Friday, May 25, 2012

Potato fry

Potato is a must for us at least once in a week:) Here is my amma's (mom) favorite potato fry, which she would make along with sambar or lemon rice often. She would always use coconut oil in most of the cooking like tempering, that would take this usual potato fry to the next level. I too love the coconut oil flavor in this fry. Try this and enjoy!

Potato - 4 (200 gm)
red onion - 1
coconut oil - 2 tbsp
fennel - 1 tsp
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
salt - to taste

Peel and cut the potato and onion into small cubes.
Heat oil in a thick bottom wok and add fennel.
After it starts becoming mild red, add the onion and saute till it wilts.
Then add the potato and fry for 2 minutes.
Reduce the heat, add salt and cook covered.
After it is cooked and starts turning little crispy , add the chilly powder and masala powder. Again stir till raw smell vanishes.
Switch off.
Potato fry is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve hot with sambar rice, curd rice, lemon rice or chapathi.
Makes a good side dish for lemon rice for picnics.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Alfredo sauce

Fettuccine pasta with alredo sauce is our favorite whenever we visit any restaurant. One day I wanted to make some pasta at home and bought a bottle of the alfredo sauce but it tasted different than what we tasted. Then I learned that the restaurants make it fresh always and it is very easy too. There are many ways to prepare this milky white satin like alfredo sauce. I wanted to try one with cream cheese, as I heard from many about that. Then I got the basic recipe from and modified it according to need. This is the basic alfredo sauce without alcohol and broth. This sauce tastes similar to the restaurants and now I am confident that I can make a decent alfredo sauce whenever we need.
Any cream cheese can be used. I used a low fat version.

Fettuccine pasta in alfredo sauce.

(for 2 people)
unsalted Butter - 2 tbsp
cream cheese - 4 tbsp
all purpose flour - 2 tbsp
salt - to taste
pepper - 1 tsp
garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
Italian seasoning - 1/4 tsp
mozzarella cheese - 3 tbsp
whole milk - 1/2 cup or more

Heat a wok and add butter. Keep the flame in low. Add the flour and cook for a minute without changing the color. Add milk and bring to a boil. Then put all other ingredients and mix well. Cook till cheese melts and sauce looks like smooth.

Serving suggestion:
Cook pasta according to directions in the package.
Add the alfredo sauce to the drained cooked pasta and mix well.
Top it with some more shredded cheese and serve.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chicken biriyani in cooker

Briyani in cooker is not traditional, but surely a good method when we have to prepare in a small quantity or for a lunch box. My mom would prepare dum briyani only for festivals as it was a time taking process back then. As a 12 year old, I started involving in cooking with mom when I fell in love with the vast ingredients she would use for briyani:) She would like me to keep the kitchen and store room neat, stocked up and organized...may be that was the first lesson before chopping veggies:) After learning her vegetable briyani in cooker, I started preparing chicken briyani in pressure cooker cooker too, which was more easier (till I learned the wedding briyani). On seeing this she too started making cooker briyani quite often. Slowly it became a family favorite meal like a kichadi. My younger brother is a huge fan of my briyanis and would wake up on a Sunday earlier (by noon), only if I say I am making briyani or some non-veg dish:) Just like any sister, his smile makes me more enthusiastic and I tried to comfort him with his favorites always. So a few weekdays too, I would get up very early and prepare this for his lunch box to cheer him up. Recently he browsed through all my recipes and couldn't find his favorite cooker briyani recipe while suggesting his friends and asked for a recipe. Dedicating this simple, easy and quick briyani to venkatesh ,his colleagues and all:)

Chicken briyani with onion tomato pachadi (raita).

Chicken - 1/2 kg

Other Ingredients:
Basmathi rice / Jeeraga samba raw rice - 1/2 kg (3 cup)
salt - to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
chilly powder - 1 tsp
Red onion - 1 (big)
green chillis - 6 (slit).
Lemon - 1/4
water - (rice x 2) - 2 = (3x2) - 2 = 4
(this is for cooker. For dum process it is 'minus 1')
curd - 1/2 cup
garam masala / briyani masala powder - 2 tsp

To temper: (whole spices)
bay leaves - 2
cashew nuts -10
raisins- 10.
ghee -  5 tbsp

Masala 1:
Tomato - 2

Masala 2:
cilantro- 20 tender plants
mint leaf -1 cup leaves
green chilly - 10
cashew - 5

Masala 3:
Ginger - 2 inch
Garlic - 1 full

Buy chicken red meat(thighs, wings, drumsticks with skin and bone). Breast piece won't give the proper taste.
wash and clean the chicken and cut into big pieces.
Add curd, turmeric powder, salt, chilly powder and marinate for 1 - 3 hours.

Wash the rice and soak it for 1/2 an hour.

Grind all the pastes separately.

Chop onion, chilly into long thin slices and keep aside.

