Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chicken Sandwich

My husband and I loved the sandwiches we got at Quiznos when we were in the United States. Since the time we returned to India we tried to find a replacement sandwich place but we were not completely and fully taken by any completely. For me, I love sandwiches, period, but that's not the case with my husband. He loves his chicken sandwich and tried a lot of places but was not satisfied with any he tried till date. The chicken sandwich he likes is simple to the sound - put together grilled chicken, mayo, onion, tomato, jalapeno and lettuce with a dash of salt and oregano.
Then we once had a Chicken Jungli Sandwich made by his cousin who is a chef; the sandwich was superlative and we couldn't resist but ask for the recipe. But I lost the recipe and could only remember a few ingredients, but I put those together and added some I thought would go well and I came up with this sandwich. And we enjoyed it as much. It is a great sandwich to team up with a soup for a hearty dinner.
Ingredients (makes 2 sandwiches)
Bread slices - 4
Chicken, boneless - 100 gms
Mayonnaise - 2.5 to 3 tbsp
Mustard - 1 tsp
Lettuce leaves - 2
Celery, finely chopped - 2 tbsp
Capsicum, finely chopped - 2 tbsp
Green chilli, very finely chopped - 1
Cheese slice - 2
Black pepper pwd - a pinch
Salt as per taste
Butter - a little (optional)
Wash the pieces and cut off all the fat off. In a sauce pan add the chicken, a little salt, a pinch of pepper and a couple of tablespoons of water and cover and cook. Take it off the heat when done. Let it cool and shred to pieces.
In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, celery, capsicum and green chilli. Apply this on one side of a bread slice and top it with chicken pieces and then cheese slice. Place another slice of bread on this and apply a spot of butter (optional) on the outer side of the bread slices and keep aside. Heat a ridged pan on and when hot place the sandwich on it and toast till light brown ridges are formed on both sides. Take it off the pan and add the lettuce leaves in between and cut each sandwich into two.
Serve with tomato ketchup.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Shrimp Stuffed Green Chillies

The fat green chillies are in the market now and it is a good size to make Bharwan Mirchi or Chilli Bhaji. This chilli though not as hot as the small green ones, retains quite a kick to it. It needs to be deseeded before stuffing, to reduce the heat a little. I had some shrimps remaining from my last visit to the fish market and decided on using this for the stuffing. And my favorite cheese could not be far behind so I stuffed one with cheese just to indulge my taste.
Green chilli - 6
Shrimps - 12 to 15, fine chopped
Ginger - 1/2 tsp, fine chopped
Onion - 1/2, fine chopped
Turmeric pwd - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli pwd - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind paste - 1/2 tsp
Salt as per taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
When handling the chillies either wear gloves or apply some oil on your hands completely.

Cut the stem off each chilli carefully and deseed it. Carefully insert the knife inside and scrape off the seed and vein completely. Then slit the green chilli in a straight line and keep aside. Do the same with all the chillies. Rub some salt on the insides of each chilli and keep aside.
Heat a kadai / pan and add 1 tbsp oil. When the oil is hot add the onions ad sauté till translucent. Add the chopped ginger and continue sautéing till the ginger loses its rawness. Then add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and sauté. Add in the prawns and about a tablespoon of water and cover and cook on low heat. When done add the tamarind paste and mix for a minute. Take off the heat.
Heat a frying pan and add in the remaining oil. Keep the heat on low and carefully add the chillies taking care not to spill the stuffing. Cover and cook on low heat. When the chillies wilt, turn sides and cook on all sides. Cover the pan after changing each side. Take off the heat and serve as a side dish.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Beetroot Cake

