Bringing Imagination to your Cooking…!!!

  • My take on Rick Steins Chettinad Chicken...
  • Paneer Shimla Mirchi…
  • Spiced Mango Pancakes..
  • Lemon-Coriander Hummus......
  • Ingredients..
  • Ambuli Pachhodi...
  • Lahsun/Garlic Chutney...

Latest

Curry Leaves Chutney Pudi/ Powder.. Hebbar Iyengar style..!


All organic.. home-grown ingredients are awesome to have & to eat.. Don’t you agree?? As a kid I remember my grandmother preparing this very fragrant chutney pudi from the freshest curry leaves available.. yup, plucking them from the 5 curry leaves tree we had in our garden :), using the copra she made from drying the excess coconut coconuts from our garden. There were 6 coconut trees in our garden. Loads of coconuts were always available. The excess ones were turned into copra & then taken to the oil mill by my grandmother to extract oil. Then she would use the oil to cook her yummy food or savouries..! Such memorable days…!

It is very common to see a curry leaves tree in almost every South Indian house. You your passing by a South Indian house if you can smell the tadka/tempering with the heavenly aroma of curry leaves. Along with the awesome fragrance that they impart.. they also have loads of medicinal value. Most of us have a tendency to keep the leaves aside when we eat a meal, this is an awesome way to consume the curry leaves & take in all its benefits.

I do not have my grandmothers recipe. Beginning of this month, K’s granny came over to spend a week with us. I had loads of copra with me. I asked her if she could help me make some Curry leaves chutney pudi. K loves chutney pudi a lot. Whenever he see’s the bottle he almost every time pops a spoon of it into his mouth. So K’s Pati (granny in Tamil) helped me or rather I should say, taught me to make 2 kinds of chutney pudi. A curry leaves one and another coriander leaves kind. The recipe for the coriander leaves chutney pudi is slightly different from this one, so don’t go around swapping the curry leaves with coriander leaves. I will post the curry leaves chutney pudi recipe soon.

I do not have pictures of the making of the chutney pudi, I wanted to click some pics with pati & I was so excited learning this recipe that I completely forgot about the camera. Next time I get down to making this one, I’ll make sure I click pics.

I love curry leaves chutney pudi a lot as it makes me nostalgic. This was the only kind of chutney pudi my gran made for us. I have also received requests to post garlic, peanut, idli chutney pudi recipe’s. All these will take some time as I have lots of chutney pudi in stock now. With just the two of us around I don’t want to stock up loads of varieties & they going bad. So as & when my stock needs to be replenished I shall get down to making these. Until then I have this new recipe which will serve as a small project for you this weekend.. :) Happy Cooking..!

Ingredients: (15-20 servings) Preparation Time: 20-25 mins
Tur dal – 1/2 cup
Copra grated/desiccated coconut – 3/4 -1 cup
Black peppercorns – 10-12
Dried red chilli’s – 15-16 byadgi chilli variety, you can use the other hotter varieties, use according to your taste
Curry leaves – 45-50 medium-sized leaves, washed, drained, wiped dry & leave it to dry on a kitchen towel
Tamarind – 1 marble-sized piece, make sure there are no seeds
Jaggery – 1.5 – 2 tbsp, powdered
Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric – 1/8 tsp
Oil – half a tsp
Salt to taste – preferably use rock salt

Method:
Take a skillet, dry roast the dried red chilli’s & the Tur dal. Keep tossing them around constantly & maintain heat at low. Once the fur dal begin to change colour to a light brownish & the chilli’s too turn paler, turn the heat off. Transfer the ingredients to a plate and let it cool down to room temperature.

Meanwhile while the Tur dal & chilli’s are cooling down, heat the oil in the skillet. Add the asafoetida & let it sizzle. Maintain heat at low. Now throw in the turmeric & the curry leaves. Fry till the curry leaves begin to lose their moisture and begin to turn crispier. Now add the copra and black peppercorns and toss it around for a minute or two. Turn the heat off. Transfer this to another plate. Let it cool down to room temperature.

Add the powdered jaggery, tamarind and salt to the roasted, cooled down dried red chilli’s & dal mixture. You can pulse this mixture in a food processor till the ingredients are broken down. Next add in the roasted curry leaves mixture. Process all the ingredients till you get a coarse powder. In between you can taste & adjust the salt.

Transfer the contents to a plate. Let it dry out for about 15-20 mins (The jaggery & tamarind have some moisture content in them which will get transferred to the roasted ingredients). Transfer the chutney pudi to an airtight glass jar.

You are set for 2-3 months i.e if it lasts for that long.. :) I mean to say you can store this for 2-3 months. After this time frame, it will begin to lose it’s freshness & aroma.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with any South Indian breakfast dishes like – Dosa, Idli, Upma etc as an accompaniment when you’re in a hurry & really cannot get down to preparing a fresh coconut chutney.

Hebbar Iyengar style Curry leaves chutney pudi....
In Mangalore we eat this chutney pudi by adding a tsp of coconut oil to a tbsp of chutney pudi, mixing the pudi/powder in the oil so that its easier to eat & tastier. But Iyengar’s like to eat their chutney pudi with a tsp of ghee instead of oil. Do let me know if you have a new way to eat your chutney pudi.. :)

Tip: You can make a butter chutney pudi sandwich.. believe me it’s yum.. :)

 

Turkey..!!! A must visit for a traveller who is a foodie as well..! Guest Post!


Heylo there..! I know it has been a long long time.. ! Hope you guys have been awesome at what you do.. I’m sure about that!

