sh consistency once cooked).
If at all there is a lot of water, evaporate it off on high heat till about 1/4 cup is remaining.

In a frying pan, heat the ghee and infuse with cinnamon, cardamon, cloves and fennel.
Throw in the onions and half the curry leaves and saute on medium heat till they turn golden brown. Make sure its not too dark and burn. You need to saute the onions well, or else the curry would be sweet.
Pour in the mutton along with the stock and mix with the onions.
Add the coriander leaves and salt if needed and cook for a couple of minutes on medium heat till the mutton pieces are well coated in the masala and the oil starts to separate. Keep stirring in between.
Sprinkle the garam masala, a tsp of melted ghee and the remaining curry leaves, give a final mix and keep covered for a few minutes, after which you can serve with steamed rice, roti or even appam.

Notes: The original recipe required you to cook the mutton in coconut milk. I skipped it and it was just as good.
Increase the amount of pepper to 2 tsp and add one more chilli if you want it spicier. My version is mildly spicy, and the heat comes from the pepper mostly.
If you have enough shallots, cook the entire thing in that instead of onions. Tastes really good.
You would know how long your mutton would take to get cooked, but what i do is, cook on high heat in the pressure cooker till the first whistle and then reduce heat to medium and cook for another 20 minutes. I'd open the cooker only once the steam has completely died down on its own.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Prawn thokku

Recipe adapted from here

Prawns- 250-300 gms
Onion- 1/2 cup, roughly chopped (use shallots for enhanced taste)
Garlic- 4 pods, peeled and roughly chopped
Green chillies- 2, chopped (add more for more heat)
Ginger- 1 1/2 inch piece, peeled and roughly chopped
Tomato- 1 big, roughly sliced
Black peppercorns- 1 tsp
Fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp
Grated coconut- 1 1/2 tbsp
Cinnamon- 1 inch piece
Cloves- 4
Curry leaves- 2 to 3 sprigs (the more the better)
Coriander powder- 1 tbsp
Kashmiri chilly powder- 2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Water- 1/4 cup
Oil- 4 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Coconut oil- 1 tsp (optional)
Lemon/ lime juice- approx. 1 tsp
Coriander leaves- to garnish 
Place a pan over low-medium heat and add around 1 tbsp of oil.
Once hot, throw in the onion, garlic, green chillies and ginger and sauté till they turn golden brown, but not crisp brown. Keep stirring in between to avoid the onions getting burnt, which would affect the overall taste of the thokku.
Add the chopped tomato and continue cooking till they turn soft.
In goes the peppercorns, fennel seeds and grated coconut. Stirring continuously, cook the mix for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the contents into a bowl and leave aside to cool sufficiently.
Once cool, use a blender/ grinder to make a smooth paste. Try and avoid adding water, but if necessary a tsp or so wont do any harm.
Place the same frying pan back on medium heat and add the remaining oil.
Once hot, throw in the cinnamon, cloves and curry leaves. Stir for a couple of seconds till you get than nice aroma of spices.
At this stage tip in the ground ingredients and cook for a few minutes. It might splutter a bit in the beginning, so be careful.
Add the coriander, chilly, turmeric powders and salt, mix it all into the ground paste and cook, stirring on and off till the oil starts to surface.
This step is important and it needs to be done on medium heat. The masala must turn a deep red.
Throw in the prawns and mix well, so its all coated in the masala.
Pour the 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer till the prawns are cooked and the water has all been absorbed. 
At this stage, you can drizzle the coconut oil (if using) and roast the prawns for a couple more minutes, or till the masala becomes dark and completely dry. 
Stir in the coriander leaves, and just before serving squeeze some lemon juice over it and serve with some chilled beer or hot rice.

Notes: Add more green chillies to make this dish really spicy. Honestly, its much tastier with a bit of heat.
Make sure you dont overcook the prawns. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Kerala pork roast/masala

Recipe adapted from here 
To pressure cook
Pork- 1 kg, cut into slightly big pieces, say about 1-1/1/4 inch cubes* (refer notes)
Sliced onion- 1/4 cup, sliced into thin juliennes
Ginger garlic paste- 1/2 tbsp
Kashmiri chilli powder- 1 1 /2 tsp
Pepper powder- 1/2 tsp (add more if you would like it spicier)
Coriander powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
Salt- to taste
Curry leaves- 1 sprig

To roast
Coconut oil- 2 tbsp
Onion- 1 cup, sliced into thin juliennes
Curry leaves- 1 big sprig
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli powder- 1/2 tsp (add more if you want it spicier)
Pepper powder- 1 tsp (add more to enhance the taste, but remember it would make the dish spicier)
Garam masala- 1 tsp
Salt- to taste

To dry roast
Coconut oil- 1/2 tbsp
Meat masala- 1 tsp
Into a pressure cooker add the sliced pork along with all the other ingredients listed below.
Mix well (get in there and use your hands), till the masalas are almost evenly coated on the pork pieces.
Add 1/4 cup water and cook on high till the first whistle comes and then reduce heat to medium and cook for another 15 minutes*. Take off heat and open only after the steam subsides.
There should be some gravy along with pork, but not a lot. If you feel its too much, place the cooker back on heat and cook on high heat till a bit of the water evaporates.
Give a good stir and keep aside.

