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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

We have already reached the last day of the first month of this year. Time has just flown by and I have been away from the blogging scene for over two weeks now. Besides being busy, laziness crept up and a few other issues required urgent attention, thereby making it impossible to blog. Now I am back to doing what I simply love doing - blogging a post from my drafts! Lol!


Well, yes, this post was created during Christmas 2012 and never got posted in time. It would be such a shame to leave it in my drafts for longer than a month - which is exactly what happened, but then since its something you don't require an occasion for, I decided to post it. I found this simple recipe on Chef in You when I was busy hunting for recipes to put my large sack of unsalted pistachios to good use. Salted ones never make it into any dish as they get eaten up by the husband pretty easily and quickly. It's the unsalted ones that have no takers. I had a good amount remaining in my pantry even after I tried out the Pistachio Fudge/Pista Burfi and I think this recipe was among the simplest that could help make a very delicious lite bite in a jiffy - perfect for the festive season, perfect for gifting.


We have a Christmas tradition at home that includes gifting handmade goodies to very close friends here in Mumbai. However, this time I was unable to make anything fancy because of my new role of being a mother of two. Tiny baby kept me really busy and this recipe came to my rescue as it hardly took any time to put together. It was so simple to make it that I made it twice in a span of a few hours.


Since I am among those who love nuts in their chocolate, especially the dark cocoa variety, I thoroughly enjoyed making it and eating it as well. However since the lil fellow hates nuts in his chocolate and the husband hates chocolates in general and the tiny baby is yet to taste chocolate I gladly ate everyone's share.

Now that V Day is just around the corner, it is definitely one of the goodies you can make for that special someone! When refrigerated it lasts for several days (if you can resist eating them!) - so you can make it in advance and serve whenever you please. The longer you refrigerate them, the longer they take to melt at room temperature - just in case you are worried about making handmade chocolate that usually melts in no time. So there, usher in a fun filled, romantic month of February with these babies!


About this dish
The good thing about this fudge is that it can taste exactly the way you want it to - just use your favourite brand of bitter sweet/dark chocolate and you have the satisfaction of having created a yummy chocolate fudge in the comfort of your home. Personally I prefer to use bitter chocolate that has at least 70% of cocoa. This is because you need to add condensed milk that will balance out the extra bitterness and lend the fudge just the right amount of sweetness. You may add an assortment of nuts if you wish, however, pistachios taste just as great.

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge
You Need:
  • 175gms dark chocolate roughly chopped (or use bittersweet chocolate chips)
  • 200gms sweetened condensed milk (I used Milkmaid)
  • 15 gms unsalted butter
  • 75 grams unsalted shelled pistachios roughly chopped
  • pinch of salt

Method:
1. Grease and line a 7 inch square cake tin with parchment paper and keep aside.  
2. In a heavy bottomed pan place the chopped chocolate, condensed milk, butter and a pinch of salt and stir it over a slow flame until well mixed. Add the chopped nuts and combine.
3. Pour mixture into the prepared cake tin and use a spatula or the back of a greased spoon to quickly smoothen the surface of the chocolate. Allow the fudge to cool a bit. Run a greased knife across to make squares. 
4. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before you cut the fudge and serve. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chicken Pepper Masala

I am sure that moms of kids under age five will agree that even a trip to the grocery - all alone - is like a vacation. I had the privilege yesterday when I ran some errands for myself all alone. My older one was at school and the little one blissfully unaware that her mom was gallivanting. The journey to and fro helped me get into an introspective mood. I was getting a few important things done for myself - things which I would normally fret over, would want to perfect - not anymore I realised. I was happy if things just got done in the simplest possible way. Without any hassle or stress. It was important to keep an open and free mind - these are things that one learns along life's way. 'Motherhood' is no crash course - there are little things that teach us a great deal - to deal with situations and individuals and get a grip on life. 


I have now realised that sometimes it is impossible to plan things much ahead of time - because things are bound to happen exactly the way they are supposed to - whether we like it or not, so it is better to take them in one's stride and keep a free mind.

Today's recipe is something which I just put together sometime ago when I was trying to look for chicken dishes that would go well with chapathis. Since it turned out well the first time around, it has been prepared several times over and has only improved in its taste. I play around with the ingredients and quantities everytime, so I can say that it is something that simply evolves. Sometimes the best tasting dishes are when you expect the least out of them.


