Bringing Imagination to your Cooking…!!!

  • Steaming momo's...
  • Dum-Aloo truly sinful baby potatoes in a spicy onion-cashew gravy….
  • Corainder-Pepper Chutney with hints of Garlic..!
  • Rava Rotti/Savoury Semolina pancakes...
  • Strawberry-Basil Raita with toasted sesame seeds..
  • Scotch Bonnet Chilli flavoured rock salt.....
  • Phova Chutney with Muga Daali Usli...
  • Meen Varatharachathu.... a fragrant  fish curry from the land of Kerala..
  • Spaghetti Butter Garlic Prawns....

Latest

Soy-Chilli dip… A perfect dip for Momo’s/Dimsums/Dumplings or most Chinese starters….


People loved the Momo’s post so much that they also wanted me to post the dip to go with it. I do relish the tomato dip that the dimsums or the momo’s are usually served wit but like I said in my previous post, a friend introduced me to eating them with some soy sauce & it just took these momo’s to a completely new level altogether..  The saltiness  from the soy sauce perfectly balanced the kinda bland momo to result in a perfect wedding of the two. But then again I had to innovate, why use a just some plain boring soy sauce out of a bottle.. ???? Why not make it a wee bit more flavourful & interesting…. 

If you missed the momo’s post, scroll down to the recipe right after this post on my homepage, else here is the link - Momo’s recipe.

This dip is very aromatic, once you mix it up & keep aside for the flavours to blend, your nose won’t let you concentrate on anything else. It is so magnetic that it draws you towards it.  Don’t blame me if you get addicted to this dip.. !!!!

So here you go.. my soy-chilli dip… Pictures will be uploaded when I get down to preparing the dip & the momo’s to go with them.. that should be really soon.. :D.

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3) Preparation Time: 5 mins
Dark Soy sauce – 2 tbsp
White Vinegar – 1 tsp
Green Chilli – 1 small, finely chopped
Ginger – 1/4 inch piece, finely minced
Garlic – 1 small clove, finely minced
Sugar – 1/8 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/8-1/4 tsp, as you please
Honey – 1/4 tsp, 
Coriander leaves – 1 sprig, finely chopped

Tip: Add more honey or sugar if your dip is too hot for your taste

Method:
Take a small mixing bowl & add all the ingredients together & mix well. Cover & set aside for 15 minutes, so that the flavours blend in well.

Note: Taste & check seasoning. I did not need to add any salt. Depends on the brand of soy sauce you use, most soy sauces are salty. If it is too hot for you, add some more honey or sugar. If you want it hot then add some more red chilli powder or more chopped green chilli’s.

Garnishing: (Optional)
You can garnish with  1/2 tsp sesame oil if you have some.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with your favourite Chinese starters like – spring rolls, wanton’s, steamed or deep-fried dumplings etc.

Steamed Momos/dumplings with an aromatic Veggie filling…


Allison from the food blog – Spontaneous Tomato had a post on Nepali momo’s a while back. I’m a sucker for dumplings. I can eat them for breakfast, lunch, snack & dinner. Sigh no one serves dumplings for breakfast in restaurants :(. I have been on the quest to find that perfect recipe to prepare the wrappers for the momo’s at home from a while now. I have tried at least half a dozen recipes out but never could I master the art of preparing the wrappers just like how they are supposed to be. When Allison posted her recipe, I was way too tempted to try it out because her method was different from the way I have ended up making wrappers earlier. The previous recipe’s I tried always left me with thick wrappers, the wrappers themselves filled me up that I did not prefer to eat more than a couple of them.. :(.

I’m sure no one needs an introduction to this dish. If you do, then I have to say Oh My Goodness, you have clearly missed something wonderful all these years of your existence..! Really???….. what were you busy with???? Just like many other quick eats you can grab from street stalls (Pani Puri or other chat’s, sweet corn, Frankie’s, sandwiches etc.), you find small stalls for steamed momo’s in the streets of most popular cities in India. They serve yummy dumplings too. But indulge only if your tummy works well with street food.

It has been in the back of my mind. I even promised Allison that I would give her recipe a try. She has a lovely blog with truckloads of recipe’s. She made a wonderful tomato based dip for her recipe. I opted to create a soy-based sauce for my dumplings. I halved her recipe & made some changes to suit my taste buds. You can check her recipe out at  her blog – recipe link.  I can’t thank her enough for helping me find my prefect dumpling wrapper making method. :) 

You will see more pics for this recipe post the next time I make them. For now you have to do with pics clicked via my phone. I just have a couple of pics.

Don’t the dumplings look so glossy & lovely?? Rather, they look perfect don’t they :D. So inviting & they give you a perfect sneak peek into their contents??? You will say so too and never look at ordering a plate of momo’s or dumplings the next time you visit your fav haunt for them & begin trying out other starter options :D. I’ll give myself a pat on my shoulder since I finally mastered it.. :D. The gloss is not from oil.. it just comes out naturally.. Again another shocker.. isn’t it?? these are oil free too.. ! The only draw-back is that they are made of All purpose flour or maida. Oh well.. you can’t have such yummy tasting food without there being a single flaw in it can you…?? Wish wheat could have been a more accommodating flour.. Let us start with our stairway to Heaven.. ;)

Ingredients for the wrappers : (Makes 25 – 30) Preparation Time: 60 mins (Excludes time for the dough resting)
All purpose flour/Maida – 1 + 1 cup,
Hot steaming water – 3/4 cup
Salt – 1/4 tsp

Method:
Take a heat proof mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of the flour to the bowl. Add 1/4 salt & whisk to mix the salt & flour well. Make a well in between & add the hot water. Using a spatula, mix the water & the flour together.

Note: Remember the water is hot, do not add your hand in.

Once the dough gets lumpy add the other cup of flour. Continue mixing with the spatula. Try to handle the dough with your hand once it has cooled down & it is warm enough to be handled by hand.

