Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hi !

Dear readers and friends,
I am on a short blog break.
Hope to write again soon!
Wishing all a happy, healthy, peaceful, prosperous and Blessed Easter.
Enjoy blogging and blog hopping,
Take care,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Radish spicy fry

Normally radish is cooked as stir fry in Indian cuisines. I wanted to give it a make-over and here is a spicy fry.
Red radish in a bag.

Radish spicy fry.
Radish - 250 gm
onion - 1
oil - 2 tbsp
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
fennel seed - 1 tsp
curry masala powder - 1/2 tsp
salt - to taste

Peel the radish if necessary. Rinse well. Finely chop onion and radish.
Heat oil in a wok, add fennel.
As soon as fennel gets red, add chopped onion. Fry till it gets soft.
Then add radish, fry in high heat till moisture goes off.
Then add salt, chilly powder, garam masala, 1 tbsp water, stir and cook covered in low flame (10 minutes).
Stir well and take out.
Radish fry is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with chapati or rice.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Coconut cookies

For each petal on the shamrock 
This brings a wish your way  
Good health, good luck, and happiness 
For today and every day. 
May your blessings outnumber 
The shamrocks that grow, 
May St.Patrick pray for us all,
Happy St.Patrick's day! 

St Patrick Puppy | Saint Patricks Day |

I am seeing green everywhere around St.Patrick's day. A week ahead, I too made some cookies to honor St.Patrick. I didn't add any green color to my cookies, but served them on green color cupcake liners:)  Here is some coconut cookies to celebrate St.Patrick's day. 
This cookie should be a bit chewy inside as well as crispy on outside.

Reference: I tried Martha's coconut cookies and made some alterations according to my taste.
Instead of coloring the cookies, I served them on green cupcake liners:)

Coconut cookies for St.Patrick's day!

Cool the baked cookies in a wire rack. 


Dry shredded coconut - 1 1/2 cups for powdering  + 1/4 cup for coating
white sugar - 3/4 cup
brown sugar - 1/2 cup
salt - 1/2 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
unsalted butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick)
egg - 1
vanilla extract - 1 tsp
cardamom powder - 1 tsp (heaped)
All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups

Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
Set aside 1/4 cup coconut in a plate for coating the cookies.
Grind the coconut in a mixer to a fine stage (by pulsing) along with sugar, salt.
Add cold butter, egg, vanilla extract , cardamom and process till smooth.
Sift the flour with baking powder twice.
Keep the flour in a large mixing bowl and add the prepared coconut.
Mix well.
Using a tablespoon as measure, scoop out 1 ball of dough.
Slightly roll it to a ball and flatten it mildly.
Dip it in coconut we kept on the plate.
Arrange 2 inch apart in baking sheets (as this cookies will puff up).
Bake until light golden brown color appears on bottom edges.
It took 13-15 minutes for me.
Always keep watching this from the second batch, as it gets brown quickly.
Cool for 1 minute, transfer to wire rack, let cool completely.
Store in airtight containers.
Stays fresh for a week.

Serving suggestions:
Makes 33 cookies of 2 inch dia.
Serve as dessert or snack.

Prepare this dough and keep refrigerated for 2 weeks, so that we can make fresh cookies whenever we want.
Sweetened dry coconut can also be used instead of dry coconut flakes

Rainbow - Happy St Patricks Day | Saint Patricks Day |

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pomegranate strawberry jam

I made this Pomegranate strawberry preserve / jam recently. At first my plan was to use pomegranate alone, but then it came to my mind that pomegranate on its own has very less pectin, so I added strawberry to get the thickness. I have not gone for canning for this but kept it in fridge for a month. I haven't used any preservative or pectin, so it can be called a refrigerator jam:) This has become our new favorite jam. Hope you all like this beautiful delicious jam.

Instead of regular wheat bread I spread this jam on burger buns on the first day...yummy:)
Pomegranate - 1
strawberry - 10
sugar - 1 cup
corn starch - 1 tbsp

Chop the cleaned strawberries into tiny pieces.
Choose seedless pomegranate. Peel the pomegranate and take out the pomegranate arils (edible seeds).
Cook the strawberry and pomegranate arils in 1 cup water, till strawberry gets cooked completely.
Let the pomegranate retain its shape (no mashing).
Add sugar and bring it to 1 string consistency.
Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tbsp jam (separately) and pour back to the boiling jam.
It will start thickening. Stir in low flame till it gets little difficult to stir.
Switch off. Let cool.
Pour into cleaned sterilized glass bottle. Cool completely and store in fridge.

