Inviting you all to Viki's kitchen in facebook too. Also welcoming you all to visit my arts and hobbies page in facebook.. Have a nice day !

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Poom paruppu Sundal

Sundal (Tamil) is a kind of spicy snack made of lentils. It is often considered a very healthy snack to have with evening tea or munch throughout the day. Also it is served during important Hindu functions as offering to God (Prasadam).

Poom paruppu is a regional name given for the most renowned kadalai paruppu sundal. The meaning is poo - flower ; paruppu - lentil. More specifically, 'A sundal made with the lentils cooked till they bloom like a tender flower'. Isn't it attractive?

So, enjoy the summer evenings with this beautiful sundal along with a cup of tea:)


Ingredients:
Bengal gram (channa dhal / kadalai paruppu) - 1 cup
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
coconut oil - 1 tsp
dry red chillies - 2
curry leaf - few
salt - to taste (little only)
shredded coconut - 1/4 cup

Method:
Wash and clean the dhal twice.
Soak the dhal for 30 minutes and cook it over stove till it becomes tender (not mushy).
If we don't have time to soak, then we can pressure cook it to 2 whistles with water just to immerse the dhal (not more than that).

Remove the excess water. Mix some salt to taste. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter.
Then add the dry red chillies (broken), curry leaves and stir for a few seconds till the chilly swells.

Immediately add the cooked dhal, shredded coconut and stir well.

Put off fire.
Poom paruppu sundal is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serves three.
Serve as snack with tea or coffee in the evening.
Sometimes I make it as side dish for puli saatham / lemon rice etc.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Keerai thoran (Red Swiss Chard)

"Keerai (Tamil) - Any kind of spinach; Thoran (Malayalam) / thuvaran or thuvaram (Tamil) - A dry side dish prepared with any spinach or vegetable and lot of coconut masala".

I got this 'Kerala style preparation of Spinach' from a best friend of mine. Though her blog is not visible now, some of her recipes always have a permanent position in my memory. I tried my best to do it her way. Thanks Ann!

The traditional recipe insists in using an Indian spinach (cheera or the red spinach) . I  prepared this 'keerai thoran' using Red swiss chard leaves. Though these swiss chard leaves resembled an Indian palak, I would like to use the 'chen cheera' (red spinach) next time. 



'Thoran' made of Red Swiss chard leaves.

Ingredients:
Any greens (spinach) - 1 lb
(I used Swiss chad leaves here)
Red onion - 1 (or) shallot - 5
mustard - 1/2 tsp
coconut oil - 1 tbsp
salt - to taste (very little only) 

To grind coarsely:
coconut (shredded) - 1/2  cup
garlic cloves - 3
green chillies  -  2 or 3
cumin - 1/2 tsp

Method:
Wash and clean the spinach / any greens.Chop it finely.

Heat oil in a wok. Splutter the mustard seeds.
Add onion and saute till it wilts.

Now put the chopped spinach and saute for a few minutes.

Make a well in the center and remove all the moisture (as much as possible).

Put the coarsely ground paste to the center and bury it with spinach.

cover and cook for few minutes. Add salt and saute till the greens loose all the moisture and we get a very loose texture.Switch off.

Keerai thoran is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot as side dish with sambar rice or curd rice.
Also can be served as 'curry over plain rice' with a tsp of ghee.
As this preparation contains more coconut, it may get spoiled in hot weather. So consume / refrigerate immediately.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mango Pickle


"A variety of mango pickle prepared by seasoning the grated unripe mango with sesame oil and spices "


This is my most favorite pickle and I am narrating my mom's recipe here.


A dollop of mango pickle waiting to accompany the curd rice:)

Ingredients:
Unripe mango - 1 big (1/2 kg)
(Grate and measure it)
Sesame oil - 1/4 of the quantity of mango
(we can reduce the oil , if we are refrigerating the pickle)
Red chilly powder - 3 tbsp
fenugreek (methi / venthayam) - 1 tsp
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
hing (asafoetida) - 1/8 tsp
salt - to taste (approx 1.5 tbsp)

Method:
wash and clean the mangoes. Wipe with a clean cloth and dry it in open air to remove any moisture for an hour or more.

Now we should keep our hand clean and dry. Grate the mango using a carrot grater (bigger hole). Measure the amount of mango.