I have been wanting to make a beetroot cake for some time, in the hope of having a natural pink / red hued cake. When mixing the ingredients, the batter was a deep pink color and it would have been awesome if the baked result had retained it. But no such luck, the cake when baked looked something like a banana cake. There may be some chemical reaction at such a high temperature that makes the beets lose their color. I regret not taking pictures of the batter, it would have been nice to post it here.  
This beetroot cake is really soft and retains its moistness and is good to go with a cup of tea.
All purpose flour - 250 gms
Baking pwd - 4.5 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 150 gms
Eggs - 2
Oil - 150 gms
Cashew nut - 50 gms
Raisin - 50 gms
Beetroot - 200 gms
Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and dust the cake pan.
Grate the beetroot and then measure it. Roast the cashew nuts and break them into quarters. Keep the eggs in room temperature.
Take a bowl and mix in the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Beat the eggs in another bowl then add the oil and beat again till they blend and keep aside. Add the beetroot and the oil and eggs mixture into the flour mix and beat with an electric mixer. Add the cashew nuts and raisins and mix in. Pour the batter into the cake pan and pop it into the oven and bake for about 50 to 60 minutes. Pierce with a knife to check if done and let it cool before slicing it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Vegetable Pulao

This Vegetable Pulao is an excellent rice dish to include on the menu for special occasions and parties. My husband loves this pulao and it takes him back to his childhood days when his neighbor would make this on special occasions. For them, it was a mandatory dish to include on the menu for all festive days. So, when he described it to me, I remembered that when we were kids, our neighbor had an aunt visiting it and she had made this for us kids. She had made it in the hope that all of us would eat this without much fuss and she was right we did lap it up.
Once we had made this vegetable pulao, my husband and I were so taken by it that we took this along for an overnight travel journey along with some rice papad and enjoyed it. Especially, since it was dry and not messy. I had forgotten to pack in spoons in spite of reminders, and we ate the pulao using our business cards as scoops. And remembered all the roadside bhel puri we had using either a puri or paper scoops!

Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Mixed chopped vegetables - 1/2 to 3/4th cup
(I use a mix or carrots, green beans, little cauliflower and green peas)
Bay leaf - 3
Cloves - 8
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Green Cardamom - 2
Black Cardamom - 2
Ghee - 3 tbsp
Salt as required
Wash the rice and if you have the time soak it for 30 minutes or till the time it is ready to be added to the pressure cooker.

Heat a pressure cooker and add in 2 tbsp ghee and when it is hot add the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom and black cardamom. Sauté for a minute and then add the mixed chopped vegetables and sauté for a couple of minutes. Then scoop in the drained rice and sauté it for a couple of minutes.
The rice we use daily - Sona Masoori or Kolam, requires double the quantity of water to cook but basmati rice needs lesser water than that.
Continuing with the recipe, Add 3 and 1/3rd cups of water and salt and let it come to a boil, then check for salt and add little more if necessary. Close the lid and cook under pressure for 2 whistles. When the pressure has released open and top it with the remaining ghee or additional ghee and lightly fluff the rice with a spatula. Cover the lid and open when ready to serve.

Pulao goes well with any vegetable or meat dish with a little gravy.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Aloo, Gobi, Mattar Hara Rassa / Flower, Potato and Peas in Green Gravy

Colors seem to be my flavor of the season. Today, I made this Cauliflower, Potato and Peas in Green Gravy and this was after a bright beetroot cake and a white pulao made earlier in the day. And that's when I realized I had also used all seasonal vegetables today and was happy with the range of colors and vegetables I had used!
This Cauliflower, Potato and Peas in Green Gravy sabzi has a nice gravy that will pair off well with a pulao ( like I did today) or with chapati. For the green gravy, I used the usual coriander leaves and then topped it with ground spinach. The ground spinach gives additional gravy to the sabzi along with the goodness of spinach as an added benefit.

Potato, diced- 1/2 cup
Cauliflower, florets - 1/2 cup
Green peas - 1/4 cup
Onion - 1
Tomato - 1
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida pwd - a pinch
Spinach - 20 to 25 leaves
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves - 1 tsp
Oil - 1.5 tbsp
grind to paste
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 5 to 6
Coriander leaves - a handful
Green chillies - 3 to 4
Chop the onion and tomato.
Wash the ginger, garlic, coriander leaves and green chillies and drain off. Add these ingredients into a blender jar.
Heat a frying pan and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and sauté till translucent. Take off the heat. Scoop the onion out draining off as much oil as possible. Add the sautéed onion to the other ingredients in the blender jar and grind to a fine paste.
Put the frying pan back on heat with the remaining oil and heat it. When the oil is hot, put in the cumin seeds and when it splutters add the asafoetida powder. Wait for a few seconds then add the ground paste and fry till the raw smell of ginger and garlic disappears. Add the potato and cauliflower and sauté for a couple of minutes and then add two cups of water and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling lower the heat and add the green peas and tomatoes along with salt and cover and cook.
While the vegetables are cooking, wash the spinach well and drain. Add the leaves into the blender and grind to a fine paste.
Check on the vegetables and when they are almost done add the ground spinach. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes just time enough for the spinach to cook. Check for salt and add some if necessary. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and mix and take off the heat. Keep covered till ready to serve.

