Sunday, 30 August 2009

Pick-me-up..yes its Tiramisu

I have no idea what tempted me to make Tiramisu. I didn't see anything on Food network, i didn't have it recently in a restaurant and no one even vaguely mentioned it. I have always had bad luck with desserts. Even cakes don't come out well and i depend on ready mixes like Betty Crocker for the same. I, somehow, decided to make Tiramisu one fine day and so went online and did loads of research for some two days. Read blogs, took tips from websites and even watched YouTube videos on how to make it. Outcome, being utterly confused and frustrated at the end of it all. I ultimately decided on a Gordon Ramsay/ James Martin (two renowned chefs in Britain) recipe, but ended up making a whole new one on my own. It turned out beautiful and I'm proud of it.
Most of the ingredients were available in supermarkets or Italian deli's. Anyways, this is my version of the recipe:

Mascarpone Cheese- 250gms
Eggs- 2, yolk and white separated
Ladyfinger/Sponge fingers- about 20
Sugar- 3 tbs (heaps)
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Brandy/ Kahlua/Marsala wine- 2 cap fulls
Espresso coffee- 1 cup, really strong
Cocoa pwd- to dust

Make really strong Espresso coffee and set aside to cool.
Beat the egg whites till they form peaks, gradually adding about 1 tbs sugar. This is very important as the egg white should not be flowy.
Beat the egg yolk with the remaining sugar till smooth and add this to the mascarpone cheese with the vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Fold in the egg white into this mixture bit by bit, and smoothening it out, but not mixing/ whisking vigorously. Keep aside.
Pour the brandy into the espresso coffee and give a stir. Dip the sponge fingers one by one in the coffee, but do not soak it, and place in a ceramic dish. Over this, spread the mascarpone mix evenly. Set another layer of the sponge fingers,and then cream. Repeat until you run out of both, but with the cream mix on top.
Dust some cocoa pwd and chill uncovered for a minimum of 5 hrs. The more it chills, the better cos the flavours get more infused into the sponge.

You can actually be a bit creative and do the sponge, cream mix in ramekins or in martini glasses, and decorate with cocoa pwd or maybe even powdered sugar.

Notes: Sponge fingers can be replaced with sponge cake. Recipe here
Espresso coffee can be replaced with instant coffee
Brandy is also optional, if you need an alcohol-free Tiramisu
Whipped cream can add that extra zing to it, but i didn't have any, so omitted that step

Friday, 28 August 2009

Easy Peacy Dal Fry

When Ro works from home, my whole routine goes for a toss. He's quite a pain in the ass. Since we have an open kitchen, the noises are not that suttle either. I am not allowed to use the pressure cooker, blender or even open the tap if he's on a conference call, leave alone watch tv which i fight against, and so am allowed to watch on the lowest possible volume. Also, I would need to make lunch if he is around and not laze around all day on my comfy couch facebooking, orkutting and chatting.
Last Tuesday was one of those days and the usual rice, curd, some veggie and cutlets were on the list (all left over and cutlets are always a saving grace. Have a set frozen and saved for a rainy day). But i ran out of curd and so was stuck as to what to make, that too something quick, so Ro wouldn't start his tantrums...yes he gets nasty when he's hungry. I had the instant MTR Rasam mix which was the easiest, but we had just finished it a few days back and i didn't want to repeat it. With no other option, i wearily decided on Dal Fry, thinking it was such a tedious task. Well...this easy recipe my mom passed on, proved me wrong. It was ready in no time.

Dal- 1 cup (toor dal or moong dal or maybe even a mix)
Water- 2 cups
Tomato- 1, chopped up
Onion- 1 small, thinly sliced
Ginger garlic paste- 1/2 tbs
Chilli pwd- 1 tsp (or less,according to your taste)
Turmeric pwd- 1/4 tsp
Garam masala- 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Coriander pwd- 1/4 tsp or even less
Asafoetida- a pinch
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
Oil- 2 tbs
Salt- to taste
Coriander leaves- to garnish (optional)

