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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rich Plum Cake - Christmas Cake - The Ultimate Winner

A couple of weeks ago I baked the first Christmas cake in ages that turned out alright. Infact it was quite good as people who tasted it said so. But since I didnt get the desired colour (I prefer my Christmas cake in a deep brown colour) I hunted like crazy for the perfect recipe & found one on Ria's Collection. Made a few changes here & there as per my taste & the ingredients available and the outcome was a fabulously moist & delicious cake!! Everybody liked it in Mangalore where I spent my Christmas this year.


This cake is worth the trouble you take to make it (gathering the ingredients, weighing them, blah blah). You dont need to soak the fruits for donkey's years and the cake doesnt smell too heavily of the rum (last year's cake was so drenched in rum that I got a little dizzy & so did my polite guests). I havent baked cakes for years, neither did my mom, so I decided to give myself another chance {and probably burn this one too - Marriages should be rock solid...not cakes :) }with another recipe out of the million's of recipes that I've gathered over the years. This one is the sure winner!


Rich Plum Cake - Christmas Cake - The Ultimate Winner
Soaking time 16-24hours (minimum) Prep time: 30-45 mins | Bake time approx 1 -1/2 hour | Yield: 2 cakes of 9" each

You Need:

Fruits to be soaked (for a minimum of 16-24 hours):
  • 500 gms dry fruits * see note#1
  • 2 tbsp jam or fruit preserve/conserve of your choice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (freshly extracted preferably)
  • 90gm /6 tbsp sugar
  • 75ml/5 tbsp rum + extra to pour over the cakes (optional)
  • 15ml/1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove (or 12 cloves powdered)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or 1 inch stick cinnamon powdered)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (or 1/2 nutmeg powdered)
For the cake:
  • 250 gms / 1-1/3rd cups unsalted butter
  • 200 gms/ 1cup+2 tbsp powdered or caster sugar *see note#2
  • 5 eggs separated (place all egg whites in one bowl & each yolk in a separate bowl)
  • 90gm / 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 200 gms / 1-2/3rd cups all purpose flour /plain flour (maida)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100 gms (approx 1 cup) cashewnuts or walnuts roughly chopped
  • 180ml / 3/4th cup milk (at room temperature)
  • 50gms / 1/3rd cup semolina/rawa
  • pinch of salt
For the Caramel (which gives the dark colour to the cake):
  • 300gm/ 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4th cup hot water (freshly boiled)
Method:
Soak the fruits
Finely chop all the dry fruits and soak them in a wide bowl along with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'Fruits to be soaked'. Fruits need to be soaked at least for 16-24 hours at room temperature or for as long as you wish (a month or two in advance - preferably in a very cool place or in the refrigerator)

Prepare the oven & cake tins
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes. Grease two 9" pans thoroughly with butter and line them with baking paper/ parchment. Do not skip this step as the long bake time can burn your cake.

Prepare the caramel (when you are almost ready with the batter)
Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan (or kadhai) over medium flame. The colour will slowly change from white to brown to deep brown (almost black). Simmer & stir continuously to keep the liquid from frothing over.
Add freshly boiled hot water a little at a time and stir it. Ensure to keep at a safe distance as the boiling liquid can splutter on your face. Watch out!


Prepare the batter

1. Beat the separated egg whites and granulated sugar (6 tbsps) till fluffy and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt a couple of times and keep aside. Roll the chopped nuts in a tablespoon of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake. Keep aside.
2. In a large bowl (suitable for batter for two cakes) cream together the butter and powdered sugar adding the yolks one at a time. Beat well for about a minute after each addition. Add the soaked fruits and mix well.
Add the sifted flour mixture & semolina and fold.
3. Add the milk and fold. Pour in the caramel and mix carefully. Add the beaten egg whites and the chopped nuts.

Bake the cake
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for approx 1-1/2 hours or till the skewer comes out clean. The surface will be a deep brown. Baking time may vary depending on the oven size and type. Keep an eye on the cakes on the completion of 1 hour. 
When done, remove and allow the cakes to cool in the tins for about 10-15 minutes before transferring onto a wire mesh/rack. Pour 2 tbsp of rum over the hot cake (continue to feed the cake with rum till it is ready to be cut - this is optional)
Sift icing sugar over the cakes if you wish to decorate it. 


Notes:
1. I used an assortment of raisins (golden), black currants (deseeded), apricots, cranberries, candied peel/tutti frutti, glace cherries, tropical dry fruits such as pineapple, papaya, mango, chikku, etc. Avoid using dates as it can make the cake too sweet. Figs can be used but the seeds can be crunchy (avoidable)
2. I have used regular granulated sugar - powdered after measuring, caster sugar and also dark muscovado sugar. The regular sugar makes the cake a tad too sweet while dark muscovado (use 1 packed cup) gives the cake a lovely flavour and a deeper colour.
Baking time may vary a little depending on the type of oven. I used a tiny OTG which is too small to place two tins side by side, so I had to juggle a bit by shifting them on the top & bottom racks which resulted in an almost burnt surface on one of the two cakes thanks to the heating rods being too close - this is when the parchment paper does its job of protecting the cake from getting burnt
3. Add the caramel to the batter when it is still hot..if you let it cool it will turn sticky and soon into a hard mess. Adding the caramel while it is still boiling hot wont scramble the eggs in the batter, don't worry :)


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Zimtsterne ~ German Christmas Cookies

The month of December has always been my favourite month. It brings with it this certain charm of festivities & good cheer. Its also the time to make loads of Xmas goodies and indulging in them ofcourse :) Being a Mangalorean, it is customary to make the traditional 'Kuswar' (Mangalorean Christmas goodies) at home. My mother used to prepare some of the many sweets at home but as the years passed by it became increasingly difficult to set aside the required time to prepare the tedious fare. While I will try & post some recipes of Nevris, Keediyo, Guliyo, Kokkisan, this Christmas is going to be celebrated only with some delightful & easy to make German Zimtsterne, the recipe of which was shared by my friend May. While my cookies are not star shaped as they should be (pls refer to May's blog for the actual picture), it would be a pity if I dont share this gorgeous recipe cuz its just soooo easy to make. If you are still wondering what to bake for Christmas that is healthy (no flour - just pure nuts)...try this!

PS: You can bake these cookies any time of the year cuz they are simply yummilicious!! (and kids will love them)


Zimtsterne
You Need:

  • 300gms almonds with skin
  • 3 Egg whites
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 250gms powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (approx) extra powdered sugar for rolling
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar or few drops vanilla essence

Method :

1. In a blender grind the almonds along with the skin to a fine powder & set aside
2. Beat the egg whites along with the lemon juice till very stiff (the mixture starts to look opaque)
3. Now to make the meringue, add the sugar and mix it well until it is fully dissolved.
4. Keep aside about three fourth of this meringue.
5. In a large bowl add one fourth of the meringue and fold in the almond powder, cinnamon powder and vanilla essence.
6. Knead it into a smooth dough (similar to the chapathi dough) and set aside covered for about 30mins
7. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius for about 6 minutes. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
8. Now sift some powdered sugar over a working surface/wooden cutting board
9. Divide the dough into two and roll out half of it into a thick sheet (about a quarter inch thick)
10. Use a star shaped cookie cutter to cut out star shaped cookies (I didnt have a star shaped one so I used a regular flower shaped cutter)
11. Place the stars on the baking tray and brush them with some meringue ensuring that it does not dribble down to the sides*
12. Bake stars on the lower and middle racks for 25 minutes, switching the sheets about halfway through baking time.
13. Remove from oven & cool them off on a wire rack. The base of the cookies will be sugar coated and the top would be glazed

Note: You can also apply the meringue on the baked cookies and leave them in a cool place to dry - this gives the glaze effect which you currently cannot see on my cookies.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Rich Cake (Christmas Cake)

In my personal opinion, I think a well made Christmas Cake is worth every effort put into making it. From what i've read, in the West the preparation of a cake mix usually begins a year in advance. In many parts of Europe people gift each other their cake mixes as part of the Christmas tradition and all that's left to do for the person who receives such a gorgeous gift is to just add flour, eggs & butter & bake it! Mmmmmm..I should ask my friends to start this tradition cuz I really feel that the Christmas Cake recipe is the mother of all recipes (with so much time & effort that goes into it). It is also for this reason that maybe the cake keeps (in an airtight box) for almost 6 months to 1 year after it has been baked. This is typically so because of all that rum or brandy that is used to soak up the fruits & later feed the cake that helps preserve it.

I have been hunting for the right cake recipe for ages. I personally believe that since 'tis the season to be jolly, any cake made with loads of love is a yummy cake after all. However, I will not stop improvising on this cake (like i've done for the past few years). This cake didnt turn out as dark as preferred but it was quite delicious & moist inside (never mind the adventure & near death experience behind it..lol!)


Rich Cake
You Need:

Fruits to be soaked:
  • 50gms Sultanas (dried seedless white grapes a little more plum & golden than regular raisins)
  • 50gms Raisins (dried white grapes )
  • 50gms Currants (dried black seedless grapes)
  • 50gms Figs roughly chopped
  • 50gms Apricots roughly chopped
  • 50gms pitted prunes roughly chopped
  • 100ml brandy or rum
Soak the above dry fruits & keep covered. You can keep overnight or over several days if preferred (in an airtight jar, stirring once a day)

For the mixed spice
  • 1 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp All Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Green Cardamom seeds
For the Cake
  • 225gms Flour
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 225gms Muscovado or Demerara Sugar (brown sugar)
  • 225gms Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tbsp Rind of orange - finely chopped
  • 50gms Walnuts or Almonds roughly chopped
Method:

Now...you know the drill...beat the butter & sugar, then add the eggs, then the sifted flour...fold, pour into a baking dish....bake...and voila! your cake is ready....Sigh! I wish it was as simple as gobbling up a cake...but since patience is a virtue, I try to take a deep breath & enjoy the process of baking a cake...cuz I've had many a disasters while baking the Christmas cake (from completely burnt to undone - I've seen 'em all). This is my fourth year into baking my Christmas cake & it was the first time that I moved to a conventional oven - the OTG, from my true blue friend - the Electrolux Microwave with Convection which has seen me through many many cakes & breads.

To begin with:

- Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt & mixed spice. Keep aside
- Roll the nuts in some flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake
- Grease a 8" pan with butter & dust it with flour evenly across the bottom & the sides of the pan OR line the baking dish with parchment paper
- Set aside 1 cup of the sugar for caramelising and toss the remaining into a large bowl and add the butter (at room temperature)
- Beat butter & sugar till fluffy for about 3-4 minutes (till the mixture looks a bit pale)
- Add 1 egg at a time, mixing it well & beating it along with the butter & sugar. Beat for a minute & repeat with the next egg till all eggs have been blended well. If the mixture appears like its curdling sprinkle some flour
- Add the flour & orange juice alternately ensuring that everything is well mixed
- Take a thick bottomed pan & add the sugar set aside for caramelising and stir on low flame till it becomes a blackish syrup syrup. Add 1/2 cup of hot water but be careful as the syrup & hot water combo may splutter
- Add the caramelised syrup to the batter
- Stir in the soaked dry fruits and the nuts and the rind
- Fold well. Test the consistency of the batter by dropping a little from the spatula from a height. If its too dry, it wont budge! If its too watery, it will be all sloppy. You just need the right consistency. So you can add either a little flour (about 1 tbsp) or some warm milk (abt 2tbsps) as the case may be
- Preheat oven to 140 degree celcius for about 5-6 mins
- Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and place on the centre rack of the oven
- Bake for 55-60 minutes and check if the cake is done (skewer/knife comes out clean)
- When the cake is done, remove & cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container
- You can use the brandy that was used to soak the fruits to also feed the cake. This is to ensure that the cake remains moist & increase its longevity. Poke a few holes on the surface of the cake with a toothpick or skewer and pour a few drops of the brandy or rum once a week.


Now...get set...go! And tell me how it turned out!

Mixed Veg Pulao

I am a big fan of rice preparations. To be honest, I am a ardent lover of anything remotely connected with rice. Call it my South Indianness or just an innate desire to remain chubby :) but this king of carbs and source of starch always finds itself in different forms on my dinner (read breakfast & lunch) plate. A couple of years ago all I knew to make was the humble steamed rice, but now I can give expression to my creativity by cooking up different types of pulaos & biryanis. All of them dont turn out great - I have many a flop story to tell you, but will keep that for later. Here's something I tried a couple of weeks ago...just a basic, simple & quick mixed veg pulao which you can make with some veggies lying in your fridge.


