Friday, March 16, 2012

Sonay Sukhe (Black Chana Fugad/Sukka)

Here's a quintessential Mangalorean recipe that I have somehow missed to post on my very Mangalorean blog. How could I have missed to post this earlier, I wonder. Anyway, better late than never. Actually, I intended to do a post on the Black Chana/Garbanzo beans that we in Mangalore seem to make almost every 2-3 weeks, when I first got my new camera - which was last year. The Chana dish that I had prepared for lunch one day was the first shot in my camera, which I haven't deleted till date as it brings back the fond memories of such excitement I had that day that I randomly clicked pictures of almost everything in my house. However, since I had not planned a photo shoot that day the dish never made it to the blog.


Despite the fact that hubbykins and I are poles apart when it comes to choosing our favourite food (we are never on the same page), I'd have to say that the Black Chana sukka is our favourite. I usually make it at least twice a month and it tastes wonderful with simple boiled rice and a tomato saar (watery soup). My mum used to make it especially on Good Friday and we used to eat it along with Nivole (Spicy curry made of carom seeds (ajwain), roasted coconut & spices) and typical Mangalorean red rice. Yum! was not the word! It is such a beautiful combination that we never missed a non vegetarian side dish to complete the meal. 


Sonay Sukhe as we call it in Konkani is also part of the festive vegetarian meal (Novein Jowaan) that we have on September 8th - the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So this will go into that collection in my recipe index! During that feast, my mum used to add a wee bit of jaggery to the dish to give it a bit of a sweet edge to a moderately spicy dish. However, since the man does not like any sweetness in his savoury dishes, I refrain myself from using any jaggery while preparing it. You can add about 1/2-1 tsp grated jaggery just before you add the pre boiled Chana so it blends well with the masala. Also, since the Novein Jowaan happens during a season of abundance - which is right after the first few showers of the monsoons, we use Hog Plums (Ambado) as the souring agent instead of tamarind or tomato. If its available in the markets when you are ready to make this dish, go right ahead and add a couple of them for the given quantity. The dish tastes awesome!

Fugad is just another name for a preparation that involves tempering of ingredients such as mustard, curry leaves, onions & garlic before adding the main ingredient (usually a vegetable) and often includes the addition of grated coconut. This preparation is simply called as 'Sukka' in Mangalore in the local languages, be it Konkani, Kannada, Tulu or Beary Bhashe. You can try out the same method with many other legumes such as Black Eyed Peas (Chawli) or Chickpeas (Kabuli Chana) or Mung Bean Sprouts (or any other sprouts), String/Runner Beans (Sango in Konkani, Alsande in  Kannada), French Beans, Yam (Sooran). The Fugad or Sukka is a cousin of the Keralan vegetarian Thoran. 


Sonay Sukhe
Preparation time: 5-10mins| Cooking time: 20-25min | Serves 2-3

You Need:
  • 1/2 cup kala chana / black chickpeas / garbanzo beans soaked for 10-12hours or overnight
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (with skin) crushed
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • handful (about 3/4th cup) grated coconut
  • 1 tsp bafat powder
  • 3/4 th tsp tamarind paste or 1 small ball of tamarind (juice extracted)
  • oil
  • salt to taste
Method:
1. Place the soaked chana in a pressure cooker, add enough water to bring the level upto 1 inch above them. Add salt to taste and cover, place the weight & pressure cook the chana for about 4-5 whistles (or till tender but not mushy). Turn off the flame and allow the cooker to cool. Open, stir and keep aside.
2. In a heavy based kadhai/wok heat some oil and toss in the mustard. When it pops, toss in the curry leaves, garlic and fry for a couple of seconds.
3. Add the sliced onions and fry till golden. Toss in the grated coconut and fry for a minute or two. Add the bafat power and continue to fry on a slow flame to avoid burning of the powder. You may add a bit of the stock from the cooked chana if you think the mixture will burn.
4. Add the tamarind juice, mix well and lastly add the cooked chana and a little of its stock. Cover and cook on a slow flame till the water has been absorbed and the chana is tender.

Notes:
You may add jaggery to taste (about a teaspoon or two)
Instead of tamarind paste you can use 1 medium sized tomato or hog plums. Introduce this right after frying the onions and before adding the grated coconut

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fish Crumb Fry / Fish Fingers

One of my most prized possessions on my bookshelf is this lovely hard bound recipe book that belonged to my mother. It has a thousand recipes that are quick and easy with a significant amount of Keralan recipes typically Syrian Christian style. I have tried out just a few recipes although my mum had attempted a lot more. Sadly, I do not know the name of the author as the book was sent for stiff (hard) binding and returned with no cover page and most of the first & last few pages callously torn.