Heat the above said quantity of sesame oil in a kadai (wok). Add the mustard seeds and let them start to crackle. At the same time add hing , fenugreek seeds and wait till it gets red. Immediately add the mangoes and saute till they loose the moisture.

When the oil starts showing off the edges, add the red chilly powder and salt. Stir well till the raw smell of red chilly powder goes.
(we can add the red chilly powder in the beginning also, but it will emit a lot of hot fumes that no one can stand. So better add it this way).

Switch off the flame and let the pickle get cool.
Mango pickle is ready!

Mangai thokku stored in air tight container.

This will last for a week or more if prepared with 1/2 a cm of oil floating above the pickle. Otherwise we can refrigerate for further use.
(I generally prepare with lesser oil and refrigerate it).

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with curd rice.
We can  mix some of this pickle with white rice to prepare a quick mango rice for lunch pack.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chicken Seekh kebab

"A kind of kebab, that is prepared with minced chicken or lamb . This is more common in Pakistani cuisine".

I tasted it in some  nearby restaurants (Shaalimar and Biryani house) and tried my best to get that taste.

Actually they make the shape of the kebab by pressing the minced meat over metal skewers and cook them in open fired and again the fire cooked kebabs are shallow fried. This is the basic procedure in one line. But it involves some techniques too. As my knowledge on these kebabs are very little, the shape didn't come out well. But recording the recipe before I forget:)

Here is the complete version to make  kebab similar to an authentic Chicken Sheekh kebab. I formulated this version by myself, by reading the food cultures and history of Afghanistan and Pakistan people. Please make a comment, if I need to improvise this recipe, as it is not my regional cuisine. Thanks!

Ingredients:
minced chicken - 1 lb
Onions - 1
green chillies - 2
lettuce -  2 leaves (optional)
cilantro - a handful
mint leaf - a handful
minced garlic - 1 tbsp
dry ginger powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Puffed channa dhal (dalia) - 1 cup
(powder the puffed channa dhal)
bread slices - 2 (only if needed)
Salt to taste
Oil - 4 tbsp

To powder:
dry red chilly - 2
coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
Black pepper- 1/2 tsp
fennel seed, kali jeera - 1 tsp each
cloves, cardamom - 2
cinnamon - 1 inch 
cumin - 1 tsp
garam masal powder - 1 tsp (optional)

How to get minced chicken?
option 1. We can buy the minced chicken at any halal shop. Some times they may sell a variety called masala minced chicken. That will make the job easy, as we can straightly add masal powders, bread crumbs and start doing it.



This is the minced masala chicken I bought from a halal shop.

option 2.Otherwise buy the minced chicken and mix all masala powders, salt and finely minced onion , cilantro, mint, green chillies etc (except bread, oil and flour).

option 3.Buy boneless chicken pieces  (red  meat is the best for juicy kebabs) and grind it coarsely.

Method:
While the mixer / blender is dry, powder the bread. keep aside. Separately , powder the puffed channa dhal (dhalia)and keep aside.

Select boneless chicken pieces from thigh (red meat is best here). Breast is also ok, but it won't give a juicy finish.

Grind the boneless chicken meat along with red chilly powder, garam masal,spices, salt.

Finely chop the onion, chilly, cilantro, mint and mix with the minced meat.
Add ginger garlic paste to it.

Add the bread crumbs and powdered dhal to get a thick minced meat dough.(we can use the bread crumbs alone, without any dhal powder or vice versa).

Make seekh kabab by pressing the minced meat around a skewer for about 4-5 inches in length.



This is how I shaped the kebab.


Bake it at 350 deg F and 15 mins both sides.


Serving suggestions:
Serve as starter with lemon wedges, tamarind sweet chutney, raitha etc.
Goes fine as side dish with biryani.

Note:
If we cannot make a correct shape, then add more bread crumbs or dhalia powder.

I add 4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil or butter per lb and it won't need frying. Moreover all the oil will be evaporated while baking.
The baked ones can be cut into small pieces to make a kofta curry.
For baking : Soak the wooden skewers  in water overnight to avoid burning of the sticks.
If we cook the kebab over gas stove, then use metal skewers.
Dont try to rinse the kheema we buy from shop, as they already prepare kheema after washing and patting the extra moisture. If we wash again, it will get more watery and our koftas won't stick to sticks:)

An update:
Now I corrected my previous mistakes and prepared a good looking(!) kebab. I added more puffed channa dhal powder (pori kadalai mavu) , that made the kebab easy to handle.
Minced chicken with masala


Baked 'chicken sheekh kebab'.