Mixed Veg Pulao

Serves 4
You Need:
  • 2 cups Basmatic rice (or any long grained rice will do)
  • 1 Onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup each of cubed Carrots & Beans cut julienne
  • 1/4 cup each of Cauliflower cut into small florets & Peas
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 2 Cardamoms
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera (Cummin) powder
  • 1/4 tsp Haldi (Turmeric) powder
  • 2 Boulion (stock) cubes ( I use Maggi veg stock cubes) 
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee for frying
  • A little less than 4 cups of water (see note at the bottom)
Method:

1. Wash the rice well & soak in sufficient water for about 10 minutes 
In a pan heat some ghee & toss in the cinnamon, cloves & cardamom & stir till you get a nice fragrance
2. Add the sliced onions & fry till golden brown
3. Add the masala powders (garam masala, jeera, haldi) and stir for half a minute and immediately toss in the carrots. 
4. Stir fry for a minute and add the beans. Stir fry the same & repeat the process for the cauliflower & peas until they are done about 75-80%
5. Boil the 4 cups (or a little less) of water in a separate vessel. Add the stock cubes and let it mix well with the water.
6. Drain the rice which has been soaked for 10mins and add it to the stir fried vegetables and mix it well with the masala
7. Keep stirring this rice & masala mixture till it starts feeling heavy - this is the sign to know that the rice has been fried well enough
8. Add the boiling water & stock solution. Check salt & add the lime juice. You can even add finely chopped stalk of the coriander leaves which gives a nice flavour to the rice
10. Stir the rice & water mixture well & when it begins to boil well, switch off the flame and seal the pan with an airtight lid so that no steam escapes. You can even seal the lid again with some dough (but this procedure is applied for biryanis which are worth the trouble :-))
12. Rice will be done in about 7-8minutes after which you can open the lid, stir it once just to ensure that the flavours are mixed well and close the lid again for another 2-3 minutes.
13. Garnish with chopped coriander if desired and serve hot!

Notes:
*While cooking rice, it is advisable to reduce the quantity of water as you increase the quantity of rice. 1 cup of rice needs 2 cups of water to cook. However as you increase the quantity of rice and depending on the shape & size of the vessel used the rice often gets cooked in the steam hence if you use 3 cups of rice, you can reduce the quantity of water to about 5 cups (double minus 1)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Special Cheese Omlette with Spring Onions & Olives


Special Cheese Omlette with Spring Onions & Olives
Serves 2 hungry people :)

You Need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 small spring onions minced (you can use 2 medium size regular onions if you dont have spring onions)
  • 1/2 cup spring onion greens chopped
  • 1 large tomato finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander & mint leaves finely chopped
  • 4 pitted green olives roughly chopped (OR) 1/4 red or yellow bell pepper roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp white pepper (or black pepper if you dont have white)
  • 1/2 tsp or a dash of Rosemary seasoning (*optional - you can replace it with Oregano)
  • 1 large green chillie minced
  • 1/4 inch ginger minced
  • 2 cubes (about 2 dtsps) cheddar cheese grated
  • oil for frying
  • salt to taste ( about 1/4 tsp for 4 eggs - dont overdo the salt as the cheese and olives bring in enough saltiness)

Method:

1. In a bowl, beat the 4 eggs and whisk them well.
2. Add white pepper and Rosemary and whisk a little & divide the mixture into two portions
3. Combine the chopped ingredients - spring onions, greens, tomato, ginger, green chillies, olives or bell peppers and set aside. Divide into two portions
4. Heat some oil in a non-stick pan and when it is really hot pour a portion of egg mixture and wait for about ten seconds for it to set and form a base. Reduce flame immediately to sim (very slow fire)
5. Sprinkle the combined ingredients, half the portion of shredded cheese & 1 tbsp of coriander+mint garnish evenly over the egg base
6. Slowly fold one side of the omlette and then the other as shown in the picture below. The slow fire ensure that you get a beautiful golden brown base.
7. Flip over the omlette (optional) in order to cook the eggs well.
8. Serve hot & enjoy!!

Note: Even after flipping the inside of the omlette will remain a little gooey. This is just the melted cheese!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quick Stew with Chicken and/or Mixed Veggies (Kerala Style)

Picture this...you are away from your homeland & havent eaten a decent breakfast for ages. All you can think of is the way your mom used to make the yummiest breakfast goodies and miss your mom, home & everything all the more :( One such morning brought me to my computer, hunting for some comfort food. After some random searching on the net I found this simple recipe which I made as an accompaniment to appams (I'd call it the hybrid between a dosa & a sanna (mlorean idli)) :-). The steaming Kerala stew which is eternally married to appams (at least i'd prefer it this way). Not only can you make it in a jiffy (if you own a Indian cooker) to be served along with appams for breakfast, this item is worth to be put on the table for those guests who appear out of nowhere on very short notice.


Chicken Stew
You Need:
  • 500 gms chicken (preferably boneless cut into small cubes)
  • 1 Stick cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1 pod cardamom
  • 2 Sliced onions
  • 2 Green chillies slit
  • 1 Inch ginger chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 7-8 Peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp (or 1/2 tsp turmeric powder) 
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 Sprig curry leaves
  • 1 Small potato cubed
  • 1 Tomato chopped
  • 300ml Coconut milk

Method:
1. In a cooker heat oil & fry the cinnamon, cloves & cardamom till you get a nice aroma
2. Add onion and fry a bit & toss in the curry leaves.
3. Introduce the green chillies, peppercorns, ginger & garlic and fry
4. Add turmeric & garam masala and coriander powders
5. Add the potatoes, carrots and tomatoes. Stir it a bit
6. Add the chicken pieces and stir for about a minute.
7. Add the coconut milk. Add salt to taste
8. Close the lid of the cooker & add the weight.
9. When you hear the hissing sound (which starts when the cooker is heated for about 2mins) switch off the flame
10. If the whistle does go off, do not worry, slowly try to loosen the weight to release the steam or place cooker under running tap water.
11. Open the lid & stir ingredients well to avoid curdling of the coconut milk. Close lid and reopen after 30 seconds.
12. Serve hot with appams or steaming white rice

Note: The suggestion to switch off the flame before the whistle goes off is just to ensure that ingredients such as potatoes and tomatoes do not get over cooked (if you have cut them real small)

Vermicelli Upma


A couple of years ago I would not have had the guts to try out rice/vermicelli recipes with the sheer thought of ruining them owing to wrong amount of water used. After some practice (and a lot of mistakes) I can dish out yummy biryanis blindfolded (well almost!:)) However, vermicelli for breakfast was something I had not tried my hand at but ofcourse Sanjeev Kapoor came to my rescue & I made a simple, mess-proof vermicelli breakfast dish which was delicious as it was nutritious. Here's how...


Vermicelli Upma


You Need:
  • 1 cup vermicelli (I used MTR Vermicelli which i found is far better than other brands)
  • 1/4 cup each of carrots (cubed), french beans (julienne), peas, potatoes, cauliflower
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 2-3 curry leaves (washed & dried - you dont want them spluttering hot oil on ur face!)
  • 1 green chillie minced
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal (black gram)
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (optional - only for the colour)
  • oil
Method:

1. Boil 2 and half cups of water and cook vermicelli for about 1 min. Leave it slightly undone (90% cooked). Drain well and refresh it with cold water. Drain and keep aside
2. In 2 cups of boiling water add potatoes and carrots and boil for 2 mins. Add beans, cauliflower, peas and boil for a further 2-3minutes. Drain, cool & set aside
3. In a wok heat some oil, add mustard and when they splutter add the curry leaves, stir for 2-3 seconds
4. Toss in the udad dal and stir till they become pale brown & immediately add the onions and stir well
5. When the onions begin to brown a little add the green chillies and fry.
6. Add turmeric powder and toss in the cooked veggies and stir fry for a further 2-3 minutes
7. Add the vermicelli and stir gently till all the masala is mixed well.
8. Serve hot

Chicken Liver Fry

While I shuddered at the thought of having liver when I was little, I slowly learnt to enjoy the delectable flavour which is so different from the rest of the meat. When I started to cook, liver as an item by itself never figured out on my menu and I didnt know how to cook it either. Sometime ago I was browsing through one of the recipe books handed to me by my mom. The author is unknown to this day as the book is all torn & dilapidated. However the outcome of what I tried was quite interesting & tasty. The combination of onion, shredded carrots & potatoes lends a very nice texture & a kind of sweetness to the otherwise bitter liver and balances it on the whole along with other Indian spices such as the dried red chilly, coriander & garam masalas.


The picture above depicts a slight alteration in the way I cut the potatoes & carrots. Instead of shredding them I just cut them into tiny cubes (just to save time and ofcourse cuz I couldnt find the shredder!!)

Chicken Liver Fry


You Need:

To fry the liver:
  • 400 gms liver, washed, cut into slices and dried
  • 3 dtsp flour (maida)
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • salt to taste

For the masala:
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chilly powder
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 1 cup grated potatoes
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro) for garnishing
  • oil/ghee
Method:

1. Mix flour, pepper powder & salt and coat the liver slices with this mixture (take care to ensure the liver pieces are dried or else u'l have a sticky mess on ur fingers :)
2. Shallow fry the pieces on both sides & remove
3. In the same oil fry the onions. When they turn golden brown add chilly powder, garam masala powder & coriander powder & 1 tsp of lime juice.
4. Add the shredded veggies and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes
5. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer for about 3 minutes
6. Add the shallow fried liver and mix well. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes
7. Garnish with chopped coriander and turn off the flame.
8. Serve hot.

Recipe adapted from: 'Recipes For All Occasions' by B.F Varghese

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cucumber Pancakes

In my quest to find some tasty & healthy breakfast recipes I came across Tarla Dalal's book called 'Healthy Breakfast' which has many easy to prepare recipes classified under categories such as 'Breakfast in a Jiffy', 'Breakfast with Planning', 'Breakfast using Left-overs', 'Healthy Drinks'and Butter & Salt substitutes. Nutritive values at the foot note of each recipe helps weight watchers & the health conscious count their calories before they eat. Hmmm, not bad at all for a person who loves her breakfast as much as her diamonds. One the most innovative recipes was the Cucumber pancakes which is easy, yummy & healthy as well. Do try it! Im sure you'l make it over & over again like I do.


Makes 8 pancakes (palm size)

Cucumber Pancakes
You Need:
For the pancakes
  • 1 cup semolina (fine rawa)
  • 2 cups cucumber, grated
  • 2 tbsp grated jaggery (gur)
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1/4 cup low fat curds (yogurt)
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tsp oil for cooking
Method:
1. Combine all the ingredients except the oil and make a batter of dropping consistency using a little water
2. Divide into 8 portions
3. Heat a non-stick pan and grease it lightly with oil
4. Spread one portion on the non-stick pan to make a pancake of 3mm to 4mm thickness
5. cook one side over a slow flame until the base is golden brown in colour. Turn over to cook the other side.
6. Remove the pancake and repeat with the remaining batter to make 7 more pancakes
7. Serve hot with Nutritious Green Chutney.

Nutritious Green Chutney

This is a perfect chutney to go along with the Cucumber Pancakes. Its from my favourite booklet on Breakfast recipes by Tarla Dalal

Nutritious Green Chutney
You Need:
  • 1 cup mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coriander, chopped
  • 3/4 cup onions, sliced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 green chillies
  • salt to taste
Method:
Grind all the above ingredients to a smooth paste & serve.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kulta Kaat (Traditional Mangalorean Horse Gram & Field Marrow Curry)



One of Mangalore's traditional dishes that I believe is almost on the verge of extinction is this delicious masterpiece, a curry made of horse gram and field marrow. Field marrow, also known as the Mangalore/Malabar cucumber is native of coastal Karnataka and Kerala and hence found as a regular item on the menu of these local cuisines. In Mangalorean cuisine there are plenty of preparations that call for the field marrow but not as many with horsegram. At least not that I ever knew of. Not until I found this recipe in the Mangalore Ladies Club Cookery Book. I believe that every community in Mangalore (ex, the Catholic, Konkani, Bunt, Brahmin etc) have their own mild variations of this curry and since I had never eaten it before, I have adapted this recipe to create my own family favourite.

Today I am reposting my old recipe which I had published in March 2010. I feel that this lovely curry has been lost somewhere in my archives and deserves to be dug out and put on a pedestal.

