Monday, May 30, 2016

Shrimp head curry

Era meen thalai kulambu / prawn head curry / shrimp shell curry.

My mom used to do this more often, whenever she had bought shrimp. Shrimp is usually made into a thick stir-fry in Tamilnadu cuisine, but that won't be enough for a large family , even if we buy a kg (which is way too expensive).The person in-charge of the kitchen should be clever enough to satisfy everyone (!). So ladies in my mom's generation could have invented curries like this :)
Optimistically  I guess this shrimp head curry is a way to utilize the shrimp completely. After observing many cuisines of the globe, I assume that this is not an unusual way to extract juices from shell fish.  I am sure this is a more economical as well as delicious way to get the nutrients from shrimp. Here in my house, I make this curry sometimes, as it can be used as a side dish for idli, the next morning.

I had this recipe in my draft for a very long time, since 2010. Hope you all love this flavorful shrimp curry in coconut sauce.
Fresh whole shrimp

Shrimp taken out of shell
Shrimp head curry with potatoes.

Shrimp - 1/2 kg
Onion - 1
oil - 1 tbsp
tomato - 2
curry leaf - 2 sprig
green chilly - 2 slit
mustard - 1 tsp
sea salt - to taste 
chopped potato - 2

Masala to grind:
shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
cumin - 1 tsp
shallot - 4
fennel - 1 tsp
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
coriander powder - 3 tsp

Buy fresh small or medium size shrimp. (Larger variety prawn / shrimp may taste bland - my opinion only). Separate the head portion and keep aside. This head part has some juicy fleshy parts too. 
 Remove the shell , keep it separate. 
Remove and throw away the intestines (green stuff seen at back of shrimp). 
Now we got our usable portion of shell and flesh of shrimp separated.
Keep the shrimp for further cooking separately
Now rinse the shrimp head and keep it for kulambu.
Rinse the remaining shell with legs and put in a mixie jar. Pulse it few times and crush it. Extract juice out of it using a cup of water.Repeat it twice to get the most of the juices. Discard the crushed shell.  Keep aside.

Heat oil in a deep wok.
Add mustard.
After mustard gets cracked, add finely chopped onion, curry leaf.
After sauteing it for a minute, add chopped tomato and saute till it gets mushy and caramelized.  Add potato cubes.
Cook this closed with  1 cup water.
Peel the garlic, shallot and grind the masala together to a fine paste with some water. 
Add  prepared masala, green chilly, curry leaf and bring it to a boil.
Then add the cleaned shrimp head and the extracted shrimp juice.
Boil it for 5 minutes and see that the raw smell goes off. 
The curry would have started to smell very delicious now. Then switch off.
Shrimp head curry / era thalai kulambu is ready! 

Serving suggestions:
Serve this curry over rice as main course along with  shrimp pepper fry or shrimp thokku or shrimp roast or shrimp kebab.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Cool salad

All salads are supposed to be easy to cook and cool to consume. But somehow they start getting more makeovers with store bought dressings and toppings. Though I like all kinds of dressings, I make the below version of salad more often as it needs only a few ingredients.
Enjoy !

Cool cool salad

Salad dressing : Olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper

Red / purple cabbage.

Chopped purple cabbage -  1 cup
lettuce - 3 leaf
onion - 1/2
tomato - 1
canned olives - few
cucumber - 1
cilantro - few

Lemon - 1/4
honey - 1 tbsp
salt - to taste
extra virgin olive oil - 1 tbsp
pepper powder - to taste.
Mix everything in a bowl and keep aside. we can keep this handy in fridge and it would be much helpful, if we have to pack this for lunch.

Rinse the vegetables and remove the water completely. Chop the tomato, cucumber, cabbage , onion and lettuce into bite size pieces. Keep them in a bowl inside fridge or in a serving container. Before serving add the salad dressing, minced cilantro.  Toss well.

Serving suggestion:
Serves 3 to 4 people.
I use the leftover salad as sandwich-stuffing.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Wheat paniyaram (baked)

When I saw this cake pop maker in Aldi and the first thing that came to my mind was kuzhi paniyaram. It was almost sold out as USA's cake pops are popular. The nice cashier lady asked me if I am going to try any Indian recipes using that and also told me that her mom has started making spicy paniyarams. I told her that that's the idea :)
That weekend I made a  'whole wheat paniyaram' (just like  unniappam). It took only 5 minutes to prepare the batter. By that time I started preheating and poured the paniyarams and baked everything within 30 minutes.
Now I am pretty sure that this cake pop maker can be used to make any kind of paniyaram by baking and the best part is this baking needs very little oil only. 
This is not an ad for cake pop maker machine but I tell you all how much this equipment is useful in creating Indian dishes too :)  So, what is the difference between baked paniyaram and one that is cooked in a non stick pan ? Almost the same..... if we are using the usual rice batter, but this baking process helps us make our own version of paniyarams using various healthy ingredients.

Here is the 'baked kuli paniyaram' for you all !

Whole wheat flour - 1 cup
ravai (sooji / semolina) - 1/4 cup
Indian brown sugar (jaggery / vellam) - 3/4 cup 
ripe banana - 1 
salt - 1/4 tsp
baking soda - 1/4 tsp
oil - few drops

Mash the banana in a wide mixing bowl. To the same bowl, add wheat flour, semolina, jaggery, salt, baking soda,  fruit salt or orange juice or curd 1 tbsp, 
Grease the non stick paniyaram pan or electric cake pop maker with one or two drops of ghee or oil.
I used an electric cake pop maker. If you are using a stove top paniyaram pan, the click to see 'how to make kuli paniyaram'.

The following instructions are for electric cake pop maker. 
Grease the lower plate of the pan. The upper plate may not need any greasing.
Switch ON the cake pop maker and preheat for 5 minutes.
Then using a spoon carefully fill the bottom holes upto 3/4 th. 
Close it. Let it cook for 6-7 minutes.  Insert a toothpick and see if it comes out clean. The paniyaram would be baked perfectly. No need to flip. Just take out using a wooden skewer or plastic fork (no metals).
Whole wheat sweet paniyaram is ready !

Serving suggestions:
Time taken less than 30 minutes.
Number of paniyaram : 30 (tiny size)

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...