Lightly flour your counter & transfer the dough over the floured surface. Knead your dough to a smooth ball. Say, takes about 4-5 minutes. Add flour little by little if required.

Let the dough rest in a clean bowl, cover the bowl with a wet cloth to prevent the dough from drying up. Let the dough rest for at least an hour.

After an hour, make small marble or gooseberry sized balls out of the dough. Lightly flour your counter & roll the small balls into round shaped flat breads. Roll it as thin as possible.

Now fill the centre with your favourite kind of stuffing with minced meat, veggies or a mix of both. I used a veggie mix. Continue reading for my mix-veg filling.

Mix-Veggie filling for Momo’s/Dumplings:
Ingredients: (Fills 25-30 dumplings) Time: 10-15 mins
Cabbage leaves – 4-5 medium-sized leaves
Shallots – 15, peeled Note: Use a medium-sized red onion if you do not have shallots, roughly chop it into cubes.
Garlic – 5 cloves
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Tip: Please do not use store-bought Ginger-Garlic paste as a substitute for fresh ginger & garlic for this recipe. You might as well give up trying this recipe out if you only have store-bought paste with you.
Coriander leaves – 5-6 fresh sprigs, with stalk
Spring onions – 2 whole with the with the greens, peel the onion bulb & roughly chop them
Carrot – 1 medium-sized, peeled & cut into cubes
Green Chilli’s – 2 medium-sized, stalk removed
Mushrooms (optional) – 5-6, washed & drained. I skipped using mushrooms as I did not have any.
Grated Cheddar Cheese (optional) – If you love your dumplings with cheese, go ahead, mix about a cup of grated cheese to your veggie-mix
Salt to taste

For the meat variant: If you wish to add some meat, then leave out the carrot, mushrooms out of the veggie mix & add some pre-cooked mince of your favourite meat to the rest of the ingredients once they are chopped in a food processor.

Method:
Throw all these ingredients mentioned, other than the salt into a food processor & finely chop this ingredients together. Transfer the chopped ingredients into a bowl, season with salt. Check if you want to add a wee bit crushed black pepper.

Note: Do not add salt if you don’t plan to begin making the dumplings right away. The salt releases the water from the veggies & will make it soggy. So, add salt just about 5 minutes before you begin rolling the dough to make small circular dics.

I was not planning to post this recipe this soon on the blog, so I did not click pictures of the making. :( I ended up posting some pics clicked via my phone on Instagram & FaceBook & I had requests to post the recipe. So bear with me till I make this dish again for more detailed pics.

Let us continue with adding the filling to the rolled flour discs. Place a 2 tsp or lesser amount of the prepared filling in the centre of the disc. (The quantity of the filling used depends on how big/small a disc you have rolled). Now slowly bring together the edges together just like a money bag or in other traditional momo/dumpling shapes like I have.

Yes, no oil at all. Isn’t that just brilliant. So you can indulge, it is really ok if you gobble up some all-purpose flour covered steamed vegetable goodness.

I used a traditional dumpling steamer. So I did not need to oil it. If you are using a stainless steel steamer, you may need to grease it before you place your momo/dumplings in it to cook.

Being about a litre of water to a boil, simmer & place you steamer or top. Make sure that your steamer does not touch the water. So choose your vessel carefully. Similar to any double boiling method you have used.

Steaming momo's...

Prepare just about 4-5 dumplings per batch (Unless you have a steamer that is used to feed giants.. I’m kidding I’m sure you won’t own a steamer enough to feed 4 people at the same time unless you run a restaurant. :D). Never crowd the steamer. We need to let the steam circulate well to help cook the dumplings. Steam each batch for about 8-10 minutes or till the dumplings come off the base of the steamer easily (Use a silicone spatula to turn to check if they are done), usually the top turns translucent letting you see whats filled when they are ready. Again only if you have rolled the discs real thin will the wrapper turn translucent when ready.

Note: 1. Don’t use your hand to pick the dumplings out if the steamer is still on the vessel producing the steam, you may burn yourself. 2. Also keep checking on the water & re-filling it, if all the water evaporates, then the vessel will start imparting a burnt flavour to the momo’s.

Repeat the same process to prepare & steam more dumplings.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with your favourite dip.

Steamed Momos/dumplings with an aromatic Veggie filling…

A friend introduced me to eating my dumplings with soy sauce. I loved that variant so much that I wanted to create a lovely soy based dip to accompany my dumplings. Click the link for my soy-based dip recipe.

If you like this recipe, then you may also like - Chicken Frankie RollAloo Tikki Chole Chaat…Chole Chaat…Egg Pakodi ChaatGreek Souvlaki wrap with salad & tzatziki etc.

 

Dum-Aloo truly sinful baby potatoes in a spicy onion-cashew gravy….


A simple dish, yet so flavourful. This is something I have been meaning to post from a long time. Baby potatoes are a favourite in our kitchen. They have a very distinct sweet flavour & they are just so silky smooth in this curry… A definite must try for all potato & Indian curry lovers. So easy to prepare but, the time taken is a wee longer compared to other curry’s, but then if you are looking for a good curry then you better not complain. Try it out once & it will frequent your kitchen very often then on.

Indulging in a curry with some cashews as the base is not a sin..! Every once in a while you do need to pamper yourself with a rich curry. Look at the brighter side – there is no butter, cream or cheese.. its healthier since you are adding some curd/yogurt. But please don’t go skinny on the yogurt too, else you are going to destroy the dish.

A typical dish from the Northern state of India – Punjab. You can’t say no to Punjabi curry’s can you?? A very staple recipe from a Punjabi family’s house. You will find loads of recipe’s for this dish over the internet. This is the way I make it at home. Being a friday post, hope this gives you an opportunity to try this dish out over the weekend. A true delight & you will never order this at an Indian restaurant again, since you will master this at home with this recipe. :D
Dum-Aloo truly sinful baby potatoes in a spicy onion-cashew gravy….