Wash dal and cook with water in a pressure cooker for about 2 whistles. Wait till the steam subsides and open lid. Keep aside.
In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil and fry the cumin seeds, make sure you don't burn it. Add the chopped onions, salt, Ggp and fry till the onion becomes a light brown colour. To this add the chilli pwd, turmeric pwd, garam masala and the tomatoes and cook till the oil separates. Add the cooked dal to this, stir well, check for salt and spice and add as required. Bring to a simmer. Remove from fire and keep aside.
In a small pan, heat oil, splutter mustard seeds, coriander pwd and asafoetida and pour over the dal. Mix well and just before serving, garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Notes: If the dal is a bit too thick, you can add some more water and loosen it. You can also have this with roti.
The tadka part is completely optional.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Chicken Quesadillas- la magia de México

If you ask me what my favourite cuisine have to admit its Mexican. The ribs, enchiladas, fajitas, buffalo wings and of course Quesadillas which i can have at any given time. London has a lot of fancy restaurants, i admit, but i just haven't found one single decent Mexican joint other than Chiquito which is nowhere nearby. The American chain Chili's shut down their UK restaurants when recession hit and so now I have to make these at home to quench my craving. I still remember the Southwestern Egg Rolls from Chili's, which for some strange reason wasn't on the menu in any of the UK Chili's, but were a favourite among a lot of my cousins and friends back in US.
I was doing an impromptu grocery stop at Tesco and saw a Mexican dip platter with Sour Cream, Salsa and Guacamole. That aggravated my craving and so decided to make Quesadillas that night for dinner. The original Quesadilla recipe doesn't involve any of the dips, but i just couldn't resist it. Pair it with a chilled glass of margarita and you have the perfect BBQ dish.

Flour tortillas- 4, or if you are using chapathi's, about 6
Boneless chicken breasts- 250 to 300 gms, cut into bite size pieces
Onions- 1, sliced lengthwise
Any brand Fajita/Enchilada spice mix- 3 tsp (can be substituted with a mix of chilli pwd, pepper pwd, paprika, cumin pwd and salt)
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp (optional)
Cheddar or any grated cheese- 1 cup or more if you are not so concerned about your waist line
Pickled Jalapenos- 2 or 3 per Quesadilla as they are quite spicy (optional)
Oil- 1 tbs
Salt- to taste (if required)

Marinate the chicken pieces with the fajita spice mix and Ggp. Keep aside.
In a frying pan, heat the oil and sautee onions till they become glazed. To this add the chicken pieces and fry it well. Chicken should be lightly brown. You can add more salt and spice if its not enough, at this stage. Transfer to a dish and keep ready.

Set the oven to the grill mode and preheat to about 170C. Line an oven proof pan with baking paper and keep it ready. Place the tortillas/chapathis on a plate and generously spread the sour cream, salsa and guacamole. Layer the chicken pieces on top, sprinkle some cheese and jalapenos, cover with another tortilla/chapathi and press a bit to make it like a sandwich. Repeat with the second set, place them on the pan and into the oven for about 5 minutes or maybe even less depending on the oven. Its just to melt the cheese and heat the tortillas/chapathis. Serve with rest of the dips.

Notes: This is a perfect dish if you have left over chicken breasts and even chapathis. You can replace the chicken with sausages, bacon etc.
If you do not get the ready-made dips, then mayo or thick yogurt is good enough, or you can chuck that altogether and go on a healthy regime.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Eggs in a spicy coconut gravy

Like i mentioned before, i am addicted to coconut easy it cooks and the taste is out of this world. I am on this coconut milk spree and wanted to try out varieties of dishes using the same. Ultimately, decided on egg for the time being. Stumbled upon this blog and followed the recipe to the dot except the following:
  • Instead of the Eastern Egg Masala, i used meat masala
  • Replaced garlic pods with 1tsp garlic paste
  • I added one tomato cut into chunks along with the water and vinegar
  • I let the eggs simmer in the coconut milk for quite some time, so that the flavours get infused and it gets coated with the gravy.
Outcome was heavenly and was a great accompaniment to puttu and chapathi the next day.

Roasted Peaches

I made Roasted Peaches for dessert- a very easy, healthy and absolutely tasty dish and can also be served for breakfast.