Tips:
1.If there is no time to prepare puffed channa dhal powder, then dry roast a cup of channa dhal flour (besan flour/ kadalai mavu) till it turns mild red and use instead.
I microwave the besan flour for 5 minutes. If microwaving, then do it for a minute , take out stir well and then repeat till it gets a nice aroma and very mild red color.

2. Adding a cup of finely chopped lettuce and some more extra virgin olive oil will yield a very juicy kebab. Adding oil while baking is the best alternative to avoid frying the kebab.

3. Number of kababs from 1 lb  meat: One pound of chicken kheema will yield 8-10 kebabs.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Keppai Kali (sweet)

A kid friendly healthy breakfast for summer.

Other names: Sweetened ragi pudding , இனிப்பு கேப்பை களி, 'Finger millet' porridge.

In my home town , our Summer mornings would start with a pleasant voice of a tender coconut / Palmyra juice vendor (pathaneer-the toddy before fermentation) or Indian Ice-apple (nungu) selling lady. As the summer approaches, my mom would change our food habits to suit the weather. Some items like ghee roast dosa , poori and almost all the fried items would be replaced by the simple food like keppai kali, ulunthu kali, venthaya kali,curd rice, ragi dosa, kambu kool(zh), neeragaram, buttermilk, greens etc .The evening snacks like bajji, vadai and desserts would be changed to sundal (lentils), fruits and kolukkattai. By an endless supply of buttermilk to her daily visitors like the spinach vendor, vegetable seller, fish sales man. etc., she would often appear as a cool Goddess to me now:)

Life is changing and our needs too. But that craze for those simple foods never cease to amaze me. So I tried to create her special kali made of keppai and karuppatti (palm jaggery). Hope you all like it.

Ingredients:
Ragi flour - 1/2 cup
palm jaggery - 1 cup (or) brown sugar - 3/4 cup
(cane sugar jaggery or white sugar won't yield a good taste here)
coconut - 1/4 cup shredded (optional)
Water
garlic - 6 pearls
sesame oil - 2 tbsp (to serve)

Method:
Mix water to the palm jaggery and bring it to a boil. As it dissolves , filter and remove all the sediments and froth.Keep aside. (Avoid this step if we use brown sugar).

Mix water to the flour little by little to get a free flowing consistency like that of dosa batter (pancake mixture).

Heat slowly the pure palm jaggery solution along with the flour, finely sliced garlic, coconut in a thick bottom vessel. Stir continuously.

After a few minutes the solution will get thick. Reduce flame and stir well till the garlic and the flour are cooked. If the flour is not cooked properly, then add some water and continue cooking in low heat.

Switch off when the kali becomes thick.

Keppai inippu kali is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot as breakfast or snack along with a tsp of sesame oil on the top.

Medicinal value:
1.Ragi (red millet) is a whole grain rich in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. It helps in weight loss.
2.Ayurveda recommends Palm jaggery for diabetic patients as an alternative sugar.
3.Garlic is believed to get rid of bad cholesterol.
4.Sesame oil has innumerable health benefits : in treating hypertension, BMI control,hormone regulation, cholesteral reduction etc.

Foodista:
http://www.foodista.com/recipe/JH4R7777/indian-foodstuffs/widgets

Monday, May 17, 2010

Keerai masiyal

"A favorite dish, where the greens are steamed, and mashed, with light seasoning of salt, red chillis and cumin. It is called keerai masial (கீரை மசியல்)." - Wikipedia

This is another comfort food from the basic Indian cooking. The greens are indispensable in a well balanced Indian menu and much praised for the health benefits.

In Chennai I used to blend the keerai, using a small rough clay vessel and a wooden pestle ( In Tamil - keerai kadaiyum mann pathiramum , mathum). That traditional clay vessel imparts an earthen flavor to the simple keerai and would lift up our spirits:)

Generally the arai keerai and siru keerai (smaller leaved amaranth) are good for this blending recipe.As I could not find them here, I have used the amaranth (thandan keerai). This recipe calls for total simplicity , so we can't see any tomato, turmeric or oil. Adding oil, tomato or tamarind also holds good, but this one is my most favorite recipe. In my native place we used to add a pinch of lime (calcium oxide / sunnambu , additive to pan leaves) along with this masiyal. I don't know the correct purpose of it. But they say the 'sunnambu' helps in absorption of some vitamins in the greens. That's totally optional.