Serving suggestions:
Makes a spread on breads.
Also a good topping for ice-creams:)

I kept this in fridge for about a month and it stayed good.
Always use a clean dry spoon.
Store bought pectin can also be used instead of strawberry and corn starch.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chettinadu pepper chicken

Chettinad pepper chicken is an appetizer popular in chettinadu restaurant (Indian restaurants). I tried and tried this recipe until I get the perfection of what we generally get in restaurants. I found that the secret of the flavor depends on marination, curry leaf, fresh pepper powder and sesame oil. Try this and enjoy!
Chettinadu pepper chicken fry.
I baked the marinated chicken instead of deep frying.

Chicken - 2 lb
(boneless skinless thigh)
red onion - 1
ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
curry masala powder - 2 tsp
coriander powder - 3 tsp
curry leaf - 2 sprig
green chillies - 3
sesame oil - 2 tbsp
ghee - 2 tsp
fennel seed - 1 tsp
cinnamon - 2 inch
lemon - 1/2
salt - to taste
To marinate:
salt - 2 tsp
curd - 1/2 cup
maida (AP flour) - 1 tbsp
oil / butter - 2 tbsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
vinegar - 2 tbsp
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
To powder:
whole black pepper - 2 tbsp
cumin - 1 tsp

Clean the chicken thighs by rinsing in water.
Cut it into 1.5 inch size pieces.
Mix the items given for marination.
Put the mixture in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly with chicken.
Let it marinate for 1 hour (room temperature) or 4 - 12 hours (overnight) inside refrigerator.
Vinegar in this marinade will keep the meat hygienic for long hours of marination.
Heat enough oil and deep fry the chicken pieces in small batches or bake them as shown in photo.
I threaded the chicken pieces into wooden skewers and baked them at 350 deg for 30 minutes (turned once after 20 minutes). It took almost 30 minutes to cook the chicken in oven until it turns mild red and glossy.
In a separate wok, heat oil + ghee, add cinnamon and fennel. Wait till fennel gets red. Then add the finely chopped onion and fry till it turns golden brown.
Then add the ginger garlic paste and fry for few seconds.
Add the fried / baked chicken pieces and stir for a few seconds.
Then add coriander powder, curry masala powder, prepared pepper powder and fry in low heat till raw smell goes.
Then add chopped green chillies, curry leaves and cook covered.
Check for salt and add more if needed.
Before switching off, squeeze the lemon, give a brisk stir and switch off.
Chettinadu pepper chicken is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as appetizer or along with chapati
I like it with curd rice.

Deep frying the marinated chicken pieces (instead of baking) is traditional in Chettinadu cooking.
Chettinadu foods are popular for their high spice level. I would suggest including some cool lassie drink or buttermilk along with this appetizer.
Instead of the homemade curry masala powder we can use Achi's or Shakthi garam masala powder too.
Instead of thighs we can use a small whole chicken also (nattu kozhi cut into small pieces).

Monday, March 11, 2013

Carrot kuzhi paniyaram

Last week I made this carrot kuzhi paniyaram, inspired by the Tamil movie Saguni, in which actor Karthi makes carrot kuli paniyaram for his girlfriend. I always try to make foods that are popular in restaurants and movies in our house, as it is safer to eat home cooked meals for people like me:)
On that day hubby had a lot of work, stayed overnight and came home only in the early morning. There was a snow storm outside and he came all the way home in that snow by dawn....won't that be an excuse to make fried foods:) After having some pepper milk with him and some sleep,  I wanted to make some good food to cheer him up. I had some left over dosa batter, but still wanted to think something better than dosai. While he was sleeping I planned to make some delicious breakfast with a catchy name....and did this kara paniyaram using left over dosa batter. I am sure it is the best gift for any wife to see her man asking what smells this delicious:)  I am very glad that this came out very well and we enjoyed it with coconut chutney.
Carrot kuli paniyaram
Kuzhi paniyaaram with carrot