Peaches- 2, halved and de-stoned (You can see how to pit a peach here)
Brown sugar- 2 tsp
Butter- 1 tsp
Honey- 1 tsp
Vanilla essence- a drop (optional)

Mix all these together and brush generously on the peach halves. Place them on a baking tray and grill on high for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove, place on serving dish and pour the rest of the mix or just honey over the grilled peaches. If you want you can serve this with fresh cream or vanilla ice cream. It tasted just as good without either of those.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Line-caught Tuna Steaks, our style

We got some fresh line-caught tuna steaks from the market and they just looked gorgeous. Was in two minds about doing a Conti preperation or a South Indian one, and finally decided on a more mallu version. I am no good at preparing fish dishes and even worse at eating them, so Ro helped me out with this one.

Tuna Steaks or any fish fillet, for that matter- 2 large (approx. 100 gms each)

To marinate
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tsp
Kashmiri chilli pwd- 3 tsp
Turmeric pwd- 1/4 tsp
Pepper pwd- 1 tsp
Garam masala- 1 tsp
Lime juice- 2 tsp
Curry leaves- a sprig (optional)
Salt- to taste

Oil- 2 tbs
Onion - 1/2 an onion cut into rings.

Mix all the ingredients in the 'to marinate' section and make a paste. Spread this mix generously onto the tuna steaks and keep refrigerated for atleast an hour.
In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the onions and curry leaves till they become brown and fragrant. Remove and keep aside. In the same pan fry the fish till it becomes brown on either sides. Put the onion rings back into the pan and give a final mix. Serve hot with rice.

Note: Ro's spice tolerance level is really low and so this one lacks a bit in spice. You can jazz it up with some chilli pwd.
If you fry it in coconut oil, it would be an authentic mallu (Kerala) fish fry.

I would also like to submit this recipe for the SPOTLIGH: FISH event hosted by Indrani of Appyayan whose blog i stumbled upon and was impressed by it. This is the first time i am taking part in a blog event, and so im pretty excited about it.

Garlic Infused Rice Gruel a.k.a. Kanji

As mentioned before, i googled how to make Kanji and came across a different recipe from one blog. I am now not able to navigate to that page because i conveniently forgot to bookmark it. Anyways, thanks to that blog, i made the most delectable kanji least according to me and Ro of course. This was the usual one, with a slight twist which made it taste even better.

Rice- 1 cup, washed and cleaned (you can use the red rice which is best, but i prefer the white/basmati rice)
Water- 5 cups or more
Garlic- 2 pods, crushed
Salt- to taste

Heat water in a pressure cooker and once it starts boiling, add the rice, salt and the crushed garlic pods. Close the cooker and place the weight on. After about 5 whistles, remove from fire and wait for the steam to release on its own and then open the cooker. If its too thick, pour some more water and return back to the fire for a few more minutes.

Note: Garlic pods are optional, but they give that extra flavour...not strong, but obvious in its own way.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Mooru curry (Yoghurt curry with spices) and Bhindi fry (Okra fry)

I had this craving for some kanji (rice gruel), mooru curry (curd based) and spicy pickle yesterday and so decided to give it a go. I googled how to make kanji and since Ro wanted a veggie, i decided to make some spicy bhindi fry instead of the pickle. It was heavenly and i wished it was a bit cold outside or rain or something so it would create the perfect mood for some hot kanji. Unfortunately yesterday was the hottest with a high of 30C and is supposed to be that way till end of this week. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the meal to the fullest along with a glass of Peach Cider which was out of this world.

Mooru Curry

Curd- 1 cup
Small onions/ Shallots- 2, thinly sliced
Green chillies- 2, thinly sliced
Red chillies- 2
Turmeric pwd- a pinch to 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida- a pinch
Curry leaves- a sprig
Oil- 1 tbs
Salt- to taste

Beat the curd with a fork or egg beater and make it somewhat loose consistency. If the curd is still too thick, add a bit of water. Keep aside.
In a sauce pan, heat the oil and once hot splutter mustard seeds. Add the shallots, green chillies, red chillies and curry leaves and sautee for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the turmeric pwd, asafoetida and salt and mix well. To this, add the curd and keep stirring continuously. The curd becomes slightly thick and you can see the steam rising from the spoon. Don't wait for it to boil. Remove from fire and stir for a few more minutes. Serve hot.