My Flower, Potato and Peas in Green Gravy goes to -
- Eat seasonal food, fresh, originally hosted by Jagruthi

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pasta with Vegetables in Marinara Sauce

On a cold afternoon, curled up on the sofa, wrapped in a throw with something hot, tasty and comforting to eat, makes for a cozy day. And today's yummy and hot lunch in a bowl was a pasta with sautéed vegetables in marinara sauce topped with cheese. The marinara sauce makes a tangy base for this pasta. 
Pasta - 1 cup
Vegetables - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1/2
Green onion - 2 bulbs
Marinara sauce - 1/3 cup
Oregano - a couple of dashes
Pepper pwd - 1/4 tsp
Salt as per taste
Cheese - 1/4 cup
Oil - 2 tbsp
The vegetables I used was a mix of diced green beans, green pepper, zucchini, and a few sticks of celery, basically whatever was suitable for a pasta in the refrigerator. Vegetables like yellow and red peppers, baby corn, broccoli can also be included. The cheese I used was Cheezza, a Britannia brand - a mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheese.  
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
In a saucepan, add 3 cups water and the pasta with some salt (a little goes very far) and cook the pasta. Drain the pasta and keep aside. In a frying pan, add some oil and when it is hot add both the onions and sauté till translucent. Add the diced vegetables in and sauté on medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and sprinkle a little salt, pepper and oregano to season. To this add the drained pasta, a little marinara sauce and mix well.
Take a baking pan and spread a little marinara sauce all over the bottom. Spoon all of the pasta on this sauce and level it. Sprinkle the grated cheese on the pasta and pop it into the oven to bake till the cheese is completely melted and runny. Switch off the oven and wait for a few minutes before serving. If you are a cheese lover, go ahead and sprinkle some parmesan on the pasta when serving.
My Pasta with Vegetables in Marinara Sauce goes to - Bake Fest @ Cooks Joy

Ela Ada / Coconut & Jaggery Pancake

Ela Ada, literally translated means pancake (ada) made in a leaf (ela or ila), in this case wrapped in a banana leaf. Traditionally, the simplest version of this ada had to be made for Onam. This was a simple snack that was made during my mother's childhood days because all the ingredients that go in this was abundantly available. Both the rice and coconut came from the land and some rice was always kept powdered for making breakfast and snack dishes. Ela ada was one of those snacks that was quickly rustled up incase any of the children felt hungry.
Staying in a city like Delhi and in an area with hardly any South Indians, laying our hands on banana leaves was next to impossible. During Vishu or Onam truckloads of stuff from Kerala comes into Delhi and at that time getting the leaves is easy. Though it is possible to use parchment paper to make this ada, the ada does not have the flavor that the leaf imparts it. So this time, when my husband made a trip to Mumbai, I asked my mother to send some leaves from the garden. And true to the nature of mothers, mine went ahead and wilted it over fire, making it ready to be used. Tightly wrapped in newspaper, the leaves are in my refrigerator for a few more rounds of ada and snack making.
The colors seen when making this ela ada was so good that my husband volunteered to take pics for a step by step pictorial.
Ingredients (makes 5 long Ada)
Banana leaf - 1
Rice flour - 1 cup
Water as required
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 1/4 tsp
for filling
coconut - 1/2
jaggery - 1 cup

