Tuesday, November 27, 2012

AlvaMande Hummana...Taro-root in spicy gravy.

This is a delicacy served in a konkani kitchen, with white rice and other vegetable sides.
The gravy is a spicy coconut paste with chillies.

When I thought of blogging this down, one of the first things I did was to try and put down what AlvaMande in english would be. I knew it was a tuber/corm so was it yam?
Google to the rescue. Wikipedia yielded this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taro
Hope this helps introduce this yummy root to you. Here are some images to serve you better.

This here is an easy recipe to follow.
If we were to play a game of favorites, G would win this round hands down. He absolutely loves this aromatic curry and will have an extra bowl just as is, after his meal.

So if you want to try this in your kitchen,
Here's what went into making mine:
3 cups of Taro roots - peeled and cut into manageable pieces.
3/4 cup fresh grated coconut.
5 long dry red chillies-roasted
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
1 tbp coconut oil
1 tspn asafoetida powder (hing)
Salt to taste

How I made it:
In a medium pot, heat the oil, add the asafoetida and pieces of taro root. Add enough water to cover the vegetable and close lid. Simmer over low heat.
Wet grind together the coconut, chillies and tamarind to form a smooth-fine  paste.
Add to pot with salt to taste. Adjust water to bring to required consistency. Cook till done.

Serve hot with fresh white rice and sides.
I have to say, this here, turned out to be another delicious serving of our favorite curry.
Hope you make this for your table.

You can try this with potatoes, any type of yam or other tubers you can think of.
Adjust the chillies as per taste. Also you might choose to boil the roots as is (like you would potatoes) and then cool, peel and cut.
The coconut oil gives this curry its signature aromatic taste.But feel free to substitute with any oil of choice.
Traditionally, the curry is prepared and the coconut oil is added at the end just before switching off and removing from heat. I personally do it the way I described before, cause I have noticed the oil tends to float on top, if I do it the regular way. Especially in cold weather.

So here it is, another recipe from my kitchen to yours.Hope you try this at a meal with loved ones.
Until next time, Bon Appetite.

Leave me a comment, send me a photo of the food you cooked. Tell me a recipe! jotismail@gmail.com
Click here to see the list of spices and powders used in my kitchen!
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You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Idlis- Steamed rice cakes.

Idlis are as quintessential to South Indian breakfasts as eggs or toast to continental.
So much so, that I never thought of blogging the recipe.
But on one foggy cold fall morning as we sat down for breafast , my simple idli platter looked so 'soul-foody' that I decided to click a photo of it.
And then, so,  this blog.

To each his own idli or so I say.Cause there is no one right way to do it. Heres what I have chalked down in my memory blog.
What goes into it:
2 cups raw white rice
1 cup urad- whole
2 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds.
Salt to taste.
How it comes to our table:
Wash and soak the rice and urad separately for atleast 4-5 hours.I soak a minimum of 6hours.
I have learnt to add 2 tsp of methi seeds to the bowl of Urad as it soaks. This Iam told has a few health benefits but I do it cause we have started to like the signature smell/taste these seeds impart to the batter. You can skip this if you please.
Wet grind the rice and urad (with methi seeds) separately to form a smooth paste. Mix in a big bowl. Add salt to taste.
Cover and let ferment overnight.Although there is no magic proportion to the amount of water added, I have learnt that it is better to leave the batter a little thicker when fermenting.
The next morning the batter should ideally be a little fluffy. Add a little water if needed to form a pancake like batter (only slightly thicker).
Grease the Idli trays and pour batter. Steam for 15mins. Switch off. Remove from tray and serve hot with sambaar and chutney.
A healthy, filling start to a great day!
PS: I had heard a lot of people vouch that a few tsps  of gingelly oil in the batter just before steaming makes the idlis fluffier. I did try this a couple times in winter when the batter was real flat. But didnt seem to help any! But might be a good tip to have up your sleeve!
Until another one, Bon Appetit.
Leave me a comment, send me a photo of the food you cooked. Tell me a recipe! jotismail@gmail.com
Click here to see the list of spices and powders used in my kitchen!
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You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Goli Bajo- Mangalore style fritters.

This weekend we were meeting friends to watch the game. Appetizers were the order of the day. Recipe books, google ...Nothing caught the fancy!Then G suggested Goli bajo!Mangalore style fritters. Delicious and fairly easy to make.My dilemma? I hadn't tried them in a long time! But after some deliberation (more like... should I? shouldn't I?) I rolled up my sleeves. Goli bajo it was gonna be.

