Saturday, March 30, 2013

Thai Green Curry with Ching's curry paste

I so like Thai green curry and my husband just cannot stand it. He somehow cannot take the aroma of the thai curry, I guess its to do with the galangal, lemon grass and basil in the curry. So this means, no  Thai restaurants or takeaways when eating out and cooking different things for him and me is out also. So when I saw the Ching's Thai green curry paste on the shelves in Big Bazar I just picked it. Of course there were 2 other brands but the price was the clinching factor for me! Next I needed some canned coconut milk and got Real Thai coconut milk and that because I have used it before and liked it. Though I would suggest using the Lite coconut milk for this curry.
I have always liked the vegetable Thai curry rather than the one with chicken. So I grabbed a zucchini and a small tray of baby corns from the store before exiting. I had some eggplant, carrots and bell peppers in the frig and I put all together and chopped them up. Then all I did was follow the instructions given on the bottle and it was done in no time!
It was definitely not the best curry like some I have had at restaurants but will make do to satisfy my cravings sometimes. Next, will try the red curry paste!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Chai tea latte, Chai, Cha, Chaaya, Tea.... my high

Tea is made in so many ways in India and this post is to reminisce on the way chaaya is made in Kerala. I will try some other methods and post them later.
In Kerala Chaaya - that's tea in malayalam, is made a little differently. It is prepared by  adding some strong tea leaves to boiling water and the vessel is covered with a lid. The gas/ heat is shut off at this point without boiling it any further. Heat the milk separately, add sugar and pour in the black tea. Now comes the difference in method. Kerala chaaya making process is complete only after beating the tea! This is done to mix the sugar, tea concoction and milk really well. Also, my mom believes that the taste of milk changes when it is beaten like this. 
For this, take two mugs or glasses and pour from one cup to the other from a height repeatedly to create a frothy top. This could sound crazy when written so check the pictures and you will get an idea. Your tea is ready when the froth is formed at the top of the glass/ cup and the sugar is well mixed in.

Now for the measurements, for a glass of tea of the size shown below, take water - 3/4th glass, milk - 1/4th glass, tea leaves - 1tsp heaped, sugar as per taste. Chaaya is normally strong and hence the color is more brown than milky! 
The method of making chaaya and pulled tea of Malaysia is the same. Pulled tea is also poured from one container to the other to create a layer of froth at the top. It is likely that this method of preparing tea was taken to Malaysia from India by the immigrants when both countries were British colonies. Not sure of the taste though, maybe I will taste it sometime in the future. Cheers :)
P.S. I use either Wagh Bakri or Girnar tea, both are strong teas.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mutton Rara .... my way....

At home, we usually cook mutton the Kerala style - with coriander, peppercorns and coconut. For a change we decided to try something different and I started checking recipes on the internet. From what I read, I liked the recipes of Hyderabad Mutton Korma and Mutton Rara. I then started checking if I had all the ingredients for these recipes. The Hyderabadi Mutton Korma needed grated coconut which I was too lazy to do and thought I could use coconut milk instead. But then realized I did not have cashew nuts and poppy seeds as well. So I narrowed down to Mutton Rara and for that also I did not have black elaichi, javithri and mutton mince. I am not particularly a fan of mince so I did not mind that missing element. As for the black elaichi and javithri, I replaced with green elaichi, star anise and an additional bay leaf. And after all these changes this is how my Mutton Rara looked :

Mutton cut in curry pieces - 750gms
Onion medium sized sliced - 3
Tomato medium sized chopped - 2
Ginger julienned - 1.5 inches
Garlic julienned - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1tsp
Turmeric powder
Red Chilli powder
Oil - 3tbsp
Ghee - 1tbsp
Salt as per taste
Sugar - a couple of pinches
Coriander leaves for garnishing
Masala powder:
Cloves (lavang) - 6
Cinnamon (dalchinni) - 1 inch piece
Bay leaf (tej patha) - 2
Coriander seeds (dhaniya) - 1tsp
Black cumin (shahi jeera) - 1tsp
Green cardamom (elaichi) - 1
Star anise (chakri phool) - 1
Nutmeg (jaiphal) pieces - 1/4 tsp
Dry roast all the ingredients listed under masala powder. When it cools, powder it and keep aside.