Clean the banana leaf by wiping it with a moist cloth completely. Switch on the gas stove and keep on low, then slowly hold the banana leaf over it and let it wilt lightly. Keep moving the leaf so that the flame wilts each and every part of the leaf. Do not keep any one portion over the flame for long, it will burn and that portion will have to be discarded. This is done to make the leaf pliable, to be able to fold without tearing the leaf. Once done, lay it out flat on the kitchen platform. Then cut the banana leaf lengthwise in the middle along the vein. Then cut each long piece into 3 pieces. Apply ghee or oil very lightly all over the greener side of the leaf. And keep aside.
Mix the rice flour and salt and sugar well. Add water little by little to make a very soft and almost loose dough.
Grate coconut and mix with the grated jaggery 

 Take a little dough in your hand and patting your fingers spread it on the leaf in a rectangle shape.
If the dough is too thick or difficult to spread, wet fingers with a little water and spread it thinly. 

Spread the coconut jaggery mixture on half of the rice dough leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch space around the edges of the dough

 Carefully lift the dough covered leaf and fold over the to cover the coconut jaggery mix with it
 Softly pat it down the folded over leaf to seal all around and the edges.
Steam it in a idli steamer or in a pressure cooker or rice cooker.

 Remove the ada from the steamer and lift off one side of the leaf. Cut into pieces and serve.

Soft and sweet Ela Ada is ready to be eaten.
The step-by-step Photo courtesy: my dear husband
My Ela Ada / Coconut & Jaggery Pancake goes to

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Motta Curry Thenga Paal / Egg Curry in Coconut Milk Gravy

This Motta curry is another version of an egg curry we make at home. Especially when we don't know what to make and are too lazy to check the contents of the refrigerator and decide. That's when my husband enters the kitchen to rustle up an Egg / Motta curry.
Eggs - 4
Onion - 1
Tomato - 2
Green chilli - 2
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Curry leaves - 7 to 8
Coconut milk - 1/2 cup
Turmeric pwd - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli pwd - 1 tbsp
Coriander pwd - 3 tsp
Coconut oil - 1 tsp (optional)
Salt as per taste
Oil - 3 tbsp
Slice the onion and chop the ginger, tomatoes and green chillies.

Separately beat the eggs with a pinch of salt till fluffy. Heat a pan and add the remaining oil and let it heat up. Once hot add half the beaten eggs and make an omelette. Once done, take it on to a plate. Make a second omelette with the rest of the beaten eggs. Cut into about 2 inch square pieces.
Heat a pan and add 2 tbsp oil and once it is hot add the sliced onions. Sauté till light golden then lower the heat and add the turmeric and red chilli powder and sauté well. Then add coriander powder and sauté well without burning it and then add 2 cups of water. To this add the chopped tomatoes and ginger and cover and give it a boil. Let the tomato soften and blend with all the ingredients. The gravy has to be a very water one at this stage. Add the omelette pieces to this and let simmer and absorb some of the gravy. After a few minutes add the coconut milk and some more curry leaves into the curry and mix well. Take it off the heat before it boils. You can pour a few drops of coconut oil over the curry and keep covered till ready to serve.
This Motta curry is best served with steaming hot rice and a thoran.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dal Tadka / Lentils with tempering

from my husband - The dal is a staple in the Indian diet and is made in various forms in various parts of the country. In its function, it is both nourishing and comforting. In character, it is democratic and nationally unifying. Its make-up varies in flavor from bland to severely spicy, in taste from tangy to sweet, in consistency from soup-like thin to gruel-like thick.
Here, we will take up a style of dal, supposedly the UP style. I say supposedly, because I am not absolutely sure in that I have never had this in UP, but my neighbors where I grew up, made it this way. They were from UP and their cuisine was unique - we were entreated to a whole new spread - Pulao, Chhole, Poori, Kachori, Sabzis, Curries, Dal, et al.
Use of ghee, hing, jeera, and not using onions and many more such specific methods seemed very different to us, more so, because our idea of anything north Indian was more Punjabi in nature with onion, tomato, garam masala, etc. Since they hailed from the UP heartland and were pure vegetarians, we took their cuisine to be representative of UP vegetarian from places like Aligarh, Moradabad, Bareilly, Mathura, Agra, Chandausi, and such, and distinctly not Mughlai or Awadhi.
Tuwar dal / split Pigeon peas - 1/2 cup
Tomato - 2
Coriander leaves - 5 to 6 sprigs
Turmeric pwd - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli pwd - 1 tbsp
for tempering
Ghee / Clarified butter - 1 tbsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Hing / Asafoetida - 2 pinches
Wash and soak the dal for an hour. Drain the dal and add 1 cup of water and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
In a pot / saucepan add 1/2 cup water and put it on heat. Chop tomatoes and add it into the pot with salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Cover with a lid and cook. Add the dal, coriander stalks and leaves and 1/2 cup water and cover and cook. Take off the heat when the dal and tomatoes have cooked and mixed together. Check for salt and add a little if required.