Here's what went into it:
1 cup of all purpose flour (maida)
2 tbp chick-pea flour (besan)
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 cup water
5 green chillies- chopped fine
1 tbp fresh ginger- minced
2 sprig curry leaves- shredded
1 tbp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of asafoetida (optional)
salt to taste
oil for deep frying

Here's how it was made:
In a big bowl, mix together the yogurt, 1/2 of the water,salt,sugar,soda powder,ginger, curry leaves, asafoetida and chillies.
To this add the besan and flour slowly, so as to form a smooth batter without lumps.
Pour the rest of the water into the mix, adjusting to form a thick batter (slightly thicker than that for pancakes).
Heat the oil in a wok. Drop the batter in small lumps (with spoon or fingers) into the oil. Fry till golden brown.
Serve hot with fresh coconut chutney.

For me the biggest challenge in this recipe has always been to get the consistency of the batter right. It should flow easily enough off of a spoon but not drop too easy!(Now you may understand better the afore mentioned deliberation and doubts!?)

All in all it turned out just yummy. G, E n R all got their hands on a few bajos, before I had to pack it off for the pot luck.We had a great time with awesome friends and good food.
All is well. And that ends well.
Until another culinary muse, Bon Appetite.
Leave me a comment, send me a photo of the food you cooked. Tell me a recipe! jotismail@gmail.com
Click here to see the list of spices and powders used in my kitchen!
Sous Chef is now on Facebook!

You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tilapia with herbs- grilled.

The gamecocks were playing LSU last evening. G wanted to eat some nice, spicy fish!
5 big tilapia fillets were bought.
We were thinking 'deep Fry' to begin with. But noticing that more than one of us was sniffling, we decided grilling was the way to go!

What went into bringing it to the table:
5 fresh tilapia fillet- cleaned and dried.
2 tbp olive oil
2 tbp lime juice
1 tsp cayenne pepper (chilli powder)
1 tsp black pepper - crushed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cabin seasoning
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp chives
1/2 tsp mint
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp parsley and salt to taste

Here's how it came to the table:
In a big bowl, mix all the ingredients to coat the fillets. Refrigerate to marinate for 2-3 hours.
Preheat oven to 500f. Grill the marinated fillets for 15 mins, turning once inbetween. They will come out crispy-topped and yummy.

Alternatively, you can bread and shallow fry the fillets.
Please adjust spices to suit your tastes.

We absolutely relished the fish. The herbs made it feel very gourmet and fresh.
In my kitchen, food is but only, one of the many reasons we set the table. We eat together to enjoy the company, to talk of our day and ofcourse also to enjoy what is on our plate.
Hoping that good food once more made palatable, the slightly unpleasant taste of a gamecocks defeat. It was a well fought game, and so heres hoping for more awesome gamedays!

Until another culinary muse, Bon Appetite.

Leave me a comment, send me a photo of the food you cooked. Tell me a recipe! jotismail@gmail.com
Click here to see the list of spices and powders used in my kitchen!
Sous Chef is now on Facebook!

You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.
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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Beet root soup

Beet root soup is made in my kitchen, whenever and often. Sometimes I add extra ground pepper to cure a stuffy nose! 'G' skips the butter. 'R' likes it clear without the vegetables. 'E' and I, love it every which way!
Heres what goes into making this family favorite:
1 large beetroot-peeled and diced small
1 large tomato - diced
1 medium onion - peeled and chopped fine
Butter for saute
Butter for garnish
2 tablespoon cilantro- chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
Heres how it came to the table:
In a pan, heat the butter and saute the onion. Add the beet and tomatoes. Add water to cover the vegetables. Add salt and pepper. Cook till well done. Lightly mash to mix .
Serve hot in bowl, garnished with a small dollop of butter and fresh cilantro!
Bon appetite indeed.
Will you try this on a cool fall evening? Will this find its way onto your table on a cold winter night?
Leave me a comment, send me a photo of the food you cooked. Tell me a recipe! jotismail@gmail.com
Click here to see the list of spices and powders used in my kitchen!
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You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.
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Friday, August 31, 2012

Appo for breakfast!....lentil pancake puffs.

Some time back we saw a commercial for a pancake puff pan! I now knew the 'continental' name for our favorite breakfast food! 'Appo'! 'Pancake puff' ! Hallelujah!

'Urad ( black gram) Appo' is a country cousin to the better know dessert version 'Goda (sweet) Appo'!

This lentil version is a favorite  in our home.
Actually I can very easily put this down as 'the' most favorite breakfast option. E,R n G relish this with fresh coconut chutney!