Notes: Another technique is to not add the curd to the mix and keep stirring, but wait till the tadka has cooled and then pour it on top of the curd and mix well. If its for immediate use, then warm it on fire top for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Otherwise, store in refrigerate for up to 3 days. This is my moms easy peacy version which i mostly follow, but this time i went a bit overboard and followed a more elaborate version by maria.
I sometimes don't use onions if I'm too lazy :)

Bhindi/ Okra fry

Okra- a cup, cut into coin size pieces
Shallots- 2 big, thinly sliced
Pepper pwd- 1 tsp
Chilli pwd- 1/2 tsp
Oil- 1 1/2 tbs
Salt- to taste

Heat oil in a frying pan and sautee the shallots till they become brown. Add the okra slices and sautee them till the sliminess disappears. Make sure it is covered with oil. Add the powders and salt and mix well. If you want it crisp, add a little more oil.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Chilli Prawns/ Prawn Tempura with a pungent dipping sauce

I had some left over prawn and was sick of the usual dry preps and the curry...never comes out right for me. I was searching online for some easy prawn recipes and came across this from mariasmenu. I wouldn't say this was a damn easy dish to prepare, but a damn tasty and addictive one at that. It can be served as an appetiser with a dip or as a side to Chinese mains. I didn't have green peppers and so omitted them. Made a few changes here and there too.

Prawns- 250gms (cleaned and deveined)

To marinate:
Plain flour- 3 tbs
Cornflour- 2 tbs
Fresh ground pepper- 2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Egg- 1

Spring Onions- 2 big ones, thinly chopped
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tbs
Chilli pwd- 1/2 tsp
Ground pepper- 1/2 tsp
Soy sauce- 2 tbs
Oil- to fry
Salt- to taste
Lime juice- to sprinkle

Make a paste with plain flour, corn flour, pepper powder, egg, salt and water and marinate the prawns for about half an hour in this paste. the prawns should be well coated. Deep fry the prawns in hot oil, drain on paper towels and keep aside.
In a frying pan, heat about 1 tbs oil (use the left over oil from frying) and sautee the spring onions and Ggp till they become soft and fragrant. To this, add chilli pwd and pepper pwd and mix well. Add the soy sauce and salt required and sautee well. Finally add the fried prawns, sautee for a few more minutes till it becomes dry. Sprinkle some lime juice, garnish with spring onions and dig in. If you need a dipping sauce to accompany the appetiser, here goes:

Soy sauce- 2tbs
Grated ginger- 1 tsp
Balsamic vinegar- 1 tsp
Sugar- a pinch

Mix all this together, season with a little ground pepper and you are ready to go.

Notes: If you add tomato sauce along with the soy, i guess it tastes even better. I somehow dislike the tomato sauce. So i avoided it.
If you have king prawns/tiger prawns and beer, add the beer to the batter and deep fry till crisp and golden and you have prawn tempura.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Parippu Curry (Dal) and Jeera Rice

Give me dal and rice any day and i wouldn't complain one bit. I love dal in all forms...tadka, or fry or whatever. But the naadan parippu curry with rice a poppadom is my all time favourite. It just doesn't come out the way my grand mom makes, but i still make it when i yearn for it and finish it up more or less at one go. I'm however surprised that Ro has never tasted the naadan parippu curry in spite of being born and brought up in Kottayam. He was surprised when i mentioned this and said i was just being a bit adventurous and trying out new variations of dal. Adventurous i was, but definitely not the first time I've had naadan parippu curry. After all that hype, he thought it had a 'different zing' than the usual dal preps, but not 'zinged' enough to fall head over heels in love with it. I promised it actually tasted much better back home.

