September 09, 2009

Quick Roasted Chicken

People are beginning to wonder if I am a veggie. Not even a single post on my staple food! Chicken!

Here’s a quick chicken recipe, a tweaked version of Easter Chicken Roast from Mrs. K. M. Mathew’s Flavours of the Spice Coast. The original recipe is for one whole chicken minus the liver and other non essential parts. But I prefer using drumsticks or diced chicken.

Roasted Chicken

For 250 gms of Chicken, prepare the marinade with

  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp (Optional)

Alternatively (as per the original recipe) you can prepare the marinade by grinding together turmeric, chilli powder, 4-5 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon stick.

Mix all the ingredients with 1 tbsp vinegar and salt as required into a thick paste and rub into the chicken pieces. You can almost roast it instantly. If you have the luxury of time, keep it marinated for an hour. It yields better result.

In a shallow pan, fry the chicken on low heat in a tbsp of oil. When it is evenly browned, add 1/2 cup hot water and cook till done. Remove the chicken from the pan and let the gravy thicken. Return the chicken to the pan and cook on low heat to coat with gravy. Top it with some sautéed onion rings. Goes best as a starter with a glass of red wine. It is equally good with some hot rice and tuvar dal fry.

September 05, 2009

Avial (Vegetables in ground coconut)

Avial or Aviyal is a semi dry - super healthy dish from the God's own (or rather my own) country, made with an assortment of veggies in equal proportions. It's a delight for any vegetable lover. For the same reason it was an instant hit with my husband.

Some Avial trivia! The story has it that somebody came up with a magical way to use up a whole lot of left over veggies and created Avial. Wikipedia suggested another story which dates back to the Mahabharata age, when Bheema, who probably didn't even know how to make an omelette, assumed a chef's role. He chopped whatever was available, boiled them all and in anxiety dropped a whole lot of ground coconut over it. Okay! That's a li'l bit of exaggeration of mythology. ;)

There is a popular rock band from Kerala by the same name catching up fast with the international audience. In Mallu land 'avial' is synonymical with any form of medley. The name is a perfect fit for the band which has a mix of members belonging to different genres of music. Check them out @ Subash's World

Ingredients 1 (to chop lengthwise into thin strips in the same fashion as julienning)
  • Carrot - 150 gms
  • Raw banana - 1
  • Yam - 150 gms
  • Ash gourd - 150 gms
  • Drumstick - 3 (optional)
  • Long beans - 100 gms (optional)

Ingredients 2 (to coarse grind)

  • Coconut - one half scraped
  • Jeera - 1 tsp
  • Green chillies - 3-4

Ingredients 3:

  • Sour curd - 1 cup
  • Curry leaves - 1 small sprig
  • Coconut oil - 1 tsp
  • Boil the cut vegetables in ingredients 1 with a pinch of turmeric powder and salt, till cooked. Strain the water and keep aside.
  • Add the ground coconut mixture to the cooked vegetables.
  • When the mixture begins to boil, add one cup of sour curd and remove from heat.
  • Take care not to boil the mixture once you add the curd.
  • Season with curry leaves in coconut oil.

Avial is best when accompanied with hot rice, sambar and pappadam. Will update with a pic soon :)

May 31, 2009

Coconut chutney! My mom's way!

Every one makes it pretty much the same way. The only hitch is breaking the coconut into halves. I still haven't mastered the art. You don't need exact halves for the yummiest chutney anyway. So chill! Scraping the coconut is the other step which I'm not very fond of. It is so time consuming. The issue with coconut is, once open it won't stay fresh for long. It will spoil even if you refrigerate it. Forget freezing unless you want to make a compromise on the taste. I have a way around. Again thanks to my mom! Refrigerate the halved coconut for an hour and then it breaks away from the shell easily. It still would take you a little effort. Cut it into small pieces before you grind them.