Snow time is good food time.....Peeking out of my kitchen window:)

dosa batter - 1 1/2 cup
besan flour - 2 tbsp
baking soda - 1/2 tsp
oil - as per need
carrot - 1
To temper:
mustard seed - 1/2 tsp
urad dhal - 1 tsp
sesame oil - 1 tsp
onion - 1/4 (small)
green chilly - 2
cilantro, curry leaf - few leaves.
asafoetida (hing) - a pinch

Take the dosa batter in a mixing bowl, and add besan flour to it.
It is not traditional to add besan flour, but I add it to get golden red paniyaram.
10 minutes before starting to prepare the paniyaram, add the baking soda and mix well. In the mean time prepare the tempering.
Heat 1 tsp oil in a small wok and add mustard seeds. Once they start splutter, add the urad dhal, asafoetida and finely chopped onion, cilantro, curry leaf, chopped chilly and let it get slightly tender. Add it to the batter and mix well.
Peel the carrot and chop it finely (I used a vegetable chopper).
Now heat a paniyaram pan and brush some oil in all the holes. Then add 1 tsp sesame oil / butter in each hole. Reduce the flame to minimum and pour the batter to halfway in each hole. Click to see the picture. Top each paniyaram with 1/2 tsp chopped carrot and let it get cooked. Cook covered or in open. (I prefer putting a lid to ensure uniform cooking). We can see the paniyaram getting cooked, by the golden color appearing in the edges. Flip using a skewer or fork (I use a spoon and fork). Take out and serve immediately.

Serving suggestion:
Makes a breakfast or snack with tea or dinner or appetizer.
Makes almost 21 paniyaram .
Serve with coconut chutney.

Click to read my kaara paniyaram recipe from scratch.
I used left over dosa batter (5 days old) in this recipe.
Do everything in low heat. It may take a little while but that is the only way to get whole fluffy paniyaram.
Non stick pans work the best. But I have used a pan similar to traditional thick paniyaram pan.
For the first round it may require more oil to fry, but it will take very lesser in the next batches.
Tastes the best when it is very hot.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Madras Kara kulambu

Madras / Chennai is one of the major cities in India.  Kaara kulambu is another version of puli kolambu, a curry made with tamarind and spices. It is a very popular curry in Madras / Chennai.

One can hear this word kaara kolambu very often in Chennai, as this is one dish prepared in most of the households there. I have seen the women cooking this kara kulambu in the evenings after coming home from their job. A typical Madarasi dinner may be a  generous ladle of this kara  kulambu over piping hot rice with any side dish of their choice. Kara kulambu is a convenient dish in many houses, as this curry can stay fresh till next day without refrigeration. So they consider making this for dinner and reserve some for next day's lunch pack. Karakulambu needs a lot of red onion, tomato and tamarind. Sometimes I have seen the prices of onion and tomato shooting up and my friends would panic how to cook their favorite curry:) I had asked them why they may need so much onion / tomato, as my puli kulambu needs lot of coconut and had suggested them my version. But they would never consider my version and I love the way they stick to their native recipe:) Yes, this simple kara kulambu recipe is addictive and I too agree on this:)

I learned this recipe from one of my neighborhood friend J akka while in Chennai. She is a native of Chennai and her recipes include very tangy and spicy foods, which I like the most. One evening she was teaching her daughter to make this simple curry. On seeing this, I too noted down her recipe and my hubby likes it very much.  I have prepared this kara kozhambu with okra (vendakkai).  We can use any native vegetable like drumstick, drumstick leaves, brinjal, raw banana, or simply without any vegetables. This recipe can serve up to 4 to 5 people.
Vendakka kara kolambu in Madras style

Tamarind - 1 small lemon size
red onion - 2
garlic - 10 cloves
tomato (3 crushed) - 3/4 cup
home made sambar powder - 2 tbsp
red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
curry leaf - 2 sprigs
oil - 3 tbsp
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
fenugreek seed  (venthayam / methi) - 1 tsp
cumin seed - 1 tsp
sea salt - 2 tsp (as per taste)
jaggery / brown sugar - 1 tbsp
okra - 15 number

