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Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

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?


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..!! 😀 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”… 😀

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. 😀

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.


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

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. 😀
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.


Meen Varatharachathu… another fish delicacy from Kerala..!

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

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. 🙂

 


Chicken Thoran.. from the yummy state of Kerala.. ;)

Chicken Thoran...

Chicken has been playing on my mind since a few days. K’s cousin also has been craving for some home cooked chicken. Unfortunately when K went to pick some chicken at the butchers, he gave him a very old chicken whose meat was very thready. I was so disappointed that I did not cook that meat. Both K & I do not like eating thready chicken, it turns too chewy when cooked. So had to drop chicken cooking plans for yesterday. Later in the night went over to a supermarket & picked up chicken from their meat section. 

Kerala is a yummy state & beautifully charming. I always have loads to say when it comes to Kerala. Food habits change from the north to the south & a particular recipe is prepared in slightly different ways when compared between the North & South parts of this state.

When I had visited my aunt in Calicut last year, she had prepared this for lunch on one of the days. I love the Mangalorean chicken sukka, this dish is tad similar to that & has a surprise in every bite because of the different spices added to the seasoning & the ground masala.

Chicken Thoran..

You will lick your fingers clean if you are a coconut lover. Remember to eat the curry leaves with your chicken. They are yummy & they are good for you. 

I have had this dish before in small Mallu restaurants (People from Kerala are referred to as Mallu, I mean no offence any of you Mallayali’s) & Mallu messes (Mess is a small eatery which opens up only for lunch & dinner, usually serves a complete meal which consists of a dry vegetable, on chapati, rice, dal, sambhar & rasam along with some pickle & papad. You can order additional non-veg dishes & omelette’s as sides) in & around my workplace.

Note: Traditionally, most cooking in Kerala is done using coconut oil. But if you think the amount of coconut can stop with the grated coconut , go ahead & use any cooking oil of your choice for preparing this dish. Also, traditionally boneless pieces of chicken are used in this recipe. But since we prefer chicken with bones, I prepared it with bones.

Chicken Thoran..

I bought an organic brand of turmeric powder, hence my dish ended up looking a little extra yellowish than brownish.

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)       Preparation Time: 30 mins (Time for marination not included)
Chicken – 750 gms, skinless & cut into small pieces, I used pieces with bones, you can use diced chicken breast as well.
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp, use the small fennel seeds rather than the bigger ones if you do not want to bite into them, these closely resemble Cumin seeds
Curry Leaves – 3 sprigs + additional for garnishing if required
Red chilli’s – 4, whole, do not break them
Whole pepper corns – 1/2 tsp – freshly ground
Garam Masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil – 2 tbsp, else use any cooking oil of your choice
Salt to taste

For the Chicken marination:
Green chilli’s – 5,
Ginger – 1 inch piece, roughly chopped
Garlic – 8-10 cloves

Shallots/Sambhar onions..

For the freshly ground masala:
Shallots/ Sambhar onions – 5-6, peeled
Freshly grated Coconut – 1/2 cup
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp or more based on your tolerance
Turmeric – a pinch
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp

Method:
Wash & drain the chicken pieces. Marinate it with the paste made of the ingredients mentioned for the chicken marination along with some salt. Use some water to help you grind the ingredients to a coarse paste. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes. More is good.

Marinate the chicken...

Put together all the ingredients required for the freshly ground masala into a blender & blend them to a coarse paste. Use very little water to help you grind. You need to feel the grainy texture of the coconut in each bite..

Coarse grind the ingredients...

In a deep bottom pan, heat the coconut oil. Set heat to medium. Add mustard seeds & let them splutter. Add curry leaves. Next throw in the fennel seeds. Let them sizzle. Now add the whole red chilli’s & fry them for a minute. Add the marinated chicken along with any juices left in the marination bowl. Mix well. Toss the mixture around for a minute or two. Add the freshly ground black pepper.

Add the marinated chicken...

Now add the freshly ground masala & mix well. Season with salt. Also we want the raw flavours of the ingredients added to make the fresh coconut masala fade away. Simmer & let the chicken cook.

Note – If you want to make this as a curry, add some water when you add the coconut paste to the chicken.

The chicken will ooze out some water content present in it. When the water evaporates, add the garam masala powder. Mix well. Adjust seasoning. Check if the chicken is done. When the oil begins to separate out & the dish dries up, turns slightly brownish, its done. I wanted some moisture in the dish hence did not fry the chicken till it turned brownish.