Ingredients for the chutney
  • One medium sized coconut
  • Split roasted gram (porikadala) - 1 tbsp
  • Green chillies - 4-5 depending upon how spicy you want it to be
  • Dried red chilli - 1
  • Mustard - 1/2 tsp
  • Split urad dal - 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 3-4
  • Salt as required
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Grind together the scraped/cut coconut, split roasted gram, green chillies and salt with some water. Make sure it is neither too fine nor too coarse
  • Add water to ensure smooth grinding
  • Transfer the contents to a bowl
  • Heat oil, splutter the mustard, split urad dal, red chilli and curry leaves and pour over the chutney. Mix well
  • Serve with dosa, uthappam or idli
The picture above has just the mustard seasoning. You can even do without the seasoning. In some other parts of South India, they even grind some coriander leaves or ginger along. However I prefer no seasoning to the one I have described above.

Give your iron pan a nonstick effect with onion

It's been a while since I'm thinking of a dedicated space featuring handy hints and solutions to common kitchen woes. Your contribution is welcome. Email me your titbits. You make sure they are tried and tested ones. I will make sure they figure under the label 'kitchen fixes and solutions' with due credit.

To start with here is a small care tip for your iron tawa. I use the traditional iron-griddle pan for rotis, paranthas and dosas. Iron tawa always produce better results when compared to your non-stick pans. The only issue with iron is its tendency to rust. Make sure the griddle is washed and scrubbed properly before use. Rub the heated iron surface with a drop of oil using a halved onion
to remove any traces of rust. This also ensures a non sticky effect on your pan. Chop and discard the rubbed surface of the onion. After use, coat the surfaces, both top and bottom with a thin film of oil to prevent rusting. I have been seeing my folks do this religiously for ages and now I know why.

Boondi Raita, a Summer Relish

Introduced to me by a Rajasthani friend, this tasty relish now accompanies almost every meal. I thought this should figure in my blog before the monsoon sets in. Let the summer end on a cooler note!

To prepare boondi, gram flour batter is forced through a ladle with holes and deep fried in vegetable oil. No you don't have to do all that. Ready-made boondi is available in all local stores.

  • Curd - 1/2 litre
  • Boondi - 1 cup
  • Roasted Cumin Powder - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - as required
  • Beat the curd well
  • Add salt and cumin to it
  • Add boondi and mix well (add more if boondi is sparse)
  • Keep aside for a while till boondi loses it crisp texture and turns soft
  • Serve chilled

April 26, 2009

Chick Pea Salad

April is almost over and I realise I haven't done a single post here. In fact it's more than a month since my last post. I can't claim I didn't have the time because I was actively blogging at my beta world and the food blog got sidelined. :(

Let me set the pace back with this Chick Pea Salad. I usually make this at home when there are a lot of guests, so that while they munch on, I get the other things ready. For the salad, you need one cup of soaked kabuli chana (chick peas) cooked with a pinch of turmeric powder & salt and drained. The rest of the ingredients are as follows.
  • Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
  • Tomato - 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Coriander leaves - 2tbsp chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Olive oil - 1 tbsp
  • Chat masala - 1 tsp
  • Salt as required
Mix all the ingredients with the chana thoroughly and refrigerate for 20 - 30 minutes. For the best result, soak the chana overnight and pressure cook for 30 - 40 minutes. You may make the recipe more interesting with some chopped cucumber, capsicum etc.

March 23, 2009

Paneer Bhurji

'Paneer bhurji' is a very easy to make recipe with resources readily available at home. Bhurji doesn't demand for paneer cubes. I generally make the paneer fresh at home everytime. I must say, it tastes better and is economical than the commerically available ones. So try and make it in the convenience of home and you will love making it.

Paneer bhurji goes best with plain paranthas. You can even stuff the left over bhurji in paranthas for the next meal. Weight watchers! Good news for you. A little bit of paneer indulgence apparently does good for you. Read below.

Some nutrition facts about paneer (Courtesy:
  • Paneer is a good source of calcium, which in later years helps prevent osteoporosis. Cheese provides 25% of the calcium in the food supply.
  • Paneer in moderation, is associated with lower body weight as well as reduced risk of developing insulin resistance syndrome.
  • Paneer is a good source of protein and it reduces cancer risk.
  • According to Ayurveda Paneer is health food and it can prevent stomach disorders
  • It is supposed to help in lower, back and joint pain.
  • Reduces risks of Heart attack
Now the recipe...