Recently my son displayed his sudden liking for vegetables. Before I could rejoice and distribute sweets to the neighbours I realised that he was giving up something else in the bargain. Fish! A child who would only eat fish till the age of 3 (to the extent that we thought of changing our professions toconsider fishing instead) had suddenly stopped eating fish. So now my latest challenge is to feed him fish in whatever form possible. Since he doesn't like fish in curries or in its fried form, I have started grilling it for him.


This particular recipe looked so simple that I was actually skeptical at first. Nevertheless off I went to the market and bought some fillets and it turned out to be a winner. I plan to try it again soon whenever we have a kiddie party as it serves well as a starter too.

PS: This tastes great with tomato sauce or along with potato wafers/chips as the typical 'fish n chips'. They work well even as an accompaniment to rice & dal or fish curry.


Fish Crumb Fry
Recipe Source: 'Recipes For All Occasions' by BF Varghese
Preparation time: 5-10min | Marinating time: 1 hour | Cooking time: 5-8min | Serves 3-4

You Need
  • 250gm fish fillets (boneless) * see notes
  • 2-3 tsp maida (all purpose flour)
  • 1/2 tsp (or to taste) pepper powder
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • oil to shallow fry

Method:
1. Wash and cut the fillet into finger sized pieces. Dry them on a piece of cloth to remove the excess moisture. 
2. In a bowl, make a paste with vinegar, salt, pepper and maida. Marinate the fish pieces gently with this mixture. Keep aside for a minimum of 1 hour
3. Heat oil in a frying pan on a medium flame. Beat the egg lightly in a small bowl and dip the fish pieces in it and  then coat them with bread crumbs. Smoothen all the sides with a knife or pat with your fingers
4. Fry on both sides till golden brown. 
5. Serve hot with tomato sauce/ketchup

Notes:
You can use any fillets made out of any fish. Especially if you get ready made ones. If you need to get them made then large Pomfrets (white or black) work best because the meat is very flavourful. Buying large sized fish makes sure you get proper fillets and the wastage is minimised.



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bell Pepper & Grape Salad

The month of March is here already and I am trying to figure out the number of things that I have done in the past two months that were part of my To-Do list for the 2012. It doesn't look I have accomplished much. Nevertheless, its a month where we welcome the Indian summers that are fast approaching. The vegetable and fruit markets are already bursting with colours and flavours of the season. My regular fruit vendor asked me if I wanted a dozen mangoes for Rs.4000. I was flabbergasted and said that I was definitely planning to live for another few months at least and would prefer to eat them at a reasonable price. I was in no hurry, thank you very much!


Now that strawberries have slowly made their exit and mangoes belong to the future, grapes are basking in the limelight. Its black and green grapes for you this season. Grapes, grapes & grapes everywhere. At the fruit stall in the market or at the supermarket or on push carts, piles and piles of grapes try to entice you into buying them and enjoying them at leisure. This is the scene in my house since the past 10 days. Both the boys sit with their bowls full of grapes while I wonder what to make out of them. Last year I made some grape wine out of the abundant black grapes that were being sold dirt cheap. I quite enjoyed that process especially because it was my first time at making home made wine. This year, I toyed with the idea of making grape jam or some compote perhaps. But sweet things have no takers at home, so I chucked that idea. I came across this very refreshing salad at a dinner party last week - a get together at hubby's cousin's place and I was bowled over by the myriad flavours. While the dominant ingredient in this salad is bell peppers in various colours, its the grapes that tickle your taste buds. It was simply fantastic - trying to figure out the different ingredients by tasting them. 

This multi coloured salad is something that makes for a lovely item on your party menu and is great as an everyday meal option too. I say meal option because when I was on a diet long ago, my nutritionist used to bug me daily to have loads of salads. Not being much of a cold food eater - I simply hated salads after a month of eating them. My diet plan did not revolve around replacing all meals with salads - if that's the impression you've got! Heck, no! Lunch and dinner always began with a bowl of salad and proceeded with whatever I was asked to eat (almost everything on a Mangalorean's wish list was included). Simple and easy. However, I cried and made a fuss during every appointment. I begged for anything but a salad and so the poor thing replaced salads with soups. I was happy for a while because I love having piping hot soups. I was happy until I started to run out of ideas to make soups :-( Anyway, one day she browsed through my blog only to find no salad recipes. I promised her that I would some day post something provided I found a recipe that was compelling enough to be tried at home. I did and I thank Nellie, hubby's cousin who generously gave me her recipe.