Mango Truffle Cake

I always wanted to bake a chocolate cake & after much hunting I found the recipe for the double chocolate fudge cake on purplefoodie.com which is easy to make & requires common kitchen ingredients. You must visit her site cuz the recipes are just too good! Plus the pictures are amazing & really get u hungry while you simply stare at them :) I am a big fan of purplefoodie so please do visit the website.
Coming back to this amazing chocolate cake - its a simple recipe which does not require too much time or expensive stuff. No slaving over the frosting or ganache by trying to make everything from scratch. Delicious & serves the purpose especially if you want to present a fancy dessert to your guests who drop in on short notice. Preparation time takes an hour and half including baking time. This cake is a fusion of two different cake ideas and it was a big hit. I tried it with a seasonal fruit which is Mango, but you can skip the fruit if your taste buds crave nothing but pure chocolate!



Mango Truffle Cake
You Need:
  • 1/3 cup (50gms) semisweet chocolate chips ( I used 50gms of Galaxy milk chocolate -grated)
  • 1/2 cup hot milk (or coffee)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (powdered)
  • 1 cup flour (maida)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder sifted (I used Cadbury baking cocoa)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (soda bi-carb)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup odourless oil (refined sunflower or soya or any other)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the glaze:
  • 1cup/150gms bittersweet chocolate (I used Whittaker's Dark Block)
For the Mango filling:
  • 1 ripe mango (preferably Alphonso) - chopped fine
For the decoration:
  • 1/2 ripe mango cut into thin wedges
  • 2-3cherries - optional
 Method:

1. In a small bowl pour the hot milk over the semisweet chocolate and stir till the chocolate has melted
2. Sift 2-3 times - the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt & cocoa
3. In a large bowl beat the egg for about 1minute and add the oil, yogurt and vanilla and blend well
4. Add milk and chocolate mixture and blend well
5. Add the flour mixture and fold
6.Grease and dust (with flour) a 8" or 9" cake tin and pour the batter in it
7. Preheat oven tp 175 degrees and bake for 45-50mins or till the cake tester comes clean
8. Remove and cool on a wire rack
9. Horizontally cut the cake and separate the two halves
10.In a double boiler melt the chocolate to be used as glazing
11.On the first half apply a layer of melted chocolate and spread the finely chopped mango evenly
12.Place the top half of the cake & glaze it with the remaining chocolate
13.Decorate with mango wedges, chill & serve

Note: The choice of chocolate that you use (brand & taste) will determine how rich your cake tastes. You can alter the richness by using less sweet or dark chocolate. The rest of the ingredients remain the same.


Recipe Source for the truffle cake: purplefoodie.com & assembling idea from Tarla Dalal's book on Chocolate Desserts

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lapsi/Dalia (Broken Wheat) Pulao / Upma / Porridge

Since I am a big foodie I like to start my day with a big fat breakfast and now that I am a little health conscious I am always on the lookout for some healthy recipes to kickstart my day. I came across this recipe on Sanjeev Kapoor's website and after some modification, it has become a big hit with my husband. Easy to make, tastes yummy and is also beneficial for people who have diabetes.




Lapsi Pulao
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves: 2


You Need:
  • 1 cup lapsi/dalia/broken wheat, soaked - 1cup
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 7-8 peppercorns 
  • 1 inch piece cassia bark or cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 medium sized onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup cubed carrots 
  • 4-5 french beans cut into small pieces
  • 10-12 palak/spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste
  • 2-1/2 - 3 cups water * see notes
  • salt to taste
Method

1. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon and bay leaf and sauté till they begin to change colour. Add ginger and garlic paste and reduce the heat
2. Add sliced onion and sauté till they turn translucent. Add carrots and sauté. Add French beans and spinach leaves.
3. Mix and add lapsi. Mix well. Add salt and green peas and roast a little
4. Boil water and add to the mixture.
5. Reduce heat, cover and cook till done. Serve hot.

Notes:
If you want a porridge like consistency use 1:3 ratio (1 cup dalia : 3 cups water), if you want an upma like consistency use a little less water, ie 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 cups is sufficient

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Carrot Garlic Chutney



Carrot Garlic Chutney
You Need:
  • 1 cup grated carrot ( 1 medium sized carrot is enough to make chutney that serves 2 people)
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped (i used abt 4-5 cloves)
  • 1/2 tsp plain chilli powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste
Method:
1. Grind the garlic, chilli powder, lemon juice & salt to a fine paste
2. Combine the carrots, garlic paste oil & serve with Ragi Dosas

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mangalore Buns

ಮಂಗಳೂರು ಬನ್ನ್ಸ್ 

As far as I know, the Mangalore buns are found only in Mangalore. Although you find a Mangalorean restaurant or Udupi hotel (as it's commonly known outside Mangalore/South Kanara) blooming in every nook & corner of the world, rarely do you see the Mangalore buns on the menu. Every die hard Mangalorean will vouch for the taste & instant gratification that this humble snack provides. Along with goli baje, another quintessential Mangalorean tea time snack, the Mangalore bun remains my all time favourite.


Mangalore Buns

Serves: 2-3


You Need:
  • All purpose flour (maida) - 1/4kg
  • Bananas - 2 small or 1 large
  • Curds - 2 tbsp
  • Sugar - 3 tbsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Soda bicarb - 1/4 tsp
  • Oil/ghee - 1 tbsp
  • Oil for frying
Method:
  1. In a large flat vessel (used for kneading dough) mix all the ingredients except maida (curds, sugar, soda bicarb, salt, oil/ghee & mashed bananas. Reserve about a quarter of the flour and add the rest in parts to the wet mixture. Knead to incorporate all the flour except the reserved one. Add very very little water (about a teaspoon or two) at a time ONLY if required to help knead. Actually adding more water will make a mess of your dough, so even wetting your palms while kneading is enough as the wet ingredients have enough moisture to help knead the dough. Use up the reserved flour if the dough is too pasty after adding the wet ingredients.
  2. Keep the dough ball covered for 8 hours or overnight in a warm place.
  3. Make small balls of dough & roll thick ( 5-6cms diameter - about the size of pooris)
  4. Deep fry until golden brown
  5. Serve hot with coconut chutney
Note: The buns keep for 3-4 days if stored in an airtight container. They can be eaten plain without any accompaniment


The first time I attempted to make Mangalore buns, they looked like this!
Recipe Source: The Mangalore Ladies Club Cookery Book

Ragi Dosa (Finger Millet Pancake)

While I love a hearty breakfast I always scratch my head wondering what to make that is both nutritious & tasty. A few years ago I stumbled upon Tarla Dalal's mini handbook called Healthy Breakfasts and my journey towards making yummy breakfasts has just become smoother. This recipe is a super hit in my home and everybody looks forward to having it.

Ragi Dosa 

Yield: 8 palm size pancakes
Time: Preparation: 10minutes, Cooking: Approx 4 minutes per pancake 

You Need:

For the pancakes:
  • Ragi flour - 1 cup
  • Soya flour - 1 tbsp
  • Sesame seeds - 1tsp
  • Onions grated (or finely chopped) - 1/2 cup
  • Grated ginger - 1 tsp
  • Coriander chopped - 1/2 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for cooking - 2 tsp
Method:
  1. Combine the flours, sesame, onions, green chillies, ginger, coriander and salt in bowl. Add water to make a smooth batter.
  2. Heat a non stick pan, grease it with a little oil & spread out a tablespoon of batter. Cook on both sides till done.
  3. Serve hot with Carrot Garlic Chutney

Banana Coconut Cake

One more easy to make cake but with a few more ingredients than usual. If you have a banana that is over ripe & no one wants, you may want to try this delicious cake which makes you grab for more. Great tea time accompaniment or simply when you need to bite into something chunky when you are lazing in front of the TV.

Banana Coconut Cake
You Need:

  • Maida - 2 cups (250gms)
  • Eggs - 3
  • Sugar - 1 cup (175gms)
  • Butter - 1 cup (150gms)
  • Mashed bananas - 2 cups
  • Baking powder - 3/4th tsp
  • Walnuts chopped - 1 cup
  • Coconut milk - 1/2 cup
  • Orange juice - 1/2 cup
  • Cinnamon powder - 1tsp
Method:

Sift flour & baking powder thrice. Roll the walnuts in the flour so that they dont sink to the bottom of the cake

Beat butter & sugar till pale
Add one egg at a time & beat well and ensure no lumps are formed
Add the flour & walnuts and fold in. Add the cinnamon powder & mix well
Add the mashed bananas, orange juice and coconut milk & fold
Grease a 25cms round cake tin with butter & dust with a little flour
Preheat oven to 180 degrees and bake for 1hour 20mins or till the skewer comes clean

Note: The cake will have a thick crust which adds to its flavour

Mince Meat Cutlets

The mince meat cutlet has been a staple of every Mangalorean household and is a much loved meal accompaniment/anytime snack. I have grown up tasting cutlets that were usually prepared for small gatherings/parties at home & every grandma/mom would know to whip up one in no time with the help of an apparatus which is the ancestor of today's food processor. All ingredients would go into the mincing machine & out came the mixture, ready to be fried into patties. The favourite of every child who steals one from the kitchen before dinner was announced & ofcourse a great accompaniment for those high on spirits! Cut to 2010, the fragrance wafting from my kitchen reminded me of a childhood that will never return


Mince Meat (Keema) Cutlets

Recipe Source: My aunt Maria


You Need:
  • 500gms chicken or beef mince
  • 2 medium sized onions finely minced
  • 2 small green chillies finely minced (adjust to taste)
  • 1 inch ginger finely minced
  • 5 small cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 3/4 cup coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 3/4th tsp pepper powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • juice of a small lime (or 1 tsp vinegar)
  • 1 medium sized potato boiled 
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • Bread - 1 slice (optional)
  • Bread crumbs or fine rawa
  • 2 egg whites
Method:
  1. Wash the minced meat and cook it with salt to taste and lime juice (or vinegar) till all the excess water dries up. Let some amount of moisture remain. Remove from the fire and allow it to cool
  2. Heat oil in a another pan and fry the minced onions till they turn pale. Toss in the minced green chillies, ginger, garlic, coriander and mint leaves one by one. Just before you turn off the flame add the powders - pepper, turmeric, garam masala, cumin and cinnamon
  3. Turn off the fire & set aside. Allow the mixture to cool a bit. Add the mashed potato, cooked mince and mix well. If the mixture is soggy add the bread slice - roughly torn into pieces and mix well.
  4. Beat the egg whites & set aside in a bowl. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate.
  5. Shape the mince mixture into balls & flatten them in the center of your palm. Dip each patty in the egg whites mixture & then roll it over the breadcrumbs & fry on medium fire till both sides are golden brown
  6. Serve hot with mint chutney or tomato ketchup or with steaming rice & curry 
Notes: 
If you are using minced/ground beef then you will need to cook it separately in a pressure cooker. Tender meat will take approx 12-15 minutes to cook.
If you intend to freeze the mixture for later use, do not add the potato to it as the mixture can turn soggy. Instead freeze in batches and once thawed out add the required amount of boiled potato to it

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Featherlite Cake

I found this recipe in the Mangalore Ladies Club cook book & I have followed the recipe accurately except for the quantity of sugar that I have reduced to suit my taste. I tried it in my microwave using the convection mode & the result was simply fabulous. This is an anytime cake and goes best with a cup of tea! Enjoy it

Featherlite Cake
Recipe Source: The Mangalore Ladies Club Cookery Book
You Need:

  • Maida - 2 cups (230gms)
  • Eggs - 3
  • Fine sugar - 1 cup ( 175gms)
  • Unsalted butter - 1 cup (150gms)
  • Milk - 3/4th cup (boiled & cooled)
  • Baking powder - 3/4th tsp

Method:
  1. Beat the butter & sugar till fluffy
  2. Sift maida & baking powder three times
  3. To the butter & sugar mixture add the egg whites & beat. Add the egg yolks and beat
  4. Add the milk & flour alternately & fold
  5. Grease a cake tin with butter & dust it with flour.
  6. Pour the batter & bake at 170O for 40mins

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bangde Bafat (Mackerel Bafat Style)


Bangde Bafat (Mackerel Bafat Style)
Recipe Source: Sambardo by J.B Lobo


You Need:
  • Mackrels - 4 large 
  • Onions - 2
  • Long red chillies - 5
  • Coriander - 1tsp
  • Cumin - 1/2 tsp
  • Peppercorns - 4
  • Vinegar - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
  • Grated coconut - 2tsps (optional - this gives the gravy a good texture and also increases the quantity of the gravy)
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece
  • Garlic - 3 flakes
  • Green chillies - 2 (optional -only if you prefer your gravy extra spicy)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to fry
Method:
  1. Clean and cut the mackrels into 3 pieces (if large) or 2 pieces and drain the water
  2. Grind the red chillies, peppercorns, turmeric, coriander, cummin, 1 onion and grated coconut to a fine paste
  3. Slice the onion, finely chop the ginger & garlic and green chillies (optional)
  4. Heat oil & fry the the onions, ginger, garlic & green chillies one by one until you get a nice aroma
  5. Fry the masala well & add vinegar, salt to taste & some water to make the gravy of medium thick consistency. Boil well.
  6. Add the fish and cook until done.
  7. Serve hot with boiled or white rice.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Carrot & Orange Cake

Since I do not have a conventional oven I decided to learn how to make cakes in the microwave. After several attemps & a few flops, I have mastered the art of baking in the microwave with convection mode. This one is a recipe I found on the net but have altered the ingredients to suit my taste. The ingredients are easily found in one's kitchen & the result is yummy. Something for an evening snack & can be enjoyed by everyone.