About the dish:
It's really a no nonsense dish that you can put together in no time. I have named it the Chicken Pepper Masala because it has different types of 'peppers' - green chillies, red chilli powder and peppercorns and not just peppercorns which lend the basic character to dish simply named as 'Pepper Chicken'. This is a simple side dish to anything you wish to eat it with - rice, dosa, neer dosa or chapathis. You can make it more peppery if you desire - just play around with the ingredients. 

Chicken Pepper Masala
Prep time: 5-10mins | Cook time 15-20mins | Serves 3

You Need:
  • 500gms chicken on the bone
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 3 tsp ginger - garlic paste 
  • 2 medium sized onions finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized tomato finely chopped
  • 2 small green chillies (adjust to taste) slit
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves + extra for garnishing
  • 2 tbsp oil or ghee
  • salt to taste
Method:
1. Cut the chicken into small pieces, wash & allow to drain. Marinate it with salt, lime juice and 1 tsp ginger garlic paste and keep aside for 20-30 mins
2. Heat oil or ghee in a pan and fry the slit chillies, 2 tsp ginger garlic paste and chopped onions till golden brown. Add the marinated chicken and fry for a couple of minutes.
3. Toss in the pepper, cumin, red chilli & turmeric powders, mix well and add 1/2 cup of water and adjust salt to taste (remember that the marination has salt in it). Cover and cook on a slow flame till the chicken is cooked halfway. Add the chopped tomatoes and coriander leaves and continue to cook till the chicken is done.
4. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with chapathis, dosa or rice.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Yang Zhou Fried Rice

2012 saw me trying out a variety of international dishes - some of them tweaked to suit the Indian palate but most of them prepared in a way that retained the original charm. One such dish was the Yang Zhou Fried Rice - a recipe generously shared by one of my first reader-turned-friends- Sara Lee, a Chinese by birth, living in Singapore. During one of our mail exchanges I requested her for tips on making a good bowl of fried rice and she shared with me her favourite recipe, this fried rice that takes very little time to put together and tastes wonderful. Thank you so much Sara!


What sets it apart from other fried rice preparations is the barbecued pork that lends a lovely sweetish taste to the rice. However, since I did not have the required ingredient while preparing this rice, you may say that its a cheat's version of the authentic way of making it. I did use pork though - a small portion set aside from the Pork Chilli I had also prepared that day.


After preparing this fried rice at home, I realised how deliciously easy it was to put this one pot meal together. I did not add any ajinomoto as I had prepared this during my pregnancy and wanted to avoid it for my older son as well. It tasted just as delicious without it. The fresh ingredients and sauces made up for it. 

I prepared this in a jiffy again yesterday albeit with fewer ingredients as my son has been throwing up meal time fuss since the past few months (feels like decades!) He wolfed it down in no time and his mommy was mighty pleased that after ages sonny boy had actually eaten a complete meal - veggies, protein & carbs - all thrown together in one delicious, aromatic and very visually appetising meal. I will be making this again & again.


About this dish:
This dish also called as Yeung Chow fried rice is easy to prepare and tastes wonderful with all or even just a few of the main ingredients. Barbeque pork is supposed to lend the rice a sweetish flavour, however, you may skip it or replace it with fried bacon bits or just tender meat sliced, marinated in soya sauce and stir fried. Of course, the dish will deviate from the original dish, but then fried rice is all about putting a convenient meal together especially when you have leftover rice.

Serve it with any oriental/Indo-Chinese side dish of your choice - with our without gravy or just as it is, looking at the number of ingredients that go into it, it makes for a complete and satisfying one pot meal!

And for the record, i didn't feel the need to tweak, modify this recipe to suit my Indian tastebuds - it is not an Indo Chinese dish!

Yang Zhou Fried Rice
Prep time: 25-30mins | Cook time: 10-15mins | Serves 4

You Need:
  • 650-700gm (approx) leftover cooked rice *see notes
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 150gm barbeque pork/ fried chicken *see notes
  • 100gm prawns de veined 
  • 100 gm mixed veggies (carrots & peas go best) * see notes
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 3-4 spring onions cut into rings
  • 2 green chillies sliced
  • oil for frying
Seasoning 1
  • 1 dtsp light soya sauce
  • 2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (the oriental variety and not the Indian til oil used for pickles) * see notes
Seasoning 2
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chicken stock cube crumbled (I used Maggi)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce 
Method:
1. Marinate the cooked rice with seasoning 1 and keep aside for an hour.
2. In a large wide, heavy bottomed wok/kadhai heat 2 tbsp oil and stir fry the garlic lightly on a medium high flame. Add the pepper powder and the prawns and fry till tender. Add the pork/chicken and fry till done.
3. Part the cooked meats/prawn to a side and pour the egg mixture in the centre of the wok and scramble until the eggs are cooked/firm up. Add the marinated rice and mix well.
4. Add the mixed vegetables and seasoning 2 and mix on a full flame till the rice is steaming hot.
5. Garnish with spring onions, sliced chillies and serve