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4) Preparation Time: 45 mins
Baby potatoes – 22-25, washed
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
Green Cardamom – 2 cloves
Cashews – 10-12 whole
Cloves – 3-4 whole
Bay leaves – 1 medium-sized leaf, torn into 3-4 pieces
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Asafoetida – 2 pinches
Ginger – 1 inch piece, roughly chopped
Garlic – 5-6 cloves, peeled & roughly chopped
Onion – 1 large, roughly chopped
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder/Dried Kashmiri Chilli’s – 1 tsp/4-5; Alter according to your palate as the spices used will also make the dish hot
Fresh curd/Natural yogurt – 3/4 cup
Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek leaves – 1 tbsp, crushed between your palms
Sugar – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves (Optional) – 1-2 sprigs, finely chopped
Cooking oil – 1/2 tsp + 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Take a small fry pan & dry roast the spices – cloves, cumin, coriander seeds, cinnamon along with the cashews. If you have Kashmiri chilli’s add them too (i.e. if you plan to use dried chilli’s instead of the store-bought powder). Maintain heat at medium. Do not burn the spices. Roast them till the aroma of all the roasting spices fills up your nose & they begin to slightly change in colour. Turn the heat off. Keep aside to cool.

Bring about a litre of water to a boil in a pressure cooker. Add generous amount of salt to the water for the baby potatoes to absorb some. Add the washed baby potatoes. When the water begins to bubble, cover with the lid & cook for 10 minutes with the cooker weight on, at medium heat. Turn off the heat & let the cooker cool. It is perfectly fine if the cooker does not blow its whistle at all.

Meanwhile, when the potatoes are cooking away, transfer the dry roasted spices & cashews to a blender jar & powder them to a fine powder. Keep it aside.

If the pressure is off the pressure cooker, open it transfer the baby potatoes to a bowl of cold water. Notice that the potatoes are not completely cooked & they are still firm. Now peel their skin away. Next pierce the potatoes with a fork in 2-3 places so as to help them absorb the flavours from the gravy.

Heat 1 tsp oil in deep bottom non stick fry pan. When the oil is hot a pinch of asafoetida & let it sizzle for a couple of seconds. Turn heat to low & throw in the baby potatoes. Slowly cook them on all sides till they turn golden brown.

Fry the baby potatoes till golden brown..

Probably will take you 12-15 minutes on low heat. While the potatoes are frying away, keeping a close eye on them, mince the roughly chopped onions, garlic & ginger using a mini chopper or food processor.

Take out the golden brown potatoes from the frying pan & transfer them to a kitchen paper to drain away the excess oil.

In the same fry pan add 1 tbsp of oil. Maintain heat at medium. Once the oil heats up, throw in a pinch of asafoetida, let it sizzle for a couple of seconds. Next add the torn bay leaf, fry for about 30-40 seconds till its aroma fills up the air around. Now add the minced onion-ginger-garlic paste. Add some salt to help the onions turn translucent quicker & mix well. When the onion is cooking to turn translucent, beat the curd/natural yogurt to remove any lumps.

Once the onion turns translucent add the turmeric & the freshly ground spice paste & mix well. Add the red chilli powder if you did not use whole dried red chilli’s while preparing the fresh spice powder.Let the mixture cook for a couple of minutes. Now add the beaten curd/yogurt to the frying pan along with the sugar. Mix well. Turn the heat to low.

Once the mixture begins to bubble, throw in the golden baby potatoes along with the crushed kasuri methi. Add about 300 ml water, add salt to taste & give it a good mix. Cover with a lid & cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes, till all the raw flavours fade away & the excess water has evaporated leaving behind a gravy with the consistency you need. Originally this dish is served with a thick gravy sticking to the potatoes.

Note: Be around & check once midway so that the gravy does not begin to burn from the bottom. If you cannot be around, heat a heavy pancake pan/tava & transfer the frying pan with the potatoes over the tava & cook on low heat for 15 minutes or till the desired consistency is achieved.

Garnishing:
Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves if required. You can opt not to as the gravy already has an awesome flavour from the Kasuri Methi.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with Roti’s/Chapati’s/Naan or your favourite Indian breads. This also is a good accompaniment for Vegetable Pilaf/Jeera/Peas Pilaf.

Dum-Aloo truly sinful baby potatoes in a spicy onion-cashew gravy….

If you like this recipe, then you may also like - Meen Varatharachathu… another fish delicacy from Kerala..!Makai Malai Palak/Sweetcorn in a creamy spinach sauce..Kumbh Mutter Masala with a Shahi twist to it..! etc.

Coriander-Pepper Chutney with hints of Garlic… !


Staying on the top floor has its advantages & flaws doesn’t it?? You get a good view yes but then you also have to put up with the intolerable heat during summers. Oh what am I talking about? South India has only 2 seasons, Summer & rainy. It’s summer for almost 8 months of the year. It’s been super hot here in Bangalore. Man! how K & I miss Glasgow now..! Been trying to keep ourselves hydrated by eating loads of watermelon, salads, drinking loads of water & juices.

South Indian’s never have enough chutney recipe’s. We can hog on chutney everyday for breakfast can’t we?? But then you can’t make the same chutney everyday can you?? Having a variety of chutney recipe’s handy is always a blessing. The same Dosa/Idli/Upma etc. can be made to taste different if you can manage to prepare a new dip/accompaniment :). If I do happen to ask K what kind of chutney he would like, the answer is “A green coloured chutney” or “White or Orange” now that is not an answer one would expect, that’s like asking a kid which coloured candy he would like.. :D

Some of the ingredients that go into the chutney...

My mum has a huge collection of chutney recipe’s. Unfortunately since I’m not a morning person, I never bothered to note down her chutney recipe’s. In Glasgow we loved our Bacon & eggs, sausages with the lovely selection of breads at our disposal. Fermenting the Dosa, Idli batter was always a challenge. So only during the summer’s there was some hope to prepare Dosa batter at home.