Heat a pan and add the ghee / clarified butter. When hot, add the jeera or cumin seeds and let them splutter and add hing or asafoetida and take off the heat. Pour this into the pot of dal and cover immediately with the lid. When ready to serve, mix the tadka / tempering into the dal and pour out into a bowl.
Lentil / dal is a very healthy food full of proteins and dietary fiber. This recipe for Dal Tadka uses tuwar dal which contains folic acid an essential vitamin for women especially during pregnancy.

Eggplant Parmigiana

Eggplant Parmigiana is an entrée which is essentially eggplant topped with marinara sauce and Parmigiana Reggiano and then baked. The same is made with chicken and veal as well in place of aubergine. Originally eggplant was breaded and fried but now with health consciousness catching up, the eggplant is baked instead.
This recipe gives approximate measures because I have realized tastes can differ and some like it heavy on the sauce while others like it extra cheesy. I have had Eggplant Parmigiana in restaurants where it was heavily breaded and also over sauced. For me, I prefer the eggplant sliced slightly thick and then baked in only one layer, this makes it slightly crisper than when slices are layered.
Eggplant - 1
Egg - 1
Bread crumbs - 1/2  cup
Pasta sauce as required
Mozzarella cheese as required
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese as required
Oil to brush on eggplant and baking dish
Salt as per taste (very little required)
Slice the mozzarella cheese and then cut into strips. Grate the Parmigiana Reggiano cheese and keep aside.
Slice the eggplant in 3/4th inch thick slices and keep it in salted water. Break an egg and beat it with a pinch of salt and pour it into a saucer. Keep another saucer of bread crumbs. Take one eggplant slice out dab the extra moisture off with a paper towel, then dip it into the beaten egg and let it coat both sides. Hold it for a second over the egg saucer to let excess egg drip off,  then dip into the bread crumbs coating both sides. Prepare each slice of eggplant in this way and keep aside till ready to fry in the pan.
Heat a frying pan and spread a little oil over the complete surface and put each slice in. Do not overcrowd the pan and do not make layers. Cook on medium heat and flip over so both sides are done.
If you prefer baking the eggplant slice, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Apply or spray oil on the baking tray and make one layer of eggplant slices on the tray. Bake till the slices start browning and take them out.  
In the meanwhile start the prepping for the baking, lower the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the baking pan of choice and lightly spread a little sauce at the bottom. Layer the eggplant on the sauce and then spread some pasta sauce on top of the slices. Lay the mozzarella strips on the sauce at small intervals and then sprinkle the Parmigiana Reggiano in the gaps. If you like it really cheesy increase the quantity of cheese. I prefer to taste the eggplant, sauce and cheese in every bite without any one ingredient dominating the taste.
My Eggplant Parmigiana goes to

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mung Bean Vegetable Soup

With the temperature outside dropping, there's nothing better than eating or drinking something hot to warm the body. Come evening, it is nice to have a bowl of hot and steaming soup and the addition of vegetables in it just makes it healthy. This soup has mung beans for protein and vegetables for vitamins and fibre. It is a very healthy soup and makes an excellent dinner and can be had on its own.

Mung bean - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1/2
Tomato - 2
Cucumber - 1/2
Capsicum - 1/2
Garlic - 4 to 5 cloves
Coriander sprigs
Salt as per taste
Butter - 1 tbsp
Wash mung bean well and soak for 1 hour. Then pressure cook the mung with 1 cup water for 1 whistle and take it out once the pressure is released. Roughly blend it with a hand blender and keep aside.