Notes:
1. Ideally stale rice/leftover rice is used in the preparation of fried rice, however, if you are making it fresh then you can cool it thoroughly and refrigerate it till it is required for the final preparation. I cooked 1 cup of long grained Lal Quila Basmati rice that yielded approx 750gm cooked rice. These measures are just approximate. The quantity (yield) of cooked rice may vary depending on the type (variety) of rice used.
2. You can use a combination of meats instead of pork/prawns or even sausage bits. Ensure that raw meats are fried well and are actually cooked before the rice is added.
3. In this recipe I have used frozen carrots and peas that are pre cooked. If you are using fresh carrots you can lightly fry them after frying the meats or blanch them separately in water.
4. After mixing seasoning 2 and the rice, check salt as the stock cube contains salt in it and so does the fish sauce.
5. You can find sesame oil in the Chinese/oriental foods section of your supermarket. If you can't find it, use regular sunflower/vegetable oil. Do not use the sesame/til oil that we use in India while making pickles!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Guacamole (Mexican Avocado Dip)

Although I never make New Year resolutions, I did make one to myself this year - I won't tell you what it is as yet. Maybe somewhere down the line, in about 6 months from now I may reveal it to you. Again, that depends on how successful I have been in executing that resolution and keeping the promise.

By the way, today's recipe belongs to one of the categories I simply love - dips! I think a good dip makes all the difference to what it is served along with it - a starter or a snack that can shine above all the other items or just fail to make that first impression. A dip is one of the most humble and least appreciated items on a party menu - well, this is just my opinion but I do feel that its time we gave dips a good look and give them the importance they are so deserving of.


Dips are totally age proof - people of all ages like them. They can be made really healthy too so that weight watchers and diet conscious people can have something delicious, light and healthy to accompany their snacks.


About the dish:
Pronounced as 'gwa-ka-mo-lee' - this dip dates back to the Aztec Indians of Southern Mexico. It was believed to be an aphrodisiac because of its popularity with the invading Spanish. Today its popularity has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to the internet and restaurants offering global cuisine in the comfort of your own city.

Guacamole tastes great by itself or if served along with tortilla (pronounced as tor-tee-ya) chips.

Guacamole 
Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: Nil | Serves 2-3

You Need
  • 2 ripe avocados (butter fruits)
  • 1/2 medium sized onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 ripe tomato chopped (remove seeds and pulp)
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped (or you may use finely chopped jalapeno peppers according to taste) 
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (or juice of 1/2 medium sized lime)
  • a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 small clove of garlic grated (optional)
  • a pinch of sugar (optional)
Method:
In a wide bowl scoop out the avocado pulp (run a knife across the breadth of the avocado and scoop out the seed first, then the pulp). Leave the pulp a little chunky. Add all the ingredients to the pulp and mix gently, check taste and adjust as required.
Serve with tortilla chips, as a spread for sandwiches or as a dip with raw veggies for kids

Note:
Add the chopped onions just before serving the dip. Do not refrigerate the dip with onions in it as it will change the taste greatly and also turn watery

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Theryachyo Ganti - Colocasia Leaf Knots in a Curry ~ When Hubby Cooks

The first weekend of this year is here and before we know it the whole month of January will have passed by us. I have been thinking about what kind of dishes I am going to cook this week and hopefully post on the blog too. I have a few draft posts that I must post first though. Picking from the list was a tough job as I have many recipes that didn't quite make it to the blog during the festive Christmas season that has just passed by us. 

However, now that I finally get to post each of them, I thought I should leave the sweets aside and present the savouries first. So here's a lovely Mangalorean vegetarian curry that has almost vanished from our Mangalorean dinner tables. Apart from the fact that just a handful of older generation of women still make it, a lot of folks from my generation haven't even heard about this dish (like I hadn't until I got married)


Popularly known just as 'ganti' this dish involves knotted leaves cooked in a spicy onion based gravy. Sounds interesting? I found it pretty fascinating when I heard about it too. Whoever thought of cooking the leaves in such a fashion needs to be given an award for his/her creativity. 