Toor/Moong dal- 1/2 cup ( I use them depending on my mood. I honestly don't know the difference, taste-wise)
Water- as required

To grind:
Grated coconut- 1/2 cup
Jeera- 1/2 tsp
Green chilli- 3
Turmeric pwd- a pinch

Oil- 1 tsp
Shallots/ small onions- 1 big or 3 to 4 small
Garlic- 2 pods, thinly sliced
Salt- to taste

To temper:
Dry red chilli- 2
Curry leaves- a sprig
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Coconut oil- 1 tsp

Grind all the items in the 'to grind' section and keep aside.
Dry roast the dal in a frying pan till it becomes fragrant. In a sauce pan, boil water and cook the dal. Mash and keep aside. I like it a bit watery, so i take a little extra water.
In a deep pan, heat about a tsp oil and sautee the onions and garlic till they become soft. To this add the ground paste and sautee for about 2 minutes. Add the mashed dal and salt and cook on low fire, just enough to infuse the flavours. At this stage, you can add more water if required. Once done, remove and keep aside.
Just before you serve, temper it. Heat the rest of the oil and when hot splutter mustard seeds, red chillies and curry leaves and pour over the dal. As mentioned before, i think this adds to the flavour of the dish and is my favourite bit.

For the jeera rice, while boiling rice, add about 1 tsp of jeera seeds and you will get nice fragrant, a slightly yellow jeera rice.
Notes: The ground coconut mix has to be more or less like a paste which i guess makes the curry thick.
Substitute coconut oil with ghee and it will add to the mallu-ness

Monday, 17 August 2009

It just cant get easier than this!

We just got back from Amsterdam last night and am dead tired. It takes me at least three days to get back to the groove and now I'm wondering what il make for dinner. My fridge is empty and I'm so lethargic to go out grocery shopping. I have gained a kg after all the eating and drinking the past three days. Its detox week and I'm thinking of eating light. Convincing Ro to do the same, however, is a task on its own. Anyways, i had to get rid of some potatoes the day before we left and so I made this potato fry which, if you have a microwave, is the easiest thing ever. Perfect for lazy bums like me.

Potato- 1 big
Sambar pwd- 2 tsp (I used MTR sambar masala)
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Oil- 1 tbs
Salt- to taste

Boil the potato in a microwave as per instructions, but don't wait for it to cook completely (not mash consistency). This is just to reduce the cooking time on the hob. Once cool, peel and slice the potato lengthwise.
Heat oil in a frying pan and splutter mustard seeds. To this add the potato slices, the sambar powder and salt, mix well. Let it cook thoroughly till the masala has caught on to the pieces, and they become soft. Serve hot with roti or rice.

Note: If you do not have a microwave, then follow the same instructions, just that it will take a tad longer to cook. Result will be just the same. If you are even more lazier, then frozen fries (store bought) will do the trick. Have tried it out quite a number of times.
The sambar pwd gives a completely new flavour to the potato slices and i love it.

PS: Update on Amsterdam trip shall soon follow

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Jusst buzzed to let you all know....

.....that i am off to Amsterdam for 4 days. Will be back with loads of yummy food details and experiences.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Chicken Ularthu/fry - mommy style

My mom's a good cook. She can easily cook her way to success when she has guests around and is quite innovative with new recipes and the like. But just like me, cooking is not her favourite past time. Both of us do it, cos we have to do it and not because we love it. She, being in India has a good amount of help in the kitchen and supervision is all that is required. I, in another continent altogether, has no help (other than Ro of course..who is more like a pain in the ass if we are both cooking together) and has no choice but to whip up dishes on my own to survive.
One preparation that i am particularly fond of hers is the Chicken ularthu which is in fact the first ever dish i made back in Chennai, once when Asha beevi was on a sabbatical for a week and we had used up all the cooked/frozen food in the fridge. After we made this for the first time i was secretly relieved that i would never have to touch raw chicken again. Little did i know that a few months after i would be slaving (ok, im exaggerating a bit here..but I'm a drama queen, so a little of that wouldn't hurt) away in the kitchen in cold, windy, raining UK!
This chicken recipe has come in handy quite a number of times and is incredibly tasty, of course much tastier when you don't have to make it and then wash and clean up afterwards.

Chicken- 1/2 kg, cut relatively small
Small onions/shallots- 1/2 cup
Tomato- 1 (optional)
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tsp
Chilli pwd- 1 tsp (or according to your taste)
Turmeric pwd- 1/4 tsp
Coriander pwd- 1 tbs
Pepper pwd- 1/2 tsp
Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
Green chilli- 1, slit lengthwise
Curry leaves- a sprig
Oil- 3 tbs
Salt- To taste

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 2 tbs oil and sautee small onions, green chilli and Ggp till nice and soft. To this add the tomatoes and all the powders including salt and cook well on low heat till oil starts separating. Add the cleaned chicken pieces and mix well. Make sure the pieces are well coated with the masala and do not add any water. Keep cooking on low heat and when the gravy reduces in volume to about 1/4th, take off the flame. At this stage you can also cool and freeze this in a zip lock bag and as and when required, you can do the next stage.
Pour the remaining oil in the frying pan, throw in some curry leaves and on low fire, fry till the chicken pieces become dark. You can also add some chopped big onions to enhance the taste.