Here's what went into making this batch:
2cups white rice
1 cup urad (black gram)
1/2 tsp methi ( fenugreek) seeds- optional
1 sprig curry leaves
3 green chillies
1/2 tsp asafoetida ( hing)
Salt to taste
Oil/pam for greasing.

How to make it:
Wash the rice and urad separately and let soak in separate bowls for atleast 4hrs. Add the fenugreek seeds into the bowl of urad.
Wet grind the soaked rice into a fine batter. Grind the urad and fenugreek with the chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida. Mix this with the rice batter to form a pancake batter like consistency. Add salt to taste.
Let this mix ferment overnight.
The next morning, heat the 'appe kaili' ( pancake puff pan) , grease and add the batter into the cups of the pan, one at a time, till almost full. Cover and cook for about 5 mins, until the bottom of the puffs are golden brown and the top puffs up. Now with a knife/ fork gently turn over each puff and cook uncovered till both sides are golden and crisp.
Serve hot with coconut chutney!

Will you try this in your kitchen?
Enjoy your food, the process and who you eat it with!

Until another culinary treat,
Bon appetite!

Leave me a comment, send me a photo of the food you cooked. Tell me a recipe! jotismail@gmail.com
Click here to see the list of spices and powders used in my kitchen!
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You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

White chicken chili

The slow cooker needed a sprucing! We were ready for a crockpot dinner.
Goggling revealed this recipe.

Here's what went into it:
For chili:
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast- cut into 2″ chunks
2 – 15 oz cans of white beans
1 – 15 oz can of white corn
1 cup onion- chopped (sweet/Vidalia)
5 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 package taco seasoning
1 cup of chopped green chilies
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 – 14 oz can of chicken broth
For Toppings:
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbls lime juice
Finely chopped cilantro
Fresh shredded cheese
Corn tortilla chips

Here's how it came to our table:
Place cut up chicken in the bottom of the Crock Pot. Add beans, corn and onion. Mix the next five ingredients- garlic, seasoning, chilies, soup and broth and pour over the top. Cover and cook on low in the Crock Pot for 8 hrs. Turn on high for 1 hr.
Before serving use a potato masher to bring to thick consistency.
Add shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, a splash of lime juice and cilantro. Serve with chips.

We all loved it! But went down in 'G' s books as an all time favorite!
Will you try this in your kitchen?

Leave me a comment, send me a photo of the food you cooked. Tell me a recipe! jotismail@gmail.com
Click here to see the list of spices and powders used in my kitchen!

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You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Beet root Cutlet

A snack. A starter. A delicacy. One of the many things I have copied from my mom's kitchen.

This past weekend we made it again!

Here's what went into it:
1 large beet root- peeled and grated.
4 medium potatoes
4 dry red chillies- chopped fine
2 green chillies- chopped fine
4 cloves garlic- chopped fine
2 tbsp Chana dal
2 tbsp urad dal
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste
1 cup bread crumbs and Pam/oil for roasting.

How it was made:
Boil, peal and mash the potatoes.
In a large pan, heat the oil. Add the Chana and urad dal. Roast. Add the chillies and garlic. Roast. Add the grated beet root. Cook for a couple mins. Add the mashed potatoes and salt to taste. Mix well.
Heat griddle.
Make small balls from the mix, flatten slightly. Roll in bread crumbs and roast on griddle, till both sides are golden brown.
Serve hot with choice of dip/sauce.

Ps: with the beetroot you can add, green peas, fine chopped beans and vegetables.
Alternatively you can deep fry the patties/ cutlets.

Tell me how you do yours!

Until next time...
Bon appetite.

Leave me a comment, send me a photo of the food you cooked. Tell me a recipe! jotismail@gmail.com

Friday, August 24, 2012

Charmburi Upkari...spicy puffed rice snack

This to Mangalore is as hotdogs are to any place in the US of A.
Available at every fair and fest stall, outside every park and temple.
A true lover of this snack I would identify the exact location of the stall in a thronged gathering , just by following my nose! ;)

My mom, made this often enough. So much so that when I now make this in my own kitchen, nostalgia reigns as supreme as basic food fanaticism !

So it was a couple days back, when we were having yet another thunderstorm, and I was readying myself to cozy up with a hot cup of jasmine tea, that this nostalgia- food pang hit!


Here's what went into making this yummy bowl:

3 cups fresh, crisp puffed rice( Charmburi/mamra)
2 tbsp fresh coconut- grated
2 tbsp onion- chopped fine
2 tbsp carrots- chopped fine
1 tbsp green mango- chopped fine
1 tbsp curry powder/ cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil 
2 tbsp fresh cilantro - chopped fine

How it was made:

In a big mixing bowl, mix the coconut, carrots, onions, mango, curry powder and salt. Add the Charmburi , mix and garnish with oil and cilantro .