Heat ghee  in a broad vessel or cooker.
Add the bay leaves and items given under tempering.
Then goes the chopped onion .
Fry it till golden brown and add the ginger garlic paste and stir well till the raw smell goes.
Now add the tomato paste and cook till the oil oozes out of it.
Then add the cilantro , mint paste and cook till the oil start oozing out. Now put the marinated chicken and add salt, powdered garam masala. Cook covered in low heat till oil separates. Check the taste now. It should be little more salty.
Now add the soaked rice and uncut green chillies to the cooker vessel along with the prepared masala. Squeeze some lime juice over. Fry for a minute.
Before this start boiling the require water separately and pour water to rice, mix well. Let it come to a boil.(Boiling the water before adding helps in evenly cooking the rice , otherwise sometimes we get some uncooked rice while making briyani).
Close with the cooker lid and put a pressure valve.

(I use a cooker vessel inside the cooker and pour some water around the base cooker, just like idly cooking. Mine is a 10 liter cooker, but we can prepare it directly in cooker if we have a small pressure cooker).

Wait till a whistle comes. Reduce the flame to medium and cook for exactly 5 minutes. Switch off and open lid once the pressure is gone completely (5 minutes).
Add a little ghee over the biriyani and wait for 5 minutes. Don't stir for first 5 minutes (makes it mushy).

Chicken biriyani in cooker is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Take out the briyani carefully without mashing the whole rice and serve hot.
Serve hot chicken biryani with onion raitha and a gravy / fry.
Serves 4 people or more people.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ripe mango sambar

Other names: Mambazha sambar / sweet mango dhal .

 Last week hubby bought a batch of mangoes, but they were all kind of very sour. While I was wondering what to do with this whole batch of sour mangoes, surprisingly they all turned out very sweet on one day. Now I have a big lot of well ripe mangoes and we have to consume them quickly:) Then this recipe came into my mind to play with my favorite mango and here is that sambar:) I think it is a good recipe for the mango season. Unripe mango sambar is a common one in Tamilnadu but using  ' mango fruit' is quite unusual. I think it is a regional recipe of Tirunelveli. It would be like a sambar with little 'jaggery touch' but more flavorful. Try this and enjoy!


To pressure cook:
Toor dhal/red gram lentil - 3/4 cup
water- 2 cups
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
asafoetida - 1 pinch
sesame oil- 1 drop
Wash and clean the lentil. Pressure cook the dhal with the above said ingredients for a whistle. Then reduce flame and cook for 10 minutes. Let it cool. Open the lid and add some fresh cumin seeds. Mash well using a spatula. Keep aside.
(we can cook the dhal in stove top also. But we may need to soak it first for 30 minutes or more and cook for 30 minutes).

Other ingredients:
Ripe mango - 1 (big)
Shallot (sambar vengayam) - 5
(choose small variety. Remove the skin, wash and clean. Don't chop).
Tamarind - amla (gooseberry / nellikkai) size ball
cooking oil / ghee - 2 tbsp
(Try to use ghee, as it gives more taste to the sambar).
curry leaves- 1 sprig
cilantro/ coriander leaves (chopped)- 1 tbsp
mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
fenugreek -1/2 tsp
dry red chilly - 3
salt - to taste
Sambar powder - 2 tsp

Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of hot water and extract the juice by squeezing.
Add the chopped ripe mango , salt and bring it to a boil. Let it boil till the raw smell vanishes. Don't let it overcook, as the mango mashes quickly.
Add the mashed dhal, sambar powder and bring it to a boil.
In the same time heat oil or ghee in a separate wok. Add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and let the mustard splutter. Immediately add the shallots, curry leaf, chopped dry red chilly and saute well. Continue frying till the shallot starts getting a golden color (not red).
Pour this hot mixture over the dhal. Bring it to only one boil, add the chopped cilantro and switch off.
Mambazha sambar is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot over plain cooked rice.
The best side dish would be a spicy arbi fry.
Make some extra sambar, reserve for dinner and serve along with paper roast dosas.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Potato cabbage curry

I always look for many ways to make my cabbage curry more interesting. One day I coined this 'new' curry by adding some potatoes to it. Surprisingly it turned out very successful, almost similar to the 'poori kilangu masala. Try this and make everyone love cabbage:)

Potato - 3
cabbage - 150 gm
onion - 1
green chilli - 6
ginger- 2 tsp (chopped)
curry leaves - a sprig
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
channa dhal (Bengal gram) - 2 tbsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
oil- 1 tbsp
Besan flour - 2 tsp
salt - to taste
cumin - 1/2 tsp

Wash and cook the potatoes . Peel the skin and mash in to big chunks. Keep aside.
Chop the onion, green chillies , curry leaves and ginger.
Heat oil in a wok. Add channa dal and then mustard seeds.
After the mustard seeds splutter add the chopped onion, green chilli, curry leaves and ginger. Saute them a till onion wilts. Add the finely chopped cabbage and stir well. Sprinkle a handful of water and cook covered.
Now add turmeric, cooked potatoes and salt.
Mix 2 tsp besan flour, cumin with 1/4 cup water and add that to the boiling potatoes.
Bring to a boil and switch off.
If desired, garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.