Above pic: 
1. Open the leaf  2. Start rolling it from one edge  3. Roll it into a cylinder  4. Tie a knot  5. Be careful not to tear the leaf  6.Knots left to wilt at room temperature

Colocasia is probably one of those plants that are completely edible - from tip (leaf)  to toe (root). While the leaves and stem are more popular in the cuisines down South, the root, popularly known as 'Arbi' in Hindi are cooked with much passion across North India. Mangalore has its own favourite way of cooking this plant. The leaves find themselves in a popular seasonal dish called the pathrade/pathrode where they steamed along with rice batter & spices. The stem is peeled and made use of in a curry - usually given as one of the confinement foods to a new mother to help nurse her body back to health.


About the dish
Today's dish is a simple curry made of spices in which knotted leaves are cooked. This dish has a special tang that makes this curry finger licking good. Do note that colocasia has varieties, the one with pink spots is not edible apparently. The edible varieties are the one used to prepare pathrade/pathrode that has darker leaves and dark stems and is know as Alloom (Allu) in Konkani. The other edible plant is the one with light green leaves and stems and is called as Thereim (Therey). They are interchangeable for the preparation of this dish. I do hope you are able to find the leaves and prepare this delectable traditional dish.

Theryachyo Ganti (Colocasia Leaf Knots in a Curry)
Prep time: 1 day+15mins | Cook time: 20mins | Serves 4

You Need:
  • 25 medium sized colocasia leaves
  • salt to taste
For the masala
  • 6 long dry red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 1 small ball of tamarind or to taste
For seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp mustard
  • 3-4 garlic cloves bruised
  • oil for frying
Method
1. Wash the leaves thoroughly and gently pat them dry. Keep in a cool place of your kitchen for a day so that they wilt. The next day, roll each leaf across its breath (starting from one edge) and tie into a knot carefully.
2. Using a little water, grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'For the masala' to a fine paste. Retain the masala water from the mixie.
3. Place the knots in a pan and add sufficient water to cover them. Bring the water to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the ground masala and its water. Adjust the consistency of the gravy and add salt to taste.
4. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with mustard and garlic cloves. Remove from fire and serve hot with rice.

Recipe adapted from 'Ranpi

Friday, January 4, 2013

Chicken & Ricotta Cheese Curry

Happy New Year everyone!! 

This is my first post of this year and I will keep it short and sweet. I hope you had a great year 2012 and have ushered in a brand new year with new hopes and dreams. My wish for you this year is that each one of you reading this receives a truckload of blessings, a potful of cheer, a bagful of laughter and tons of love.


I had a great year 2012 - a lot of milestones were achieved and the birth of my baby girl was the biggest blessing of all. I look forward to a meaningful, peaceful, healthy & successful year ahead and I hope to make this journey forward with the love and blessings of each of you, my dear friends - readers & bloggers alike.

Warm wishes for a delicious new year 2013!! 



About this dish: 
I found this recipe in one of the complimentary magazines issued by some airline. The recipe was created by Michelin Starred Chef Vikas Khanna and Roshan found it very interesting & bookmarked it for me to try.

This dish can be suitably called a 'fusion food' as it uses Ricotta cheese which is not commonly used in Indian cooking. The lovely blend of this cheese along with raisins and red chillies makes for a lovely thick gravy base that goes really well with hot chapathis and also with any kind of rice you like - steamed rice, jeera rice or ghee rice. 

Chicken & Ricotta Cheese Curry
Prep time: 15mins | Cook time 15-20mins | Serves 4

You Need:
  • 1 kg boneless chicken
  • 2 medium sized onions finely chopped
  • 2 inch piece ginger finely chopped
  • 6 cardamoms
  • 1 inch stick of cinnamon
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup curds/yogurt (well beaten)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (substitute with unsour low fat curds)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
  • 6 (or to taste) dried red chillies * see notes
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional
  • 2 - 3 tbsp ghee or oil
  • salt to taste
  • mint leaves to garnish
Method:
1. Wash and cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Drain excess water & keep aside.
2. Heat ghee or oil in a wide based saucepan and fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes till they are golden on both sides. Remove & keep aside.
3. In the same pan (add a little ghee/oil if required) toss in the red chillies, cinnamon, cardamoms, chopped onions, ginger, dried fenugreek leaves and fry on a slow flame till the onions have softened (almost golden). Add the  ricotta cheese, salt to taste and mix well to combine. Add the chicken, cream, yogurt and raisins and bring the curry to a boil on a medium high flame. Continue to cook for 10mins. Adjust salt & spice - add the red chilli powder if required.
4. Garnish with mint leaves and serve hot with basmati rice or chapathis

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

We have already reached the last day of the first month of this year. Time has just flown by and I have been away from the blogging scene for over two weeks now. Besides being busy, laziness crept up and a few other issues required urgent attention, thereby making it impossible to blog. Now I am back to doing what I simply love doing - blogging a post from my drafts! Lol!