Serve immediate. As the puffed rice will otherwise get soggy and lose taste.
If making ahead of time, prepare the masala mix and add Charmburi, oil and cilantro just before serving.

For the curry powder you can use a basic red cayenne powder or any spice mix you have. I usually go with the sambhar powder mix I stock up on.
The coconut oil imparts that signature taste to this snack.

You can vary the garnishes, spices and ingredients as much or as little!

Will you try this in your kitchen?
Tell me how. Email me a picture. Jotismail@gmail.com

Until next time,
Enjoy your food, the process and whom you eat it with.
Bon appetite.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cup O' Brownie...easy, peasy, microwave dessert

Being born without a predominant sweet tooth, I don't take notice of desserts as easy. Unless it is super easy or super tasty.
In this case it was both!
Another criteria for selection was availability of ingredients in the pantry! Check! Check! Check!

Ready to eat in a minute , microwaveable dessert!
Made and served in a mug! = less dishes to do!
You gotcha me!

Here's what went into making it:

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp water
1 scoop ice-cream - optional

How it came to the table:

In the mug you are serving it in, mix together all the dry ingredients. Sugar, flour, cocoa and salt. Add the oil and water and mix well to form consistent batter.
Microwave on high for exactly 1 min 40 secs!

There! Unbelievable but so true!
Delicious , warm brownie ready to be devoured!
Serve warm with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice-cream

Tell me how yours turns out!
Bon appetite!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Upkari / Talasane - Stir Fry...Konkani Style.

'Upkari' , 'Talasane' - essentially a stir fry , traditionally made with vegetables.
It is a side at meals with rice and gravy based curries.
There can be innumerable types and varieties as you can vary the vegetables as you like and deem possible!
The dressings vary a little but otherwise truly it is a simple recipe to follow.
While 'Upkari' usually has a dressings of mustard seeds and curry leaves, ' Talasane' adds a twist by using garlic for the dressing!

I will try and blog here as and when I make these traditional sides.

Mashingha sangha- Gulla talasane...drumsticks and brinjal stir fry:

What you need for it:

2 cups of 2" size pieces of drumsticks
2 cups of bite sized pieces of brinjal/eggplant
1 tbsp oil
4 cloves garlic- peeled and crushed
3 dry red chillies- chopped.

How to make it:
Heat the oil, add the garlic and sauté till fragrant. Add the chopped chillies and sauté some more.
Add the drumsticks, brinjal and salt to taste. Pour water to cover the vegetables. Cover and Cook till done.
Serve hot with traditional meals of rice and gravy.

Alternatively you can skip the garlic for a dressing of mustard seeds and curry leaves with the chillies!

Any which way you do yours, here's hoping it turns into as favorite a dish at your table as it is at ours!

Kukka (chinese potato) Upkari:

Fresh Kooka /chinese potatoes were cooked in my mothers kitchen when they were available.
It certainly was not something she stocked up as an essential like the big potatoes, onions or garlic.
So needless to add once I moved out of India, it was not one of the first things I searched for. My subconscious may not have registered it as an essential!

But what a pleasant surprise to see a pack of it in the frozen section of my favorite Indian Grocery!!
Also found out what its 'english name ' was! Makes easy reference to non-konkani friends and now in this blog!
So since then it is one of the few things I stock up in my freezer.
G is not a big fan. He says a potato is a potato is a potato!
But having grown up relishing my amma's 'kukka upkari' , I make this everytime I crave it! Which is more often than not!

What goes into it:
1 pack of frozen chinese potatoes -defreezed, washed, and cut into bite size
1 tbspn oil
1 tspn mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
3 large red dry chillies -slit
1/2 tspn asafoetida (Hing) powder
1 tbspn fresh grated coconut -for garnish
Salt to taste.

How to make it:
In a large pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter de-stem and add the curry leaves with the asafoetida and chillies.
Saute and add the potatoes. Add salt and water (enough to cover the vegetable)  and cook covered until done.
Switch off, and add the coconut garnish on top.
Serve hot at traditional meals with rice and gravy.

Until next time,
Bon Appetite.

Leave me a comment, send me a photo of the food you cooked. Tell me a recipe! jotismail@gmail.com

Click here to see my list of spices and powders used in my kitchen!
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You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Spicy chicken - fried

You might in this particular recipe find shades of your favorite ' grilled' recipe. Some strains of your favorite 'tandoori' . I myself have called it 'chicken 65' (don't ask why!) , or ' chicken chili'.
Like on recent Fridays, we were looking for a nice new / old recipe to tickle our taste buds. A few pages from the recipe books were mixed together and was created this 'spicy fried chicken'.