Long long ago there lived a food blogger who used to blog at her space called Keli Paan… since the time she converted her passion to work, she has not been around much on her blog..! This for sure would have refreshed your memory about me..! Most of you know that starting a new venture is not a joke.. You really need to work hard for the venture to flourish..! That is the reason you do not see me around here.

All of us blogger stumble into other wonderful blogs nearly everyday..! One such thing happened to a fellow blogger James, he landed on my blog one very fine day and he contacted me since he liked what he saw… We connected and a guest post discussion was on.. I must admit I kept James hanging for quite a while, since I’m really caught up with my baking profession. Anyways, let us get to know a about James, in his own words – “James Anderson is from London and is a reader and blogger interested in Sports, Travel, Fitness and Health.While browsing for the same i got something really unique and informative as (kelipaan.com) so thought to contribute here. Currently working on Turkey Visas. Coffee drinker and a passionate Writer. And a big fan of Barclay’s Premier League Football Club, Arsenal .” :).

As many of you know that I love to travel, one of the biggest reasons I love to travel is because of the new food options that come along with it.. ! James in this post will share with us some wonderful insights about Turkey. When we were in the UK, visiting Turkey was on the cards.. but then I had to pass then. This post now reminds me, how much both K & I wanted to visit Turkey..! Over to James….

Turkey – The Best Food Destination in the Middle East West.

We are all used to the visions of Turkey with its sunny beaches, historic architecture and party venues. But Turkey is also a premier venue for those for whom tourism is all about the food. What are the best Food Experiences that Turkey Provides? The best thing about Turkish food is that it is produced using the best of fresh ingredients, including nuts, seeds, and vegetables; it’s a very healthy way to eat.

• Manti is a delicious traditional dish that you will need to venture off the beaten tourist track to find. Mincemeat is encased in dough which is boiled at a very high temperature and served with yoghurt poured over the top. Its well worth finding a local eatery that serves it, and you will have the added benefit of sampling the local culture and meeting local people.

• If you are busy seeing the sights but you still want to sample some Turkish cuisine, Borek are the perfect snack. These pastry slices layered with cheese, spinach, or beef, are relatively inexpensive and readily available from most pastry sellers.

• Sac Kavurma is tastiness with heat. Served over a flame at the table it is an enticing mixture of meat with peppers, onion, and tomatoes. The colors are rich and beautiful adding to the eating experience.

• Many people visit the local kebab house on a Saturday night but a traditional Testi kebab eaten on Turkish soil, is a completely different experience. The delicacy originated in the Cappadocia Region but its popularity has spread country wide. You don’t miss out on any of the taste as it is brought to you in the clay pot in which it is cooked; a perfect mix of meat, peppers, vegetables, and onions. A City of Food Experiences Istanbul is one of the most popular Turkish destinations; either for longer stays or for a short break. The food experiences of the city are something to be savored.

• If you are on a self-catering break, and you are felling adventurous, a visit to one of the city’s fish markets may be in order; add some taste from the Egyptian Spice Bazaar and you have a meal to remember.

• For food on the go sample the Turkish version of the bagel; the simit is a ring of chewy sesame seed covered bread that is perfect for taste on the move.

• Turkish coffee (Turk kahvesi) has a flavor all its own. It’s perfect as a meal accompaniment, or on its own. The beverage is brewed as it should be savored, slowly. This process brings out the provocative flavor.

• They may sound a bit basic but fasulye (beans) are anything but a staple on most Turkish restaurant menus, they are high in flavor and a delight to eat.

• If you have a sweet tooth try a pudding with a certain panache to its simplicity. Finn &Mac is basically a baked rice pudding; a mixture of rice, sugar and corn starch in a simple but beautiful combination. If your mouth is now watering grab your passports and your Turkish visas and head off to Turkey to sample the produce first hand.

 

I’m sure those of you who have visited Turkey will have some more interesting bits to add to what James had to say…. So comment away guys! :) Cheers till next time..!

 

 

My take on Rick Steins Chettinad Chicken……


If my TV is switched on, Cookery shows are my favourite pastime.. There is so much to learn about food both from these shows & the internet.. New ingredients.. New dishes.. world cuisine.. tips etc.

When in the UK, I watched loads of cookery shows on BBC’s Food channel, about a couple of months before we moved back from Glasgow..  I found this particular show called Rick Steins India really fascinating, as he travelled the length & breadth of India looking for some of the best curry recipes..! 

When Rick Stein reached Madhurai to try some of the authentic Chettinad style dishes, he got to know that the hotel – Taj Gateway had employed a housewife living close-by to cook the authentic regional dishes. That’s when my eyes stumbled on this burnt paper like looking spice… I had never ever heard or seen it before.. ! It fascinated me.. Stone flower/dagad/kalpasi etc. were the names used to refer to this spice. I knew for sure that this would be hard to come by in the UK. I waited patiently to get back to India to try this recipe out. After we got back, this particular recipe just remained hidden/lost somewhere in my thoughts.. until just about a couple of weeks back, while I was grocery shopping, I was into my usual scanning of shelves looking for new ingredients… and my eyes fell upon a packet of dagad..! The thought of this recipe suddenly rushed back into my memory..! The manner in which Rick Stein had praised this dish… even though it was quite hot for his taste, just flashed back. I picked up a pack. These are really light..a 50 gm pack should you last you a year or more. It is a lichen from a tree… with flavours very different from what I have ever experienced. Guess what.. this dish is even served at Rick Steins Cafe.. that’s how much he loved this.. & I can’t blame him.. if I owned a restaurant, I would make sure this went up in the menu…! :) 

My take on Rick Steins Chettinad Chicken...