Well, yes, this post was created during Christmas 2012 and never got posted in time. It would be such a shame to leave it in my drafts for longer than a month - which is exactly what happened, but then since its something you don't require an occasion for, I decided to post it. I found this simple recipe on Chef in You when I was busy hunting for recipes to put my large sack of unsalted pistachios to good use. Salted ones never make it into any dish as they get eaten up by the husband pretty easily and quickly. It's the unsalted ones that have no takers. I had a good amount remaining in my pantry even after I tried out the Pistachio Fudge/Pista Burfi and I think this recipe was among the simplest that could help make a very delicious lite bite in a jiffy - perfect for the festive season, perfect for gifting.


We have a Christmas tradition at home that includes gifting handmade goodies to very close friends here in Mumbai. However, this time I was unable to make anything fancy because of my new role of being a mother of two. Tiny baby kept me really busy and this recipe came to my rescue as it hardly took any time to put together. It was so simple to make it that I made it twice in a span of a few hours.


Since I am among those who love nuts in their chocolate, especially the dark cocoa variety, I thoroughly enjoyed making it and eating it as well. However since the lil fellow hates nuts in his chocolate and the husband hates chocolates in general and the tiny baby is yet to taste chocolate I gladly ate everyone's share.

Now that V Day is just around the corner, it is definitely one of the goodies you can make for that special someone! When refrigerated it lasts for several days (if you can resist eating them!) - so you can make it in advance and serve whenever you please. The longer you refrigerate them, the longer they take to melt at room temperature - just in case you are worried about making handmade chocolate that usually melts in no time. So there, usher in a fun filled, romantic month of February with these babies!


About this dish
The good thing about this fudge is that it can taste exactly the way you want it to - just use your favourite brand of bitter sweet/dark chocolate and you have the satisfaction of having created a yummy chocolate fudge in the comfort of your home. Personally I prefer to use bitter chocolate that has at least 70% of cocoa. This is because you need to add condensed milk that will balance out the extra bitterness and lend the fudge just the right amount of sweetness. You may add an assortment of nuts if you wish, however, pistachios taste just as great.

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge
You Need:
  • 175gms dark chocolate roughly chopped (or use bittersweet chocolate chips)
  • 200gms sweetened condensed milk (I used Milkmaid)
  • 15 gms unsalted butter
  • 75 grams unsalted shelled pistachios roughly chopped
  • pinch of salt

Method:
1. Grease and line a 7 inch square cake tin with parchment paper and keep aside.  
2. In a heavy bottomed pan place the chopped chocolate, condensed milk, butter and a pinch of salt and stir it over a slow flame until well mixed. Add the chopped nuts and combine.
3. Pour mixture into the prepared cake tin and use a spatula or the back of a greased spoon to quickly smoothen the surface of the chocolate. Allow the fudge to cool a bit. Run a greased knife across to make squares. 
4. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before you cut the fudge and serve. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chicken Pepper Masala

I am sure that moms of kids under age five will agree that even a trip to the grocery - all alone - is like a vacation. I had the privilege yesterday when I ran some errands for myself all alone. My older one was at school and the little one blissfully unaware that her mom was gallivanting. The journey to and fro helped me get into an introspective mood. I was getting a few important things done for myself - things which I would normally fret over, would want to perfect - not anymore I realised. I was happy if things just got done in the simplest possible way. Without any hassle or stress. It was important to keep an open and free mind - these are things that one learns along life's way. 'Motherhood' is no crash course - there are little things that teach us a great deal - to deal with situations and individuals and get a grip on life. 


I have now realised that sometimes it is impossible to plan things much ahead of time - because things are bound to happen exactly the way they are supposed to - whether we like it or not, so it is better to take them in one's stride and keep a free mind.

Today's recipe is something which I just put together sometime ago when I was trying to look for chicken dishes that would go well with chapathis. Since it turned out well the first time around, it has been prepared several times over and has only improved in its taste. I play around with the ingredients and quantities everytime, so I can say that it is something that simply evolves. Sometimes the best tasting dishes are when you expect the least out of them.