Dice the onion, tomato, cucumber and capsicum. Wash the garlic well and crush it with a pestle. Take about 2 cups water and put it on medium heat. Add the onion, tomato, garlic, cucumber and capsicum pieces to it and cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. The onion and garlic should lose its raw taste but the vegetable should still retain its crunch. Add cooked mung beans and salt into the vegetables and give it one boil. Add the coriander leaves with stalks into the soup and cover and take off heat.
When serving, spoon the soup into a bowl and top with a spot of butter.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pepper & Cumin / Kurumullaku Jerakam Rasam

Now that the temperatures are dropping, eating and drinking hot things are the most enjoyable. With the body burning fat just trying to keep warm in this weather, gives an excuse to eat up. Like they say, you don't have stomach problems in the winter because the body typically doesn't fall sick in the cold. I can't wait for the temperatures to fall a little more, to get out & eat all that street food. For now rasam and soups are on the menu at home, and today this is a recipe for another rasam - a pepper and cumin rasam or a kurumullaku jeerakam rasam like it is called in Malayalam. This rasam is typically made the minute someone at home has a cold. The pepper in this rasam is good to open all the blocked sinus and nose and cumin is known to help our digestive system.
Tuwar dal - 1/4 cup
Tomato - 3
Tamarind - 1 small ball
Turmeric pwd - 1 tsp
Red chilli pwd - 2 tbsp
Coriander sprigs
Salt as per taste
Sugar - 1/4 tsp
for the powder
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Peppercorn - 15 to 18
for the seasoning
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 5 to 6
Oil - 1 tbsp
Wash the dal and add a cup of water and pressure cook till it turns mush. Soak the tamarind in a little water for some time. Then with your fingers make it mush and extract the pulp and keep aside.  
Wash the tomatoes and chop into big pieces. Heat a saucepan and pour in 2 cups of water, add the tomatoes, a little salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Let this come to a boil and add the cooked dal in. Lower the heat and cover the saucepan. Add in the tamarind pulp with some more water and coriander sprigs and cook till the tomatoes are done.
Dry roast the cumin seeds and the peppercorns on low heat and once they emit their aroma, take off heat. Powder this finely and add into the rasam. Add the sugar to the rasam and check the taste and add salt or more tamarind pulp if necessary. Take off the heat.
Put a small pan on heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and when it splutters add the curry leaves. Take off the heat and pour into the rasam and cover the rasam immediately. Mix when ready to serve.
Notes: The quantity of pepper is high in this rasam to help soothe a sore throat or cold, it can be lowered to about 10 peppercorns for daily use.
Don't discard the coriander stalks, save them to be used in rasam. Add as much of coriander as you like, it only tastes better.
The rasam has to be very watery like a clear soup.

Eggplant and Dry Prawn / Vangi Sode Ghalun

This dish is a typical Maharashtrian curry that is paired off with chapatis. During the monsoons, fishing activity ceases or is on a very low scale because of the unpredictable weather conditions. The fish breeding season is also around the same period and the fishing community takes a break from fishing activity and restricts itself to repairing boats or nets. This is also the time when serious fish eaters  resort to dry fish preparations. Prior to the monsoons, housewives stock up on dried fish that is made to last through the season and dry prawn is most popular amongst the dry fish category. Dry prawn can be made into chutneys, curries and dry preparations combined with vegetables.
Eggplant, diced - 1 cup
Dry prawn - 1/2 cup
Onion, large - 1
Tomato, large - 1
Turmeric pwd - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli pwd - 1 tsp
Kanda lasun masala - 1 tsp
Kokum - 1 small piece
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Salt as per taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
If the dry shrimp is really small then lightly roast it till its aroma is released, should not take more than 10 minutes on medium heat. If the dry shrimp is big then the shrimp has to be cleaned by removing the head and legs and then roasted. The measure given here is after removing the head and legs.