Chettinad region is in Tamil Nadu – a Southern State of India. It is knows for its famous cuisine – Chettinad cuisine. This cuisine is regarded as one of the hottest & most aromatic cuisine of South India. Most of the dishes in this region are eaten along with rice based accompaniments like Dosa, appam’s idli’s etc. Stone flower is a very common ingredient used in the Chettinad cuisine.

My take on Rick Steins Chettinad Chicken...

Starting from the spice blend to the whole spices, till the completed dish.. everything about this dish is very aromatic.. you got to try it to believe it.!! I know it’s a blend of some of the common Indian spices, with just the addition of some dagad/stone flower. That makes all the difference. Rick Stein asks you to substitute an extra piece cinnamon if you can’t find stone flower. But my take is that look for it, this is what takes the dish to a whole new level. 

Check the colours of the dish.. it is so rich & inviting. A perfect dish for someone who likes a hot South Indian chicken dish. What are you waiting for?!!? Go look for the Stone flower.. rest of the things are available in any pantry for sure..!

For those of you who want to try this recipe with EGGS!!.. I have a small note towards the end of this recipe which will guide you.. !

My take on Rick Steins Chettinad Chicken...

Ingredients: (Serves 3)        Preparation Time: 30 mins
Chicken breast – 500 gms, cut into cubes, washed & drained
Shallots/Sambhar onions – 150 gms, finely chopped
Note: I was lazy to peel 150 gms of sambhar onions. So I used about 50 gms of sambhar onions & 2 medium-sized onions.
Garlic – 12 plump cloves, peeled & minced
Ginger – 2 inch piece, peeled & minced
Cinnamon – 3 inch piece, roughly broken
Dagad/Stone flower – 3 whole, finely chopped
Tip: There are bits of back stuck to the stone flower, clean them & remove the bits of bark out. If you cannot find dagad, use an extra 2 inch piece of cinnamon. 
Fennel – 1 tsp, I used the smaller variety, rather than the plump ones
Curry Leaves – about 3 sprigs while cooking & 1 sprig to garnish
Sugar – 3/4 tsp
Cooking oil – 1.5 – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

For the fresh spice mix:
Kashmiri red chilli powder – 3/4 tbsp
Black Peppercorns – 3/4 tbsp
Fennel seeds – 3/4 tbsp
Coriander seeds – 3/4 tbsp

Method:
Rub some salt on the chicken cubes & keep aside. Grind all the ingredients mentioned for the spice mix into as fine a powder as you can.

Heat oil in a deep bottom non-stick pan/kadai. When the oil heats up, maintain heat at medium & throw in the cinnamon, stone flower & fennel seeds & fry for a minute till fragrant. Now throw in the finely chopped shallots along with a pinch of salt & curry leaves. Fry till the shallots turn soft & a light golden brown. Add the chicken & toss them around for a couple of minutes to let the chicken blend in with the soft golden onions and the aromatic oil in the kadai.

Now, add the freshly prepared spice mix, sugar, ginger & garlic, mix well & let the spices coat the chicken pieces. After a few minutes add about 100 ml of water, mix well. Check salt & adjust seasoning, remember we added salt to the onions & the chicken. Maintain heat at medium at all times. Cook and keep tossing the chicken often. If the sauce begins to stick to the pan & the spices begin to burn, add splashes of water till the chicken is done & the water in the sauce evaporates and is thick & clings to the chicken pieces. Turn off the heat.

Note: For all you vegetarians out there… I’m sure this recipe will taste awesome with Paneer or mushrooms or even babycorn. I ended up trying this recipe with boiled eggs..  & it turned out fantastic ! So all you EGGITARIANS.. there you go.. A new recipe for all of you.. So many of my Eggitarian friends often complain that I don’t post enough Egg recipes.. Just follow the same recipe & add the boiled eggs once you add all the ingredients, since adding the eggs in place of the chicken as mentioned in the recipe will be too soon & the yellow may dissolve in the curry as you toss the sauce around. So, prepare the sauce & add the boiled eggs towards the end, once the sauce thickens..  ! Enjoy! 

Garnishing:
Garnish with some fresh curry leaves.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with a bowl of rice & rasam or with any Indian breads of your choice.

My take on Rick Steins Chettinad Chicken...

K & I enjoyed this with a bowl of hot konjee with a dash of some ghee & salt…! Heavenly & comforting. You can also enjoy this as a starter.

 

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…


Food for thought..! Ever wondered how some dishes/recipes were named.. !?! I’m sure every cuisine has some very interesting names.. Since my interaction has been the most with Indian food … Indian food  does have some real bizarre names like – pasanda, navratan, jalfrezi, tikka, ragda patties etc.. whoever came up with such fancy names.. hats off! Now come the other boring names, probably named by someone who was simply caught up on a day like this where he could not just come up with anything fancy…I’m talking about the use of names like masala, fry, curry, kadai, handi, tandoori etc. The name of this dish sounds familiar huh… just like Aloo Shimla Mirchi.. I know! But I couldn’t come up with a more innovative name…! I kept racking my brains over it.. Not one of my very innovative days when it comes to naming dishes I suppose & of course not for K as well..! I asked K to try the dish & give this dish a name.. he came up with this tacky name…! I smiled & asked him if it’s all he could come up with.. he replied “I’m hungry, right now this is what I can come up with!”. I did not want to bug him more.. so I just stuck with naming it this way.. !!!