It’s just K & me, I don’t make my own Dosa/Idli batter at home here in India too. You must be thinking I’m crazy. The reason is, if I do I will end up with loads of it & the batter will turn sour in a couple of days as it is so hot here, will all go down the drain. Though from sour batter you can make some Utappams (Thick savoury pancakes, topped with raw veggie’s like chopped onions, green chilli’s, coriander leaves, tomatoes etc.) K is not an everyday South Indian breakfast person. Strangely he claims that he feels sleepy if he eats Dosa’s. Oh well, whatever..! I have tried to make some sense from it, but never did understand how & why. Do any of you feel that way?? Ponder over it the next time you have dosa for breakfast. So when I get my Dosa pangs… we buy ready to cook Dosa/Idli batter from the store & it lasts us for 2-3 days :).

Yummy chutney...

I have to eat my Dosa/Idli with some yummy chutney or any other South Indian dip like – thokku/sambhar/kozhumbu. I love to create new chutneys specially when we have dosa’s for breakfast. Whenever I prepare chutney’s I always remember one of my very good friends who is crazy about chutney’s. She eats more chutney than dosa ;). Some garlic in my chutney, me loves :D. If you don’t like garlic in your breakfast then, skip it.

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4 ) Preparation Time: 15 mins
Coconut – Freshly grated, 1 cup
Garlic – 2, medium-sized cloves, peeled & roughly chopped
Ginger – 1/2 an inch piece, roughly chopped
Coriander seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Black peppercorns – 15-20, depends on your tolerance
Green Chilli’s – 3 medium-sized, slit
Coriander leaves – 7-8 sprigs along with the stalks, roughly chopped
Note: Add as much of the coriander stalk as you can, this adds additional flavour to the chutney

Some of the ingredients required...

For the tempering:
Split Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
Black Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
Asafoetida – a pinch
Oil – 1 tbsp + 1/4 tsp

Salt to taste

Method:
Heat a tempering vessel or a small fry pan. Maintain heat at medium, when it heats up, add the coriander seeds & cumin seeds, black peppercorns & dry roast them till they begin to change colour. Turn the heat off & keep aside.

Throw in all the ingredients mentioned other than the ones for the tempering into a small blender jar. Add the dry roasted ingredients as well. Grind the ingredients to a smooth paste, using water as required. I like this chutney a little runny, but if you don’t then add just as much water as you need. Transfer the ground chutney to a serving bowl. Add salt to taste, mix.

Heat a tempering vessel or a small fry pan & add oil. When the oil heats up, maintain heat at medium. Add asafoetida, let it sizzle. Next throw in the mustard seeds & let it splutter. Next add the split urad dal & let it turn a light golden brown. Turn the heat off, throw in the curry leaves & mix.

Add this hot tempering to the ground chutney. Mix well.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with any South Indian breakfast dishes of your choice like – Dosa, Idli, Akki-Rotti, Ragi-Rotti, Rava-Rotti, Upma etc.

Corainder-Pepper Chutney with hints of Garlic..!

Imagine waking up to such a colourful looking setting on your breakfast table..! Just peps up your day… What a colourful & flavourful start to your day! Do let me know your take on my recipe if you try it :).

If you like this recipe, then you may also like - Capsicum Chutney….Alle Chutney/ Ginger ChutneyTakkali/Tomato Thokku…Takkali Kolumbu/Kohzumbu…. a perfect dip for your Dosa/Idli etc.

Rava Rotti/Savoury Semolina pancakes….


Hiya, hope alls been well with all of you, I would like to share some awesome news with all of you, my recipe for Shahi Paneer has been nominated to be one among the best 200 recipe’s for Shahi Paneer recipe’s on the internet. The recipe with the maximum number of votes will be chosen as the winner. Here is the link.  My recipe is randomly positioned at No.29, do cast your vote if you think I deserve the vote. :).

A few days after we moved, K’s aunt – Geetha Atte (Atte in Kannada refers to Dad’s sister) had asked us to come over for breakfast. I would not have accepted the offer if she did not live close-by ;). Breakfast has always been one of the areas I need to work on. Not being a morning person has some advantages like – You can sleep longer. Have eggs for a quick breakfast & minimise your morning dishes.. :D. All this works when your just a couple I guess. So all you guys out there with kids would be cursing me as they have early morning hustle bustle & enormous amounts of cooking & dirty dishes in the sink. When it comes to disadvantages, there are loads, I have no time for an elaborate breakfast. Breakfast dishes which require a lot of prepping up are a big No No! Before you are done with breakfast you need to begin thinking about lunch :(.

Ah well back to the breakfast invite. When we went over to Geetha Atte’s house, she was ready with the batter for Rotti (Rotti is a savoury pancake in Karnataka). When she asked us if we were ready to have hot rotti’s, I thought she was referring to the traditional Akki Rotti (A recipe I posted a while back in the blog), the usual rotti prepared for breakfast by people from Karnataka. When she was preparing the rotti in the kitchen, the aroma that filled the house was very different from the one you usually fills the air when you prepare Akki Rotti. Different people prepare akki rotti with different veggies, I thought maybe she was using something different from the veggies I had tried before in Akki rotti. When she served us the rotti, I was surprised looking at the colour & texture as it did not look anything like akki rotti & nor did it taste like it. When I asked her what it was, she explained that it was just like akki rotti, made of semolina instead of rice flour & instead of water to bind the ingredients together, she uses tender cucumber juice. Then I figured that the rotti did have a subtle flavour of cooked cucumbers. All in all really yummy. She made really large rotti’s & I ended up eating 2 of them, I simply loved them.

Rava Rotti/Savoury Semolina pancakes...