Chop the onion and tomato and keep aside.
Heat a pan and add the oil, when it is hot add the chopped onion and sauté till light golden. Then add the chopped tomato and continue sautéing. When the tomato has softened add the turmeric and red chilli powder and sauté. Add the dry prawn and mix in then add 1 cup water and add some salt. Let the mixture come to a boil and add the kanda lasun masala and mix. Then cover the pan with a lid and cook. After about 10 minutes add the chopped eggplant, kokum and water if required. Mix well and cover with a lid and cook. When it is cooked check for salt and if required add some. Add the chopped coriander leaves and mix and take off the heat.

If you do not have kanda lasun masala omit it and adjust the red chilli powder for the spice level.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

An Indian take on Pajeon, a Korean Spring Onion Pancake

I was searching for ideas to make vegetable pancakes and came across this Korean Spring Onion Pancake featured on This Spring Onion pancake is similar to the Indian paratha where a vegetable and flour are the main ingredients. My pancake is a little of the Pajeon and a little of the Paratha recipe. The Pajeon uses all purpose flour and soybean paste and since I try and avoid all purpose flour and did not have soybean paste, I substituted these with whole wheat flour and a little salt. I am sure the pancake lost on the soybean paste flavor which I will try some time if I lay my hands on it here.
Any recipe including green vegetables is apt for this time of the year since the markets are currently flush with fresh greens. The green onions that are currently available are the tender with small bulbs and are just apt for this pancake. Do try this recipe, it is very healthy due to the amount of greens that go into each pancake.
Spring / Green Onions / Scallion - a handful
Whole wheat flour - 1/2 cup
Water as required
Salt as per taste
Oil to apply on pan
Use only the tender greens stalk and the small thin bulbs for this recipe. I had selected a mix of small and medium sized bulbs from the vendor and realized that not all the stalks are the tender green kinds that this pancake needs. So I sifted through them and got the ones I wanted.
Wash the stalks and bulbs thoroughly in water and peel off any wilting layer from the bulb. Line these up on the cutting board and cut them evenly into 2 inch long pieces. If the bulb are a little thick slice them lengthwise. Mix the whole wheat flour with salt and as much water as needed to make a flowing batter.
Now heat a pan and spoon a few drops of oil and spread with a spatula. Keep the heat on low and Lay the spring onions and the bulbs on the pan lengthwise so you have veggies arranged in a column forming a rectangle shape. Then slowly pour the batter little by little all over the veggies and with the spatula help to spread the batter all over the veggies and push and tuck the batter around the veggies to maintain the rectangle shape. When it firms up and the bottom is golden brown, flip it over and let it cook. Keep the heat on low initially so the pancake cooks through and then raise it to medium heat to brown and crisp both sides.
Serve steaming hot Spring Onion Pancakes with the hot and tangy dip.
My Spring Onion Pancake goes to -
- Eat seasonal food, fresh, originally hosted by Jagruthi


Hot and Tangy Dip

This is a mouthwatering, hot and tangy dip or chutney that I made to go with the spring onion pancakes. This dip does not have any oil or fat in it and can be had without feeling guilty. I was inspired to make this dip by the recipe featured on and basically tried to keep true to the tastes and adapted it to the ingredients I had in my kitchen. And was also influenced a little by the chadacha chammanthi (crushed chutney) that is made in Kerala sometimes.
Onion - 1/2
Red chilli - 1
Green chilli - 1
Tamarind ball - 1.5 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Put all this together in a blending jar with a about 1/4 cup water. Pulse it a few times so that all the ingredients are crushed and bit sized pieces are seen. Taste it, it should have a salty, heat from the chillies, pungency of the onion, sour from the tamarind and a light sweet from the sugar. Pour it out onto a bowl and it is ready to serve.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Paneer Makhni