What went into it:
For the chicken marination:
2 large breast pieces of chicken- washed, cleaned and cut into bite pieces
1 egg
2 tbspns of cornflour
2 tbspns of maida ( all purpose flour)
2 tbspns ginger- garlic paste
1 tbspn cayenne pepper (chili powder)
1 tbspn chicken curry powder
1 tspn red food colour - optional
Salt to taste

For deep frying:
4tbspn rice flour

For the seasoning:
2 tbspn oil
1 tspn black mustard seeds
1 tspn cumin seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tbspn ground pepper
1 tbspn gharam masala
3 tbspn yogurt
2 tbspn lime juice
2 tbspn cilantro - shredded

How to do it:
Mix all the ingredients for the marination in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces. Mix. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for min 2-3 hrs. Longer the better.

Heat oil for deep frying. Roll each piece of marinated chicken in rice flour and deep fry till golden brown .

In a large pan, heat the oil for seasoning. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When they splutter add the curry leaves, the pepper and gharam masala. Switch off and add the yogurt. Mix in the lime juice.

Add the fried chicken. Sprinkle cilantro on top.Serve hot.
Can be served as an entrée or as a side with any type of bread or rice!

You can vary the spices as much or as little.
Again, I skip the food color if not for a special occasion.

Tell me how you do yours.
What do you and your family call it?

Until next time, enjoy what you eat.
Enjoy the process and most importantly whom you eat it with!
Bon appetite.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tandoori chicken- made easy

This past weekend, while G was gearing up to watch the Euro 2012, I started fishing in the fridge and pantry to see what I could whip up for lunch. The demand seemed to be a lunch worthy of a football final! Leftover pizza, bread, soup?
Sure! But maybe something more gourmet too?!
The kitchen was clean, the dishes done, fridge, pantry restocked! Check, check, check. A organized kitchen motivates the chef in the sous, for me. Everyday. Everytime.
So stock check done, I decided to marinate the fresh chicken for some tandoori style grilling!
Tandoori Chicken here we come!

What went into it:
3 large chicken breast pieces ( with bone)-cleaned and cut into manageable pieces.
2 cups of yogurt
1 tbspns of cayenne pepper ( red chilli powder)
1 tbspn 'Everest' tandoori powder
1 tspn turmeric powder
1 tbspn ginger- garlic paste
Red food coloring ( optional)
Salt to taste.

Pam for grilling
Lemon slices, onion rings - for serving

How it was made:
In a big bowl, add the yogurt, salt, pepper, tandoori powder, turmeric, ginger garlic paste and food color. Mix . Add the chicken pieces. Marinate in the refrigerator for atleast 3-4 hrs. Longer the better.
Fire up the grill. Layer with aluminum foil. Grease and grill the chicken pieces on both sides until done.
Serve hot with lemon slices and onion rings.

So for our Euro 2012 lunch we grilled the leftover bread into sandwiches, served soup and pizza with the fresh spicy tandoori.
A feast fit for a king! what do you say?

Traditionally this is done in a clay oven called a Tandoor.I have only seen these in authentic restaurants and so have always otherwise seen them done on a grill/oven.
I usually skip the food colour for everyday grilling.
Also in cold weather I grill/bake in the kitchen oven.Although the coal grill renders its own signature taste to it.
You can try variations in the spices. Skip the yogurt and use lemon juice. Use continental spices as much or as little.

Having grown up a pure vegetarian, this was one of the first few non vegetarian dishes I tried and loved.
To date it remains ear marked in my book as a go-to favourite!
Tell me how you do yours.

Until Next time, Bon Appetite.

Sous Chef is now on Facebook!

You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Making healthy choices

Let's walk. Drink more water. Less oil, more fibre. Greens. Reduce sugar. Exercise!
We have been talking this for sometime now! We. G n I. But didn't really put our feet down here.
Then a holistic basket we bought at a fund raiser. A new inspiring friend!
Seemed like the push we needed.

Quinoa, chia, healthy granola snacks.
Walking, drinking water.
Rice milk, coconut water, green tea....

Are the oils completely out? All healthy? No!

The freedom we feel is cause our lifestyle is not overhauled. We still slum on junk food. We still deep fry. We are still eating most of what we used to!
But we are sneaking on salads, greens, water and exercise!

To each his own! A complete changeover would have created an emotional havoc a rebellion from us! From within!
Subtlety works for us!

Are you trying a change in your kitchen?
At your table?
In your home?