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

I had a huge stash of Paneer in my fridge which I had completely forgotten about… Thanks to my 3 year twin nephews who were fighting for more Paneer on their plate during our Skype Video chat, I decided I’ll cook K a paneer dish for dinner!

With all the shows on TLC I watch.. K is always drooling on the Bacon, the numerous cheese’s, pink salmon, Ham & cheese, fish & chips, .. the list goes on..! You place paneer in front of K along with some roti’s, he is happy..! K’s vegetarian happy meal formula in Indian food has to have some Paneer…!

This dish is again something I just made up on the go.. ! It tangy, sweet & sour and mildly hot… with some lovely flavour & crunch added by the green peppers/capsicum/Shimla mirchi.

Shimla Mirchi & coriander if you were wondering what were those things in the background which were out of focus…

This is one of the first time I tried to shoot pictures this way.. not too much on the background, a less busy picture.. Just a little bored with my usual style of photography. Hope you guys find these pictures appealing..! Change is the only constant isn’t it??!

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3 ) Preparation Time: 30 mins
Paneer – 175 gms, cubed
Onions – 2 medium-sized, finely chopped
Bay leaves – 1/2 of a medium-sized leaf, roughly torn into 2-3 pieces
Dried red chilli’s – 2, medium spicy variety, each roughly torn into 2-3 pieces
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – a pinch
Tamarind – 1/2 of a marble-sized ball, without seeds, soak in 1/4 warm cup water & keep aside
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Capsicum – 1 medium-sized, de-seeded and cubed
Coriander – 2 sprigs, finely chopped to garnish
Cashews – 5, soaked in 1/4 cup milk for at least 30 mins, make a paste of the cashews with the milk
Tip: Skip the Cashews if you wanna go skinny with this dish
Cooking oil – 1.5 tbsp
Salt to taste

For the fresh paste:
Tomato – 1 medium-sized, roughly chopped
Coriander – 10-12 sprigs with the stems
Green chilli’s – 1, roughly chopped
Garlic – 8 plump cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
Ginger – 1 small piece,roughly chopped
Cardamom – 3 whole
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece

Method:
Heat oil in a kadai/deep bottom fry pan. Once the oil heats up, set heat to medium. Throw in the bay leaves bits & let them sizzle. In about 30 seconds, throw in the cumin seeds & let them sizzle, do not let them turn black. Add the finely chopped onion & add some salt to help fry them quicker. Let them turn translucent.

Meanwhile, grind all the ingredients mentioned for a paste except the tomatoes. Once the rest of the ingredients have turned into a rough paste, add the tomatoes & blend to as smooth a paste as possible. Add a bit of water if required.

Squeeze the juice out of the soaking tamarind & throw the pulp away, reserving all the water.

When the onion begins to turn a light brown, add the roughly torn dried red chilli’s, mix it around. Next add the freshly ground paste along with 1 cup water. Simmer. When the sauce thickens throw in the turmeric & coriander powder. Mix it around. Let it fry for a couple of minutes. Now throw in the sugar, tamarind juice & give the sauce a good mix.

Note: Do not let the sauce burn, reduce heat & add a little water if it is too dry.

When all the raw flavours fade away add the cashew paste if you wish to add & throw in the capsicum & fry till the capsicum cooks in to a way you like it, I like a bit crunch in them so I cook them halfway.

Note: If you need some gravy in this dish, add about 1/2 cup of water before you add the capsicum. Else you can let all the water evaporate & make this a dry dish.

Lastly add the paneer cubes, mix well so that the sauce coats the paneer. Cook the paneer till tender. 

Garnishing:
Garnish with some chopped coriander.

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot as an accompaniment with hot Indian breads.

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

Else you can make them into rolls. Add a couple of spoons of the sabji with some freshly chopped onions, coloured peppers and make yourself a roll or a wrap. :) This sounds perfect if you have just enough leftovers right?

Spiced Mango Pancakes….


Mangoes..!

K loves mangoes…. Just the way I love crabs.. :D. You give him a couple of mangoes & I won’t feel his presence around.. He gets lost in his own world.. We suddenly have loads of Mangoes at home.. Thanks to a friends farmhouse & K’s cousin who brought us some from a friends orchard. All seem to be ripening at the same time almost… !! Such lovely sweet mangoes cannot go a waste can they??!? Had to come up with ways to eat them in as many ways as possible..!

Spiced Mango Pancakes..

Instead of the usual milkshake or cut fruit with muesli or corn flakes, Pancakes seemed to be good alternative.. Been a while since we had pancakes for breakfast..! So ended up fixing some mango pancakes for breakfast..! K’s face lit up with the very sound of mango pancakes.. He loves bacon & pancakes for breakfast the American way :D.. Every time I read this combo on a menu card, I always found I quite strange, until I tried in & really liked it, a shame that I had not given this wonderful combo a shot earlier..!! Sigh..! I used the salted butter to make-do with the saltiness from the Bacon..

Yes, I know I’m on a diet & watching my calorie intake..!!! I try to make one good meal for K so that he does not have to suffer due to my diet. They smelled so heavenly that I just could not say no to them.. Just indulged in one small pancake & had my cup of green tea with it.. ! I just know how my mind tempts me, by giving me these awesome creative ideas about food just when I should not be thinking about such indulgent food..! 

Mangoes..!

You see mangoes everywhere in the market. Even alphonso’s have gotten cheaper now, a carton/dozen for just 300/- which is a steal compared to buying them for 900/- for a dozen in the beginning of the season. Look at the yellow-golden pancakes screaming out at you from the pictures…! Don’t you think this recipe is worth giving a shot??!??