I have been meaning to prepare this at home since that day & share the recipe with all of you. The recipe is quite similar to Akki Rotti & served with chutney, thokku, chutney pudi or pickle of your choice. Today happened to be that day.. :D. K likes the rotti’s thin & crispy. You can make them thicker too but these tend to get kinda heavy on the tummy; you have one & your done with your breakfast, so we prefer it thinner, so that we can eat a couple of them each. Well I don’t really know if this dish frequents in other Kannadiga’s kitchen’s, but for me it was a real catch.

The reason I have been playing Hide & Seek through my blog is because I have finally taken a step to being an Entrepreneur, I have been busy working out things & have started my Home Baking venture called “Floured”. :) I’m all excited & have been baking & packing the orders :D. Do wish me luck guys..! I promise to post as often as I can on Keli Paan, I won’t forget my first baby!!.

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3) Preparation Time: 30 mins
Fine Semolina/ Rava – 1.5 – 2 cups, You do not need pre-roasted rava for this.
Onion – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Carrot – 1 medium-sized, skin off & grated
Onion greens – 2-3 stalks, finely chopped. Note: you can use Spring onions greens as well.
Cucumber – 1 medium-sized, peeled. Note: make sure you have one with real tender seeds, else the large seeds will make the juice grainy
Green chilli’s – 3 medium-sized, slit & fine chopped into bits
Coriander leaves – 4-5 sprigs, finely chopped
Cumin seeds – 1 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida – a pinch
Freshly Grated coconut (optional) – 2 tbsp,
Cooking oil – as per need
Salt to taste

Method:
Take a medium-sized mixing bowl & add the chopped onions, grated carrot, chopped onion greens, coriander, green chilli’s, cumin seeds, asafoetida & salt to taste. Mix well. Keep aside. Let the onion sweat & let out some water.

Roughly chop the peeled cucumber & blend it to a smooth paste. Do not add any water.

Note: 1. If you could not find a tender cucumber for this, make sure scoop out the seeds & throw them away, before you blend.
2. Geetha Atte says you can even grate the cucumber, but she prefers the convert it to juice.

Mix the juice along with the other ingredients & also add 1.5 cups of rava/semolina & the grated coconut if you wish to add. (I did not choose to add grated coconut). Mix well. Check if you need to add some more salt. We need a easy to handle dough. Not too dry & not too wet. If there is too much water in there, add some more semolina till you achieve a consistency which is easy to handle. Those of you who are familiar with akki rotti will know what I’m talking about.

Divide the dough into 4-5 equal portions. Take a tava or a pancake pan & spread one portion of the dough evenly around on the tava, using your fingertips. Spread it as thick or thin, it is completely upto your preference.

Spread out one portion evenly on the tava...

Place the tava on the stove & turn on the heat to medium. Sprinkle some drops of oil around just like you do when preparing a Dosa or a pancake. Cover & cook. Check after 2-3 minutes. Add some more oil if required. Cook till the rotti/pancake starts to separate away from the pan or starts to brown from the bottom. Turn over, cover & cook for another minute.

Turn the rotti over....

Take the lid off & transfer the rotti to a plate.

Tips: If you are using a non-stick coated tava then I suggest you have 2 tava’s when you plan to prepare this. After you take out one rotti, you will need to cool the tava back to room temperature. Else you will not be able to spread the dough & there are chances you will burn your fingertips.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with your favourite accompaniment. We usually eat Rotti’s with chutney, thokku, chutney pudi or pickle.

Rava Rotti/Savoury Semolina pancakes...

Notes:
1. No turmeric in here. Don’t think I forgot to mention it in the ingredient list. The slight yellow hue is from the grated carrots.
2. Never spread the rotti on a hot tava, You will end up burning your fingertips & plus it is a waste of time as you will not be able to spread the dough around.
3. You will need another tava at room temperature to prep up for the next rotti. Basically you need time to cool the one that is come off the heat & prep it again for its turn while the other one is on heat.
If you are looking for the akki rotti recipe on my blog - Akki Rotti/Savoury Rice Pancakes from Karnataka

If you are looking for recipe’s for an accompaniment – Chutney’s & Thokku.

Strawberry-Basil Raita with toasted sesame seeds……


Experimenting should be my middle name, Oh well, that’s a lame one, don’t we all experiment with food?? Yes, of course we do. Now what made me experiment with strawberries & yogurt?? What could one possibly do when one ends up with half a litre of sourish yogurt & sour strawberries..? :( I did not have enough strawberries to make jam out of it, then again I would need to use the yogurt in another recipe. I was looking to do something with both together. I don’t like to throw away food, you would know that about me if you have been following my posts. If the food is still edible, why throw it away? If the person who had ended up with curdled milk had not experimented then we would have never known what cheese was all about. :) Enough of my lectures, I don’t want to bore you.

Strawberry-Basil Raita with toasted sesame seeds...

This is a very simple yet yummy raita. Will be ready in a jiffy. Just pick up some sour strawberries, a few basil leaves, 1 cup of sour yogurt (Do not worry if you do not have sour yogurt, use just natural yogurt). Any chilli of your choice to spice it up, honey to balance the sourness & some toasted sesame seeds for garnishing. A blend of fresh flavours.. best served chilled.

A rare day today for Keli Paan, rare because it has been ages since I did two posts on the blog. It is february & all my recent posts have been had loads of red in the ingredients or the photos.. :D. But I’m not that sorts who believes in celebrating one day for love..!

Strawberry-Basil Raita with toasted sesame seeds...

Ingredients: (Serves 2)     Preparation Time: 5 mins
Yogurt – Sour preferably, else Natural is fine, I used homemade
Strawberries – 4-5 medium-sized
Honey – 1 tbsp to balance or kill the sourness
Fresh Red chilli – 1, medium-spicy, slit, de-seeded
Basil leaves – 3, roughly torn
Sesame seeds – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Toast the sesame seeds in a small fry pan and keep aside. Wash & hull the strawberries.
Add the yogurt to a blender & blend it well to make it smooth. If you are adventurous like me add the chilli along with the basil & blend it again till the chilli’s & basil get minced. Next add the strawberries & blend just for about 10 seconds. I wanted small pieces of strawberries to chew on in the raita.