Ingredients:
Greens (spinach / amaranth) - 1 lb (4 handful)
water - 1/4 cup
shallot - 4
green chilly - 2
garlic - 4 pearls
cumin seed - 1/4 tsp
salt - to taste (very little only)
Lime (sunnambu) - a very small pinch (optional)

Method:
Pluck the leaves and young stems only. Discard the hard stems or reserve them for making sambar. Wash and clean the leaves well.

Take a wok and bring to boil 1/4 cup water. Remove the skin of shallot and garlic. Add them to the boiling water along with the chillies. After a minute (the onion and garlic should be half cooked), add the cleaned greens and cook them without closing the lid. Some people believe that cooking the greens with lids will spoil the nutrients.

After a few minutes, gently turn the whole lot and cook the other side too.

Check the stems if they are cooked. Wait till all the moisture is gone and put off fire.

Let it cool completely. Now add cumin, salt and blend in a mixer to a coarse paste.
(Just two or three pulse is enough).

If you want an authentic flavor try to use an earthenware to blend the greens.

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with rice or as a curry over rice.
We generally prepare this masiyal along with fish curry and rice.

Note:
In my native place , they add a pinch of lime (calcium oxide , that we use along with pan leaves)while blending to get some medicinal value out of it. Its purely optional here.
No tadka / tempering is necessary.

Some folklore from my native place (arai keerai / small amaranth):
This masiyal can be prepared with black pepper instead of green chillies and consumed daily to reduce the obesity.
This masiyal without any tadka helps people to regain strength after some disease and also as a natural bowel healer.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cashew Pakoda

Pakoda / Pakora means an Indian version of fritters.

The Tamil translation is 'Munthiri pakoda'.The recipe may vary between state to state (India), but this is how I recollect the Chennai's cashew pakora. With a lot of mint leaves, cilantro and crispy cashews....nothing can beat that rich snack along with evening tea.

Again some memories on this nut and the pakoda.

Cashew nuts are considered expensive and generally reserved for the festivals and gifts. No wonder it remains a rich food for most of us. I remember my mom preparing this special snack during Deepavali or for our Birthdays. After marriage I felt the importance of making it at home , when I saw my hubby buying this snack frequently. From then on, these homemade cashew pakodas get a special reservation in my to-do list:)

I have used halved cashews here. But generally people use the whole nuts.

Home grown mint leaves (2009).

Other ingredients for the pakora.

Cashew nut pakoda served.

Ingredients:
Cashew nut - 250 gm (2 cups)
red onion (thinly sliced lengthwise) - 1 1/2 cup
(adding onion is optional)
ginger - 3 tbsp (finely chopped)
green chilly - 5 (split into two)
curry leaf - 2 sprigs
mint leaf - 1 cup
cilantro leaves - 1/2 cup
besan flour - 3/4 cup
rice flour - 3 tbsp
baking soda - 1/4 tsp
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
garam masal powder - 1/2 tsp
salt - to taste (3/4 tsp approx)
oil - to deep fry (300 ml)
(corn oil or any lighter oil)

Method:
Chop the onion, mint leaf, curry leaf,ginger, cilantro, chillies as indicated.

Put the besan flour, rice flour, baking soda,salt, red chilly powder, garam masal powder in a mixing bowl and mix well.

(optional: Add 2 tbsp of hot oil to increase the crispiness of the pakora).

Add the cashews, chopped items to the flour and start kneading without adding water.
If needed , just add 2 tbsp water and mix well. The mixture should not be watery, but thick and moist. The water from the leaves and onion will be just enough.
Excess water makes the pakora oily and soggy.

Heat enough oil in a wok and wait till it reaches the smoking point. Then reduce the flame to medium. Put some fritter batter as if we are sprinkling the cashew mixture in the hot oil (they should fall as individual pieces). Take care not to overlap one another. Flip after it gets fried in one side. Take out, drain oil.

Like wise fry the cashew pakoda in small batches.

If you wish to store the pakora, then let them cool completely and store them in air tight containers. As we have added onion, this will be safer to use for 2 days only. So avoid the onions and other leaves (ginger, chillies are ok) to ensure longevity of the cashew pakoda.