Garnishing:
Garnish with some additional curry leaves.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve as a starter or as a side along with some boiled rice & curry or along with chapatis’.

Chicken Thoran...

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Chicken Stew – Kerala StyleMeen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curryPrawn Pepper Fry – Kerala styleMutton Chilli Masala……..Alle Piyava Ghashi/Konkani style Fish curry.., etc.

 


From the villages of Tamil Nadu, a yummy Fish curry – Makerel curry…

Makeral Curry... from the villages of Tamil Nadu..

I’m sure you are surprised to see my post today.. been ages isn’t it? I’m not going to apologise this time.. because it looks like I have been doing the disappearing act too often. Whats kept me busy was shifting.. Can you believe it???@!!! Gosh yes,!! you read it right.. In the last 2 years I have only been shifting houses every 5-6 months. Now you can’t complain about me playing the disappearing act, since each one of you would have experienced it at some time in your lives. Phew!!! That is the nitty-gritty of the disappearance act, been busy setting up my house & buying all the required ingredients to stock up my pantry. I love new places, meeting new people, making new friends, yes.. but I have been doing it way too often now.. but glad this time I’m still in Bangalore.. 🙂

Things seem to have changed in Bangalore. New places are up, old places have vanished.. not just the store being renovated or taken over by a new business, there are whole new buildings that have come up & changed the whole outlook of the place.My scouting around for ingredients is almost over. I think I have found my places now, but the whole issue this time around is that I don’t find things in stock when I go to buy them… & they lie there on the shelves when I don’t need them.

Now cutting out all my usual rantings… this curry is just plain wonderful.. If you love a fish curry that’s such a heavenly blend of different ingredients then, this is it.. you have found the right recipe. Isn’t that colour very tempting? Oh, come on! it sure is.. Well if the colour is not then go ahead & cook it.. you will then agree that to the fact that the aroma is very tempting indeed :D. Just the right curry to cook small fish in. This recipe was passed on to me by my aunt. She had this curry ready when I reached her home for dinner and the foodie that I am, just loved it from the very first whiff from the fish pot.

The villages in Tamil Nadu have distinct & very flavourful recipes, unlike the urban ones which focus on quick & easy ways to prepare the same dish. This dish tastes yummier when the freshly ground paste is prepared using the stone grinder & the paste ground with loads of love using the hand held pestle, this device is referred to as the ambi (the base) & kulavi (the stone part that moves & grinds). Chutney or any paste ground using this has a completely different flavour.

From the villages of Tamil Nadu, a yummy Fish curry - Makerel curry…!

I have used earthenware to cook the fish curry, just like my aunt did :). My grandmother always cooked fish in earthenware on firewood. It sure does add a lovely flavour to the curry. Damn! I had to give up the idea of cooking using firewood because I do not have that setup with me. But those of you who have had their grandmother/mothers cook fish curry in earthenware on firewood would know what I mean.. it is absolutely delicious. If you get a chance to cook this curry that way… go ahead & indulge :)!

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)        Preparation Time: 60 mins
Baby Mackerel/any small fish of your choice – 1/2 kg, cleaned & drained

Baby Makerel...
Note: I do not cook the fish with its head, but you could if you wish to
Onion – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Green chilli’s – 2, chopped
Tomatoes – 2 medium-sized, cubed
Coriander leaves – 3 sprigs, chopped
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

To prepare the freshly ground paste
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Garlic – 10 medium-sized cloves
Shallots/sambhar onions – 3-4, peeled
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp or more, use as per your taste
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – a handful
Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp, use oil of your choice if you do not like the flavour of coconut oil

Method:
Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a fry pan. Set heat at medium. Add the fenugreek seeds, fry them till they begin to turn soft, throw in the onions. Fry till the onion turns translucent. Now add all the other ingredients mentioned for the fresh paste. Fry all the ingredients for a couple of minutes. Lower the heat if the fry pan gets too hot, we do not want to burn the ingredients. Once you can smell the heavenly aroma of all the ingredients turn the heat off, let it cool.

Ingredients for the fresh paste.. cooled & ready to be ground to a smooth paste...

Once the ingredients for the paste have cooled down, blend all of them into a smooth paste.

Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a pot. Set heat to medium. Once the oil heats up, fry the chopped onions, green chilli’s & tomatoes together. Throw in some salt to help fry them quicker. Once the tomatoes loosen up & the onions turn translucent, add the freshly ground paste. Mix well. Add 500 ml of water & mix well. Let the curry come to a boil. Now drop in the cleaned fish into the curry. Add salt to taste. Simmer & let the fish cook & absorb all the flavours.

Note: In about 5-8 minutes the fish should be cooked. Do over-cook the fish, since they are small fish, they can easily disintegrate into the curry.

Garnishing:
Garnish with chopped coriander & curry leaves.

From the villages of Tamil Nadu, a yummy Fish curry - Makerel curry…

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with a bowl of rice or chapatis’. And yes, traditionally eaten with Dosa/Idli as an accompaniment!

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Quick fish curry – Salmon Phanna UpkariAlle Piyava Ghashi/Konkani style Fish curry..Meen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curryFish Fry with a Konkani style batterTava fried prawns etc.


Goan Chorizo/Pork Sausage Chilly….

Goan Chorizo/Pork Sausage Chilly

Hiya… Happy New Year to all.. !! Hope all of you have had a lovely time with family & friends this holiday season.. I’m guilty for not showing my presence around from a while now.. Back in Bangalore now. I have been getting lazy & feeling lethargic, taking a break from cooking while I was in Mangalore, at my mum’s place & feasting on home food & the other favourites from the eateries around. Spent a few days at my aunt’s place in Calicut, got pampered by her as well.. ;). Had a rendezvous in Goa for a couple of days.. all we did was drink, eat & laze on the beach… Bliss.. I had to carry back some Goan Chorizo or Pork sausages. The owner of place we stayed in was kind enough to sell us some homemade chorizo from the stash he picks up for himself.

Goan Chorizo/Pork Sausage Chilly...Goan Chorizo/Pork Sausage Chilly...

All those who love the Mexican style Chorizo will love these. A very tasty recipe this is. Hardly requires any effort & time from you; just add the staple chopped veggies used in most dish, along with some water to the crushed chorizo & you end up with a some hot, spicy, finger-licking accompaniment to go with some warm bread/pao/pav. The only effort required is to find some of these sausages in your city ;). I have found them in stores in Mangalore & friends tell me that it is available in Mumbai as well. Next time you visit Goa, don’t forget to pick some of these sausages on your way back. 🙂

Ingredients: (Serves 3)       Preparation Time: 30-40 mins

Goan Chorizo & other ingredients..
Goan Chorizo – 1 link, approximately 250 gms, shell removed & the meat broken/crushed into bits.
Onion – 1 large, chopped
Tomato – 1 large, chopped
Green chilli’s – 3, finely chopped
Potatoes – 1 medium-sized, cubed
Water – 250 ml
Salt to taste

Method:
To a deep bottom pan, add all the ingredients.

Throw in all the ingredients together...

Toss the ingredients around for a couple of minutes till they all warm up. Next add the glass of water, throw in a pinch of salt.

Add water & a pinch of salt....

Just a pinch since the sausages already have salt content. Simmer when the water begins to bubble; let the meat & potatoes cook. Should take you approximately 30 mins. You will see some oil separate out of the fat when all the water evaporates & leave you a shiny dish.

Goan Chorizo/Pork Sausage Chilly ready..

Note: If the meat & the potatoes are not cooked & the water has already evaporated, then add some more water.

Tip: If you want the meat potatoes fried a little, cook on high for a couple of minutes, once the water evaporates & the meat & potatoes are cooked. Else if you like some gravy with your chorizo add some extra water when cooking. 

The smoky aroma that builds up around your home is sure to pull in some neighbours.. ! A yummy one pot dish for sure… !!!

Best relished:
Serve hot with some warm bread/pao/pav. Such an awesome, quick recipe, sure to blow your senses away..!!

Goan Chorizo/Pork Sausage Chilly...

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Dukra Maas – as they call it in Mangalore; the best Pork curry ever!!!Sweet & Sour Pork….Pork ChukkaBlanketed Frankfurters…Greek Souvlaki wrap with salad & tzatziki etc.


Mutton Chilli Masala……..