Tip: If you do not wish to blend the strawberries then, you can chop them finely & add.

Add some salt to season & add the chilli if you have not blended it earlier with the yogurt like I did.

I made 2 batches of these today, with 2 different types of chilli’s. One version with dried red chilli’s & another version with a small piece of minced scotch bonnet chilli’s. The first version was not hot, whereas the one with the Scotch bonnet chilli’s was hot. So you can choose what type of chilli you want to use. Go ahead with some freshly ground peppercorns if you wish to or a pinch of ground red chilli powder/paprika/cayenne pepper powder.

Note: If you are making this for your kids, you can add just a pinch of the chilli & a wee bit more honey.

Strawberry-Basil Raita with toasted sesame seeds..

Garnishing:
Garnish with the toasted sesame seeds just before you serve for that nutty crunch in the raita.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve as a side with any Pilaf or biryani.

Strawberry-Basil Raita with toasted sesame seeds..

Or eat it just as is for a snack just like I did.. :D On a day like today, this was perfect to beat the heat off..! 

Chilli flavoured rock salt….


I love seasoning my pasta, pizza, focaccia, chips, wedges… yes, I love to season & pep up most continental, finger food with different kinds of flavoured salt or herbs. I end up doing this because I love different flavours in food. Even if it is mac & cheese, I have a few bites just the way it is served, then I begin my experiments by throwing in some herbs or other seasoning ;).

Bird's eye chilli's...

Just like always, I was walking around in the supermarket & my eyes fell on a pack of these lush red chilli’s. I got really excited, in the last 3 months since we got back to India, I had never seen this on the shelves. I instantly told K that I wanted a pack (I had no clue what I was going to do with them). They look a lot like Scotch bonnet chilli’s, but then I have always bought them in packs of mixed colours, so now I’m confused. The packaging says they are Bird’s eye. I posted them as Bird’s eye chilli’s. Then someone pointed out that they seem to be more like ghost chilli’s not bird’s eye. That is when I thought with google available let me research & check, Ghost chilli’s look a tad different, thinner & longer, but similar ridged. The bird’s eye chilli’s are very very narrow, smaller with straight stems. Since they closely resemble Scotch Bonnet Chilli’s I’m going to stick to this.

I completely forgot about them for a day. It’s quite hot during the day these days & the power cuts make it worse. Both K & I are hardly hungry, we just keep fueling ourselves with loads of liquids – water, Ice Tea or fruits like the fresh oranges which are now available in plenty at the market or with slices of watermelon. We both eat very little due to the hot weather. So that gives me time to dedicate time to experiment with some preservable’s like this salt. I even pickled some Jalapeños a couple of days back. 

Bird's eye chilli's...

My posts are slowing down, it’s not that I do not want to blog, it is just that there are so many interesting things happening around Bangalore. I attended a free workshop on kitchen gardening at Lalbagh – the beautiful botanical garden, conducted everyday for a fortnight by the Horticultural department of the Karnataka Government. Such a wonderful gesture educating interested people on growing their own veggies in organic ways, in a small patch of land/terrace garden.

The city had issues with waste disposal around 6 months back. The city generates around 800 tonnes of waste & the villagers living around the disposal site fought back since the enormous amounts of waste being disposed that they were exposed to a lot of air pollution, water & soil contamination & it was getting difficult for them to live & farm around the area. The waste was giving a rich breeding ground for unwanted elements. Street dogs, vultures hovering around etc. So the villagers did not let the BBMP (Bruhut Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) i.e. the municipal corporation of Bangalore from dumping the waste. The city waste was just left uncollected by them as there was no place to dispose it off. The garden city started stinking with waste overflowing around everywhere.

Did you know that one months of uncooked, wet waste generated in your kitchen can be converted easily into compost in 3 months?? It is pretty simple, does not require any elaborate chores. For those without a backyard, one corner of your utility area in your kitchen is just perfect. In my next post, I will pass on details for those interested in preparing your own compost at home & growing your own veggies organically. We live in a flat, I grow some herbs & flowering plants in my balcony in pots. I can grow at least 5-6 veggies, chilli’s, 4-5 herbs in the space I have.

Birds eye chilli's..

Well let us get back to this post. Why did I think of preparing this salt. I have already mentioned that I’m a seasoning freak. If you have been following my blog, you would know that I never use the ready ginger garlic pastes or even pepper powders available in the store. Why use these when you can enhance your meal with ingredients which are easily available & using them fresh just takes you food to a whole new level. I grind & make fresh ginger/garlic paste when required, use a pepper mill or a pestle & mortar to season my food with ground pepper.

Bird's eye chilli's...

Ingredients: (Serves -) Preparation Time: 10 mins
Scotch Bonnet Chilli’s – 2-3, I used 2 medium-sized & one small
Rock salt – 100 – 125 gms, If you need a much milder flavour, use more salt

Method:
Wash the chilli’s & dry them using a kitchen towel & air dry them too for maybe half an hour before you begin, as these chilli’s have crevices that the water stays back. We do not want extra moisture getting into the salt.

Bird's Eye Chilli's...

Look at the colour, isn’t it lovely. These chilli’s are hot!

Slice the chilli’s & de-seed them. Dry the seeds, if you want to try your luck at growing a plant of these chilli’s (I have ;) let us see if I get lucky.) Bite into a seed if you want to try out how they are. I did the seeds are really hot!

Throw in the slices into a small chopper. Chop them into tiny bits. Each time I opened the chopper to mix the bits that did not end up anywhere near the blade,the zing from the chilli’s just hit me…

Transfer the de-seeded slices into the chopper...

These chilli’s are so colourful & bright that I can hardly stop clicking them. 

Bird's eye chilli's...

Once all the bits are finely done add the salt & spin the chopper 4-5 times else till the colour from the chilli’s gets on to the salt.