Tell me here!
Until next time eat healthy!
Bon appetite!

Sous Chef is now on Facebook!

You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cabbage Ambado - Deep fried cabbage fritters/ patties

Don't remember when I ate this for the first time nor when I fell in love with it!
Just remember it as a spicy side to delicious traditional meals at lunchtime!
Also let it go down here that it is one of those few things I actually tried in my own kitchen ASAP.

So like already said, it is a spicy side at traditional Konkani lunches, but in true Hegde fashion, we eat it as snack, meal, side , appetizer.....

Here's what went into making this batch:
1/2 cup toor dal ( split pigeon peas)
1/2 cup rice
5 red dry chillies- roasted
1 tspn tamarind paste
2 cups cabbage- finely chopped
1/2 cup onions- finely chopped
2 tbspn coriander leaves ( cilantro) - chopped fine
2 sprigs curry leaves - shredded and chopped fine
1 tbspn dry coconut ( khopra/ khobri) - chopped fine - optional.
1 tspn black pepper - ground
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

How it was made:
Soak the rice and dal for 3 hours.
Grind with the tamarind paste and red chillies, adding as little or no water into a dry batter.
Add the chopped cabbage, onions, cilantro, curry leaves, dry coconut, ground pepper and salt.Mix.
Heat oil in frying pan. Make small balls of the batter with wet fingers. Pat gently to flatten slightly into patties.
Deep fry until golden brown.
Serve hot.

P.S: Read about the curry leaves mentioned in this recipe in my post here.

I have learnt that the batter can be refrigerated for a couple days in an airtight container! Ideally bring back to room temperature before frying!
If you are feeling really health conscious, and want to skip the oil, try the batter on the griddle , dosa ( Indian crepe pancakes) style. See my recipe for Sanna Polo here.

So tell me, will you try this recipe?
Would you vary it to suit your taste?
Here's how I did a similar version with collard greens- get my recipe for Taikile Dangara here!

So any which way you do yours, stay tuned!
Until another culinary muse, Bon Appetite.

Sous Chef is now on Facebook!

You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cooking Quinoa

We had heard of this grain.This pseudo-cereal they called it. Quinoa. Healthy and easily blendable into any cuisine. Well whats not to try.
Although I have to confess even with all the good things I heard of this particualr grain I did not go looking out to buy.Not immediately atleast.
I just happened buy into a healthy organic food basket a couple weeks back and one of the few things in there was 'Quinoa'.
So googlings and doodlings later I decided to bookmark quite a few recipes.But no marks for quessing which one I decided to try first. The easiest one.
Even when I was only but still boiling it I knew that this would be a hands down winner with 'G' as for him the 'healthy' tag already puts it up there in his preference list.
For me other things matter too...like, ease of availability, ease in cooking, versatility and most of all taste. God forbid I spend hours over the range and cutting board only to have something unpalatable! Even if termed highly nutrious!
Sigh! I refuse to be such a chef.Sous or otherwise.

So for the easy recipe:
2 Cups quinoa- washed
4 cups water
1 Tbspn olive oil
2 Tbspn fresh cilantro- chopped
2 Tbspn fresh mint - chopped
2 Tbspn  fresh basil - chopped
Salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper as preferred.

How I did it:
Boil the washed quinoa in the water till soft and done.
Fluff it with the 1 tbspn olive oil. to this add the salt and pepper. Add all the chopped fresh herbs.
Serve hot.

We ate this with corn salad for dinner.
Yummo! Cannot wait to try more recipes with this one here.

Ps: Use dry herbs if no fresh ones are at hand.But no points for guessing which tastes better. I would substitute 1Tbspn dry herb for every 2tbspn fresh.

Did someone tell me they fed quinoa to astronauts?!

Well...... Bon Appetit.

You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Homemade Spicy Vanilla Chai tea

This is becoming my summer soul drink like apple cider is to me in winter.
While living in NJ, I had frequently enjoyed the Dunkin Donuts vanilla chai.But never really missed it once I moved south were the dunkins franchises were less abundant!
That would have been the end of me and vanilla chais if not for the few bottles of'  Bolthouse farms ' juices/brews G brought home. While he and E guzzled down the berry mixes and the carrot juices, I , Me , myself hooked onto the heavenly Vanilla chai tea.
Thus began the numerous googlings for easy DIY recipes.
What follows is a variation on many such recipe ideas, altered to mainly suit our taste.

So heres what I put into making my Vanilla Chai Tea Mix:
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup French vanilla powdered non-dairy creamer
2 ½ cups white sugar
1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea
21/2 tsp ground ginger
21/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
¼ tsp pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it is a fine powder.
Store in a airtight container.
Add two full tablespoons of mix to 8 ounces of hot water or milk. Slurp.