Ingredients: (Serves 2)       Preparation Time: 20 mins
Mango pulp – from one medium-sized mango, use any sweet variety of mango
Flour – 3/4 cup
Castor sugar – 2 tbsp, use more if the mango isn’t sweet enough
Ground Cinnamon – 1/4 tsp + more to drizzle
Salt – 1/8 tsp
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Egg – 1
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Milk – 3/4 cup
Salted butter – 1 tbsp for frying
Mango cubes to serve

Method:
Sift Flour, salt & baking powder together into a measuring mug. I usually use a mug since it is easier to pour the batter on to the frypan. Add the sugar & give the ingredients a good whisk. If you like to you can add about 1/4 tsp of cinnamon here to the dry ingredients as well. I like cinnamon a lot, so I added cinnamon while preparing the batter as well. :) You can skip adding cinnamon here if you find it very overpowering.

Puree the mango pulp along with 1/2 cup of the milk, so that it is easier to puree the mango pulp. Now add the cooking oil & the egg & whisk well. If the wet ingredients seem to be too thick adjust by adding 1/4 cup of remaining milk, till a smooth runny consistency is achieved. (Remember haven’t added the dry ingredients yet so it is going to get thicker). Add the wet ingredients to the dry & fold till the dry ingredients are incorporated well. Make sure the batter is just the right consistency.

Midway...

Heat your non-stick pancake pan. Set heat to low. Grease the pan with some salted butter & allow it to melt. Pour enough batter required to make a pancake on to the pan. Add some butter around the pancake & cover the pan & let the pancake cook for a couple of minutes. Remember do not increase the heat from low. Open the lid, the top of the pancake should have also cooked, else cover & cook for another minute. Do not let the underside burn. Spread some butter on top, turn the pancake upside down for about a minute. Take the pancake off heat.

Garnishing:
Garnish with some fresh-cut mango pulp cubes with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. I did not have any fresh whipped cream with me.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve the pancakes with the garnish mentioned along with some fresh whipped cream if you have some. :) Else you can serve this with some syrup & crispy bacon the American way..!!! Or serve it with some Vanilla ice-cream as a dessert.. :))

Spiced Mango Pancakes..

 

Dig in.. indulge!  We can all die another day.. :)

Lemon-Coriander Hummus….


Hummus is a very popular dip in the Middle Eastern countries made from cooked chickpeas. This essentially needs a sesame seed paste known as Tahini. There are loads of flavoured hummus available in the market. It is a super healthy dip, made of fresh/boiled ingredients with loads of olive oil.

Lemon-Coriander Hummus......

Those of you who saw the recipe I posted yesterday would know that the Hummus recipe was coming up next. I made some homemade Tahini, as ready-made Tahini paste is hard to come by easily in India. You may find it is some exclusive stores in certain cities. Such exclusive stores which stock up of world foods is not close to the place I live, in Bangalore. Anyways it is a pretty simple recipe. One does not really need to go hunting for store-bought Tahini. It is ready in a jiffy. Check here for the – Tahini Recipe.

Ingredients for the hummus....

Now once you have Tahini ready, all you need is a can of chickpeas or you can soak a cup of chickpeas overnight & cook it till tender. The rest of the ingredients are pretty easy to find too. A small bunch of fresh coriander, juice of lemons, a few cloves of garlic, some coriander powder, extra virgin olive oil and some salt to taste… that is it.. blend them all together & your done..

Hummus is traditionally served with flatbread such as Pita or as a part of meze. It is also served as an accompaniment to falafel. You can also eat hummus with some tortilla chips & salsa, instead of the guacamole/sour cream on the side.

Lemon-Coriander Hummus...

I always used to pick flavoured hummus tubs like – Jalapeño hummus, Thai sweet chilli hummus, Red pepper hummus etc. from stores when living in the UK & eat them with crudités or with tortilla chips. You can even eat it as it is.. Both K &I love hummus as it is, it’s really really tasty & does not actually need an accompaniment with it, just dig in & I guarantee that you will lick your fingers clean..! 

Ingredients: (Serves 3)         Preparation Time: 10 mins

Ingredients for the hummus....
Chickpea’s – 1.5 cups
Note: You can pre-cooked canned chickpeas, washed & drained. Else you can also soak 3/4 cup of chickpea’s overnight, throw away the water used to soak the chickpea & cook it in fresh water till tender, drain away the water and use it for this recipe.
Coriander – 1 small bunch washed & roughly chopped, reserve some chopped leaves to garnish
Note: Let the stalks be, they add a lovely flavour
Garlic cloves – 3, peeled & roughly chopped
Tahini – 1 tbsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice – 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed juice
Extra virgin Olive oil – 3-4 tbsp or use as per required
Salt to taste

Method:
Throw in all the ingredients into a blender jar. Blend until smooth. If the hummus is dry, add some more olive oil. This is a pretty thick, shiny/glossy dip, very flavourful too. The Tahini adds a nutty feel & the lemon-coriander add its tangy bit & freshness…!

Garnishing:
Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with some olive oil & some chopped cilantro.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve it as a dip with some falafel & pita bread or with some tortilla chips or with crudités.

Lemon-Coriander Hummus...

 

 

Tahini… the nutty Middle Eastern dip/condiment.. !


Tahini..