Carrot & Orange Cake

You Need:
  • Flour - 150gms
  • Butter - 150gms
  • Carrots grated - 100gms
  • Muscovado sugar - 175gms
  • Eggs - 3
  • Almonds ground - 25gms
  • Juice & rind of 1 Orange
  • Nutmeg - 1 pinch
  • Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Castor sugar - 20gms (optional)
  • Baking powder - 1/2 tsp

For the icing (optional), blend in the following:

  • Cream cheese - 100gms
  • Lemon juice - 30ml
  • Castor sugar - 50gms

Method:
  1. Sift the flour with the baking powder
  2. Beat the butter & the muscovado sugar until light & fluffy
  3. Beat in the egg one at a time until the mixture looks creamy (and not of curd like consistency)
  4. Blend in the orange juice & rind, nutmeg, cinnamon & carrots 
  5. Add the flour & almonds & gently fold in in one direction, ensuring that the batter engulfs air which helps to make the cake fluffy
  6. Add the castor sugar if you like your cake a little sweeter
  7. Grease a cake tin with a little butter & pour the batter into it
  8. Preheat oven to 170o and bake for 40-45mins. The cake is done when the skewer comes clean
  9. Remove & cool on a wire rack. Cover with icing & serve
Note:
The butter & eggs should always be at room temperature otherwise the batter resembles curd like consistency. The flour should be sifted with baking powder from a height as this also ensures that the cake turns out fluffy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sambaar Bhazoon Kunkdachi Kadi (Chicken Curry With Coconut & Roasted Condiments)

The chicken red curry is common in most Mangalorean homes. While most gravies have a standard set of spices that need to be ground, this one involves roasting of the condiments before grinding to a paste. The authentic recipe uses grated coconut while I replace it with coconut milk powder which gives a smoother consistency to the gravy & is delicious too. Grinding the coconut milk powder in a mixie is easier as sometimes our mixies refuse to co-operate & we often wish we had the Mangalorean 'gatno' - mortar & pestle.
This is my husband's favourite recipe & he made it himself on Sunday - what a lovely meal I had!

Chicken Curry With Coconut & Roasted Condiments

Recipe Source: My mum


You Need:

  • Chicken - 1kg
  • Red chillies - 8 (4 whole. 4 deseeded (retaining only the skin))
  • Peppercorns - 5
  • Coriander - 2tsp
  • Jeera - 1tsp
  • Khus khus - 1tsp
  • Tamarind - marble size ball
  • Coconut milk pwd - 3 tsp OR grated coconut - 4 tbsp
  • Onion -1 sliced for frying
  • Ghee or oil for frying

Method:
1. Wash & cut the chicken to medium size pieces
2. Roast the condiments (red chillies, peppercorns, coriander, jeera, khus khus) on slow fire one by one till you get a nice aroma. Keep aside for a few minutes so that it cools off & the chillies become crisp
3. Grind the roasted condiments with tamarind & coconut powder and a little water. Make a fine paste
4. Heat oil or ghee & lightly fry the masala & add the chicken to it. Add salt to taste & let the chicken cook for 15mins.
5. Add water to make a thick gravy and boil well.
6. When the chicken is cooked season it with one sliced onion (fried in ghee)
7. Serve hot with rice, sannas, appams or chapathi

Friday, March 5, 2010

Maslyechi Geraal Kadi (Coconut Based Common Fish Curry - For Almost All Types of Fish)

Fish curry & rice is the staple of many coastal towns of India including Mangalore. Every Mangalorean worth his salt relishes his fish cooked in a gravy or fried in various forms - tawa fry, masala fry, rawa fry. Accordingly there are various ways to cook fish in a gravy. While most types of fish are stewed in coconut based gravies, some are cooked in other masalas (red chilly paste or green masala). This recipe is a common & general one which can be used for fish such as Surmai, Pomfret, Gol, Rawas, Lady fish etc


Fish Curry (Coconut Based)
Recipe Source: Sambardo by J.B Lobo
You Need:
  • Fish - 500gms

For the Masala:
  • Grated coconut - 1 handful (approx 3/4th cup)
  • Red chillies - 4-5 (I used Bedgi variety - deseed them to reduce the spice)
  • Peppercorns -3
  • Tamarind - 1 marble size ball
  • Onion - 1 medium size
  • Garlic - 4 flakes
  • Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Cummin - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/4th tsp
  • Methi (fenugreek) - 1/4 tsp (optional)
For Seasoning:
  • Onion - 1 small (thinly sliced)
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece (finely chopped)
Method:
1. Grind all the ingredients for the masala with a little water. Leave it a little coarse
2. Clean the fish & wash it well with salt & turmeric & put it in a colander so that the water gets drained well
3. Heat oil & fry the chopped ginger & onion for seasoning
4. When the onion turns golden brown add the masala & fry till the raw smell is gone
5. Add a little water to make a gravy of medium thickness. Dont add too much water as the fish will leave some water making the gravy too thin
6. Boil the gravy & then add the fish pieces. Let this cook for about 1 minute on medium flame
7. Turn off the flame & garnish with a little chopped coriander leaves (optional)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Carrot Halwa is commonly known as Gajar ka Halwa in India & is a popular sweet dish that is usual served at home & for weddings. I have chosen the easier method to make this which is by pressure cooking the carrots - it saves time & helps reduce energy consumption. The process takes about 40 minutes & the quantity serves 4.


Gajar Ka Halwa

You Need:
  • Carrots - 1/2 kg
  • Milk - 1/2 litre
  • Sugar - 180gms*
  • Cardamom - 4 pods (powdered)
  • Cashewnuts - 15 whole
  • Ghee for frying
Method:
1. Wash, peel & grate carrots, add milk & pressure cook them for about 15mins.
2. In a thick bottomed kadai heat ghee & add the cashewnuts & roast them a bit. 
3. Add the carrot & milk mixture and the sugar & reduce flame to low.
4. Cook the halwa on low flame, stirring every now & then & taking care to see that it doesnt stick to the pan. Add the cardamom powder & stir it in.
5. When the ghee leaves the sides & the colour changes to deep orange your halwa is ready.
6. Garnish with cashewnuts (optional) and serve hot

 Note: Sugar 180gms is approx 25 teaspoons. Since i prefer my halwa mildly sweet i measured it to 180gms, if you prefer it sweeter you can increase this quantity to upto 250gms.

Serving Suggestion: Carrot Halwa tastes best if served hot along with vanilla ice cream. In this case it is suggested to retain mild sweetness in the halwa otherwise this combo dessert not only becomes too sweet but is also a bit hard on the digestive system (this tip is only for the health concious!)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mutton Polov (With Ash Gourd/Winter Melon)

Mutton Polov (pronounced as po-low) is a authentic Mangalorean dish which is prepared & served on the day of the Roce ceremony before one's wedding. This is eaten with buns/pav or with boiled rice. In the olden days when the poor could not afford to serve mutton to guests, this gravy would be made with dry shrimp. This beautiful blend of meat/shrimp with ash gourd is mildly spiced with a coconut milk base. If you are able to visit Mangalore you can buy the vegetable powder available at Don Stores/Konkan Traders near Milagres Church. I will try to post the recipe of the powder once I have tried it.


Mutton Polov

Serves 5-6
You Need:
  • Mutton - 1kg
  • Ash gourd - 1.5 kgs (Ash gourd is also known as Kumbalakai in Kannada & Petha in Hindi)
  • Onions - 2 ( 1 big - for the masala; 1 small sliced - for the seasoning)
  • Grated coconut - 1/2 a coconut
  • Garlic - 6 flakes
  • Tamarind - 1 marble size ball
  • Vegetable powder - 2 tbsp
  • Coconut milk of 1/2 coconut*
  • Cinnamon - 1 stick
  • Cloves - 4
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee for frying
Method:
1. Cook mutton with salt, cinnamon & cloves till almost done (How I make it: I cut, wash & drain the mutton pieces well and then use about 1/2 cup of water in the pressure cooker & add the mutton pieces in it. Add salt, cloves & cinnamon, cover the lid & add the weight (whistle). Keep the pressure cooker on full flame till the first whistle goes off (this takes about 10mins), after that reduce flame & cook for about 15mins (this is because we get tender & good quality meat in Mumbai). Turn off flame and let it sit for 5-10mins before the whistle is loose enough to be removed, open carefully, stir once & close without whistle. Remove after 2-3 mins and use as required.
2. Remove the pith & skin of the ash gourd & cut into cubes. Add this to the mutton & let it cook in the same water
3. Heat oil in a tawa & broil the coconut till a nice aroma arises, add the onion & garlic & broil some more


4. Grind the coconut, onion & garlic, tamarind, vegetable masala powder & a little water. Leave the masala a little coarse
5. Add the masala & salt to taste and water if required to the mutton & ash gourd and boil.
6. Add the coconut milk & boil
7. Season with 1 small onion fried in ghee


*Tip: The alternative to preparing fresh coconut milk is to use coconut milk powder which is available in the market. I use Maggi coconut milk powder. Just take a little warm water & add the coconut powder & stir so no lumps remain. For the above recipe you can take about 200ml of water & add 6-7 tsps of coconut milk powder to get thick milk.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sajjige / Upma (Savoury Semolina)

Mangalore's very popular (if not favourite) dish on the breakfast menu is the Sajjige, or Upma as the rest of the world knows it. 




Sajjige/Upma
Prep time: 10-15 mins | Cook time: 7-8 mins | Serves 2

You Need:
  • 3/4th cup rava/semolina * see notes
  • 1 medium sized onion finely sliced
  • 1-2 small green green chillies finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp mustard 
  • 1 tsp urad dal (split black gram dal)
  • 1 sprig or 6-7 curry leaves/ karipatta
  • 10-12 broken cashewnuts (optional)
  • 1 tbsp ghee 
  • 1 tbsp oil for frying
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 3/4th - 1 level tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1-1/2 cups boiled water
Method:
1. Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed kadhai & roast the rawa on slow fire for about 7-8mins till it turns turns golden (not brown) *see notes. It doesn't take long for it to burn, so be cautious. Remove from fire and keep aside.
2. In the same kadhai heat some oil & season with mustard seeds, when they crackle add the curry leaves. Reduce flame to medium, toss in the urad dal & stir for a couple of seconds. You can add the cashewnuts at this stage.
3. Add the ginger & green chilli & fry a little & then the sliced onions & fry till pale (slightly golden) They should remain a little crunchy.
4. In another pan bring the water to a boil and add the salt & sugar to it. The taste should be sweet-salty, so adjust the salt accordingly.
4. To the fried onions add the roasted rawa, mix well and then add the freshly boiling water & reduce the completely to simmer. Mix the contents to avoid any lumps. Cover the pan allow it to cook for a couple of minutes. Turn off the flame and let it sit for another minute.
6. Open the lid, mix gently. The result should be fluffy (not sticky or lumpy) upma. Serve hot.

Notes:
1. This upma needs a slightly grainy variety of rawa to be used. Not the Bombay Sooji variety which is extremely fine and used for coating cutlets/fish etc. Athough there is no harm in using the same, the result may not be fluffy and you may get a more lumpy upma. If you are in Mumbai you can ask for barik lapsi (broken wheat) or lapsi rava kansar.
2. A 1:2 (rava to water) ratio is used for upma. However in Mangalore the sajjige is made with a little extra water making it extremely mushy and of paste consistency. If you prefer it that way, you can add a little extra water to the above ratio - make sure the salt & sugar ratio is also adjusted accordingly.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rich Plum Cake - Christmas Cake - The Ultimate Winner

A couple of weeks ago I baked the first Christmas cake in ages that turned out alright. Infact it was quite good as people who tasted it said so. But since I didnt get the desired colour (I prefer my Christmas cake in a deep brown colour) I hunted like crazy for the perfect recipe & found one on Ria's Collection. Made a few changes here & there as per my taste & the ingredients available and the outcome was a fabulously moist & delicious cake!! Everybody liked it in Mangalore where I spent my Christmas this year.