Mutton Chilli Masala……

Mutton on your mind? No bother if it’s not, it has been on my mind for a while now.. !A few of my friends have been waiting for me to post some Mutton recipes. Back in Glasgow I was unable to do so.I’m not a huge fan of lamb ;), hence you don’t see any lamb recipe’s :). To tell you the truth, after I started my blog, I hardly had a pang to cook lamb.. I do like mutton though, but not as much as I like my fish/chicken curry.

Mutton Chilli Masala...

Since I had not eaten mutton for close to 2 years I had a craving to eat some good mutton. Mum never cooks mutton, so dad instantly said Mutton when I asked him what he wanted me to cook.. 😉Dad sourced some mutton through a friend. Mutton is a tricky meat, well that’s my take on this meat. 

Oops, pardon me for not mentioning it earlier, Goat meat is referred to as Mutton in India. This meat like most red meat takes longer to cook, sometimes unusually long too depending on the type of breed the goat belongs to. Ya well, it took me an hour to cook this meat perfectly, under pressure in a pressure cooker. The things people do to cook & eat certain food.. 😉  What you need while cooking mutton is a whole lot of patience.

Cooking in a kitchen which is not your’s is always tough.. even if its your mum’s kitchen it still is an adventure.. Things have all changed.. it’s not how I remember it… I have to constantly nag my mum to hand me the different ingredients..With all the small tiffs & disagreements in between the cooking, on why things have been moved.. why she does not stock up on certain things anymore.. blah blah.. its sure looks like a battle..! 😉

Finally, I had to do with what she had stocked up in her pantry.. I should not really blame her now for not stocking up on certain ingredients as this new recipe would not have been born else. I won’t complain as my dad loved it.. & I second it.. 🙂 It was perfect with Dosa & with rice.. sadly my bro did not get to taste it. 😀

I’ll let you in on a secret.. this is the second time I cooked Mutton. I have cooked Lamb many times.. 🙂 Well don’t doubt my abilities though. This dish turned out to be perfect & yummy. The curry leaves have their evergreen inviting aroma that draws your hand instantly towards this dish.. the occasional bite into the green chilli bits or the black pepper leave a craving for more & the lovely onion & garlic gravy that envelopes the juicy mutton pieces are just finger-licking good.. !

Mutton Chilli Masala...

I wanted to hold a small bake sale for Christmas.. & the electrical equipment dealers in Karnataka played spoil sport. No dealer has the model in stock or have any clue about the date when they expect the shipment to arrive. Can you believe it!!!?!!. I’m so annoyed.. :(!!!! So all the baking is paused till I get my hands on what I need…

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)  Preparation Time: 80-90 mins (Excludes time for marination)
Mutton – 500 gms with bones, curry cut, washed & drained
Cloves – 4
Star anise – half of one star
Bay leaves – 1 large leaf, torn into 2-3 pieces
Dried red chilli’s – 3-4 roughly torn, medium-spicy variety, I used the byadge variety
Onions – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Ginger – 1 inch piece, finely chopped
Garlic – 1 pod, skin on, bruised using a mortar & pestle
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Freshly ground peppercorns – 1 tsp
Garam Masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Green chilli’s = 2, finely chopped
Curry leaves – 8-10 leaves
White Vinegar – 1.5 tsp
Clarified butter/ghee – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Marinate the mutton with turmeric, red chilli, coriander powders, salt & the freshly ground peppercorns for at least 30 mins. Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker pan. Once the ghee melts & heats up, add the dry spices – cloves, bay leaves, star anise along with the red chilli’s. Simmer & let the flavours infuse into the ghee.
Do not burn the ghee or the spices. Next add the bruised garlic & finely chopped ginger. Fry for a minute. Now add onions with a pinch of salt & fry them till they turn translucent.

Now throw in the marinated mutton pieces with any leftover spice powders left. Toss them around for a couple of minutes.
Next add about 400-500ml water, just enough to cover the mutton pieces & let the water bubble. Add salt to taste (Remember that you marinated the mutton with salt, so add accordingly).

Cover the pressure cooker with its lid & insert its weight, maintain the heat at simmer & pressure cook the chicken for at least 6 whistles. Turn off the heat & let the pressure cooker lose its pressure before you open.

Check if the meat is cooked, else close & pressure cook again for a couple more whistles.
Once the meat is cooked, place the cooker back on heat again, without the lid & simmer. There would be a good amount of water left back in the pressure cooker. Add the finely chopped green chilli’s, garam masala, vinegar & check & adjust the salt. (If you want spice up the curry some more, add more green chilli’s).