Potato cabbage curry is ready.

Serving suggestion:
Serve with roti or chapati or like masal dosai.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Jamaican Jerk chicken

Some months ago, hubby dear brought me a sample of jerk chicken seasoning, which his friend Mr. Raynor gave him. First I used a tsp of it to marinate just a piece of thigh while making tandoori and found the taste incredible. Then I searched the net on 'how to make homemade jerk seasoning mix' and arrived at this site. Thanks to the author, I could prepare a jerk seasoning from scratch, and prepared a whole batch of jerk seasoned chicken thighs. I made a dipping sauce also with the leftover marinade and everyone liked it.
Then he again presented us a whole bottle of jerk seasoning, which we enjoyed to the core. Even before the baked chicken made its way to the dining table, we started munching it, saying WOW...HOT....ssss...superb:) That is one yummy chicken recipe, every spice lover should try!Thanks Mr. Raynor, you have introduced us a new delicious chicken!

Jamaican Jerk chicken , my attempt to do from scratch:)

Homemade jerk chicken seasoning along with the sample seasoning I got.
The jerk seasoning Mr.Raynor presented us.

The fiery HOT Jamaican jerk chicken is ready!

Main ingredient:
Chicken - 2 lb.

Jerk Seasoning mix:
Vinegar - 4 tbsp
green chillies - 8
Jalapeno - 2
Bell pepper - 1/2
red onion - 1
ginger powder - 1 tbsp
garlic powder - 1 tbsp
dry thyme - 1 tbsp
olive oil - 1 tbsp
salt - 1 tsp
Black pepper powder - 2 tsp
All spice powder - 2 tsp
brown sugar / molasses - 2 tsp

lemon -1

Saute the sliced onion and chillies in 2 tbsp olive oil or butter.
Saute till it turns slightly brown.
Grind with all the above ingredients. Mix the lemon juice.
The seasoning mix is ready.

Clean the chicken and make some slits to facilitate marination.
Mix with the prepared jerk seasoning mix.

Place in an airtight container and keep refrigerated overnight.
The taste of the jerk chicken lies in the duration of marination also.

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Arrange the marinated chicken pieces and reserve the remaining marinade liquid. Bake one side for 25 minutes. Flip over, coat some butter and bake again for 20 minutes or till it is done.

Jamaican Jerk chicken is ready!

Serving sauce:
Pour the leftover marinade in a wok and heat for 10 minutes. Add soy sauce, tomato sauce and hot sauce to taste. Bring to a boil and switch off.
This sauce can be used as dipping sauce or kept refrigerated to be used as a marinade for next batch.

Using the ready-made seasoning mix:
Marinate overnight 1 lb chicken with 2 tbsp or little more of the seasoning mix and bake / grill as above.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sweet paniyaram

Sweet paniyaram / Inippu kuzhi paniyaram is always welcome in our home like any other sweet.  I started making it often after seeing my MIL preparing it some years ago. I always encourage her over phone to make it for festivals, as this is her signature dish .
Raw rice (pacharisi) - 1 cup
idly rice (puzhungal arisi) - 2 tbsp
black gram lentil (ulunthu paruppu) - 2 tbsp
water - 1/4 cup
coconut - 2 tbsp
salt - 1/4 tsp

baking soda - 1/2 tsp

jaggery (brown sugar) - 1/2 cup or little more.
water - 1/2 cup (for jaggery)
cardamom powder - 1/8 tsp

ghee / oil -  as per need

We may need :
kuzhi paniyara kal (puff pancake pan)
fork / skewer

Soak the rice and dhal together for 4 hours. Grind to a fine paste with 1/4 cup water, 1/4 tsp salt, coconut. It should be like idly batter.  Let it stand for 4-5 hours. No need to ferment like idly, but this duration gives soft paniyaram.

Mix jaggery with 1/2 cup water and bring it to a boil. Switch off, let it dissolve. Filter and remove any impurities. Let it cool.  Add it to the prepared batter with cardamom and mix  well.
(This batter can be kept refrigerated now for further use).

Just before preparing the paniyaram, add the baking soda, mix well and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Heat a paniyarakkal (paniyaram pan / puff pancake pan). Add oil/ ghee till 1/2 of the depth of each hole (first time only, then 1 tsp in each hole will do). Let it get hot.

Then pour paniyaram mix in each hole till 3/4. Put a lid and cook covered. It takes about a minute.
Reduce heat to the minimum and wait till its cooked on one side.
Click to see 'how to make paniyaram' in my unniappam post.
Then with the help of a wooden skewer (vadai kambi) or fork, gently flip the paniyaram.
Let them cook the other side too.

Then take them out and drain the excess oil using a kitchen towel.

Sweet Paniyaram is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as snack..
Makes 21 paniyaram
(7 hole paniyaram pan X 3 times)

This sweet paniyaram can be  prepared  by deep frying instead of using a pan also.
Ghee or butter should be used instead of oil to get the most delicious sweet paniyaram.