This cake is worth the trouble you take to make it (gathering the ingredients, weighing them, blah blah). You dont need to soak the fruits for donkey's years and the cake doesnt smell too heavily of the rum (last year's cake was so drenched in rum that I got a little dizzy & so did my polite guests). I havent baked cakes for years, neither did my mom, so I decided to give myself another chance {and probably burn this one too - Marriages should be rock solid...not cakes :) }with another recipe out of the million's of recipes that I've gathered over the years. This one is the sure winner!


Rich Plum Cake - Christmas Cake - The Ultimate Winner
Soaking time 16-24hours (minimum) Prep time: 30-45 mins | Bake time approx 1 -1/2 hour | Yield: 2 cakes of 9" each

You Need:

Fruits to be soaked (for a minimum of 16-24 hours):
  • 500 gms dry fruits * see note#1
  • 2 tbsp jam or fruit preserve/conserve of your choice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (freshly extracted preferably)
  • 90gm /6 tbsp sugar
  • 75ml/5 tbsp rum + extra to pour over the cakes (optional)
  • 15ml/1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove (or 12 cloves powdered)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or 1 inch stick cinnamon powdered)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (or 1/2 nutmeg powdered)
For the cake:
  • 250 gms / 1-1/3rd cups unsalted butter
  • 200 gms/ 1cup+2 tbsp powdered or caster sugar *see note#2
  • 5 eggs separated (place all egg whites in one bowl & each yolk in a separate bowl)
  • 90gm / 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 200 gms / 1-2/3rd cups all purpose flour /plain flour (maida)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100 gms (approx 1 cup) cashewnuts or walnuts roughly chopped
  • 180ml / 3/4th cup milk (at room temperature)
  • 50gms / 1/3rd cup semolina/rawa
  • pinch of salt
For the Caramel (which gives the dark colour to the cake):
  • 300gm/ 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4th cup hot water (freshly boiled)
Method:
Soak the fruits
Finely chop all the dry fruits and soak them in a wide bowl along with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'Fruits to be soaked'. Fruits need to be soaked at least for 16-24 hours at room temperature or for as long as you wish (a month or two in advance - preferably in a very cool place or in the refrigerator)

Prepare the oven & cake tins
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes. Grease two 9" pans thoroughly with butter and line them with baking paper/ parchment. Do not skip this step as the long bake time can burn your cake.

Prepare the caramel (when you are almost ready with the batter)
Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan (or kadhai) over medium flame. The colour will slowly change from white to brown to deep brown (almost black). Simmer & stir continuously to keep the liquid from frothing over.
Add freshly boiled hot water a little at a time and stir it. Ensure to keep at a safe distance as the boiling liquid can splutter on your face. Watch out!


Prepare the batter

1. Beat the separated egg whites and granulated sugar (6 tbsps) till fluffy and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt a couple of times and keep aside. Roll the chopped nuts in a tablespoon of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake. Keep aside.
2. In a large bowl (suitable for batter for two cakes) cream together the butter and powdered sugar adding the yolks one at a time. Beat well for about a minute after each addition. Add the soaked fruits and mix well.
Add the sifted flour mixture & semolina and fold.
3. Add the milk and fold. Pour in the caramel and mix carefully. Add the beaten egg whites and the chopped nuts.

Bake the cake
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for approx 1-1/2 hours or till the skewer comes out clean. The surface will be a deep brown. Baking time may vary depending on the oven size and type. Keep an eye on the cakes on the completion of 1 hour. 
When done, remove and allow the cakes to cool in the tins for about 10-15 minutes before transferring onto a wire mesh/rack. Pour 2 tbsp of rum over the hot cake (continue to feed the cake with rum till it is ready to be cut - this is optional)
Sift icing sugar over the cakes if you wish to decorate it. 


Notes:
1. I used an assortment of raisins (golden), black currants (deseeded), apricots, cranberries, candied peel/tutti frutti, glace cherries, tropical dry fruits such as pineapple, papaya, mango, chikku, etc. Avoid using dates as it can make the cake too sweet. Figs can be used but the seeds can be crunchy (avoidable)
2. I have used regular granulated sugar - powdered after measuring, caster sugar and also dark muscovado sugar. The regular sugar makes the cake a tad too sweet while dark muscovado (use 1 packed cup) gives the cake a lovely flavour and a deeper colour.
Baking time may vary a little depending on the type of oven. I used a tiny OTG which is too small to place two tins side by side, so I had to juggle a bit by shifting them on the top & bottom racks which resulted in an almost burnt surface on one of the two cakes thanks to the heating rods being too close - this is when the parchment paper does its job of protecting the cake from getting burnt
3. Add the caramel to the batter when it is still hot..if you let it cool it will turn sticky and soon into a hard mess. Adding the caramel while it is still boiling hot wont scramble the eggs in the batter, don't worry :)


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Zimtsterne ~ German Christmas Cookies

The month of December has always been my favourite month. It brings with it this certain charm of festivities & good cheer. Its also the time to make loads of Xmas goodies and indulging in them ofcourse :) Being a Mangalorean, it is customary to make the traditional 'Kuswar' (Mangalorean Christmas goodies) at home. My mother used to prepare some of the many sweets at home but as the years passed by it became increasingly difficult to set aside the required time to prepare the tedious fare. While I will try & post some recipes of Nevris, Keediyo, Guliyo, Kokkisan, this Christmas is going to be celebrated only with some delightful & easy to make German Zimtsterne, the recipe of which was shared by my friend May. While my cookies are not star shaped as they should be (pls refer to May's blog for the actual picture), it would be a pity if I dont share this gorgeous recipe cuz its just soooo easy to make. If you are still wondering what to bake for Christmas that is healthy (no flour - just pure nuts)...try this!

PS: You can bake these cookies any time of the year cuz they are simply yummilicious!! (and kids will love them)


Zimtsterne
You Need:

  • 300gms almonds with skin
  • 3 Egg whites
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 250gms powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (approx) extra powdered sugar for rolling
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar or few drops vanilla essence

Method :

1. In a blender grind the almonds along with the skin to a fine powder & set aside
2. Beat the egg whites along with the lemon juice till very stiff (the mixture starts to look opaque)
3. Now to make the meringue, add the sugar and mix it well until it is fully dissolved.
4. Keep aside about three fourth of this meringue.
5. In a large bowl add one fourth of the meringue and fold in the almond powder, cinnamon powder and vanilla essence.
6. Knead it into a smooth dough (similar to the chapathi dough) and set aside covered for about 30mins
7. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius for about 6 minutes. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
8. Now sift some powdered sugar over a working surface/wooden cutting board
9. Divide the dough into two and roll out half of it into a thick sheet (about a quarter inch thick)
10. Use a star shaped cookie cutter to cut out star shaped cookies (I didnt have a star shaped one so I used a regular flower shaped cutter)
11. Place the stars on the baking tray and brush them with some meringue ensuring that it does not dribble down to the sides*
12. Bake stars on the lower and middle racks for 25 minutes, switching the sheets about halfway through baking time.
13. Remove from oven & cool them off on a wire rack. The base of the cookies will be sugar coated and the top would be glazed

Note: You can also apply the meringue on the baked cookies and leave them in a cool place to dry - this gives the glaze effect which you currently cannot see on my cookies.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Rich Cake (Christmas Cake)

In my personal opinion, I think a well made Christmas Cake is worth every effort put into making it. From what i've read, in the West the preparation of a cake mix usually begins a year in advance. In many parts of Europe people gift each other their cake mixes as part of the Christmas tradition and all that's left to do for the person who receives such a gorgeous gift is to just add flour, eggs & butter & bake it! Mmmmmm..I should ask my friends to start this tradition cuz I really feel that the Christmas Cake recipe is the mother of all recipes (with so much time & effort that goes into it). It is also for this reason that maybe the cake keeps (in an airtight box) for almost 6 months to 1 year after it has been baked. This is typically so because of all that rum or brandy that is used to soak up the fruits & later feed the cake that helps preserve it.

I have been hunting for the right cake recipe for ages. I personally believe that since 'tis the season to be jolly, any cake made with loads of love is a yummy cake after all. However, I will not stop improvising on this cake (like i've done for the past few years). This cake didnt turn out as dark as preferred but it was quite delicious & moist inside (never mind the adventure & near death experience behind it..lol!)


Rich Cake
You Need:

Fruits to be soaked:
  • 50gms Sultanas (dried seedless white grapes a little more plum & golden than regular raisins)
  • 50gms Raisins (dried white grapes )
  • 50gms Currants (dried black seedless grapes)
  • 50gms Figs roughly chopped
  • 50gms Apricots roughly chopped
  • 50gms pitted prunes roughly chopped
  • 100ml brandy or rum
Soak the above dry fruits & keep covered. You can keep overnight or over several days if preferred (in an airtight jar, stirring once a day)

For the mixed spice
  • 1 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp All Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Green Cardamom seeds
For the Cake
  • 225gms Flour
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 225gms Muscovado or Demerara Sugar (brown sugar)
  • 225gms Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tbsp Rind of orange - finely chopped
  • 50gms Walnuts or Almonds roughly chopped
Method:

Now...you know the drill...beat the butter & sugar, then add the eggs, then the sifted flour...fold, pour into a baking dish....bake...and voila! your cake is ready....Sigh! I wish it was as simple as gobbling up a cake...but since patience is a virtue, I try to take a deep breath & enjoy the process of baking a cake...cuz I've had many a disasters while baking the Christmas cake (from completely burnt to undone - I've seen 'em all). This is my fourth year into baking my Christmas cake & it was the first time that I moved to a conventional oven - the OTG, from my true blue friend - the Electrolux Microwave with Convection which has seen me through many many cakes & breads.

To begin with:

- Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt & mixed spice. Keep aside
- Roll the nuts in some flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake
- Grease a 8" pan with butter & dust it with flour evenly across the bottom & the sides of the pan OR line the baking dish with parchment paper
- Set aside 1 cup of the sugar for caramelising and toss the remaining into a large bowl and add the butter (at room temperature)
- Beat butter & sugar till fluffy for about 3-4 minutes (till the mixture looks a bit pale)
- Add 1 egg at a time, mixing it well & beating it along with the butter & sugar. Beat for a minute & repeat with the next egg till all eggs have been blended well. If the mixture appears like its curdling sprinkle some flour
- Add the flour & orange juice alternately ensuring that everything is well mixed
- Take a thick bottomed pan & add the sugar set aside for caramelising and stir on low flame till it becomes a blackish syrup syrup. Add 1/2 cup of hot water but be careful as the syrup & hot water combo may splutter
- Add the caramelised syrup to the batter
- Stir in the soaked dry fruits and the nuts and the rind
- Fold well. Test the consistency of the batter by dropping a little from the spatula from a height. If its too dry, it wont budge! If its too watery, it will be all sloppy. You just need the right consistency. So you can add either a little flour (about 1 tbsp) or some warm milk (abt 2tbsps) as the case may be
- Preheat oven to 140 degree celcius for about 5-6 mins
- Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and place on the centre rack of the oven
- Bake for 55-60 minutes and check if the cake is done (skewer/knife comes out clean)
- When the cake is done, remove & cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container
- You can use the brandy that was used to soak the fruits to also feed the cake. This is to ensure that the cake remains moist & increase its longevity. Poke a few holes on the surface of the cake with a toothpick or skewer and pour a few drops of the brandy or rum once a week.


Now...get set...go! And tell me how it turned out!

Mixed Veg Pulao

I am a big fan of rice preparations. To be honest, I am a ardent lover of anything remotely connected with rice. Call it my South Indianness or just an innate desire to remain chubby :) but this king of carbs and source of starch always finds itself in different forms on my dinner (read breakfast & lunch) plate. A couple of years ago all I knew to make was the humble steamed rice, but now I can give expression to my creativity by cooking up different types of pulaos & biryanis. All of them dont turn out great - I have many a flop story to tell you, but will keep that for later. Here's something I tried a couple of weeks ago...just a basic, simple & quick mixed veg pulao which you can make with some veggies lying in your fridge.