Notes: You can actually omit the small onions bit in the beginning and straight away cook the chicken with all the powders on low heat and then at the frying stage add the onions.
The whole cooking should be done on low heat.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Tomato Chutney

Goes well with dosa, idly and even rice. You can infact spread it on the dosa while its being cooked and tastes quite nice.Very simple but it took quite some time to cook.

Tomato- 2
Green chillies- 2
Garlic paste- 1 tsp
Shallots- 1 big
Salt- to taste

Grind all these together in a blender. Keep aside

Coconut Oil- 1 tbs
Urud dal- 1 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Curry leaves- 4 to 5

In a sauce pan, put oil and when hot put in the mustard seeds, urud dal and curry leaves. Once they start to splutter put in the tomato mix. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and keep it on till the water evaporates and the mix becomes somewhat thick (this might take a while). If salt and spice is not enough, add them at this stage. Keep stirring on and off and make sure its doesn't stick to the pan.

Notes: The spice level was a bit too high even according to my standards, so reduce it accordingly.
Not necessary to use coconut oil.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Fish Molee or Molly (i still cant figure out the right spelling)

I have taken this liking towards dishes made in coconut milk. Its easy to cook and comes out brilliant. Its impossible to go wrong, or so i think. Have been wanting to try out a fish molee recipe for quite sometime, but never got down to it till yesterday. It came out really nice, except for the colour and consistency which was more like a mooru curry. Well, who the hell cares, it tasted so good, we finished up the entire thing at one go. Its perfect with bread or appams, but i don't know how to make the latter and bread, we were kinda sick of having em. So we decided to be a bit adventurous and tried it out with puttu. We were not big fans of puttu or uppuma till we got to UK. Suddenly Ro had these cravings for puttu and once when an aunt came to visit us she brought along home-made puttu podi (fried rice flour) and the utensils. Now, its part of our staple diet...or so it will be till we run out of the podi. As for uppuma, our very own MTR instant uppuma comes to the rescue. Its easy to make and tastes awesome. Do i have to keep reminding you, I'm lazy?

Fish Molee
Fish- 250gms of any fish i suppose. I used cod loins

To marinate
Pepper pwd- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pwd- a little less than 1/4 tsp
Lime juice- 1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste

Onion- 1, thinly sliced
Green chillies- 2, thinly sliced
Tomato- 1, cut into bite size cubes
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tbs
Cardamom- 2 pods
Cloves- 2 pods
Cinnamon- 1/4inch stick
Thick coconut milk- 1/2 cup
Thin coconut milk- 1
Cornflour- 1 tbs
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Oil- 3 tbs
Salt- to taste

To temper
Coconut oil- 1 tbs
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Dry red chilli- 2 (optional)

Marinate the fish pieces with all the ingredients in the 'to marinate' section and keep for half an hour.
Crush the ginger garlic paste with the chillis in a small bowl and keep ready.
In another bowl, mix half cup coconut milk with 1 tbs cornflour without any lumps to make thick coconut milk. Keep aside.
Heat about 2 tbs of oil in a wok and fry the fish for two to three minutes. This is just to keep the fish intact. Don't over do it. Remove and drain on paper towels.
In the same wok, add the remaining oil and once hot throw in the spices. When they start to splutter, add the onions and the ginger garlic chilli paste. Cook till the onions become translucent and oil starts separating. To this add the thin coconut milk and let it boil. Add the tomatoes and curry leaves and mix well and then the fish slices, making sure they don't flake. Add enough salt required and let this boil on medium fire. Once the tomatoes are cooked add the thick coconut milk and leave it on low fire till it starts to boil, stirring at intervals. This way the fish gets nicely coated with all the masalas and coconut milk. Take it off the heat and just before serving do a tadka with the oil, mustard seeds and dry chilli and pour over the curry. Ta daa....your fish molee is ready.
I am not elaborating on how puttu is made, since I'm sure every Tom, Dick and Harry would know except yours truly, who had to google it the first few times.