Bell peppers are popularly known as capsicums (shimla mirch in Hindi) in India. Till about a couple of decades ago I was familiar with only the green capsicum which was either eaten in the form of deep fried pakoras, or stuffed with a filling or in the preparation of Indo-Chinese dishes. Today the other two vibrant colours - the red & yellow capsicum have found their way into a dozen new dishes like dips, salads, soups & pizzas. Bell peppers are so called because of their bell shape and besides the red, green & yellow colours they come in many different colours including orange, purple, brown & even black! They vary in taste from spicy to sweet, to tangy. It is said that the red bell peppers offer the most health benefits compared to the green ones. Bell peppers are said to be a dieter's favourite vegetable as they are low cal, low fat, high fibre & a fat burning food. They are packed with vitamins A and C and contain significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6 which help fight against heart disease.

Grapes on the other hand have the ability to treat indigestion, constipation, fatigue, kidney disorders and help in the prevention of cataract, breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Grapes are one of the richest sources of vitamins A, C, B6 and folate in addition to essential minerals. They contain flavonoids that are very powerful antioxidants which in simple terms prevent free radicals that speed up aging process. 

One reason why I chose to post this recipe sooner than the pile of recipes in draft is because there are two occasions that fall in the month of March. 'Holi' the festival of colours that is celebrated all over India coincides with the International Women's Day this year on March 8th. I couldn't think of a better dish that could do justice to these occasions. This month I celebrate womanhood with something so colourful, simple, flavourful and healthy. 


Bell Pepper & Grape Salad
Preparation time: 15min | Serves 3-4

You Need:
  • 3 bell peppers (capsicums) - red, yellow & green - deseeded 
  • 1 medium sized cucumber
  • a handful of green grapes
  • a handful of black grapes
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • a sprinkling of lime juice (about 2 tsp)
  • a sprinkling of chaat masala powder (about 1/2 tsp)
  • 2-3 tsp of virgin olive oil (optional)
Method:
1. Dice the bell peppers, chop the cucumber and cut the grapes vertically into 8 pieces or as desired
2. Mix all the ingredients in a wide bowl and add the dressing - salt, pepper, olive oil, lime juice & chaat masala just before serving.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Sonay Sukhe (Black Chana Fugad/Sukka)

Here's a quintessential Mangalorean recipe that I have somehow missed to post on my very Mangalorean blog. How could I have missed to post this earlier, I wonder. Anyway, better late than never. Actually, I intended to do a post on the Black Chana/Garbanzo beans that we in Mangalore seem to make almost every 2-3 weeks, when I first got my new camera - which was last year. The Chana dish that I had prepared for lunch one day was the first shot in my camera, which I haven't deleted till date as it brings back the fond memories of such excitement I had that day that I randomly clicked pictures of almost everything in my house. However, since I had not planned a photo shoot that day the dish never made it to the blog.


Despite the fact that hubbykins and I are poles apart when it comes to choosing our favourite food (we are never on the same page), I'd have to say that the Black Chana sukka is our favourite. I usually make it at least twice a month and it tastes wonderful with simple boiled rice and a tomato saar (watery soup). My mum used to make it especially on Good Friday and we used to eat it along with Nivole (Spicy curry made of carom seeds (ajwain), roasted coconut & spices) and typical Mangalorean red rice. Yum! was not the word! It is such a beautiful combination that we never missed a non vegetarian side dish to complete the meal. 


Sonay Sukhe as we call it in Konkani is also part of the festive vegetarian meal (Novein Jowaan) that we have on September 8th - the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So this will go into that collection in my recipe index! During that feast, my mum used to add a wee bit of jaggery to the dish to give it a bit of a sweet edge to a moderately spicy dish. However, since the man does not like any sweetness in his savoury dishes, I refrain myself from using any jaggery while preparing it. You can add about 1/2-1 tsp grated jaggery just before you add the pre boiled Chana so it blends well with the masala. Also, since the Novein Jowaan happens during a season of abundance - which is right after the first few showers of the monsoons, we use Hog Plums (Ambado) as the souring agent instead of tamarind or tomato. If its available in the markets when you are ready to make this dish, go right ahead and add a couple of them for the given quantity. The dish tastes awesome!