Mixed Veg Pulao

Serves 4
You Need:
  • 2 cups Basmatic rice (or any long grained rice will do)
  • 1 Onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup each of cubed Carrots & Beans cut julienne
  • 1/4 cup each of Cauliflower cut into small florets & Peas
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 2 Cardamoms
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera (Cummin) powder
  • 1/4 tsp Haldi (Turmeric) powder
  • 2 Boulion (stock) cubes ( I use Maggi veg stock cubes) 
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee for frying
  • A little less than 4 cups of water (see note at the bottom)
Method:

1. Wash the rice well & soak in sufficient water for about 10 minutes 
In a pan heat some ghee & toss in the cinnamon, cloves & cardamom & stir till you get a nice fragrance
2. Add the sliced onions & fry till golden brown
3. Add the masala powders (garam masala, jeera, haldi) and stir for half a minute and immediately toss in the carrots. 
4. Stir fry for a minute and add the beans. Stir fry the same & repeat the process for the cauliflower & peas until they are done about 75-80%
5. Boil the 4 cups (or a little less) of water in a separate vessel. Add the stock cubes and let it mix well with the water.
6. Drain the rice which has been soaked for 10mins and add it to the stir fried vegetables and mix it well with the masala
7. Keep stirring this rice & masala mixture till it starts feeling heavy - this is the sign to know that the rice has been fried well enough
8. Add the boiling water & stock solution. Check salt & add the lime juice. You can even add finely chopped stalk of the coriander leaves which gives a nice flavour to the rice
10. Stir the rice & water mixture well & when it begins to boil well, switch off the flame and seal the pan with an airtight lid so that no steam escapes. You can even seal the lid again with some dough (but this procedure is applied for biryanis which are worth the trouble :-))
12. Rice will be done in about 7-8minutes after which you can open the lid, stir it once just to ensure that the flavours are mixed well and close the lid again for another 2-3 minutes.
13. Garnish with chopped coriander if desired and serve hot!

Notes:
*While cooking rice, it is advisable to reduce the quantity of water as you increase the quantity of rice. 1 cup of rice needs 2 cups of water to cook. However as you increase the quantity of rice and depending on the shape & size of the vessel used the rice often gets cooked in the steam hence if you use 3 cups of rice, you can reduce the quantity of water to about 5 cups (double minus 1)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Special Cheese Omlette with Spring Onions & Olives


Special Cheese Omlette with Spring Onions & Olives
Serves 2 hungry people :)

You Need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 small spring onions minced (you can use 2 medium size regular onions if you dont have spring onions)
  • 1/2 cup spring onion greens chopped
  • 1 large tomato finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander & mint leaves finely chopped
  • 4 pitted green olives roughly chopped (OR) 1/4 red or yellow bell pepper roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp white pepper (or black pepper if you dont have white)
  • 1/2 tsp or a dash of Rosemary seasoning (*optional - you can replace it with Oregano)
  • 1 large green chillie minced
  • 1/4 inch ginger minced
  • 2 cubes (about 2 dtsps) cheddar cheese grated
  • oil for frying
  • salt to taste ( about 1/4 tsp for 4 eggs - dont overdo the salt as the cheese and olives bring in enough saltiness)

Method:

1. In a bowl, beat the 4 eggs and whisk them well.
2. Add white pepper and Rosemary and whisk a little & divide the mixture into two portions
3. Combine the chopped ingredients - spring onions, greens, tomato, ginger, green chillies, olives or bell peppers and set aside. Divide into two portions
4. Heat some oil in a non-stick pan and when it is really hot pour a portion of egg mixture and wait for about ten seconds for it to set and form a base. Reduce flame immediately to sim (very slow fire)
5. Sprinkle the combined ingredients, half the portion of shredded cheese & 1 tbsp of coriander+mint garnish evenly over the egg base
6. Slowly fold one side of the omlette and then the other as shown in the picture below. The slow fire ensure that you get a beautiful golden brown base.
7. Flip over the omlette (optional) in order to cook the eggs well.
8. Serve hot & enjoy!!

Note: Even after flipping the inside of the omlette will remain a little gooey. This is just the melted cheese!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quick Stew with Chicken and/or Mixed Veggies (Kerala Style)

Picture this...you are away from your homeland & havent eaten a decent breakfast for ages. All you can think of is the way your mom used to make the yummiest breakfast goodies and miss your mom, home & everything all the more :( One such morning brought me to my computer, hunting for some comfort food. After some random searching on the net I found this simple recipe which I made as an accompaniment to appams (I'd call it the hybrid between a dosa & a sanna (mlorean idli)) :-). The steaming Kerala stew which is eternally married to appams (at least i'd prefer it this way). Not only can you make it in a jiffy (if you own a Indian cooker) to be served along with appams for breakfast, this item is worth to be put on the table for those guests who appear out of nowhere on very short notice.


Chicken Stew
You Need:
  • 500 gms chicken (preferably boneless cut into small cubes)
  • 1 Stick cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1 pod cardamom
  • 2 Sliced onions
  • 2 Green chillies slit
  • 1 Inch ginger chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 7-8 Peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp (or 1/2 tsp turmeric powder) 
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 Sprig curry leaves
  • 1 Small potato cubed
  • 1 Tomato chopped
  • 300ml Coconut milk

Method:
1. In a cooker heat oil & fry the cinnamon, cloves & cardamom till you get a nice aroma
2. Add onion and fry a bit & toss in the curry leaves.
3. Introduce the green chillies, peppercorns, ginger & garlic and fry
4. Add turmeric & garam masala and coriander powders
5. Add the potatoes, carrots and tomatoes. Stir it a bit
6. Add the chicken pieces and stir for about a minute.
7. Add the coconut milk. Add salt to taste
8. Close the lid of the cooker & add the weight.
9. When you hear the hissing sound (which starts when the cooker is heated for about 2mins) switch off the flame
10. If the whistle does go off, do not worry, slowly try to loosen the weight to release the steam or place cooker under running tap water.
11. Open the lid & stir ingredients well to avoid curdling of the coconut milk. Close lid and reopen after 30 seconds.
12. Serve hot with appams or steaming white rice

Note: The suggestion to switch off the flame before the whistle goes off is just to ensure that ingredients such as potatoes and tomatoes do not get over cooked (if you have cut them real small)

Vermicelli Upma


A couple of years ago I would not have had the guts to try out rice/vermicelli recipes with the sheer thought of ruining them owing to wrong amount of water used. After some practice (and a lot of mistakes) I can dish out yummy biryanis blindfolded (well almost!:)) However, vermicelli for breakfast was something I had not tried my hand at but ofcourse Sanjeev Kapoor came to my rescue & I made a simple, mess-proof vermicelli breakfast dish which was delicious as it was nutritious. Here's how...


Vermicelli Upma


You Need:
  • 1 cup vermicelli (I used MTR Vermicelli which i found is far better than other brands)
  • 1/4 cup each of carrots (cubed), french beans (julienne), peas, potatoes, cauliflower
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 2-3 curry leaves (washed & dried - you dont want them spluttering hot oil on ur face!)
  • 1 green chillie minced
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal (black gram)
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (optional - only for the colour)
  • oil
Method:

1. Boil 2 and half cups of water and cook vermicelli for about 1 min. Leave it slightly undone (90% cooked). Drain well and refresh it with cold water. Drain and keep aside
2. In 2 cups of boiling water add potatoes and carrots and boil for 2 mins. Add beans, cauliflower, peas and boil for a further 2-3minutes. Drain, cool & set aside
3. In a wok heat some oil, add mustard and when they splutter add the curry leaves, stir for 2-3 seconds
4. Toss in the udad dal and stir till they become pale brown & immediately add the onions and stir well
5. When the onions begin to brown a little add the green chillies and fry.
6. Add turmeric powder and toss in the cooked veggies and stir fry for a further 2-3 minutes
7. Add the vermicelli and stir gently till all the masala is mixed well.
8. Serve hot

Chicken Liver Fry

While I shuddered at the thought of having liver when I was little, I slowly learnt to enjoy the delectable flavour which is so different from the rest of the meat. When I started to cook, liver as an item by itself never figured out on my menu and I didnt know how to cook it either. Sometime ago I was browsing through one of the recipe books handed to me by my mom. The author is unknown to this day as the book is all torn & dilapidated. However the outcome of what I tried was quite interesting & tasty. The combination of onion, shredded carrots & potatoes lends a very nice texture & a kind of sweetness to the otherwise bitter liver and balances it on the whole along with other Indian spices such as the dried red chilly, coriander & garam masalas.


The picture above depicts a slight alteration in the way I cut the potatoes & carrots. Instead of shredding them I just cut them into tiny cubes (just to save time and ofcourse cuz I couldnt find the shredder!!)

Chicken Liver Fry


You Need:

To fry the liver:
  • 400 gms liver, washed, cut into slices and dried
  • 3 dtsp flour (maida)
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • salt to taste

For the masala:
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chilly powder
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 1 cup grated potatoes
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro) for garnishing
  • oil/ghee
Method:

1. Mix flour, pepper powder & salt and coat the liver slices with this mixture (take care to ensure the liver pieces are dried or else u'l have a sticky mess on ur fingers :)
2. Shallow fry the pieces on both sides & remove
3. In the same oil fry the onions. When they turn golden brown add chilly powder, garam masala powder & coriander powder & 1 tsp of lime juice.
4. Add the shredded veggies and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes
5. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer for about 3 minutes
6. Add the shallow fried liver and mix well. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes
7. Garnish with chopped coriander and turn off the flame.
8. Serve hot.

Recipe adapted from: 'Recipes For All Occasions' by B.F Varghese

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cucumber Pancakes

In my quest to find some tasty & healthy breakfast recipes I came across Tarla Dalal's book called 'Healthy Breakfast' which has many easy to prepare recipes classified under categories such as 'Breakfast in a Jiffy', 'Breakfast with Planning', 'Breakfast using Left-overs', 'Healthy Drinks'and Butter & Salt substitutes. Nutritive values at the foot note of each recipe helps weight watchers & the health conscious count their calories before they eat. Hmmm, not bad at all for a person who loves her breakfast as much as her diamonds. One the most innovative recipes was the Cucumber pancakes which is easy, yummy & healthy as well. Do try it! Im sure you'l make it over & over again like I do.


Makes 8 pancakes (palm size)

Cucumber Pancakes
You Need:
For the pancakes
  • 1 cup semolina (fine rawa)
  • 2 cups cucumber, grated
  • 2 tbsp grated jaggery (gur)
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1/4 cup low fat curds (yogurt)
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tsp oil for cooking
Method:
1. Combine all the ingredients except the oil and make a batter of dropping consistency using a little water
2. Divide into 8 portions
3. Heat a non-stick pan and grease it lightly with oil
4. Spread one portion on the non-stick pan to make a pancake of 3mm to 4mm thickness
5. cook one side over a slow flame until the base is golden brown in colour. Turn over to cook the other side.
6. Remove the pancake and repeat with the remaining batter to make 7 more pancakes
7. Serve hot with Nutritious Green Chutney.

Nutritious Green Chutney

This is a perfect chutney to go along with the Cucumber Pancakes. Its from my favourite booklet on Breakfast recipes by Tarla Dalal

Nutritious Green Chutney
You Need:
  • 1 cup mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coriander, chopped
  • 3/4 cup onions, sliced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 green chillies
  • salt to taste
Method:
Grind all the above ingredients to a smooth paste & serve.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kulta Kaat (Traditional Mangalorean Horse Gram & Field Marrow Curry)



One of Mangalore's traditional dishes that I believe is almost on the verge of extinction is this delicious masterpiece, a curry made of horse gram and field marrow. Field marrow, also known as the Mangalore/Malabar cucumber is native of coastal Karnataka and Kerala and hence found as a regular item on the menu of these local cuisines. In Mangalorean cuisine there are plenty of preparations that call for the field marrow but not as many with horsegram. At least not that I ever knew of. Not until I found this recipe in the Mangalore Ladies Club Cookery Book. I believe that every community in Mangalore (ex, the Catholic, Konkani, Bunt, Brahmin etc) have their own mild variations of this curry and since I had never eaten it before, I have adapted this recipe to create my own family favourite.

Today I am reposting my old recipe which I had published in March 2010. I feel that this lovely curry has been lost somewhere in my archives and deserves to be dug out and put on a pedestal.