Serving suggestion:
Serve as snack or starter.
The above said quantity approximately yields 3/4 kg cashew pakoda (almost thrice that of the cashew added).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Saffron Pulao

An aromatic rice variety suitable for any spicy-hot curry.

Ingredients:
Basmati rice - 2 cups
onion - 1/2 cup (thinly sliced in lengthwise)
Ghee - 3 tbsp
Kali jeera - 1/2 tsp
Bay leaves - 2
cinnamon - 1 inch
cardamom - 2
clove - 2
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Milk - 3/4 cup
Saffron - 2 pinches
cilantro and mint leaves - a handful

Wash the rice twice in water. Soak it in water (just enough to immerse) for half an hour.

Add salt + enough water to just immerse the rice and microwave or cook the rice to 50% (Let the rice be very firm now). Drain and discard the excess water, using a colander.

Heat ghee in a wok / vessel and fry the onions to golden brown. Take it out.

In the same wok add the bay leaves, kali jeera, cardamom, clove, cinnamon and saute for a few seconds. (We can add cashews, raisins and slivered almond too).

Now add the half cooked rice. In the same time bring milk to a boil along with the saffron strands.

Pour the colored milk over the rice , add the fried onion and a few more strands of saffron. The ratio of milk and rice should be such that each and every grain of rice should get a milk coating , but not any milk other than that. This lesser moisture helps in getting a stiff pilaf.Close the lid and let the rice gets completely cooked (grains should be separate). The pifaf will get more yellow color in some grains that gets direct contact with the saffron . Garnish with finely chopped mint, cilantro leaves while serving.

Saffron pulao is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve along with any spicy-hot curry.
The above said quantity can be enough for 3 adults.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Egg Biryani

Whenever I wish to make a special lunch box for hubby, egg biryani comes handy with its simple ingredients and lesser time consumption.

I cook the rice along with raw scrambled egg and add hard boiled eggs to it. I am not sure if it is the common method, but the rice getting cooked along with raw egg gives a better taste for me. Try my method and let me know.

Ingredients: (for 2 adults)
Basmathi rice / Jeeraga samba raw rice - 1 1/4 cup
Egg - 4 (2 raw , 2 hard boiled)
Tomato - 2
ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
Red onion - 1 (medium size)
green chillis - 3 (slit).
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
garam masal powder / biryani masal powder - 1 tsp
(I used Shakthi biryani masala powder)
cilantro- 10 stems
mint leaf -1 handful.
ghee - 3 tbsp

To temper:
Fennel - 1 tsp
bay leaves - 2
star aniseed - 1,
Cinnamon stick - 2 inch
cardamom - 2
cloves - 2
cashew nuts -10
salt - to taste

Rice preparation:
Wash the rice and soak it for 1/2 an hour. Add 1/2 tsp salt. Add excess water and half cook the rice . Strain and remove the excess water using a colander. Keep open and let it cool.

Preparation:
wash and clean the tomatoes. Puree them. Keep aside.
Hard boil 2 eggs, remove the shell and make 3 slits on each egg. Keep aside.

Method:
Heat 3 tbsp ghee / oil in a broad flat bottom vessel.
Add fennel ,star aniseed , cinnamon stick,cardamom ,cloves, bay leaf , cashew and saute for a few seconds.

Put the chopped onion . Fry till it gets golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and stir well till the raw smell goes. Then add the chopped chillies, chopped cilantro + mint and stir well.

Now add the tomato paste along with red chilly powder and biryani masala powders.

Add salt to taste. Cook till oil oozes out.

Put the cooked eggs and saute to get them coated with the masala. Take them out.

Reduce flame. Now break and pour the remaining eggs and stir well. Don't wait to cook the mashed eggs. Just add the half cooked rice and mix carefully .Add very little water to cook the rice. Place the boiled eggs over the biryani.

Close tightly and reduce the flame to minimum.

After 15-20 minutes the egg biryani will be ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve with any raitha.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Broccoli poriyal

Hope you all had a great 'Mother's day'. Mine was wonderful. we celebrated the Mother's day in the Church and crowned the Mother Mary's statue in our home by a home made flower wreath. The Father's message was very encouraging. He asked all the people to stand to get Mother's day blessings, as he wanted to bless each and every one for the motherly feelings at heart. Even the men were also honored, as they also play the role of a mommy sometimes:) Hubby presented me a beautiful pair of rose bud earrings and a brooch made of coral. That was my long cherished wish and somehow he presented me the same thing without knowing. That's romantic. Isn't it friends!