Bird's eye chilli's...

P.S: Be cautious, do not use your fingers while handling them, I did since I did not have gloves, damn I had my fingers burning from their heat for an entire day.. :(.

Transfer the salt to a flat board or a large plate & let it dry out completely. Then transfer it to an air tight bottle or a clean & dried mill if you have one.

Serving Suggestions:
Grind the chilli salt over anything you want to add an extra bit of spice to :). Enjoy!

Birds Eye Chilli flavoured rock salt.....

The salt looks lumpy here in the picture because it was just out of the chopper.

A closer look..

This salt will probably be available in the market in small mills, but then, in the cost of that one mill I can prepare 2-3 kilo’s of this salt, all you need is a pack of these chilli’s & a packet of rock salt. It hardly costed me 1/8 the price to make me salt enough to go into 2 similar mills. This should easily last for 6 months or more if you dry it thoroughly before bottling it or storing it away. I also have more than 10 chilli’s left from that pack.. Got to make something that will help me use them up in another interesting way. ;)

Phova Chutney with Muga Daali Usli….. Classic GSB breakfast dish


This a classic breakfast dish of the GSB’s or Konkana’s. It is a very simple & delicious breakfast dish. Once you have a look at the ingredients you will agree that the days when you don’t have a breakfast idea, you can give this a try as you would have all these in your pantry for sure.

Phova Chutney with Muga Daali Usli...

Mum in town, I love these simple breakfasts she puts together. K & I are usually the paratha or omelette, corn flakes or muesli asked her to make this for breakfast today. You can prepare the phova chutney in another way, using slightly different ingredients, without the onion & sambhar powder. That recipe will be up soon as well.

Poha/beaten rice is called Phova in konkani. I really don’t know how & why the name usli is used. Asked mum.. she just shrugged, she said “From all the dishes that come to my mind when I think of the word usli, all I gather is something tossed with a tempering of mustard seeds, green chilli’s and curry leaves, then garnished with grated coconut, again ask someone else to confirm” she said. Till I find someone to give me the history behind the name, let us stick to this one.

I had put up a status the Keli Paan Facebook page, asking fans for new recipe’s they look forward to see on the blog. Anu Mehta Kapoor asked for new healthy breakfast ideas & since mum made this, it seemed perfect for her request. I hope you enjoy this recipe Anu. :)

Phova Chutney with Muga Daali Usli...

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3)        Preparation Time: 20 mins
Thick/ Thin beaten rice or Poha – 1.5 cups, I used thick poha
Coconut – 1/2 of a medium-sized coconut grated, keep 2 tbsp aside for the dal
Mung dal – 1 cup, washed & drained
Onion – 1 small-sized, finely chopped
Mustard – 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp
Sambhar powder – 1- 1.5 tbsp
Sugar – 1.5 – 2 tbsp or you can use powdered jaggery
Green chilli’s – 4, slit
Ginger – 1 inch piece, finely chopped
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs or about 12 leaves
Oil – 1+1.5 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Muga daali usli:
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadai, maintain heat at medium. When the oil heats up add the mustard seeds, let it sizzle. Now add about 5-6, curry leaves & green chilli’s along with the chopped ginger; sauté them for a couple of minutes. Add 2 cups water, salt to taste. Once the water begins to bubble, add the washed mung dal, close the kadai with a lid, simmer & cook. Once the dal cooks and all the water has evaporated, check the seasoning & adjust. Garnish with 2 tbsp of grated coconut.

Phova Chutney:
Meanwhile, when then dal is getting ready, in a large bowl, mix together the grated coconut, chopped onion, sugar, sambhar powder along with some salt to taste. Once the onion begins to sweat a little add the poha little by little & mix well. In a tempering vessel heat up 1.5 tbsp of oil, once hot add 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds & let it sizzle. Turn the heat off, add the curry leaves & mix. Transfer this tempering over the poha.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve the poha with a portion of the mung dal on the side. Mix the dal with the poha & enjoy.

Phova Chutney with Muga Daali Usli...

Meen Varatharachathu… another fish delicacy from Kerala..!


From the very first time I tasted Basa, I just fell in love with it. The meat was so juicy & it just melted in my mouth. I had, had a basa sizzler when I was out with a friend. The meat does not smell at all, unlike most other fish. If you like haddock, then you will surely love it. The meat is firmer than haddock though & doesn’t break into pieces when cooking. I always found haddock melting away when I tried Indian curry’s with it. Have any of you faced such issues with Haddock??

K is very particular when it comes to fish, he won’t eat just about any fish. I’m particular too, but my preference is different. I don’t eat fresh water fish, I only eat Sea fish. K’s fish-eating depends largely on how the fish smells too ;). He won’t come anywhere around a sardine dish, forget eating it. He picks out the skin if he find it on the fish. I don’t blame him though, since he only ate fish once in a while at restaurants. He always prefers fish like Salmon, Haddock, Seer fish etc. whose bone placement is predictable. So, when I discovered this lovely fish I knew for sure he would fall in love with it, just like I did.

Meen Varatharachathu....

For those of you who have never given this fish a try I highly recommend it, the meat is white & nice & firm (when bought fresh of course ;)). It is easily available as fillets at the fish mongers. No bones, no hassles cleaning & making sure the scales are not present. The meat can be cut into smaller chunks, its perfect for an Indian fish curry as it does not disintegrate.

From the time I unpacked my Kitchen Aid mixer, K & I have moved on to eating a lot of Roti, fulka’s, paratha’s etc. as kneading the dough is not a big issue anymore. Our rice consumption has gone down considerably. I sometimes wonder how life changes you, it comes as a shock to K too, I settle easily to eat roti’s now. (If you have read my older posts you would know that I’m a rice eater. A meal was never complete without rice for me). It had been long since I ate some rice with a good curry to go with. I was looking for a hot flavourful curry & suddenly remembered that my aunt had passed me an old cookery book filled with various traditional recipe’s from Kerala. Since I love fish & so do Keralites (People who belong to the state of Kerala) I was thrilled when she passed on this book to me. You are sure to catch some more of their lovely recipe’s on the blog.

