Sunday, January 29, 2012

Simple Pleasures of Snacking


Recipe: Kaya Baji (Batter fried Raw Banana) and Mulakku Baji (Batter fried Green Pepper)

I don’t believe that there are many people who don’t enjoy a little bite with their evening tea. Well, I am definitely not among those no-fun people!!


Though I would have loved to grab a snack with my tea everyday I have been refraining myself from these extravagances, ofcourse, because of my ever-so- unfriendly weighing machineL.
Of course when I say snack, I don’t mean a juicy, crunchy, healthy apple, or pear or for that matter any fruit at all. For me evening snack means hot hot bajis, pazam pori(batter fried ripe bananas), ulli vada (onions fried with batter) and the list the goes on…..(you can now understand why my weighing machine can get a little unfriendly!!!).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Some Oriental Delights


Recipe: Szechwan Fried Rice and Thai Cashew Chicken


I have decided to go a little international this time and have come up with a combination of 2 Oriental Cuisines….. Chinese and Thai.
Don’t ask me about my motive of combining a Chinese dish with a Thai one  …but you can definitely ask me how the duo turned out….. Because, they made quite a lovely couple, I must say!!!


 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Biriyani, the Nizam’s Way


Recipe: Hyderbadi Biriyani

Last weekend, my husband wanted me to make some Biriyani, his favourite dish, for lunch. Though I equally enjoy Biriyani, I was kind of getting bored with the same old way of getting the dish done. You see, I tend to get bored with food easily and love a change in flavours once in a while.


I really didn’t want to disappoint my husband and so decided to go ahead with the Biriyani plans but of course with a slight twist. I decided to make an attempt with the Hyderbadi style of Biriyani.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Panna Cotta Layered


Recipe: Layered Banana and Strawberry Panna Cotta

Yesterday was quite a happy day for me....... nothing special… but just a very quite, peaceful and what everybody would say, a nice day.
No much work to do and with my daughter off to her play school, no yells, no mess and no tantrum at least for a few hours…… I could spend some quality time with just myself!!
I love these simple, perfectly lazy days I get once in a while and so I decided to celebrate….. Yes…. Celebrate with something simple and sweet.
After a slight brain storming session I finally decided to settle in for some Panna Cotta.
I love Panna Cottas, they are quite easy to whip up and a lovely dessert to relax with.


Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert usually made with cream, sugar, fruits and gelatine.  It’s so simple to make that you would want to make it over and over.
I have made Panna Cottas a couple of times before and had used different flavours each time.
This time I decided to make it a little different and used two fruits, banana and strawberry.


I got introduced to this lovely dessert through my good friend Sarah’s blog ‘spoonfulofdelight’ and am really grateful to her for posting such a great idea on her beautiful blog.

LAYERED BANANA AND STRAWBERYY PANNA COTTA

Both the banana and strawberry panna cotta follows the same recipe. The only difference will be the fruit used in each.




Ingredients

Banana pulp/ Strawberry pulp – ¼ cup (to make the pulp, pulse the banana / strawberry in a blender until smooth. Do not use water. You will have to use 1 medium sized banana to make the banana pulp and approx 5-6 strawberries for the strawberry pulp)

Low fat yogurt – 1 cup
Condensed milk – ¾ cup
Gelatine – 2 tsp
Warm Water – 2 tbsp to dissolve the gelatine

Preparation

You will have to prepare each panna cotta separately.

Completely dissolve gelatine in warm water and set aside.

Place condensed milk in a heavy bottomed pan and bring to just boil. Now add the dissolved gelatine, remove from flame and leave to cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together yogurt and fruit pulp (you may use a blender) to form a smooth mixture.

Add this to the cooled condensed milk- gelatine mixture and mix well.

You may now pour your panna cotta into dessert bowls or glasses and leave to set in the refrigerator. As simple as that….
The best part about this dessert is that it requires just 4 hours setting time. So it’s an easy whip up when you have some guests coming over.

Assembly



Well, I layered the strawberry panna cotta over banana.
For this I poured the banana panna cotta in dessert bowls and left it in the refrigerator for an hour.
Make sure that this layer is nearly semi solid. Now slowly spoon in the strawberry layer as well and return the bowls into the refrigerator and leave to set for 4 hrs.
 Please remember to cover your dessert bowls with a cling sheet to avoid a film formation on your dessert.

These panna cottas tastes amazing individually as well but definitely it is always fun to have a double treat!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Cranberry Creation


Recipe: Cranberry Orange Bread with toasted Pecans


Cranberries are brand new entrants to my kitchen.  Actually I have never tasted anything with cranberry ever before, not even a juice.
Not that I have had any taboos at all, just that I have never really given cranberries a second thought, not until I got to taste some really great dried cranberries at a grocery store. I immediately packed some home and started my recipe hunt.