Heat the pressure cooker, add oil and when the oil heats up add the cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds splutter add the sliced onions and saute for a few minutes till the onions turn pink. Add the ginger and garlic juliennes to the sauteed onions and fry till done. Add the turmeric and red chilli powders and stir well then add chopped tomatoes and saute. When the tomato has softened add salt and sugar and stir well. Add the mutton pieces and stir to coat the meat well. Add the spoon of ghee and cover and cook. Open the cooker and add half the masala powder, mix well. And I then proceeded to add 2 potatoes halved (this is my love for potatoes that made me do this), although no recipe asks for this. Cover the cooker and cook under pressure for 2 whistles but this depends on the toughness of the meat. Open the lide and garnish with coriander leaves.
Tadaaaa! my mutton was done.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Uthapam step-by-step pictures

Last week I had some left over dosa batter which was also going sour and thought of making uthapam. I know scores of people make uthapam and I would be stupid to post a recipe for it. But when making it, the riot of colors made me photograph it and hence posting it....
And my most liked pic....
Thats the chopped red onions, green peppers (capsicum) and lovely red carrots added to the dosa batter. In addition to these, I added green chilli, curry leaves, salt and a pinch of turmeric.
The batter spread on a pan with a few drops of oil.
The uthapam turned over.
I added a little cheese on one side of the uthapam, just because I like cheese on just about everything!
Enjoy it with some coriander green chutney or with garlic pickle like I did.
My uthapam was slightly yellow from the turmeric with flecks of carrot, onion, pepper, curry leaf and chilli showing through.

Friday, March 1, 2013

State Bhavan Canteen Review - Malayali food experience at Kerala House

We were craving to eat Malayali food for sometime and hence decided to check out the canteen at Kerala House at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. The place primarily caters to the staff and guests staying there and attracts a few office goers from the area around. So go at a decent hour else food may run out because they cook limited quantities and do not expect too many people to come. We reached there at about 2.30pm and the man at the counter asked us to wait for a few minutes. On peeping inside we saw there were tables free and checked again with the man at the counter. He informed us that they had run out of rice and fresh coupons would be issued only once they were sure there was enough food!

The vegetarian thali is the standard available at the Kerala House canteen and then one can buy fish curry or fry or chicken curry or fry separately.

Once seated, a waiter brought a bowl of sambhar, a jug of rasam, a jug of sambhaaram (spiced buttermilk), a jug of water and glasses to the table. Slowly the waiter came with plates served with a cabbage thoren (sabzi), achaar (pickle), onion slices and payar mezhukaperati (long beans sabzi). The rice was then served. We had to ask for the papadam and they gave us broken bits and said they ran out of papadams. They also had fish curry and fry and chicken curry and fry, which one can order with the thali for additional money. We ordered the ailaa / bangda (mackerel) fish fry to go with the thali. They served the Kerala red rice and I bit into 2 stones when eating, guess they did not clean the rice in a hurry to cook it! The waiters don't come around so often with second servings so we had to call them over twice.

The verdict - the food was average - keeping aside the fact that I bit into stones and the fish was not salted and spiced enough. The rasam with garlic and the sambharam spiced with ginger was really good. They seemed to have made the payar mezhukuperati fresh after running out of cabbage thoren.
Don't expect the Andhra Bhavan's efficient standards here. It is a small room in the parking space partitioned off with wood. The waiters don't wear a uniform and there are about 7 to 8 tables in all here. There is a lot of old furniture from the guest rooms and a couple of old discarded cars (an Ambassador and a Standard NE) lying about in the parking space and this is right at the entrance!
Overall the Kerala House food was just ok, to be visited only if in the area.
P.S. Thoren in Malayalam is any vegetable cooked with a tadka of mustard seeds, green chilly and curry leaves with grated coconut added in the end. Mezhukuperati is when there is no grated coconut instead coconut oil is sprinkled in the end to the vegetable.