For today's post here is 'An Indianised version of broccoli stir fry'.

Whenever I see a vegetable, I always look for a way to add my native touch to it. Even the broccoli couldn't escape my tawa:) So here is a simple poriyal with the nutritious broccoli.



Ingredients:
Broccoli (chopped) - 2 cup
red onion - 1 (small)
any oil - 1 tbsp
fennel seed - 1 tsp
cilantro, curry leaf, mint leaf - few
red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
salt - to taste

Method:
Wash and clean the broccoli.
Chop it into medium size pieces.

Heat oil in a wok. Add fennel seeds and let them get red.
Then add the chopped onion, the leaves mentioned above and fry till the onion turns golden brown.

Then put the chopped broccoli and fry for a minute.
Add salt, red chilly powder, turmeric powder , garam masal powder, a handful of water and cook covered till the vegetable is cooked.

Take off lid and saute till all the moisture is gone.

Broccoli fry is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with sambar rice or roti or any rice.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thakkali Biryani

'A kind of tomato rice prepared in biryani flavor'

This is the most favorite version of Tomato rice for many. Biryani masala in the tomato rice makes it more delectable. My mom used to prepare it without much spices. Click to see that too.

Actually I call it as tomato rice but many tells it as tomato biryani. Biryani associated with anything fascinates me. I started liking it after tasting the one made by my sister in law (my Amutha Anni), who is a physician and a lovable lady. She served it with chicken drumsticks fried in Indian style along with raitha when we visited her. That tasted heavenly when I knew that it was her first attempt and I admire the way she took care in cooking all these for us even in the midst of her tight schedule. We ladies always sing in praise of our family and I am no exception. hi..hi..hi:).


Thakkali briyani served with onion raitha and potato fry.

Ingredients:
Basmathi rice / Jeeraga samba raw rice - 2 cups
Tomato - 4 (200 gm)
ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
Red onion - 1 (medium size)
green chillis - 3 (slit).
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
garam masal powder / biryani masal powder - 1 tsp
(I used Shakthi biryani masala powder)
cilantro- 10 stems
mint leaf -1 handful.
ghee - 2 tbsp (to add at the end)

To temper:
Fennel - 1 tsp
bay leaves - 2
star aniseed - 1,
cinnamom stick - 2 inch
cardamom - 2
cloves - 4
Any cooking oil - 3 tbsp
cashew nuts -10
salt - to taste

Rice preparation:
Wash the rice and soak it for 1/2 an hour. Add 1/2 tsp salt. Add excess water and cook the rice to firm stage (100% cooked , but not mushy). Strain and remove the excess water using a colander. Keep open and let it cool.

Preparation:
wash and clean the tomatoes. Puree them. Keep aside.

Method:
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a broad flat bottom vessel.
Add fennel ,star aniseed , cinnamon stick,cardamom ,cloves, bay leaf , cashew and saute for a few seconds.

Put the chopped onion . Fry it till golden brown and add the ginger garlic paste and stir well till the raw smell goes. Then add the chopped chillies, chopped cilantro + mint and stir well.

Now add the tomato paste along with red chilly powder and biryani masala powders.

Add salt to taste. Cook till oil oozes out.

Mix with the cooked rice without breaking the grains.

Tomato biryani is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Garnish with 2 tbsp ghee , chopped cilantro , mint leaves.
Serve with onion raitha, potato chips etc.
Serves 3 adults.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bread omelet

Omelet sandwiched between two slices of bread and flavored with sauces and chutneys.

This is my hubby's most favorite breakfast to pack for office. I am sure many know to make it, but posting it for his friend who wanted to know the recipe for this unique 'Indian egg sandwich'.


The procedure is of two fold. First toasting the bread and then preparing the omelet. Arrange it according to taste.

To toast the bread:
Bread - 4 slices
(Any bread works fine, but I prefer the fluffy 'old fashioned white bread' always).

Toast them in a bread toaster. Otherwise heat a griddle with a 1/4 tsp butter. Pan roast the bread both sides till we a get a beautiful red color.
Repeat for the remaining slices too. Keep aside.