Ps: I have stored my container in the fridge just to be safe.
I have had this hot and cold.
For the warm version, I heat a mug of milk in the microwave and add 1Tbspn powder and stir.
For the cold version I blend together a mug of cold milk and 1Tbspn powder in a food processor.
You can try doing it 1/2 mug milk and 1/2 mug water for a less creamier drink.

Also please adjust the spices accordingly to suit your taste.

Tell me how you did yours!
Until next time,

You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ambe Upkari...spicy-sweet mango gravy.

This delicious sweet,spicy gravy is a delicious traditional konkani dish.
'Mangoe' so synonymous with India, is truly an abundantly available summer/monsoon fruit in most south asian countries.
This Ambe Upkari (Mango Curry/gravy) was made so often (yet not often enough)by my mother.
Although like everything else in life one learns to truly appretiate when far away and nostalgic.
I have made this a few times myself and recently I made this on the Konkani/lunar New year, Sansaar Padvo'.

Traditionally locally available small mangoes, which have a lot of pulp and big seed (so cannot be sliced) are used for this recipe.

But I have learnt (necessity is the mother of invention) that any good ripe mango does the trick.

Heres what went into making it:
5 large ripe mangoes
3 green chillies-slit.
1 tspn mustard seeds
1 tspn urad dal
1 tbspn oil
1 dry red chili-chopped.
1 sprig curry leaf
1  tbspn jaggery
Salt to taste

How it was made:
In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter add the urad dal and curry leaves. To this add the red chili.
Peel the mangoes. If you feel you have peeled too thick scrape the extra pulp off the peel. Then try and slice some of the pulp off the mango too.Add this pulp and seed mixture to the vessel.Add the green chillies, Jaggery and salt. Bring to boil and then cook on low till done.

You have a spicy, sweet savory dish ready. This usually goes as side with rice and spicy curries. But lol whom am I kidding? I have always also had it as dessert too!

Jaggery can be substituted with sugar or skipped altogether.This depends on individual taste and how sweet the magoes are.Usually the small mangoes used have a slight sour tang to them so the jaggery.
Also to make it easy to eat at a table with silver ware you can skip adding the seed to the gravy. Just try and slice off all the pulp and throw the seed.
Alternatively I have also once just sliced the mangoes with the peel into bite size peices and thrown the seed!
A lot depends on the type of mango and what suits you.
But like any konkani worth his ambe upkari will tell you, it only but tastes right, when eaten by hand with the seed...messily.

However you do yours.....
Bon Appetite.

You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

We got this fresh yummy looking batch of poblano peppers from the farmers market and I knew I wanted to eat them stuffed.
A few googlings garnered me these tid bits of wisdom.
 1.These peppers are a little spicier than thier country cousins the Capsicums/bell peppers.
2.While most all recipes seemed to use black beans, kernels of corn or rice the stuffing could actually be anything to suit ones taste!

1 immediately made this our kind of pepper.
2 made it my kind of cooking!

Vola! all said and done...

Heres what went into making ours:
5 poblano peppers
1 large tomato
1/2 cup Lima beans
1 small red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 small jalapeño pepper
Chopped cilantro
1 tbspn lemon juice
Salt to taste
Shredded cheese

How we made it:
Slit the peppers lengthwise into half, keeping the stems intact.Scoop out seeds and ribs.
Line and grease a baking tray and lay the peppers on them.
In a food processor, add the tomato, onion, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro and Lima beans. Purée into a chunky salsa like consistency. Add lemon juice and salt.
Fill the poblano with this salsa. Top with the shredded cheese.
Preheat oven to 425F.Bake in oven for 40mins until cheese melts and crusts.
Serve hot.

We had it with stir fried Lima beans. (Recipe will follow in a future post.)
You can add other spices like cayenne, black pepper, cumin etc. to the filling.
Lima beans were used as these were handy.You can add the beans whole without purée if it suits you.
Also in some recipes cooked rice was added to the filling. In which case the stuffed poblanos can be served as an entrée! Black beans, corn, rice, shredded meat....the choices are endless!

So any which way you stuff them, I see these poblanos making many a happy appearances at our dinner table. Tell me your story!

Until next time.....
Bon Appetite.

You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Extra moist, Jumbo, spicy ginger cookies.

Its spring break...and the girls are getting stir crazy.Already! The promised beach getaway is still a couple days away!
Sidewalk chalk art, sprinkler fun....