In another deep, heavy bottomed pan, heat the coconut oil and throw in the onions and curry leaves.
Keep heat on medium and saute till the onions turn light golden (not to crisp consistency, but still cooked well), at which point you add the ginger garlic paste.
Cook till the raw smell disappears.
Add the turmeric powder, stir for a few seconds, followed by coriander powder, chilli powder and pepper powder. If you feel that the pan is too hot and the masalas would burn, add a splash of water or the gravy from the cooked pork.
Tip in the entire contents of the pressure cooker into the pan and on high heat, mix everything together.
Reduce heat to medium, mix in the garam masala, and close and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. The oils would start to surface.
Open, check for salt, add more if needed. Give a good mix and take it off the heat.
The pork would be a semi gravy consistency at this point and absolutely perfect if you want to have it with appam and chapathi. I refrigerate or freeze it in this consistency.

Since i like mine a bit more drier with rice, this is what i do. (the first and third images are of this version)
I take out the required quantity, saute on high in coconut oil and sprinkle some meat masala towards the end (you can also add freshly ground pepper powder). Give one final stir and serve hot with rice and other sides.
*Notes: Puleezee do yourself a favour and add fat to your pork dishes. Trust me it makes a world of a difference. Don't do any of that lean pork shit on its own with any Kerala pork recipe, it will not come out well. We don't get to buy fat separate, so i use 500 gms of pork belly and 500 gms of shoulder or leg (which you can sub with lean meat to even out the cholesterol aspect:). If you do get to buy fat separately, then do around 700 to 750 of lean meat and the rest fat.
Cooking pork, the method and timing works for me, but your meat may be different, so cook accordingly. You can always let the steam off and open to check if its done and if not put it back on for a couple more whistles.
The original recipe sounded way more spicier and I'm sure it would be fantastic. We have ended up with weak tummies over the years and so have reduced the spice levels significantly. If you can handle spice, add more pepper powder for sure.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Moru kachiyathu (without coconut)

Recipe adapted from here (serves 3 as part of main meal)
Yoghurt- 1 cup
Water- around 1/2 cup
Salt- to taste

Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
Curry leaves- a generous sprig
Shallots (cheriya ulli)- 3 to 4, peeled and roughly chopped
Garlic- 4 pods, peeled and finely chopped
Ginger- 1 tsp, finely chopped
Green chilly- 1, roughly chopped or slit in half (add more if you want it spicier)
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp

To temper
Coconut oil- 1/2 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
Dried red chilly- 2
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Fenugreek seeds- a pinch
Fenugreek powder- a pinch
Cumin powder- a generous pinch
Chilly powder- a generous pinch
Mix together the yoghurt, salt and water using a whisk till smooth. You can whizz it in a blender as well.
The yoghurt mix shouldn't be too thick, so add more water to thin it out if you feel its still too thick. Keep aside.
In a deep pan, heat the coconut oil.
Add the curry leaves, shallots, garlic, ginger and green chilly. Saute till the onion becomes a light brown and the garlic and ginger no longer smell raw. About 3 to 5 minutes on medium flame.
Add the turmeric powder and cook till the raw smell from the turmeric disappears.
Reduce heat a bit and pour in the yoghurt mix.
Keep stirring continuously till the yoghurt heats up, but don't by any means let it boil, or the yoghurt will split.
Also, make sure the pan is not really hot or else when you pour in the yoghurt it will split immediately.
Lift the spoon in between and if you can see steam lift off the spoon then the yoghurt has warmed through.
Transfer to a serving bowl immediately.

In a small pan, heat the oil. Keep it on medium heat.
Add the mustard seeds and once they crackle add all the other ingredients one after the other. Keep stirring and making sure the spices don't burn, but at the same time the spices shouldn't be raw.
Pour over the yoghurt, mix well and keep covered for about 5 minutes before serving with rice.

Notes: The yoghurt thickens as its sits, loosen with a wee bit of warm water if it really becomes too thick.
If your moru curry doesn't look yellow enough, you can add a bit of turmeric along with the tempering ingredients.
If you feel there isn't enough salt, you can add it in at the very end as well.
Do not warm the curry in a microwave, instead take it out of the refrigerator an hour or so before serving. Make the rice really hot, so it doesn't feel unpleasant to eat the cool curry.
I do have another similar version here