The red chutney:
Tomato ketchup - 2 tbsp

The green chutney:
Mint leaf - 1 cup
cilantro leaves - 3 cups
vinegar - 1/4 cup
salt - 1/4 tsp
green chilly - 4

Wash and clean the leaves.
Grind all the above to a fine paste and keep refrigerated. We can make a lot of chutney and store for at least 2-3 weeks.

To make omelet:

Ingredients:
Egg - 3
Red onion (finely chopped) - 1
green chilly (finely chopped)- 3
coconut oil - 1 tbsp (any oil)
salt- 1/8 tsp for each egg added.
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cheese - 2 tbsp (optional)

Method:
Break and pour the egg in to a mixing bowl.
Chop the onion and green chilly very finely.
Add salt and cumin seeds to the egg and beat well.
Now add the chopped onion and chilly. Using a fork , beat till the egg doubles its volume.
Heat a tbsp of coconut oil in a dosa griddle .
Pour the well beaten egg, reduce heat. Flip the omelet. Cook both sides completely and keep aside.

Arranging:
Take two toasted bread slices. Spread a little unsalted butter if we have used a bread toaster.
Coat the top of one bread with 1 tbsp tomato ketchup and the next slice with 1 tbsp green chutney.
Cut the omelet into two and place a 1/2 inside and close the breads.
Make a diagonal cut and serve.

Like wise do for the next pair of bread slices.

Bread omelet is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as a breakfast or evening snack.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Beetroot greens poriyal

Some years back, when I saw these fresh bunches of beets for the first time in a farmers' market, it became my center of attraction. Personally I think this beetroot is a gorgeous vegetable and I like all those who say 'YES' to this cutie. Mostly no one in my dad's house likes it , except for my Annapazham paatti, who was a great story teller in our native village. Rarely she visits our home and I would be eagerly waiting for her timeless tales. Whenever we start having this fry, she would say the same like me 'Most gorgeous vegetable in the world' and no wonder all the kids would start finishing that fry in no time.

Ok, we all know to cook a beetroot in our own way. But I have never used its greens till I landed in this country. My hometown which was known for its hot weather even in the winters could not supply me the beetroot with its leaves . But except for these fancy vegetables (English vegetables we say), that region is blessed with a lot of vegetation like brinjal, tiny tomatoes, chillies, turmeric,dhal, paddy fields and all the native Indian vegetables can be got fresh there.
(Yeah, I can never call it heat and dust. Such is the power of your home..right!)

So coming back to the fry. Without knowing the recipe , I had many doubts on that taste. Even I sent queries to my favorite cookery show hostess , Mrs. Revathy Shanmugam , if it is edible:) May be she was busy, so couldn't get the reply till my greens were fresh. So I just prepared a stir fry of its leaves (leaves alone, not the stem) along with a small beetroot. (Look at that cute bunch!).

It was amazing and I served it to my hubby saying the same words of that granny. No wonder he too started liking the beetroot. Touch of an Angel..huh:)


Fresh bunch of beetroot with greens.
Beetroot greens stir fried with a beetroot.

Ingredients: (for two people)
Beetroot greens - 1 bunch (15 leaves)
Beetroot - 1 (150 gm)
Shallot / red onion (chopped) - 1/2 cup
garlic - 5 cloves
shredded coconut - 1/4 cup
mustard - 1/2 tsp
oil (sesame / coconut oil) - 1 tbsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp
dry red chilly - 2

Method:
Pluck the leaves and young stem alone. Discard the tougher stalk. Remove the skin of beetroot.

Wash and clean the greens, beetroot. Chop them separately.
(Beets should be chopped into small cubes of 1/2 inch).

Heat oil / ghee in a wok. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter.
Chop the onion, garlic, chillies, curry leaf (optional) finely and add to the wok.
Stir till onion turns soft.

Add the finely chopped beetroot and cook closed with a handful of water for 5 minutes.
Open the lid. Let all the moisture dries up.

Now add the finely chopped greens and stir fry till the greens get cooked.

Add salt, cumin and fry a bit. After the poriyal looks very loose without any moisture, switch off.
Then put the freshly shredded coconut.

Beetroot keerai poriyal is ready!

Serving suggestions:
The perfect combination can be with sambar rice ,vatral kuzhambu rice etc.