Notes: I used freshly ground pepper to marinate and it was nice and strong and spicy.
Since i used canned coconut milk, i had to use cornflour to make thick milk. This is however optional. If you don't want thick curry, you can omit this and just use the top creamy layer instead.
The tadka part is completely optional. Like i have mentioned before, i love what the tadka does to the flavour of the curry. Its just my addition.
If you use coconut oil for all of the above, it does make a difference i guess, health wise and taste wise :)

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Tindora/Ivy gourd (kovakka) fry

The varieties of Indian veggies (as they call it) is very less, unless otherwise you are so proactive and go all the way to east Ham to get em. We are not that proactive, so have to make do with all that's available in the supermarket. Tindora's are not available all the time and when they are, i am usually in two minds about buying them because i do not know what to do with it or how to prepare it. My Asha beevi back in Chennai used to make some amazing poriyal like thingy and i being the smart ass i am, decided not to even peep into the kitchen to see how she did it. Spoilt to the core..yes i know that's what all of you are thinking. I guess the whole living abroad scene was gods punishment for being so spoilt..or so ro keeps mentioning on and off :)

So coming back to the tindoras, i just added some this and that and it came out so well, its my new favourite veggie.

Tindora- 250gms, sliced length-wise into four
Chilli pwd- 1/2 tsp
Pepper pwd- 1/2 tsp
Coriander pwd- 1 tsp
Turmeric pwd- 1/4 tsp
Oil- 1 tbs
Salt- to taste

Ina frying pan on low fire, heat the oil and put in all the powders once hot. Sautee well till the raw smell goes. Throw in the sliced tindoras and mix well with the powder. Cover and cook till they are soft, stirring occasionally.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Beef and Mustard Seed Curry

I'm not that good at making any beef dishes. But the other day i was going through my Low GI Recipe book and saw this recipe for Beef Fajitas. I am a total sucker for Mexican grub and so decided to give this a shot. As usual i changed my mind and instead decided to make this from the '30 Minute Curries' book. It came out quite nice, except it was super spicy, which i enjoyed, but Ro started sweating and coughing. I have however adjusted the spice intake in the recipe. But if you think this is still too spicy for you, reduce it even further.

Beef- 300gms, diced
Coriander pwd- 1 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Pepper pwd- 1/4 tsp

Mustard seeds- 1 tbs
Dried red chillies- 3
Yellow split peas- 1 tsp
Garlic paste- 1 tbs
Ginger- 1/4 inch, sliced into very small pieces
Turmeric pwd- 1/4 tsp or even less
Kashmiri chill pwd- 1 tbs (optional)
Curry leaves- a sprig
Beef stock- 1/2 cup
Shallots- 3 medium sized, thinly sliced
Tomatoes- 3, diced into small pieces
Oil- 2 tbs

Pressure cook the beef with coriander pwd, pepper pwd, cumin seeds and half a 1/4 cup water for just one whistle. Open the lid and reserve the beef stock for later use.
In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil over medium heat, add mustard seeds, chillies and split peas. As soon as the mustard seeds start to splutter, add the shallots, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, Kashmiri chilli pwd and turmeric. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the tomato, mix well and cook till the oil separates. To this add the diced beef and stock. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cook till the sauce is reduced and the masala is well caught on to the beef cubes. Serve hot with rice or roti.

The curry tasted even better the next day as the flavours had caught on nicely. Initially it tasted like a pickle, which i think the mustard seeds brought out. But it tasted different and i am definitely trying it again, this time a little less spicier:)

Notes: The pressure cooking method was my idea because it pre cooks the beef to an extent. The recipe called for complete cooking in the stock which would amount to about 30 minutes. This was the easier way out. Also the masala added to the beef while pressure cooking was just to give it a flavour and can be omitted.
I added Kashmiri chill pwd for that red colour
The original recipe was of semi-gravy state but i needed gravy and so didn't keep it on fire for it to completely dry up.