Meen Varatharachathu....

Tip: In Kerala Seer fish is usually used for this curry, you can use any fish which remains firm for this curry.

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3)       Preparation Time: 25 mins
Basa/Seer fish – 250 gms, cleaned & cut into 2-3 inch chunks
Garlic – 8-10 cloves, peeled
Ginger – 2 cm piece,
Turmeric powder – 1/8 tsp
Red Chilli powder – 1.5 – 2 tsp depending on your tolerance
Onion – 1 large, finely chopped
Green chilli’s – 4, slit or roughly chopped
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
Tamarind – marble sized ball
Coriander powder – 2 tbsp
Tomato – 1 large, chopped into chunks
Coriander leaves – 4-5 sprigs, chopped
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

For the fresh ground paste:
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Coconut – 1/2 of a medium-sized, grated
Shallots – 3-4, chopped
Curry leaves – 10-12

Method:
Soak the tamarind in about 100 ml water. Use a tsp of oil & roast the fennel, coconut, shallots & curry leaves till all these are golden brown. Make sure you maintain the heat at medium-low once the ingredients are in the oil and constantly keep tossing them around, we do not want to burn them. Once done keep it aside to cool.

Fry the ingredients mentioned for the freshly ground paste till golden brown..

Make a fresh paste out of the ginger & garlic. Keep aside.

Heat the rest of the oil in a medium-sized kadai or pot. Maintain heat at medium. Add fenugreek, when it changes colour add the chopped onion, green chilli’s & sauté till the onions turn translucent. Add a pinch of salt to help fry the onions.

Note: Fenugreek burns quickly, keep a constant check.

Next add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a couple of minutes. Add turmeric, red chilli, coriander powder & fry for a couple of minutes. Squeeze the juice out of the soaking tamarind & throw away the pulp. Add the tamarind juice along with another 200 ml water. Simmer & let the water begin to bubble. Add some salt to taste.

Meanwhile, grind the golden roasted coconut & rest of the ingredients to a smooth paste in a blender. Add water as required to help grind them to a smooth paste.

Now add the fish pieces & tomatoes to the bubbling water. Cook till the fish is done.

Add the fish & cook till done..

Now add the ground coconut paste, along with a cup of water.

Add the freshly ground coconut paste...

Mix well. Check seasoning. Simmer & let the curry come to a boil. Turn off the heat.

Garnishing:
Garnish with additional curry leaves & chopped coriander leaves.

Meen Varatharachathu....

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with a bowl of boiled rice or steamed rice.

Meen Varatharachathu.... a fragrant  fish curry from the land of Kerala..

 

Spaghetti Butter Garlic Prawns….


You know how cleaning up prawns is… I was so caught up with half a kilo of prawn cleaning today that I completely lost track of time,hunger began to creep in, had no lunch ready, a glance at the wall clock, it read thirty past two. K was home, I had to put together a quick lunch. I took a frantic look around my kitchen (my morning plans of preparing some basa fish curry would not hold good for now) & my eyes fell on small pile of garlic, since I bake a lot these days, we never run out of butter at home. My mind went racing & I literally put 2 & 2 together. ;) Craving for some butter garlic prawns instantly began :D. I chided myself!I was late, I did not have any time for starters & then get into cooking a main course. Sigh!

Spaghetti Butter Garlic Prawns....

If I want to eat something, I will not rest till I have had it. I put on my thinking cap. The next thought that hit my mind was Pasta! I stock up a lot of pasta as well ;). It for sure will be yummy, no second thoughts when it comes to butter, garlic, prawns & spaghetti together!! That is wee story that gave life to this recipe :). K digs Pasta & prawns, it knew he will thoroughly enjoy this recipe.

Spaghetti Butter Garlic Shrimps...

This recipe does not have a sauce, it is more of a creamy buttery garlicky glaze to the spaghetti when ready. Do I see lip smacks?? ;) Well I sure did make your lip smack, come on admit it. :) This super quick & yummy recipe is a keeper for sure. You can wow your guests the next time you have a brunch or a lunch party at home.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)   Preparation Time: 15 – 20 mins
Prawns – 14 medium-sized prawns, tail on, cleaned (de-veined) & drained
Spaghetti – 150 gms
Garlic – 8-10 medium-sized cloves, finely chopped
Butter – 1 tbsp, use salted/unsalted, your choice
Fresh cream – 1.5 tbsp
Coriander leaves – 2 sprigs, finely chopped
Crushed black pepper – 1 tsp
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp (To cook the spaghetti)
Salt to taste

Method:
Bring pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt to the water. Add the cooking oil. Cook till al dante or as per the instructions on the pack.

While the spaghetti is around 3-4 minutes into cooking, melt butter in a saucepan. Add the finely chopped garlic, lower heat to medium. Let the garlic flavour induce into the butter. Do not let the garlic change colour. Add the prawns after a minute. Sprinkle some salt to taste (Remember the spaghetti is already cooking in salty water, if you have used salted butter then add accordingly).

Once the prawns turn white on both sides, add the cream & mix well. Throw in 1/4 tsp of the freshly ground black pepper. Meanwhile, check on the spaghetti. Drain, reserve about 4-5 tbsp of the pasta water (For use just in case the pasta dries up). Throw in the cooke spaghetti. Mix well till the butter & cream sauce just glazes the spaghetti. Turn off the heat.

Garnishing:
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves & 1/2 tsp of crushed black pepper.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with the leftover black pepper & wedges of lime, if you want to add a citrus twist.

 

Spaghetti Butter Garlic Prawns...

Accompany this with a glass of wine that you like :).

We enjoyed this a lot. Do drop your comments if you happen to try this recipe. :)

 

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