Fugad is just another name for a preparation that involves tempering of ingredients such as mustard, curry leaves, onions & garlic before adding the main ingredient (usually a vegetable) and often includes the addition of grated coconut. This preparation is simply called as 'Sukka' in Mangalore in the local languages, be it Konkani, Kannada, Tulu or Beary Bhashe. You can try out the same method with many other legumes such as Black Eyed Peas (Chawli) or Chickpeas (Kabuli Chana) or Mung Bean Sprouts (or any other sprouts), String/Runner Beans (Sango in Konkani, Alsande in  Kannada), French Beans, Yam (Sooran). The Fugad or Sukka is a cousin of the Keralan vegetarian Thoran. 


Sonay Sukhe
Preparation time: 5-10mins| Cooking time: 20-25min | Serves 2-3

You Need:
  • 1/2 cup kala chana / black chickpeas / garbanzo beans soaked for 10-12hours or overnight
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (with skin) crushed
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • handful (about 3/4th cup) grated coconut
  • 1 tsp bafat powder
  • 3/4 th tsp tamarind paste or 1 small ball of tamarind (juice extracted)
  • oil
  • salt to taste
Method:
1. Place the soaked chana in a pressure cooker, add enough water to bring the level upto 1 inch above them. Add salt to taste and cover, place the weight & pressure cook the chana for about 4-5 whistles (or till tender but not mushy). Turn off the flame and allow the cooker to cool. Open, stir and keep aside.
2. In a heavy based kadhai/wok heat some oil and toss in the mustard. When it pops, toss in the curry leaves, garlic and fry for a couple of seconds.
3. Add the sliced onions and fry till golden. Toss in the grated coconut and fry for a minute or two. Add the bafat power and continue to fry on a slow flame to avoid burning of the powder. You may add a bit of the stock from the cooked chana if you think the mixture will burn.
4. Add the tamarind juice, mix well and lastly add the cooked chana and a little of its stock. Cover and cook on a slow flame till the water has been absorbed and the chana is tender.

Notes:
You may add jaggery to taste (about a teaspoon or two)
Instead of tamarind paste you can use 1 medium sized tomato or hog plums. Introduce this right after frying the onions and before adding the grated coconut

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fish Crumb Fry / Fish Fingers

One of my most prized possessions on my bookshelf is this lovely hard bound recipe book that belonged to my mother. It has a thousand recipes that are quick and easy with a significant amount of Keralan recipes typically Syrian Christian style. I have tried out just a few recipes although my mum had attempted a lot more. Sadly, I do not know the name of the author as the book was sent for stiff (hard) binding and returned with no cover page and most of the first & last few pages callously torn.


Recently my son displayed his sudden liking for vegetables. Before I could rejoice and distribute sweets to the neighbours I realised that he was giving up something else in the bargain. Fish! A child who would only eat fish till the age of 3 (to the extent that we thought of changing our professions toconsider fishing instead) had suddenly stopped eating fish. So now my latest challenge is to feed him fish in whatever form possible. Since he doesn't like fish in curries or in its fried form, I have started grilling it for him.


This particular recipe looked so simple that I was actually skeptical at first. Nevertheless off I went to the market and bought some fillets and it turned out to be a winner. I plan to try it again soon whenever we have a kiddie party as it serves well as a starter too.

PS: This tastes great with tomato sauce or along with potato wafers/chips as the typical 'fish n chips'. They work well even as an accompaniment to rice & dal or fish curry.


Fish Crumb Fry
Recipe Source: 'Recipes For All Occasions' by BF Varghese
Preparation time: 5-10min | Marinating time: 1 hour | Cooking time: 5-8min | Serves 3-4

You Need
  • 250gm fish fillets (boneless) * see notes
  • 2-3 tsp maida (all purpose flour)
  • 1/2 tsp (or to taste) pepper powder
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • oil to shallow fry

Method:
1. Wash and cut the fillet into finger sized pieces. Dry them on a piece of cloth to remove the excess moisture. 
2. In a bowl, make a paste with vinegar, salt, pepper and maida. Marinate the fish pieces gently with this mixture. Keep aside for a minimum of 1 hour
3. Heat oil in a frying pan on a medium flame. Beat the egg lightly in a small bowl and dip the fish pieces in it and  then coat them with bread crumbs. Smoothen all the sides with a knife or pat with your fingers
4. Fry on both sides till golden brown. 
5. Serve hot with tomato sauce/ketchup

Notes:
You can use any fillets made out of any fish. Especially if you get ready made ones. If you need to get them made then large Pomfrets (white or black) work best because the meat is very flavourful. Buying large sized fish makes sure you get proper fillets and the wastage is minimised.