As most of you would know Tahini is widely used in Turkish, Greek and Middle eastern cuisines. Tahini is paste made of ground sesame seeds, which is served on its own as it as or it can used to make loads of other yummy dishes like – Hummus, Baba Ghanoush etc. Tahini is also known as Tahina is some regions.

Hummus always keeps playing on my mind.. but to make a good bowl of Hummus I can’t do without some Tahini. I finally got down to making some Tahini. As you know from my previous post I’m trying to eat healthy, exercise & get back into shape & lose those extra kilo’s from my vacation in Mumbai. Mumbai is truly a foodies paradise for sure..! Been filling myself up with Salads, boiled veggies, sprouts etc. A perfect dish at this time would be none other than a bowl of hummus with some crudités’. I will post the a yummy & fresh flavoured – lemon & coriander hummus soon, so as you have a recipe at hand once you make the Tahini. :)

Tahini..

Tahini has an awesome nutty flavour… While I made tahini, K got to work & added some powdered sugar to the food processor jar & licked the rest of the paste sticking to the jar. That made me think that tahini with some sugar would surely taste good with some bread just like peanut butter :D.

Tahini..

This is a no jazz recipe. You need to lightly toast the white sesame seeds so that the heavenly aroma of these seeds come out. Toasting can be done in an oven or simply on a skillet on the stove, grind the seeds with some extra virgin olive oil & salt to a paste. Consistency is totally up to you. Some like it thick & some like it a little runny. Add more olive oil if you want it a little more runny. Our goal is to make a thick yet pourable paste.

Ingredients: Makes about 4-5 tbsp of Tahini             Preparation Time: 15/25 mins
White sesame seeds – 1/2 cup
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Ingredients..

Method:
Oven Method:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degree C. Spread the sesame seeds evenly on a baking tray. Toast the seeds for 5 minutes & then take the tray out & re spread them so that they toast even. Return to the oven for another 4-5 minutes. Take out the tray, cool the seeds & blend in a food processor along with olive oil & some salt to taste.

Skillet method:
Heat a skillet on low heat. Add the sesame seeds & toast the seeds by constantly tossing them around so that they don’t burn for 5 – 6 minutes. I wanted a rich nutty flavour. So I toasted them for about 8 minutes. Hence my tahini looks a darker brown in colour compared to the usual light coloured tahini.
Yes, that is it.. your done. :)

Serving Suggestions:

Tahini/Tahina...
Now, go ahead spread it on a slice of bread with some honey, sugar or use it as a savoury dip by mixing some lemon juice, crushed garlic & some herbs. Or make some Hummus just like I did & dug some crudités into it.. :D

If you like this recipe, then you may also like -

Greens marinated Chicken-Curry with a Goan twist to it…


“Its been a while..” hmmmm… while I think what to write next.. & I kept staring at “Its been a while”… it reminded me of the number by the band – Staind..! nothing to do with the mood of the song.. it’s just the name of the song!

Sadly…I have no pictures for this post.. but let me tell you.. Take my word for it.. give this recipe a shot over this weekend.. & I’m sure it will make your tummy feel good…real good..!! :D Now moving on to why there are no pics for this post… its a no brainer.. it is simple.. “It is HOT!!!” rather boiling here in Bangalore.. n when I’m done with cooking, all I want to do is head for a quick shower..! The evening showers of rain do make the days hotter..! I will get down to clicking pictures as soon as I get a chance to cook this again..!

After my fortnight long vacation in Mumbai.. the Bombay sandwiches, vada pav, sheekh kebab’s, the chicken rolls, the fish curry’s Pav bhaji etc. all that food hangs on back to me on my body like memories from the trip!..A bad simile huh??? Yup I’m the fattest ever..! Now that i’m back… my lunch is usually a large bowl of salads with some skinny dressing. A bowl of sprouts for a snack… a cup of green tea & cereals for breakfast… no more paratha’s or dosa’s for me till I shed some weight!.. Only boiled meat/fish… Dieting alone doesn’t help.. does it??? So, I have started exercising as well.. Hope to get back into shape soon.. Poor K also eats almost what I eat.. :( I knew K was craving for some good chicken curry, he was not going to tell me that since he was helping me keep up with my diet.. I thought I’d make him something that has greens..since he makes quite a fuss to eat spinach most times, I schemingly disguised & marinated the meat with a paste made of greens. When you see the curry you wouldn’t know it has greens.. A good way to make your family eat some greens I must say :D

My head was going to burst thinking of a name to call this curry, this is something that just made its way into my mind.. The ingredients just blended so well that I knew I had to post it with the stupidest name that I come up with.. Since I have used vinegar in this curry and vinegar is abundant in the Goan cuisine.. I decided to call this the “Greens marinated Chicken curry with a Goan twist”… :D

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)            Preparation Time: 30 mins (Marination time not included)
Chicken – 500 gms, curry cut, skinless, washed & drained; You can use 400 gms of boneless chicken cut into chunks/strips.

For the Chicken Marinade:
Palak/Spinach – a small bunch, washed & drained
Garlic – 5-6 plump cloves, peeled & roughly chopped
Coriander leaves – 5-6 sprigs, washed & drained
Mint leaves – 10 – 12 medium-sized leaves
Cashews – 4-5 whole, soaked in about 50ml water
Freshly crushed black peppercorns – 1/4 tsp
Vinegar – 1 tsp
Salt to taste

For the curry:
Mace – 1/4 of a whole flower
Cloves – 4 whole
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
Bay leaf – 1 small leaf roughly torn
Green Cardamom – 4 small, roughly crushed
Onion – 2 medium-sized, finely chopped
Tomatoes – 2, medium-sized, finely chopped
Ginger – 1 inch piece, finely minced
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Coriander powder – 1.5 tsp
Cumin powder – 3/4 tsp
Red Chilli powder – 1/2 – 3/4 tsp
Freshly crushed black peppercorns – 1/4 tsp
Vinegar – 1 – 1.5 tsp
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Ghee/Clarified butter – 1.tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Make a fine paste using all the ingredients mentioned for the marinade. Liberally coat the washed chicken pieces with the freshly made marinade of greens. Let the chicken marinate for at least 40 mins covered in the refrigerator.