Then we decided to bake some cookies in the noon.
The girls love helping to bake and I wanted to try this new recipe for some time.


Heres what went into it:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted room temperature
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for coating
6 tablespoons maple syrup
1 large egg

How we did it:

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, allspice, and pepper.
With an electric mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in maple syrup and egg.With mixer on low, gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Divide dough into 12 equal balls. Roll the balls in the 1/3 cup white sugar and place on sheets about 4" apart. Flatten slightly into about 3" circles and sprinkle the remaining sugar on top.

Bake for 12-14mins rotating sheets half way inbetween.
Let cool completely on a wire rack!


PS: The original recipe had asked for molasses but I substituted with maple syrup in the same quantity as I had it handy.
Also you can reduce the amount of ginger and spice to suit your taste. Mine were extra spicy just as we wanted them to be!

From my kitchen to yours...

Bon Apetite.

You can also read my non-culinary ramblings here at Musings.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spicy Collard greens shredded. AKA... Pathrade Usli

(This recipe has been published in 'smrithi' the souvenir for the Konkani sammelan 2012. Page 158.)

Whatever came after the AKA in the title is pure gourmet heaven to any konkani ear. Add a dollop of nostalgia to that to every NRI konkani's ear.

Long story short Patrade (Taro-Colocasia esculenta) leaves are not easily available here in Columbia. Atleast not good quality ones.Or may be Iam just plain lazy to go out and really look!

So, when I learnt that collard greens can be a substitute (eureka!), I set out to make this delicacy I have missed a lot over these past few years.

What went into this:
2 bunch Collard greens or Kale ( stem stubs removed)- shredded fine.
1 cup tandoolu (rice)- soaked for min 2hrs.
2 tbspns soyi (fresh grated coconut)
1/2 tspn chinchambhe paste (tamarind paste)
Meeta (salt) to taste.
To be roasted:
1 tspn Thela (oil)
11/2 tbspns kottambari (coriander seeds)
1/2 tbspn metthi (fenugreek seeds)
1/2 tbspn jeere ( cumin)
1 tbspn uddha daali ( split black gram)
1 tbspn chane daali ( split chick peas)
1/2 tspn haldi pitti (turmeric powder)
5 long dry mirsangha (red chillies)
For the dressing:
1 tbspn thela (oil)
1 tspn sassam (black mustard seeds)
1 sprig karbevu (curry leaf)

How it was made:
In a pan roast together the metthi (fenugreek seeds), jeere ( cumin), uddha daali ( split black gram, chane daali ( split chick peas) and mirsangha (red chillies) in 1 tspn thela (oil), till fragrant. Grind together with the soaked tandoolu (rice), haldi pitti (turmeric powder), soyi (fresh grated coconut) and chinchambhe (tamarind) paste without adding too much water, to form a coarse mix. Add meeta (salt) to taste.
To this add the shredded greens.

Pour this mix into a greased idli pan or any baking dish  and steam for about 15mins, till a toothpick pricked comes out clean.

Cool for about 10mins. Shred/slice the prepared cakes.
In the pan heat the 1tbspn thela (oil) and add the sassam (black mustard seeds). When they splutter switch off and add the karbevu (curry leaf). To this dressing add the shredded cakes. Saute and serve hot!

A delicacy, it is enjoyed with traditional meals as a side.

Yeah U guessed it....all that konkani slang with the ingredients... an ode to my own nostalgia.

Shubh Bhojan. Bonappetite.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Bday 'G'....with a Sponge Cake

This week G turned another year younger! So we the ladies, E, R n myself turned ourselves into bakers, icers and sprinklers! (no points for guessing who came up with those terms) LOL.

So for the cake:
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup melted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 eggs
1 tspn vanilla essense
1 small sachet cinnamon choclate icing

Making it:
In a big bowl blend together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and essense and beat till mixed well. To this slowly add the flour. Beat with an electric beater on low for 30 secs and then on medium for 2 mins.
Preheat oven to 325F and bake for 20-24mins.(till toothpick pricked in middle comes out clean).

Let cool for 10mins before removing from pan.
Then cool completely before icing. Add sprinkles and candles.

E turned expert icer while R ruled with her overdose of sprinkles!

Vola! Happy Bday!

Ps: You can use a little more sugar in the cake.Its just that when we use icing it all ends up too sweet for us! If not for the icing I would have used upto 1 cup of sugar.
Also substitute vanilla essense for any flavour of your choice.

Preheat oven upto 350F if using regular baking pans. I used a non-stick 9" pan.

This is a time tested recipe in my house as one can vary it with chocolate chips, nuts, fruits....

From our kitchen to yours....Celebrate!