Soak tamarind in warm water along with salt. Extract juice using 2 cups of water.
Put sambar powder, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, jaggery in the tamarind extract. Keep aside.
Some people won't add jaggery (brown sugar), but I like this version better.
Chop onion finely. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin. As soon as mustard starts crackling, add curry leaves, very finely chopped onion and saute till onion turns soft.
Clean the okra, remove top and bottom. Wipe without any moisture. Cut it into 1 inch pieces.
Saute it along with onion till we see brown spots on okra.
Then add the crushed tomato (chop them finely and squeeze with hands) and saute till the oil shows up (without breaking the okra).
Put the peeled garlic and saute for a few seconds.
Then pour the tamarind extract prepared.
Bring it to a boil.
Cook covered in low heat till curry gets little thick (10 minutes).
Madras kara kulambu is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as curry over rice. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Broccoli usili (dal fry)

Usili is a side dish made with dal, which can be compared to a dry form of dal fry.  It is one of the traditional foods that can be seen in many households of Tamilnadu. Any fibrous vegetable like carrot, beans, cabbage can be turned into usili. It is a great recipe to enrich the simple vegetables with proteins.
Many years ago when I first saw this broccoli in a supermarket in Missouri, I thought it as a green cauliflower:)  and cooked it just like that. But then only I found the smell and taste more dominant and it is certainly a different veggie, which is in need of more care:) Then I would add it in stir fries, pastas or soups only. Then tried making usili with that and it tasted very yummy. In this recipe I have added carrot also, but tastes good alone also.
Carrot broccoli usili (dal fry). This recipe makes me love broccoli more:)
Broccoli usili

Broccoli - 1 lb
carrot - 1 (optional)
oil - 1 tbsp
mustard - 1 tsp
curry leaf - 1 sprig

To grind:
Thoor dhal (red gram) - 1 cup
dry red chilly - 3
cumin - 1 tsp
sea salt - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
hing - 1/8 tsp

Soak dal for 1 hour and grind without water along with the other items to a fine paste.
Scoop the dal into idly plates and steam cook for 10 minutes.
Let it get cool completely.
Put it in the mixie again and pulse gently for a few times, so that the cooked dal looks loose.
In the mean time wash the broccoli and peel the carrot. cut them into small pieces.
Heat oil in a wok and let mustard splutter.
Then add the curry leaves, chopped broccoli, carrot and stir fry it.
Cook covered along with little salt for 5 minutes.
Then add the prepared dal mixture and stir fry it in high flame for few minutes.
Switch off.
Broccoli usili is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve with kara kulambu + rice or rasam + rice.
Tastes good with chapati also.
I like it as snack too:)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Shrimp pepper fry

I think I should translate it as Era milagu varuval :
Era - shrimp / prawn; milagu - black pepper; varuval fry
I made this shrimp pepper fry recently, as I wanted to make a very spicy version. I am not sure if this recipe belongs to any regional cuisine or a traditional one. I coined it as per my taste with coconut oil and black pepper. Mostly I pick up the shrimp in the freezer aisle, as it is more comfortable for me than selecting from fresh lot. In this recipe I have used frozen unpeeled raw shrimp. I put them in water and leave at room temperature for an hour to defrost.Then I ground this pepper based masala and stir-fried till oil shows up. Freshly made masala made this curry very delicious. Try and enjoy this spicy pepper fry :)
Shrimp pepper fry

Chapati, prawn pepper fry and spinach dal....yummy platter:)

Shrimp - 20 numbers
salt - to taste
lemon - 1/8 fruit
red onion - 1
tomato puree - 1/2 cup
garam masala powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
green chilly - 3
curry leaves - 1 sprig

To fry and grind:
coriander seed - 1 tbsp
black pepper - 1 tbsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp
fennel seeds - 1tsp
shallot -3
garlic - 6
coconut oil - 2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp

Heat 1/2 tsp coconut oil in a wok. Fry the shallot, garlic till golden color. Take out.
Fry the other items mentioned for 30 seconds. Let cool and grind to a fine paste with 2 tbsp water.
Clean the shrimp, add some salt, turmeric powder, lemon juice. while it is marinating, heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in a wok.
Add curry leaves, finely chopped onion, 1/2 tsp sugar, green chillies and fry till it turns golden.
Add tomato puree and wait till raw smell goes.
Put the cleaned shrimp, prepared masala, garam masala, salt and cook covered for 10 minutes.
If needed open the lid, add some more coconut oil and fry till it is almost a dry curry.
Shrimp pepper curry is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with chapati or rice.
Tastes great with curd rice:)

Vazhaikkai Poriyal (Plantain stir fry)

This vazhaikai poriyal was a staple in our house as we had some (lot) of banana trees in our backyard. I have seen amma running there to pic...