About the dish:
It's really a no nonsense dish that you can put together in no time. I have named it the Chicken Pepper Masala because it has different types of 'peppers' - green chillies, red chilli powder and peppercorns and not just peppercorns which lend the basic character to dish simply named as 'Pepper Chicken'. This is a simple side dish to anything you wish to eat it with - rice, dosa, neer dosa or chapathis. You can make it more peppery if you desire - just play around with the ingredients. 

Chicken Pepper Masala
Prep time: 5-10mins | Cook time 15-20mins | Serves 3

You Need:
  • 500gms chicken on the bone
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 3 tsp ginger - garlic paste 
  • 2 medium sized onions finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized tomato finely chopped
  • 2 small green chillies (adjust to taste) slit
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves + extra for garnishing
  • 2 tbsp oil or ghee
  • salt to taste
Method:
1. Cut the chicken into small pieces, wash & allow to drain. Marinate it with salt, lime juice and 1 tsp ginger garlic paste and keep aside for 20-30 mins
2. Heat oil or ghee in a pan and fry the slit chillies, 2 tsp ginger garlic paste and chopped onions till golden brown. Add the marinated chicken and fry for a couple of minutes.
3. Toss in the pepper, cumin, red chilli & turmeric powders, mix well and add 1/2 cup of water and adjust salt to taste (remember that the marination has salt in it). Cover and cook on a slow flame till the chicken is cooked halfway. Add the chopped tomatoes and coriander leaves and continue to cook till the chicken is done.
4. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with chapathis, dosa or rice.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Yang Zhou Fried Rice

2012 saw me trying out a variety of international dishes - some of them tweaked to suit the Indian palate but most of them prepared in a way that retained the original charm. One such dish was the Yang Zhou Fried Rice - a recipe generously shared by one of my first reader-turned-friends- Sara Lee, a Chinese by birth, living in Singapore. During one of our mail exchanges I requested her for tips on making a good bowl of fried rice and she shared with me her favourite recipe, this fried rice that takes very little time to put together and tastes wonderful. Thank you so much Sara!


What sets it apart from other fried rice preparations is the barbecued pork that lends a lovely sweetish taste to the rice. However, since I did not have the required ingredient while preparing this rice, you may say that its a cheat's version of the authentic way of making it. I did use pork though - a small portion set aside from the Pork Chilli I had also prepared that day.


After preparing this fried rice at home, I realised how deliciously easy it was to put this one pot meal together. I did not add any ajinomoto as I had prepared this during my pregnancy and wanted to avoid it for my older son as well. It tasted just as delicious without it. The fresh ingredients and sauces made up for it. 

I prepared this in a jiffy again yesterday albeit with fewer ingredients as my son has been throwing up meal time fuss since the past few months (feels like decades!) He wolfed it down in no time and his mommy was mighty pleased that after ages sonny boy had actually eaten a complete meal - veggies, protein & carbs - all thrown together in one delicious, aromatic and very visually appetising meal. I will be making this again & again.


About this dish:
This dish also called as Yeung Chow fried rice is easy to prepare and tastes wonderful with all or even just a few of the main ingredients. Barbeque pork is supposed to lend the rice a sweetish flavour, however, you may skip it or replace it with fried bacon bits or just tender meat sliced, marinated in soya sauce and stir fried. Of course, the dish will deviate from the original dish, but then fried rice is all about putting a convenient meal together especially when you have leftover rice.

Serve it with any oriental/Indo-Chinese side dish of your choice - with our without gravy or just as it is, looking at the number of ingredients that go into it, it makes for a complete and satisfying one pot meal!

And for the record, i didn't feel the need to tweak, modify this recipe to suit my Indian tastebuds - it is not an Indo Chinese dish!

Yang Zhou Fried Rice
Prep time: 25-30mins | Cook time: 10-15mins | Serves 4

You Need:
  • 650-700gm (approx) leftover cooked rice *see notes
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 150gm barbeque pork/ fried chicken *see notes
  • 100gm prawns de veined 
  • 100 gm mixed veggies (carrots & peas go best) * see notes
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 3-4 spring onions cut into rings
  • 2 green chillies sliced
  • oil for frying
Seasoning 1
  • 1 dtsp light soya sauce
  • 2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (the oriental variety and not the Indian til oil used for pickles) * see notes
Seasoning 2
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chicken stock cube crumbled (I used Maggi)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce 
Method:
1. Marinate the cooked rice with seasoning 1 and keep aside for an hour.
2. In a large wide, heavy bottomed wok/kadhai heat 2 tbsp oil and stir fry the garlic lightly on a medium high flame. Add the pepper powder and the prawns and fry till tender. Add the pork/chicken and fry till done.
3. Part the cooked meats/prawn to a side and pour the egg mixture in the centre of the wok and scramble until the eggs are cooked/firm up. Add the marinated rice and mix well.
4. Add the mixed vegetables and seasoning 2 and mix on a full flame till the rice is steaming hot.
5. Garnish with spring onions, sliced chillies and serve