Mango Truffle Cake

I always wanted to bake a chocolate cake & after much hunting I found the recipe for the double chocolate fudge cake on purplefoodie.com which is easy to make & requires common kitchen ingredients. You must visit her site cuz the recipes are just too good! Plus the pictures are amazing & really get u hungry while you simply stare at them :) I am a big fan of purplefoodie so please do visit the website.
Coming back to this amazing chocolate cake - its a simple recipe which does not require too much time or expensive stuff. No slaving over the frosting or ganache by trying to make everything from scratch. Delicious & serves the purpose especially if you want to present a fancy dessert to your guests who drop in on short notice. Preparation time takes an hour and half including baking time. This cake is a fusion of two different cake ideas and it was a big hit. I tried it with a seasonal fruit which is Mango, but you can skip the fruit if your taste buds crave nothing but pure chocolate!



Mango Truffle Cake
You Need:
  • 1/3 cup (50gms) semisweet chocolate chips ( I used 50gms of Galaxy milk chocolate -grated)
  • 1/2 cup hot milk (or coffee)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (powdered)
  • 1 cup flour (maida)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder sifted (I used Cadbury baking cocoa)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (soda bi-carb)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup odourless oil (refined sunflower or soya or any other)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the glaze:
  • 1cup/150gms bittersweet chocolate (I used Whittaker's Dark Block)
For the Mango filling:
  • 1 ripe mango (preferably Alphonso) - chopped fine
For the decoration:
  • 1/2 ripe mango cut into thin wedges
  • 2-3cherries - optional
 Method:

1. In a small bowl pour the hot milk over the semisweet chocolate and stir till the chocolate has melted
2. Sift 2-3 times - the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt & cocoa
3. In a large bowl beat the egg for about 1minute and add the oil, yogurt and vanilla and blend well
4. Add milk and chocolate mixture and blend well
5. Add the flour mixture and fold
6.Grease and dust (with flour) a 8" or 9" cake tin and pour the batter in it
7. Preheat oven tp 175 degrees and bake for 45-50mins or till the cake tester comes clean
8. Remove and cool on a wire rack
9. Horizontally cut the cake and separate the two halves
10.In a double boiler melt the chocolate to be used as glazing
11.On the first half apply a layer of melted chocolate and spread the finely chopped mango evenly
12.Place the top half of the cake & glaze it with the remaining chocolate
13.Decorate with mango wedges, chill & serve

Note: The choice of chocolate that you use (brand & taste) will determine how rich your cake tastes. You can alter the richness by using less sweet or dark chocolate. The rest of the ingredients remain the same.


Recipe Source for the truffle cake: purplefoodie.com & assembling idea from Tarla Dalal's book on Chocolate Desserts

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lapsi/Dalia (Broken Wheat) Pulao / Upma / Porridge

Since I am a big foodie I like to start my day with a big fat breakfast and now that I am a little health conscious I am always on the lookout for some healthy recipes to kickstart my day. I came across this recipe on Sanjeev Kapoor's website and after some modification, it has become a big hit with my husband. Easy to make, tastes yummy and is also beneficial for people who have diabetes.




Lapsi Pulao
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves: 2


You Need:
  • 1 cup lapsi/dalia/broken wheat, soaked - 1cup
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 7-8 peppercorns 
  • 1 inch piece cassia bark or cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 medium sized onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup cubed carrots 
  • 4-5 french beans cut into small pieces
  • 10-12 palak/spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste
  • 2-1/2 - 3 cups water * see notes
  • salt to taste
Method

1. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon and bay leaf and sauté till they begin to change colour. Add ginger and garlic paste and reduce the heat
2. Add sliced onion and sauté till they turn translucent. Add carrots and sauté. Add French beans and spinach leaves.
3. Mix and add lapsi. Mix well. Add salt and green peas and roast a little
4. Boil water and add to the mixture.
5. Reduce heat, cover and cook till done. Serve hot.

Notes:
If you want a porridge like consistency use 1:3 ratio (1 cup dalia : 3 cups water), if you want an upma like consistency use a little less water, ie 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 cups is sufficient

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Carrot Garlic Chutney



Carrot Garlic Chutney
You Need:
  • 1 cup grated carrot ( 1 medium sized carrot is enough to make chutney that serves 2 people)
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped (i used abt 4-5 cloves)
  • 1/2 tsp plain chilli powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste
Method:
1. Grind the garlic, chilli powder, lemon juice & salt to a fine paste
2. Combine the carrots, garlic paste oil & serve with Ragi Dosas

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mangalore Buns

ಮಂಗಳೂರು ಬನ್ನ್ಸ್ 

As far as I know, the Mangalore buns are found only in Mangalore. Although you find a Mangalorean restaurant or Udupi hotel (as it's commonly known outside Mangalore/South Kanara) blooming in every nook & corner of the world, rarely do you see the Mangalore buns on the menu. Every die hard Mangalorean will vouch for the taste & instant gratification that this humble snack provides. Along with goli baje, another quintessential Mangalorean tea time snack, the Mangalore bun remains my all time favourite.


Mangalore Buns

Serves: 2-3


You Need:
  • All purpose flour (maida) - 1/4kg
  • Bananas - 2 small or 1 large
  • Curds - 2 tbsp
  • Sugar - 3 tbsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Soda bicarb - 1/4 tsp
  • Oil/ghee - 1 tbsp
  • Oil for frying
Method:
  1. In a large flat vessel (used for kneading dough) mix all the ingredients except maida (curds, sugar, soda bicarb, salt, oil/ghee & mashed bananas. Reserve about a quarter of the flour and add the rest in parts to the wet mixture. Knead to incorporate all the flour except the reserved one. Add very very little water (about a teaspoon or two) at a time ONLY if required to help knead. Actually adding more water will make a mess of your dough, so even wetting your palms while kneading is enough as the wet ingredients have enough moisture to help knead the dough. Use up the reserved flour if the dough is too pasty after adding the wet ingredients.
  2. Keep the dough ball covered for 8 hours or overnight in a warm place.
  3. Make small balls of dough & roll thick ( 5-6cms diameter - about the size of pooris)
  4. Deep fry until golden brown
  5. Serve hot with coconut chutney
Note: The buns keep for 3-4 days if stored in an airtight container. They can be eaten plain without any accompaniment


The first time I attempted to make Mangalore buns, they looked like this!
Recipe Source: The Mangalore Ladies Club Cookery Book

Ragi Dosa (Finger Millet Pancake)

While I love a hearty breakfast I always scratch my head wondering what to make that is both nutritious & tasty. A few years ago I stumbled upon Tarla Dalal's mini handbook called Healthy Breakfasts and my journey towards making yummy breakfasts has just become smoother. This recipe is a super hit in my home and everybody looks forward to having it.

Ragi Dosa 

Yield: 8 palm size pancakes
Time: Preparation: 10minutes, Cooking: Approx 4 minutes per pancake 

You Need:

For the pancakes:
  • Ragi flour - 1 cup
  • Soya flour - 1 tbsp
  • Sesame seeds - 1tsp
  • Onions grated (or finely chopped) - 1/2 cup
  • Grated ginger - 1 tsp
  • Coriander chopped - 1/2 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for cooking - 2 tsp
Method:
  1. Combine the flours, sesame, onions, green chillies, ginger, coriander and salt in bowl. Add water to make a smooth batter.
  2. Heat a non stick pan, grease it with a little oil & spread out a tablespoon of batter. Cook on both sides till done.
  3. Serve hot with Carrot Garlic Chutney

Banana Coconut Cake

One more easy to make cake but with a few more ingredients than usual. If you have a banana that is over ripe & no one wants, you may want to try this delicious cake which makes you grab for more. Great tea time accompaniment or simply when you need to bite into something chunky when you are lazing in front of the TV.

Banana Coconut Cake
You Need:

  • Maida - 2 cups (250gms)
  • Eggs - 3
  • Sugar - 1 cup (175gms)
  • Butter - 1 cup (150gms)
  • Mashed bananas - 2 cups
  • Baking powder - 3/4th tsp
  • Walnuts chopped - 1 cup
  • Coconut milk - 1/2 cup
  • Orange juice - 1/2 cup
  • Cinnamon powder - 1tsp
Method:

Sift flour & baking powder thrice. Roll the walnuts in the flour so that they dont sink to the bottom of the cake

Beat butter & sugar till pale
Add one egg at a time & beat well and ensure no lumps are formed
Add the flour & walnuts and fold in. Add the cinnamon powder & mix well
Add the mashed bananas, orange juice and coconut milk & fold
Grease a 25cms round cake tin with butter & dust with a little flour
Preheat oven to 180 degrees and bake for 1hour 20mins or till the skewer comes clean

Note: The cake will have a thick crust which adds to its flavour

Mince Meat Cutlets

The mince meat cutlet has been a staple of every Mangalorean household and is a much loved meal accompaniment/anytime snack. I have grown up tasting cutlets that were usually prepared for small gatherings/parties at home & every grandma/mom would know to whip up one in no time with the help of an apparatus which is the ancestor of today's food processor. All ingredients would go into the mincing machine & out came the mixture, ready to be fried into patties. The favourite of every child who steals one from the kitchen before dinner was announced & ofcourse a great accompaniment for those high on spirits! Cut to 2010, the fragrance wafting from my kitchen reminded me of a childhood that will never return


Mince Meat (Keema) Cutlets

Recipe Source: My aunt Maria


You Need:
  • 500gms chicken or beef mince
  • 2 medium sized onions finely minced
  • 2 small green chillies finely minced (adjust to taste)
  • 1 inch ginger finely minced
  • 5 small cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 3/4 cup coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 3/4th tsp pepper powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • juice of a small lime (or 1 tsp vinegar)
  • 1 medium sized potato boiled 
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • Bread - 1 slice (optional)
  • Bread crumbs or fine rawa
  • 2 egg whites
Method:
  1. Wash the minced meat and cook it with salt to taste and lime juice (or vinegar) till all the excess water dries up. Let some amount of moisture remain. Remove from the fire and allow it to cool
  2. Heat oil in a another pan and fry the minced onions till they turn pale. Toss in the minced green chillies, ginger, garlic, coriander and mint leaves one by one. Just before you turn off the flame add the powders - pepper, turmeric, garam masala, cumin and cinnamon
  3. Turn off the fire & set aside. Allow the mixture to cool a bit. Add the mashed potato, cooked mince and mix well. If the mixture is soggy add the bread slice - roughly torn into pieces and mix well.
  4. Beat the egg whites & set aside in a bowl. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate.
  5. Shape the mince mixture into balls & flatten them in the center of your palm. Dip each patty in the egg whites mixture & then roll it over the breadcrumbs & fry on medium fire till both sides are golden brown
  6. Serve hot with mint chutney or tomato ketchup or with steaming rice & curry 
Notes: 
If you are using minced/ground beef then you will need to cook it separately in a pressure cooker. Tender meat will take approx 12-15 minutes to cook.
If you intend to freeze the mixture for later use, do not add the potato to it as the mixture can turn soggy. Instead freeze in batches and once thawed out add the required amount of boiled potato to it

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Featherlite Cake

I found this recipe in the Mangalore Ladies Club cook book & I have followed the recipe accurately except for the quantity of sugar that I have reduced to suit my taste. I tried it in my microwave using the convection mode & the result was simply fabulous. This is an anytime cake and goes best with a cup of tea! Enjoy it

Featherlite Cake
Recipe Source: The Mangalore Ladies Club Cookery Book
You Need:

  • Maida - 2 cups (230gms)
  • Eggs - 3
  • Fine sugar - 1 cup ( 175gms)
  • Unsalted butter - 1 cup (150gms)
  • Milk - 3/4th cup (boiled & cooled)
  • Baking powder - 3/4th tsp

Method:
  1. Beat the butter & sugar till fluffy
  2. Sift maida & baking powder three times
  3. To the butter & sugar mixture add the egg whites & beat. Add the egg yolks and beat
  4. Add the milk & flour alternately & fold
  5. Grease a cake tin with butter & dust it with flour.
  6. Pour the batter & bake at 170O for 40mins

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bangde Bafat (Mackerel Bafat Style)


Bangde Bafat (Mackerel Bafat Style)
Recipe Source: Sambardo by J.B Lobo


You Need:
  • Mackrels - 4 large 
  • Onions - 2
  • Long red chillies - 5
  • Coriander - 1tsp
  • Cumin - 1/2 tsp
  • Peppercorns - 4
  • Vinegar - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
  • Grated coconut - 2tsps (optional - this gives the gravy a good texture and also increases the quantity of the gravy)
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece
  • Garlic - 3 flakes
  • Green chillies - 2 (optional -only if you prefer your gravy extra spicy)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to fry
Method:
  1. Clean and cut the mackrels into 3 pieces (if large) or 2 pieces and drain the water
  2. Grind the red chillies, peppercorns, turmeric, coriander, cummin, 1 onion and grated coconut to a fine paste
  3. Slice the onion, finely chop the ginger & garlic and green chillies (optional)
  4. Heat oil & fry the the onions, ginger, garlic & green chillies one by one until you get a nice aroma
  5. Fry the masala well & add vinegar, salt to taste & some water to make the gravy of medium thick consistency. Boil well.
  6. Add the fish and cook until done.
  7. Serve hot with boiled or white rice.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Carrot & Orange Cake

Since I do not have a conventional oven I decided to learn how to make cakes in the microwave. After several attemps & a few flops, I have mastered the art of baking in the microwave with convection mode. This one is a recipe I found on the net but have altered the ingredients to suit my taste. The ingredients are easily found in one's kitchen & the result is yummy. Something for an evening snack & can be enjoyed by everyone.