When the chicken has marinated, chop & prep all the rest of the ingredients. Heat oil & clarified butter together in a kadai/deep bottom fry pan. When hot add the dry spices – mace, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, green cardamom. Maintain heat at medium. Let the spices let out their flavour into the oil for a minute or two. Add the chopped onions & throw in a pinch of salt to help fry the onions quicker. Fry till the onions turns translucent. Add the ginger in & fry for a couple of minutes. Now add all the spice powders – turmeric, coriander , cumin, red chilli powder. Mix well & let them fry for a couple of minutes. Next add the chopped tomatoes & toss them around till they begin to loosen up. By now the raw flavours of the spice powders should begin to fade away. Add the vinegar, mix. Add the sugar, I love to add some sugar in some curry’s because it just takes the flavours to another level.Throw in the marinated chicken pieces along with any left over marinade. Mix well. Add a cup of water, salt to taste, mix well. When the water begins to bubble add the crushed black peppercorns, mix well & simmer. Let the chicken cook & absorb all the flavours.

Note: You don’t need to add water if you want to make this a dry dish.

Check on the dish once in every 5 minutes. Add more water if required. Once the chicken is tender, turn off the heat.

Garnishing: (Optional)
Garnish with chopped coriander if you wish to.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with bread, steamed rice, chapati’s, roti’s idli’s; basically anything that you can gobble a good chicken curry with. :D

I did indulge in a bit of the curry with a slice of bread..! Couldn’t stop my nose from sending signals to my brain about wanting the curry. My brain just gave up when the signals kept bombarding it! hehehhe… ! An extra 10 minutes of exercise hmmmph.. !   

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Karuveppilai/kadipatta/curry leaves chicken……Winters setting in… Cloudy Chicken soup with Thai flavours., Chicken Stew – Kerala Style , Chicken Puli Munchi/Chicken in Tangy Hot curry- Mangalorean style etc.

Ambuli/Raw Mango Pachhodi or rather an instant raw mango pickle…


All that I can remember when I eat this is secretly stashing my lunch-bag packed for school with some raw mangoes that fell from our Mango tree during the season. We had two lovely, huge Mango trees at home. “HAD” Sad but true, one very close to the gate & it fell one nasty stormy night blocking the road in front of out house & we lost electricity as it brought down the electricity pole along with it. We had to sit in darkness for almost for a couple of days till the power lines were restored. Sadly the other one had to be cut down 4-5 yrs after the first one fell because of old age.

Ambuli/Raw Mango Pachhodi or rather an instant raw mango pickle

I went to school with a bunch of other kids on an auto-rickshaw. Singing, eating & chattering all the way. Was so much of fun. We were a bunch belonging to different classes. I lived like 10 km away from school. But thoroughly enjoyed jumping into the auto rickshaw & having a ball. :) Yes, coming back to my stash of raw mangoes in the lunch bag, as few of my classmates went home for lunch I would hand it over to them & ask them to mix it up with the required ingredients to prepare this or just ask them to chop it up into wedges & pack some salt & red chilli powder & pack it back to class. Afternoon sessions were then fun… the box with the raw mangoes & the masala were passed around carefully during class & we would devour all of it till we licked our fingers clean. I was allowed to eat this only once in a while as an overdose can make you sick.. Oh such fun days those were, first the secret picking from the ground since mum wouldn’t approve eating too much of it, she would let me carry some approvingly maybe once a fortnight, but then the girls in class would demand for some almost every couple of days :)).

Ambuli/Raw Mango Pachhodi...

This is something that takes me down memory lane.. such warm & fond memories :))) This is easily available in small carts in and around Mangalore & small towns around Mangalore when it is the mango season. It is a very popular snack loved by people from all age groups. Many refer to this recipe as an instant mango pickle. It tastes just like a pickle because it has all the similar flavours other than excess oil & salt.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)        Preparation Time: 5 mins
Raw Mango – Use the variety you like, I always preferred my home-grown variety but now I usually use Totapuri variety.
Tip: Use a variety that isn’t too sour. Raw mangoes which are just beginning to ripen also taste good as they add a lovely sweetness to the sour & the hot recipe.
Asafoetida – a pinch
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp, adjust according to you taste
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Sambar powder – 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil – 1 tsp, adds an authentic touch, if you can’t consume coconut oil then add some extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Method:
You can grate or finely chop the raw mangoes. Throw away the kernel & the fibrous covering around the kernel. Throw the chopped or grated raw mango into a bowl, add all the spice powders, asafoetida, salt & oil. Give contents of the bowl a good mix. Dig in to the bowl to check & adjust the salt & spice. That is it your done.. :)

If you have some patience, cover the bowl & let the raw mango pieces absorb the salt & other flavours.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve as is, as a side or as a snack.

Ambuli Pachhodi...