Ingredients (Serves 3)
  • Milk - 1 litre
  • Lemon - 1
  • Onion - 2 medium chopped fine
  • Tomato - 1 small chopped fine
  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Salt as required
  • Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp chopped
  • To make the paneer, boil the milk in low heat. Turn off and pour the juice of 1 lemon. Keep stirring till the milk curdles entirely and form lumps leaving the pale water behind. Strain it off and rinse with water. Squeeze out all the water (you may use a clean towel to do this). Keep aside.
  • Heat oil, saute onions and green chillies with a little salt over high heat.
  • When the onions turn a shade brown, lower the heat and add the tomatoes.
  • Keep stirring for 3 minutes till the tomatoes are cooked.
  • Add turmeric and chilli powders, mix well.
  • Add the paneer, mix well and cook for 5 minutes in low heat.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander.

March 14, 2009

Kadhi Chawal (Kadhi with Rice)

Punjabis consume rice occasionally with rajma, chole or kadhi. Kadhi and chawal is a combination to die for and it is very easy to make. However it is not made so often at home due to the inavailability of sour curd. Pakodis (dumplings made out of gram flour) are generally added to kadhi which is why the dish is often referred to as kadhi pakodi also. Alternatively, if you want to avoid the deep fried pakodi, you can use potatoes in kadhi. Pakodis can be made in an umpteen ways. I have described here pakodis made out of onion. For the chawal, basmati (long grained) rice is the best bet.

Ingredients for kadhi
  • Curd (preferably sour) - 1 litre
  • Gram flour (besan) - 5 heaped tbsp
  • Onion - 1 large - chopped lengthwise
  • Green chillies - 2 chopped
  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Garam masala - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Mustard oil - 4 tbsp
  • Fenugreek (methi) seeds - 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 1 tbsp - chopped
  • Salt as required
  • Potatoes - 2 medium - chopped into thin square slices (optional ingredient if you are not using pakodis)
Method for kadhi
  • Mix curd, besan, salt, turmeric, chilli, coriander and garam masala powders and beat well so that no lumps are formed.
  • Add water (1 cup) to make the mixture thin.
  • In a cooker or heavy bottom kadhai, heat mustard oil, splutter the methi seeds and add chopped curry leaves.
  • Saute onion and green chillies in high heat with a little salt till the onion becomes translucent.
  • (Optional step) Add the potato slices and stir till it is moderately cooked.
  • Add the curd besan mixture.
  • Mix well and boil for an hour in low heat. If you are using cooker, use the lid with out the whistle.
  • Make sure that you stir the mixture occasionally.
Ingredients for pakodi
  • Besan - 1 cup
  • Onion - 1 medium - chopped fine
  • Ajwain - 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt as required
  • Oil for deep frying
Method for pakodi
  • Mix besan, chilli powder, salt and ajwain, with water enough to make a thick paste.
  • Mix onion to the paste and make small balls out of it and deep fry them.
  • When the pakodis are done, add to kadhi and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Kadhi gets thicker with time. So make it for lunch along side rice and try it with roti or parantha for dinner (yeah of course if you've any left for dinner ;) )

March 09, 2009

Curried Rajma (Kidney Beans)

All beans have an unhappy reputation of causing embarrassment after gorging on them. Well you know what I mean. A quick look up suggested what might be happening at the back end. The smelly gas caused by beans "consists mainly of nitrogen and carbon dioxide, is the byproduct of bacteria in the intestine breaking down the complex carbohydrates in the beans". Soy beans topped the list.

Apparently cooking with ginger alleviates the problem to a good extent. Eat beans more often and you body sure will get accustomed to it.

Rajma chawal (Rajma with rice) is a Punjabi delight usually made on a Sunday. It probably is every north indian's delight. I just discovered that
a bowl of kidney beans and rice has become a traditional lunch in New Orleans on Mondays. Interesting!

I must confess here, my rajma never gets closer to the one my mom-in-law makes. She hints that she never soaks it. That means thrice the cooking time. I believe it is an indulgence. If you too believe in saving resources, you may soak the beans for a neat 4 hours at least. However if it was an impromptu decision you might try soaking the beans in boiling water in a thermos for 2 hours.