Tip: If you like a wee bit more vinegar in your food then add another tsp.

Now its your call if you need this dish as a curry or as semi-gravy. Based on your choice, let the curry simmer or turn off the heat. Throw in the curry leaves just before you turn off the heat.

Mutton Chilli Masala...

How I ate it..
Hot, as an accompaniment with boiled rice for lunch & then the left overs with some Dosa for breakfast… 🙂 slurp..! This dish will be perfect with some sanna’s or Idli’s & chapatis’ too.. Take your pick.. !

K is away with my laptop. I only managed this one pic. More to be uploaded soon.. 🙂

Tip: The leftovers taste better than the freshly cooked curry.. 😉 So make sure you have some left over for the next day.. !!! Also make sure you heat the leftover curry before you eat it, since the ghee & the fat from the meat tend to solidify.

You may also enjoy – Chicken Puli Munchi/Chicken in Tangy Hot curry- Mangalorean styleKori Ghassi/Mangalorean style chicken curryChicken Stew – Kerala StylePudina/Mint Chicken with hints of CilantroDukra Maas – as they call it in Mangalore; the best Pork curry ever!!! etc.


Karuveppilai/kadipatta/curry leaves chicken……

Karuveppilai/kadipatta/curry leaves chicken……

I’m visiting Mangalore after about 2 years. Feels awesome being home. All the lazing around, the silence (hate the traffic noise all over Bangalore, you rarely find a place where it is quiet unless you have noise eliminating windows fitted), all yummy food you get at home & small quaint places around. My little brother is an encyclopaedia & he has a list of the best dish on the menu for almost every good eatery/restaurants around. Since I left to Manipal to attend University I never had the opportunity to explore all the places where my brother frequented.

Mum prepares such amazing food which I miss so much that I hardly go out to eat when in Mangalore. I stuffed myself so much with breakfast & lunch that I could not eat anything as an evening snack  & I skipped dinner as well. This is what I end up doing when I’m back home- hog, hog & hog even more.

Karuveppilai/kadipatta/curry leaves chicken……

This recipe is from my mums recipe trove. This dish is infused with lovely flavours from Tamil Nadu. You could adjust this recipe based on your taste to have loads of runny curry or a thick curry or make it dry as a starter. Even though this recipe uses very few ingredients it tastes amazing with rice/chapati’s or even as a starter.

Karuveppilai/kadipatta/curry leaves chicken……

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3)     Preparation Time: 20 mins
Chicken – 500 gms curry cut pieces
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Garlic – 3-4 cloves
Yogurt – 1 tbsp
Red onion – 1 medium-sized, diced
Red chilli powder – 1/2-1 tsp
Salt to taste

Some of the ingredients..

For the freshly ground paste:
Grated Coconut – 1 cup
Green chilli’s – 8 slit
Curry leaves – 10 sprigs + a few for garnishing
Cooking oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Method:
Prepare a fresh paste out of the ginger & garlic. Wash & drain the chicken. Marinate the chicken with the yogurt, the freshly prepared ginger garlic paste & some salt. Let the chicken marinate for about at least 30 minutes.

While the chicken gets marinated, we can prepping up for the paste. Heat a tbsp of oil in a small fry pan. Once it heats up, reduce the heat to low, add the cumin seeds & let it sizzle & then add the green chilli’s. Now add the curry leaves & the coconut. Fry till the grated coconut begins to turn light brown.

Fry the ingredients for the paste..

Turn the heat off & let it cool before you grind this to a smooth paste.

Freshly grated coconut & curry leaves paste..

Add the 1 tbsp of oil to a pot & heat it. Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium & throw in the onions along with some salt. Once the onions turn translucent add the marinated chicken & toss the chicken till the meat turns white.

Fry the chicken till the meat turns white..

Now add the freshly ground curry leaves & coconut paste. Mix it well.

Add the freshly ground paste..

Note: Remember that the chicken also lets out some water as it cooks..

Season with salt & add red chilli powder. Simmer & cook till the raw flavours fade away, adjust the thickness of the curry as per your requirement. Once the oil separates from the curry, check if the chicken is cooked & turn the heat off once it is.

Garnishing:
Garnish with some curry leaves.

Serving Suggestions:
Now serve hot with your choice of accompaniment like rice/chapati’s or as a starter.

Karuveppilai/kadipatta/curry leaves chicken……

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