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bell Pepper & Grape Salad

The month of March is here already and I am trying to figure out the number of things that I have done in the past two months that were part of my To-Do list for the 2012. It doesn't look I have accomplished much. Nevertheless, its a month where we welcome the Indian summers that are fast approaching. The vegetable and fruit markets are already bursting with colours and flavours of the season. My regular fruit vendor asked me if I wanted a dozen mangoes for Rs.4000. I was flabbergasted and said that I was definitely planning to live for another few months at least and would prefer to eat them at a reasonable price. I was in no hurry, thank you very much!


Now that strawberries have slowly made their exit and mangoes belong to the future, grapes are basking in the limelight. Its black and green grapes for you this season. Grapes, grapes & grapes everywhere. At the fruit stall in the market or at the supermarket or on push carts, piles and piles of grapes try to entice you into buying them and enjoying them at leisure. This is the scene in my house since the past 10 days. Both the boys sit with their bowls full of grapes while I wonder what to make out of them. Last year I made some grape wine out of the abundant black grapes that were being sold dirt cheap. I quite enjoyed that process especially because it was my first time at making home made wine. This year, I toyed with the idea of making grape jam or some compote perhaps. But sweet things have no takers at home, so I chucked that idea. I came across this very refreshing salad at a dinner party last week - a get together at hubby's cousin's place and I was bowled over by the myriad flavours. While the dominant ingredient in this salad is bell peppers in various colours, its the grapes that tickle your taste buds. It was simply fantastic - trying to figure out the different ingredients by tasting them. 

This multi coloured salad is something that makes for a lovely item on your party menu and is great as an everyday meal option too. I say meal option because when I was on a diet long ago, my nutritionist used to bug me daily to have loads of salads. Not being much of a cold food eater - I simply hated salads after a month of eating them. My diet plan did not revolve around replacing all meals with salads - if that's the impression you've got! Heck, no! Lunch and dinner always began with a bowl of salad and proceeded with whatever I was asked to eat (almost everything on a Mangalorean's wish list was included). Simple and easy. However, I cried and made a fuss during every appointment. I begged for anything but a salad and so the poor thing replaced salads with soups. I was happy for a while because I love having piping hot soups. I was happy until I started to run out of ideas to make soups :-( Anyway, one day she browsed through my blog only to find no salad recipes. I promised her that I would some day post something provided I found a recipe that was compelling enough to be tried at home. I did and I thank Nellie, hubby's cousin who generously gave me her recipe.


Bell peppers are popularly known as capsicums (shimla mirch in Hindi) in India. Till about a couple of decades ago I was familiar with only the green capsicum which was either eaten in the form of deep fried pakoras, or stuffed with a filling or in the preparation of Indo-Chinese dishes. Today the other two vibrant colours - the red & yellow capsicum have found their way into a dozen new dishes like dips, salads, soups & pizzas. Bell peppers are so called because of their bell shape and besides the red, green & yellow colours they come in many different colours including orange, purple, brown & even black! They vary in taste from spicy to sweet, to tangy. It is said that the red bell peppers offer the most health benefits compared to the green ones. Bell peppers are said to be a dieter's favourite vegetable as they are low cal, low fat, high fibre & a fat burning food. They are packed with vitamins A and C and contain significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6 which help fight against heart disease.

Grapes on the other hand have the ability to treat indigestion, constipation, fatigue, kidney disorders and help in the prevention of cataract, breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Grapes are one of the richest sources of vitamins A, C, B6 and folate in addition to essential minerals. They contain flavonoids that are very powerful antioxidants which in simple terms prevent free radicals that speed up aging process. 

One reason why I chose to post this recipe sooner than the pile of recipes in draft is because there are two occasions that fall in the month of March. 'Holi' the festival of colours that is celebrated all over India coincides with the International Women's Day this year on March 8th. I couldn't think of a better dish that could do justice to these occasions. This month I celebrate womanhood with something so colourful, simple, flavourful and healthy. 


Bell Pepper & Grape Salad
Preparation time: 15min | Serves 3-4

You Need:
  • 3 bell peppers (capsicums) - red, yellow & green - deseeded 
  • 1 medium sized cucumber
  • a handful of green grapes
  • a handful of black grapes
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • a sprinkling of lime juice (about 2 tsp)
  • a sprinkling of chaat masala powder (about 1/2 tsp)
  • 2-3 tsp of virgin olive oil (optional)
Method:
1. Dice the bell peppers, chop the cucumber and cut the grapes vertically into 8 pieces or as desired
2. Mix all the ingredients in a wide bowl and add the dressing - salt, pepper, olive oil, lime juice & chaat masala just before serving.