Let's get to the recipe now.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
  • Rajma - pale brown coloured - 2 cups soaked. (the maroon shaded variety of Rajma takes longer time to cook)
  • Ginger - 2 inches
  • Green chillies - 3
  • Onion - 2 Large chopped coarsely for grinding
  • Tomato - 4 medium or 3 Large (halved and grated to get the pulp)
  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves - 4 tbsp chopped
  • Fresh cream - 2 tbsp
  • Oil - 6 tbsp
  • Salt as required
  • Grind Onion, ginger and green chillies together
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker and saute the mixture in high heat, adding 1 tsp salt to it, till it turns a shade brown
  • Add the chilli powder and mix well
  • Add the tomato pulp and keep stirring for 5 minutes in high heat.
  • Add the soaked rajma along with the water used to soak it
  • Add the chopped coriander leaves and the cream
  • Add enough water to make the mixture thin in consistency (Probably I will measure the amount and update the blog later)
  • Pressure cook in high heat for one whistle and then simmer for half an hour.
  • Allow the cooker to cool and serve with hot basmati rice

February 16, 2009

Baingan Fry

  • Baingan (Brinjal) - thin long purple ones - 250 gms
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 2 tsp
  • Dried mango powder (amchur) - 1/2 tsp
  • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1 1/4 tsp (or as required)
  • Lemon juice - 1/2 - 1 lemon
  • Oil - 3 tbsp

  • Mix all the above powders with lemon juice to make a thick paste
  • Wash, chop off the ends and slit brinjals lengthwise
  • Fill the paste in the brinjals
  • In a slightly deep flat pan, heat the oil and put the marinated brinjals and stir fry for a minute
  • Close the pan tightly and cook for 5 - 7 minutes, stirring occasionally

January 30, 2009

Anar (Pomegranate) Raita

It's of course a yummy thing. But more than anything, it is very visually appealing. Take a look, isn't it just refreshing?

Ingredients (Serves 4)
  • Pomegranate - 1 medium or large
  • Curd - 500 ml
  • Cumin seeds - Roasted and powdered - 1 tsp
  • Pepper - crushed or powdered - 1 tsp
  • Salt - as required
  • A pinch of chilli powder (optional)
  • Corainder leaves - 1 tbsp chopped
  • Beat the curd
  • Add the cumin, pepper and salt
  • Add the pomegranate seeds, save some for garnishing.
  • Mix well
  • Garnish with the remaining pomegranate seeds, coriander leaves
  • Sprinkle a pinch of chilli powder (optional)
  • Serve chilled

January 28, 2009

Carrot Soup

It's red carrots every where these days, even in the vegetable compartment in my refrigerator. It comes very cheap in winters. So this time around every year I always have them in surplus.

That says a word about my husband's love for the vegetable!

What do I do with them? Oh I make several things out of it right from salad to dessert. This time all I wanted was to get rid of at least a bunch of them, but of course in an easier, healthier, less time consuming way.

My husband has a thing for 'healthy stuff'. So I decided to make some nice soup out of all those carrots and here is how...

Ingredients (serves 4 people)
  • Carrots (Red or Orange) - 400 gms or 5 - 6 medium sized - cubed
  • Potato - 1 large - cubed
  • Butter - 2 tbsp
  • Coriander Leaves - 2 tbsp ground paste - coarse or fine - doesn't really matter
  • Black pepper - coarsely ground or crushed - 1 tbsp
  • Salt - as required
  • Sugar - 1/2 tbsp
  • In a cooker, heat 1 tbsp butter and add the carrots and potatoes to it. Stir fry for a minute
  • Add around 3 - 4 tea cups of water (around 700 ml)
  • Pressure cook for 2 whistles in high heat.
  • Once it cools down, blend and strain
  • In a pan, heat the rest of the butter and saute the coriander paste for 30 seconds
  • Add the strained vegetable mixture
  • Add sugar, salt and pepper
  • Bring to boil and then simmer for a minute or two.
  • More the pepper, better the flavour. So you can sprinkle some ground pepper while serving too
  • If you like your soup to be meaty, go ahead and add some bread croutons
  • And finally I still have some more carrots left. Would you like to try them for free ;)