Paneer dishes are often ordered in restaurants and most of the time it is Paneer Makhni that gets chosen. Paneer Makhni is a tomato based gravy dish that includes cream and cashew nuts along with butter that goes well with hot buttery rotis. The paneer can be substituted with chicken to make Chicken Makhni.
My friend who is a Filipino loved Paneer Makhni and would ask me to make it for her. But I was not confident of making it from scratch, then. So I was happy to find a pack of Sanjeev Kapoor's readymade masala for Paneer Makhni at an Indian store nearby and tried it. Thankfully, it came out well and she loved it. Today, I wish we stayed in the same place like before, just so I could share this dish with her. This Paneer "Mac"ni (that's how she pronounced it) goes to "J", my funny friend.
Paneer - 200 gms
Tomato - 3, medium
Cashew nuts - 10 to 12
Onion - 1, small
Capsicum - 1/2, small
Garlic - 5 cloves
Cinnamon - 1 small piece
Bay leaf - 1
Turmeric pwd - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli pwd - 1 tsp
Thin Cream - 3 tbsp
Kasuri Methi - 2 tbsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Butter - 2 tbsp
Slice the paneer in big blocks and apply little oil on both sides. Cut the onion is wedges and separate the layers. Dice the capsicum in 1 inch squares.

Wash the tomatoes and lightly make cuts only the skin of each tomato from top to bottom. Heat a small saucepan with water and dunk the tomatoes in it. When the water boils take it off heat and peel the skin off the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, cashew nuts into a blender jar and blend to a fine paste.

Heat a ridge griddle, and grill the paneer turning both sides so that grill lines are made on both sides of each slice. Remove from pan and let it drain onto paper towels. Add the capsicum and onion pieces and sauté and when they turn glossy,take off the heat.

Heat oil and butter in a pan and when hot add the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. After a few seconds add the ground tomato cashew nut paste and on medium heat sauté this paste till the oil separates and the raw smell of garlic goes. When the masala mix is fried add the turmeric and red chilli powders and sauté. Add a little water and salt and mix. Add the paneer, onion and capsicum pieces and mix well. Let it cook for 5 minutes and then add the thin cream and kasuri methi leaves and mix well.
Serve hot with rotis. 

Cheera Moloshyam / Mulakushyam

Pacha Cheera, as spinach is known in Malayalam, is quite widely used in Kerala in thoran and in moloshyam / mulakushyam. Moloshyam or mulakushyam is a curry made with coconut paste and dal and can be made with ash gourd and pumpkin, spinach or tender drumstick leaves or cabbage and the name is "whichever vegetable" moloshyam. Today, the recipe I give here is for a pacha cheera moloshyam which is spinach moloshyam. Since spinach like all leaf vegetables shrink on cooking, you have to have a large quantity if you intend making a sabzi with it. So, on days you don't have enough spinach for a sabzi make this curry which does not over cook the greens making it a very healthy dish.
This moloshyam is adapted from the Palakkad Iyer style of cooking. As such, in Kerala moloshyam is made but without using coconut. Instead, coconut oil is used at the end to season it. For today, this Cheera Moloshyam recipe has ground coconut in it.  
Spinach - 1.5 cups 
Tuwar / Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Coconut, grated - 1/4 cup, tightly packed
Green chilli - 2
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pwd - 1 tsp
Red chilli pwd - 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
for tempering
Shallots - 2 / Onion - 1/4
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Dry red chilli - 2
Curry leaves - 5 to 6
Oil - 1 tbsp
Wash the dal and pressure cook it with 1/2 cup water. In a blender jar, add the grated coconut, cumin seeds and green chillies and grind it to a fine paste. The 1.5 cup spinach used is washed and cut leaves.

Put a saucepan to heat and add the cooked dal and spinach into it. Add a little water to make a medium thick curry consistency. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and a little salt and cover and let the spinach cook on medium heat. It will not take much time for the greens to cook. Once cooked, add the ground coconut paste to the spinach and dal mixture and mix well. Check for salt, if necessary add some. Let the curry come to a boil and then take it off the heat.
Separately, heat a pan with oil, preferably coconut oil and when hot add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter add the chopped onion or shallots and sauté till translucent. Cut the dry red chillies in pieces and add it to the frying onion along with the curry leaves and sauté till the onions are light golden. Pour this on to the curry and cover till ready to serve. Cheera Moloshyam is ready.

A cheera or red spinach moloshyam can be made exactly the same way by just substituting the spinach with red spinach.
My Cheera Moloshyam goes to :
- Eat seasonal food, fresh, originally hosted by Jagruthi