Notes:
1. Ideally stale rice/leftover rice is used in the preparation of fried rice, however, if you are making it fresh then you can cool it thoroughly and refrigerate it till it is required for the final preparation. I cooked 1 cup of long grained Lal Quila Basmati rice that yielded approx 750gm cooked rice. These measures are just approximate. The quantity (yield) of cooked rice may vary depending on the type (variety) of rice used.
2. You can use a combination of meats instead of pork/prawns or even sausage bits. Ensure that raw meats are fried well and are actually cooked before the rice is added.
3. In this recipe I have used frozen carrots and peas that are pre cooked. If you are using fresh carrots you can lightly fry them after frying the meats or blanch them separately in water.
4. After mixing seasoning 2 and the rice, check salt as the stock cube contains salt in it and so does the fish sauce.
5. You can find sesame oil in the Chinese/oriental foods section of your supermarket. If you can't find it, use regular sunflower/vegetable oil. Do not use the sesame/til oil that we use in India while making pickles!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Guacamole (Mexican Avocado Dip)

Although I never make New Year resolutions, I did make one to myself this year - I won't tell you what it is as yet. Maybe somewhere down the line, in about 6 months from now I may reveal it to you. Again, that depends on how successful I have been in executing that resolution and keeping the promise.

By the way, today's recipe belongs to one of the categories I simply love - dips! I think a good dip makes all the difference to what it is served along with it - a starter or a snack that can shine above all the other items or just fail to make that first impression. A dip is one of the most humble and least appreciated items on a party menu - well, this is just my opinion but I do feel that its time we gave dips a good look and give them the importance they are so deserving of.


Dips are totally age proof - people of all ages like them. They can be made really healthy too so that weight watchers and diet conscious people can have something delicious, light and healthy to accompany their snacks.


About the dish:
Pronounced as 'gwa-ka-mo-lee' - this dip dates back to the Aztec Indians of Southern Mexico. It was believed to be an aphrodisiac because of its popularity with the invading Spanish. Today its popularity has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to the internet and restaurants offering global cuisine in the comfort of your own city.

Guacamole tastes great by itself or if served along with tortilla (pronounced as tor-tee-ya) chips.

Guacamole 
Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: Nil | Serves 2-3

You Need
  • 2 ripe avocados (butter fruits)
  • 1/2 medium sized onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 ripe tomato chopped (remove seeds and pulp)
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped (or you may use finely chopped jalapeno peppers according to taste) 
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (or juice of 1/2 medium sized lime)
  • a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 small clove of garlic grated (optional)
  • a pinch of sugar (optional)
Method:
In a wide bowl scoop out the avocado pulp (run a knife across the breadth of the avocado and scoop out the seed first, then the pulp). Leave the pulp a little chunky. Add all the ingredients to the pulp and mix gently, check taste and adjust as required.
Serve with tortilla chips, as a spread for sandwiches or as a dip with raw veggies for kids

Note:
Add the chopped onions just before serving the dip. Do not refrigerate the dip with onions in it as it will change the taste greatly and also turn watery

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Theryachyo Ganti - Colocasia Leaf Knots in a Curry ~ When Hubby Cooks

The first weekend of this year is here and before we know it the whole month of January will have passed by us. I have been thinking about what kind of dishes I am going to cook this week and hopefully post on the blog too. I have a few draft posts that I must post first though. Picking from the list was a tough job as I have many recipes that didn't quite make it to the blog during the festive Christmas season that has just passed by us. 

However, now that I finally get to post each of them, I thought I should leave the sweets aside and present the savouries first. So here's a lovely Mangalorean vegetarian curry that has almost vanished from our Mangalorean dinner tables. Apart from the fact that just a handful of older generation of women still make it, a lot of folks from my generation haven't even heard about this dish (like I hadn't until I got married)


Popularly known just as 'ganti' this dish involves knotted leaves cooked in a spicy onion based gravy. Sounds interesting? I found it pretty fascinating when I heard about it too. Whoever thought of cooking the leaves in such a fashion needs to be given an award for his/her creativity. 