My take on the famous Lahsun/Garlic Chutney – Maharashtrian style


Being married to a Bangalorean, rather an Iyengar from Karnataka implies that your pantry will never run short of coconuts. You may wonder what the possible connection is. No, Iyengar’s don’t own coconut farms :P, they keep distributing coconuts for every Puja/Wedding/function they conduct. When you are just two in the house & you have surplus supply of coconuts, you most certainly end up with Copra or dried coconut (When the water content inside the coconut dries away leaving behind a dry shrunk coconut called Copra).Extract oil out of it like my grandmother did or use it up in making chutney pudi or rather the chutney powder as it is popularly known. The ingredients are mostly similar to a normal wet chutney that we prepare as an accompaniment to most South Indian breakfast dishes, just that instead of freshly grated coconut, we use dry coconut. The use of dried coconut helps in preserving this chutney for a longer time when compared to the staple wet chutney prepared.

Lahsun/Garlic Chutney...

My grandmother made yummy curry leaf chutney pudi, once my stash of this chutney powder gets done with I’ll make some of that too :). As many who follow my blog already know that I’m a sucker for garlic, I couldn’t think further than my all time favourite Lahsun (Garlic in Hindi) or Garlic Chutney. This is a staple in most Maharashtrian houses. If you are a street food lover & you have had a chance to eat the all time favourite Maharashtrian Vada Pav then you would have definitely tasted this chutney with it. Yes, this is the very famous Lahsun ki chutney that is served with Vada Pav. Who does not love a couple of Vada Pav as a snack. Friends from Bombay a.k.a Mumbai tell me that even at 3 am you will be able to pick up some Vada pav for a snack. A super loved street food from the streets of Mumbai is Vada Pav, followed by Pav Bhaji. If you were looking for that very chutney recipe which is served with Vada Pav then look no further :), you have found the right recipe.

This chutney has a shelf life of about 15 days if stored as is but, you can make it last longer by drying the chutney in the sun so that any moisture from some of the ingredients used dries away. But its a simple recipe. So I suggest you follow the measures I have mentioned below & prepare more when you have used up this batch :). If you prepare in large batches the peanuts used in this chutney may turn rancid & you may have to throw it all away ..

My take on the famous Lahsun/Garlic Chutney - Maharashtrian style

Eat this chutney with – Chapati’s, add it in butter sandwiches, with Vada Pav of course, spread it on the dosa while preparing Masala dosa, add s spoon of ghee/clarified butter to a tbsp of the chutney powder & eat it with some hot idli’s. Well I can snack on this chutney.. don’t need anything to go with it.

Ingredients: (Serves 12 – 15)             Preparation Time: 30 mins
Garlic – 12-14 medium-sized cloves, peeled
Dried red chilli’s – 5 whole medium spicy variety, stalk off
Sesame Seeds – 1 tbsp
Raw groundnuts – 1.5 tbsp
Coriander seeds – 1-1.5 tbsp,use 1.5 if you like your chutney with extra coriander flavour
Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp (For the colour, use more if you want the chutney to be hot)
Grated Copra/ Dried coconut – 1 cup
Tamarind – 1/2 of a marble shaped ball, Throw away any seeds present
Odourless Cooking oil – 1/2 tsp, I used rice bran oil
Salt to taste

Method:
All you need is a deep bottom fry pan & a mixer apart from the ingredients mentioned of course. You may use a non-stick fry pan if you have else an aluminium kadai is just fine.

Heat the cooking oil in the fry pan. Set heat to low once the oil heats up. Throw in 10 of the garlic cloves & reserve the rest. Fry the garlic till it begins to turn a slightly golden. Take them off heat & transfer to a plate or the mixer jar. Let it cool. My twist to the chutney is not to oil roast all the garlic cloves & add a few raw ones to enhance the flavour & make the chutney powder more fragrant.

Note: If you do not like the chutney to have a strong garlic flavour then oil roast all the cloves.
Now return the fry pan to heat. Maintain heat at low & fry the dried red chilli’s till they turn plump. Do not let them turn black. Keep tossing them continuously. Take them off heat & transfer to the plate or the mixer jar & allow it to cool.

Next add 1 tbsp of coriander seeds & return the pan to low heat & fry the seeds till you can begin to change colour & the aroma of the seeds fills the air. Again toss them around continuously because you don’t want them to burn. Transfer to the plate or the mixer jar & let it cool.

Similarly fry the sesame seeds till they begin to change colour & start popping. Transfer to the plate or the mixer jar & let it cool.

Lastly fry the grated Copra/dry coconut till it starts to change in colour. Do not let it burn. Toss it around continuously. Take off the kadai from heat and let the roasted Copra cool down to room temperature.

Once all the roasted ingredients have cooled down to room temperature, transfer them to the mixer jar & add the tamarind piece along with red chilli powder, the leftover garlic cloves & some salt to taste. Blend all the ingredients into a coarse powder, or finer if you like it that way.

Check for salt & adjust if required.

Lahsun/Garlic Chutney - Maharashtrian style

Note: Since we add some tamarind & a few raw garlic cloves while we blend, the chutney powder will have some small lumps, I transfer the chutney powder to a tray and dry it under the sun for a good hour or so. This helps to remove the moisture & helps preserve the chutney powder longer. If you plan to do the same then, keep mixing the chutney powder so that it helps in even drying.

Once ready, transfer the chutney powder to an air-tight container & enjoy while it lasts.

Serving Suggestions:
Get your bread, alu bonda ready & serve this chutney with this famous Indian burger – Vada Pav.

Lahsun/Garlic Chutney...

Else, serve with just about anything that you like. I have mentioned a few accompaniments in the beginning of this post.

 

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