Carrot & Orange Cake

You Need:
  • Flour - 150gms
  • Butter - 150gms
  • Carrots grated - 100gms
  • Muscovado sugar - 175gms
  • Eggs - 3
  • Almonds ground - 25gms
  • Juice & rind of 1 Orange
  • Nutmeg - 1 pinch
  • Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Castor sugar - 20gms (optional)
  • Baking powder - 1/2 tsp

For the icing (optional), blend in the following:

  • Cream cheese - 100gms
  • Lemon juice - 30ml
  • Castor sugar - 50gms

Method:
  1. Sift the flour with the baking powder
  2. Beat the butter & the muscovado sugar until light & fluffy
  3. Beat in the egg one at a time until the mixture looks creamy (and not of curd like consistency)
  4. Blend in the orange juice & rind, nutmeg, cinnamon & carrots 
  5. Add the flour & almonds & gently fold in in one direction, ensuring that the batter engulfs air which helps to make the cake fluffy
  6. Add the castor sugar if you like your cake a little sweeter
  7. Grease a cake tin with a little butter & pour the batter into it
  8. Preheat oven to 170o and bake for 40-45mins. The cake is done when the skewer comes clean
  9. Remove & cool on a wire rack. Cover with icing & serve
Note:
The butter & eggs should always be at room temperature otherwise the batter resembles curd like consistency. The flour should be sifted with baking powder from a height as this also ensures that the cake turns out fluffy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sambaar Bhazoon Kunkdachi Kadi (Chicken Curry With Coconut & Roasted Condiments)

The chicken red curry is common in most Mangalorean homes. While most gravies have a standard set of spices that need to be ground, this one involves roasting of the condiments before grinding to a paste. The authentic recipe uses grated coconut while I replace it with coconut milk powder which gives a smoother consistency to the gravy & is delicious too. Grinding the coconut milk powder in a mixie is easier as sometimes our mixies refuse to co-operate & we often wish we had the Mangalorean 'gatno' - mortar & pestle.
This is my husband's favourite recipe & he made it himself on Sunday - what a lovely meal I had!

Chicken Curry With Coconut & Roasted Condiments

Recipe Source: My mum


You Need:

  • Chicken - 1kg
  • Red chillies - 8 (4 whole. 4 deseeded (retaining only the skin))
  • Peppercorns - 5
  • Coriander - 2tsp
  • Jeera - 1tsp
  • Khus khus - 1tsp
  • Tamarind - marble size ball
  • Coconut milk pwd - 3 tsp OR grated coconut - 4 tbsp
  • Onion -1 sliced for frying
  • Ghee or oil for frying

Method:
1. Wash & cut the chicken to medium size pieces
2. Roast the condiments (red chillies, peppercorns, coriander, jeera, khus khus) on slow fire one by one till you get a nice aroma. Keep aside for a few minutes so that it cools off & the chillies become crisp
3. Grind the roasted condiments with tamarind & coconut powder and a little water. Make a fine paste
4. Heat oil or ghee & lightly fry the masala & add the chicken to it. Add salt to taste & let the chicken cook for 15mins.
5. Add water to make a thick gravy and boil well.
6. When the chicken is cooked season it with one sliced onion (fried in ghee)
7. Serve hot with rice, sannas, appams or chapathi

Friday, March 5, 2010

Maslyechi Geraal Kadi (Coconut Based Common Fish Curry - For Almost All Types of Fish)

Fish curry & rice is the staple of many coastal towns of India including Mangalore. Every Mangalorean worth his salt relishes his fish cooked in a gravy or fried in various forms - tawa fry, masala fry, rawa fry. Accordingly there are various ways to cook fish in a gravy. While most types of fish are stewed in coconut based gravies, some are cooked in other masalas (red chilly paste or green masala). This recipe is a common & general one which can be used for fish such as Surmai, Pomfret, Gol, Rawas, Lady fish etc


Fish Curry (Coconut Based)
Recipe Source: Sambardo by J.B Lobo
You Need:
  • Fish - 500gms

For the Masala:
  • Grated coconut - 1 handful (approx 3/4th cup)
  • Red chillies - 4-5 (I used Bedgi variety - deseed them to reduce the spice)
  • Peppercorns -3
  • Tamarind - 1 marble size ball
  • Onion - 1 medium size
  • Garlic - 4 flakes
  • Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Cummin - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/4th tsp
  • Methi (fenugreek) - 1/4 tsp (optional)
For Seasoning:
  • Onion - 1 small (thinly sliced)
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece (finely chopped)
Method:
1. Grind all the ingredients for the masala with a little water. Leave it a little coarse
2. Clean the fish & wash it well with salt & turmeric & put it in a colander so that the water gets drained well
3. Heat oil & fry the chopped ginger & onion for seasoning
4. When the onion turns golden brown add the masala & fry till the raw smell is gone
5. Add a little water to make a gravy of medium thickness. Dont add too much water as the fish will leave some water making the gravy too thin
6. Boil the gravy & then add the fish pieces. Let this cook for about 1 minute on medium flame
7. Turn off the flame & garnish with a little chopped coriander leaves (optional)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Carrot Halwa is commonly known as Gajar ka Halwa in India & is a popular sweet dish that is usual served at home & for weddings. I have chosen the easier method to make this which is by pressure cooking the carrots - it saves time & helps reduce energy consumption. The process takes about 40 minutes & the quantity serves 4.


Gajar Ka Halwa

You Need:
  • Carrots - 1/2 kg
  • Milk - 1/2 litre
  • Sugar - 180gms*
  • Cardamom - 4 pods (powdered)
  • Cashewnuts - 15 whole
  • Ghee for frying
Method:
1. Wash, peel & grate carrots, add milk & pressure cook them for about 15mins.
2. In a thick bottomed kadai heat ghee & add the cashewnuts & roast them a bit. 
3. Add the carrot & milk mixture and the sugar & reduce flame to low.
4. Cook the halwa on low flame, stirring every now & then & taking care to see that it doesnt stick to the pan. Add the cardamom powder & stir it in.
5. When the ghee leaves the sides & the colour changes to deep orange your halwa is ready.
6. Garnish with cashewnuts (optional) and serve hot

 Note: Sugar 180gms is approx 25 teaspoons. Since i prefer my halwa mildly sweet i measured it to 180gms, if you prefer it sweeter you can increase this quantity to upto 250gms.

Serving Suggestion: Carrot Halwa tastes best if served hot along with vanilla ice cream. In this case it is suggested to retain mild sweetness in the halwa otherwise this combo dessert not only becomes too sweet but is also a bit hard on the digestive system (this tip is only for the health concious!)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mutton Polov (With Ash Gourd/Winter Melon)

Mutton Polov (pronounced as po-low) is a authentic Mangalorean dish which is prepared & served on the day of the Roce ceremony before one's wedding. This is eaten with buns/pav or with boiled rice. In the olden days when the poor could not afford to serve mutton to guests, this gravy would be made with dry shrimp. This beautiful blend of meat/shrimp with ash gourd is mildly spiced with a coconut milk base. If you are able to visit Mangalore you can buy the vegetable powder available at Don Stores/Konkan Traders near Milagres Church. I will try to post the recipe of the powder once I have tried it.


Mutton Polov

Serves 5-6
You Need:
  • Mutton - 1kg
  • Ash gourd - 1.5 kgs (Ash gourd is also known as Kumbalakai in Kannada & Petha in Hindi)
  • Onions - 2 ( 1 big - for the masala; 1 small sliced - for the seasoning)
  • Grated coconut - 1/2 a coconut
  • Garlic - 6 flakes
  • Tamarind - 1 marble size ball
  • Vegetable powder - 2 tbsp
  • Coconut milk of 1/2 coconut*
  • Cinnamon - 1 stick
  • Cloves - 4
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee for frying
Method:
1. Cook mutton with salt, cinnamon & cloves till almost done (How I make it: I cut, wash & drain the mutton pieces well and then use about 1/2 cup of water in the pressure cooker & add the mutton pieces in it. Add salt, cloves & cinnamon, cover the lid & add the weight (whistle). Keep the pressure cooker on full flame till the first whistle goes off (this takes about 10mins), after that reduce flame & cook for about 15mins (this is because we get tender & good quality meat in Mumbai). Turn off flame and let it sit for 5-10mins before the whistle is loose enough to be removed, open carefully, stir once & close without whistle. Remove after 2-3 mins and use as required.
2. Remove the pith & skin of the ash gourd & cut into cubes. Add this to the mutton & let it cook in the same water
3. Heat oil in a tawa & broil the coconut till a nice aroma arises, add the onion & garlic & broil some more


4. Grind the coconut, onion & garlic, tamarind, vegetable masala powder & a little water. Leave the masala a little coarse
5. Add the masala & salt to taste and water if required to the mutton & ash gourd and boil.
6. Add the coconut milk & boil
7. Season with 1 small onion fried in ghee


*Tip: The alternative to preparing fresh coconut milk is to use coconut milk powder which is available in the market. I use Maggi coconut milk powder. Just take a little warm water & add the coconut powder & stir so no lumps remain. For the above recipe you can take about 200ml of water & add 6-7 tsps of coconut milk powder to get thick milk.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sajjige / Upma (Savoury Semolina)

Mangalore's very popular (if not favourite) dish on the breakfast menu is the Sajjige, or Upma as the rest of the world knows it. 




Sajjige/Upma
Prep time: 10-15 mins | Cook time: 7-8 mins | Serves 2

You Need:
  • 3/4th cup rava/semolina * see notes
  • 1 medium sized onion finely sliced
  • 1-2 small green green chillies finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp mustard 
  • 1 tsp urad dal (split black gram dal)
  • 1 sprig or 6-7 curry leaves/ karipatta
  • 10-12 broken cashewnuts (optional)
  • 1 tbsp ghee 
  • 1 tbsp oil for frying
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 3/4th - 1 level tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1-1/2 cups boiled water
Method:
1. Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed kadhai & roast the rawa on slow fire for about 7-8mins till it turns turns golden (not brown) *see notes. It doesn't take long for it to burn, so be cautious. Remove from fire and keep aside.
2. In the same kadhai heat some oil & season with mustard seeds, when they crackle add the curry leaves. Reduce flame to medium, toss in the urad dal & stir for a couple of seconds. You can add the cashewnuts at this stage.
3. Add the ginger & green chilli & fry a little & then the sliced onions & fry till pale (slightly golden) They should remain a little crunchy.
4. In another pan bring the water to a boil and add the salt & sugar to it. The taste should be sweet-salty, so adjust the salt accordingly.
4. To the fried onions add the roasted rawa, mix well and then add the freshly boiling water & reduce the completely to simmer. Mix the contents to avoid any lumps. Cover the pan allow it to cook for a couple of minutes. Turn off the flame and let it sit for another minute.
6. Open the lid, mix gently. The result should be fluffy (not sticky or lumpy) upma. Serve hot.

Notes:
1. This upma needs a slightly grainy variety of rawa to be used. Not the Bombay Sooji variety which is extremely fine and used for coating cutlets/fish etc. Athough there is no harm in using the same, the result may not be fluffy and you may get a more lumpy upma. If you are in Mumbai you can ask for barik lapsi (broken wheat) or lapsi rava kansar.
2. A 1:2 (rava to water) ratio is used for upma. However in Mangalore the sajjige is made with a little extra water making it extremely mushy and of paste consistency. If you prefer it that way, you can add a little extra water to the above ratio - make sure the salt & sugar ratio is also adjusted accordingly.