Above pic: 
1. Open the leaf  2. Start rolling it from one edge  3. Roll it into a cylinder  4. Tie a knot  5. Be careful not to tear the leaf  6.Knots left to wilt at room temperature

Colocasia is probably one of those plants that are completely edible - from tip (leaf)  to toe (root). While the leaves and stem are more popular in the cuisines down South, the root, popularly known as 'Arbi' in Hindi are cooked with much passion across North India. Mangalore has its own favourite way of cooking this plant. The leaves find themselves in a popular seasonal dish called the pathrade/pathrode where they steamed along with rice batter & spices. The stem is peeled and made use of in a curry - usually given as one of the confinement foods to a new mother to help nurse her body back to health.


About the dish
Today's dish is a simple curry made of spices in which knotted leaves are cooked. This dish has a special tang that makes this curry finger licking good. Do note that colocasia has varieties, the one with pink spots is not edible apparently. The edible varieties are the one used to prepare pathrade/pathrode that has darker leaves and dark stems and is know as Alloom (Allu) in Konkani. The other edible plant is the one with light green leaves and stems and is called as Thereim (Therey). They are interchangeable for the preparation of this dish. I do hope you are able to find the leaves and prepare this delectable traditional dish.

Theryachyo Ganti (Colocasia Leaf Knots in a Curry)
Prep time: 1 day+15mins | Cook time: 20mins | Serves 4

You Need:
  • 25 medium sized colocasia leaves
  • salt to taste
For the masala
  • 6 long dry red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 1 small ball of tamarind or to taste
For seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp mustard
  • 3-4 garlic cloves bruised
  • oil for frying
Method
1. Wash the leaves thoroughly and gently pat them dry. Keep in a cool place of your kitchen for a day so that they wilt. The next day, roll each leaf across its breath (starting from one edge) and tie into a knot carefully.
2. Using a little water, grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'For the masala' to a fine paste. Retain the masala water from the mixie.
3. Place the knots in a pan and add sufficient water to cover them. Bring the water to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the ground masala and its water. Adjust the consistency of the gravy and add salt to taste.
4. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with mustard and garlic cloves. Remove from fire and serve hot with rice.

Recipe adapted from 'Ranpi

Friday, January 4, 2013

Chicken & Ricotta Cheese Curry

Happy New Year everyone!! 

This is my first post of this year and I will keep it short and sweet. I hope you had a great year 2012 and have ushered in a brand new year with new hopes and dreams. My wish for you this year is that each one of you reading this receives a truckload of blessings, a potful of cheer, a bagful of laughter and tons of love.


I had a great year 2012 - a lot of milestones were achieved and the birth of my baby girl was the biggest blessing of all. I look forward to a meaningful, peaceful, healthy & successful year ahead and I hope to make this journey forward with the love and blessings of each of you, my dear friends - readers & bloggers alike.

Warm wishes for a delicious new year 2013!! 



About this dish: 
I found this recipe in one of the complimentary magazines issued by some airline. The recipe was created by Michelin Starred Chef Vikas Khanna and Roshan found it very interesting & bookmarked it for me to try.

This dish can be suitably called a 'fusion food' as it uses Ricotta cheese which is not commonly used in Indian cooking. The lovely blend of this cheese along with raisins and red chillies makes for a lovely thick gravy base that goes really well with hot chapathis and also with any kind of rice you like - steamed rice, jeera rice or ghee rice. 

Chicken & Ricotta Cheese Curry
Prep time: 15mins | Cook time 15-20mins | Serves 4

You Need:
  • 1 kg boneless chicken
  • 2 medium sized onions finely chopped
  • 2 inch piece ginger finely chopped
  • 6 cardamoms
  • 1 inch stick of cinnamon
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup curds/yogurt (well beaten)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (substitute with unsour low fat curds)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
  • 6 (or to taste) dried red chillies * see notes
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional
  • 2 - 3 tbsp ghee or oil
  • salt to taste
  • mint leaves to garnish
Method:
1. Wash and cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Drain excess water & keep aside.
2. Heat ghee or oil in a wide based saucepan and fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes till they are golden on both sides. Remove & keep aside.
3. In the same pan (add a little ghee/oil if required) toss in the red chillies, cinnamon, cardamoms, chopped onions, ginger, dried fenugreek leaves and fry on a slow flame till the onions have softened (almost golden). Add the  ricotta cheese, salt to taste and mix well to combine. Add the chicken, cream, yogurt and raisins and bring the curry to a boil on a medium high flame. Continue to cook for 10mins. Adjust salt & spice - add the red chilli powder if required.
4. Garnish with mint leaves and serve hot with basmati rice or chapathis