My long, tedious search brought me to this amazing recipe from the ‘Joy of Baking’. It used cranberries, orange juice and toasted pecans, but the best part about this recipe was that it used very little butter and just one egg!!!
The original recipe used fresh cranberries which I replaced with my dries ones. This bread tasted so fabulous that, I am looking forward to do this again with the fresh ones as well.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Toast from Thailand!


Recipe: Thai Prawn Toast with Thai sweet chilly Sauce


Thai food is a relatively new addition to our favourites list.  It’s this fabulous Thai restaurant that we have in our neighbourhood that brought us close to the Thai cuisine.
I personally feel that the best part about their menu card is the appetizer list.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Not So Bitter Affair!


Recipe: Kaipakka Pachadi (Bitter Gourd in Coconut and Curd Gravy)


 I post this recipe on special request by my dear cousin sister V.
Kaipakka Pachadi is a traditional Kerala dish usually eaten mixed with rice and tastes even better if you could manage to get some spicy, tangy mango pickle to lick on.


















I am not usually a bitter gourd person …. But the way my mom makes it, I think, anyone can have and even enjoy bitter gourd, bitter- less!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Home beckons!!


First of all, A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERY ONE!!
My very first post of the year…… hope this finds everyone in great health and with an even healthier appetite.


Recipe: Kai Pathiri / Orotti (Toasted rice Bread) and Nadan Chicken Curry (Traditional Kerala style Chicken Gravy)


It had been quite a long time since I had made something absolutely home-style and traditional and I had started to miss the spicy, tangy, coconut-y flavours of my home- land Kerala.
With my daughter keeping me busy the whole day with her hyperactive games and tantrums, daily menus have turned out to be easy-to-whip up dishes and they were turning out to be really really boring.
My husband too is a ‘nadan’ food lover and so I decided to make ourselves a very traditional and typical Kerala dinner for the New Year weekend.
Pathiri is Kerala’s very own bread made out of rice powder and grated coconut. It’s quite a favourite among us keralites and goes well with any spicy gravy especially non vegetarian ones.


The usual pathiris are quite thin as they are rolled out using a rolling pin or a press but this one is a slightly thicker version with bits of grated coconuts to bite on and they are flattened out using your hands and hence the name kai pathiri (kai meaning hands in Malayalam)
Since I am more of a chicken person I couldn’t find anything better than a very traditional Kerala style chicken curry to team up with my favourite pathiris.

The recipes for both the chicken curry and pathiris have been passed down to me by my mom.


The best part about this particular chicken curry is that, unlike most Indian dishes, it requires very little oil for cooking. The chicken and spices are made to cook in coconut milk making the gravy nice and thick.

The combination worked out perfectly and we did have a hearty weekend dinner.


KAI PATHIRI (Toasted rice Bread)




Ingredients

Rice powder – 500gms
Water – 1 Lt
Coconut grated – 1 cup
Salt as per taste

Preparation

Take a heavy bottomed cooking vessel, pour the measured quantity of water, add salt and bring the water to boil. As the water boils add the grated coconut and let it continue boiling for a minute.
Now carefully add the rice flour into the boiling water and leave it so for a minute. Do not stir immediately.
Let the flour absorb the water and start getting soaked. Now take a wooden spoon and stir slowly so that the whole of the flour is wet and the flour –water mixture looks like one big chunky mass.
 If you feel that the dough may be too tight add some hot water little by little. Take care not to make your dough too loose.

Let the dough cool down to bearable temperature. You may now knead your dough well so that you get it smooth and lump less. Place a bowl of water beside you as you knead so that you may be able to frequently wet your hands as you knead on.
This helps to make the dough less sticky.
Once the dough is done, roll them out into balls, the size of small oranges.


Take a clean, square cotton cloth, wet it well and spread it on a plate. Take a ball each ,flatten it on the wet cotton cloth and using your hands press out the dough into circular disc shapes, with a thickness of approx ½ inch. Wet your hands constantly as you do this.


Try to make the discs as even as possible.
You may peel out the pathiri from the wet cloth and place them aside. Continue to do the same with the rest of the dough.
Heat a pan, put the pathiri on it and toast on both side until it starts browning lightly.

Keep all your pathiris in a hot pot until serving time as they taste best when served hot.

NADAN CHICKEN CURRY (Traditional Kerala style Chicken Gravy)



Ingredients

Chicken – 1 kg
Small Indian Onions – 20-25 numbers (peeled, washed and crushed)
Onion – 1 small sliced (optional)
Green chillies – 2-3 slit
Ginger – 1 ½ tbsp crushed
Garlic – 1 tbsp crushed
Curry leaves – a handful


Chilly powder – 1 ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Pepper – ½ tsp (optional)

Coconut milk – 1 ½ cups (I have used coconut milk powder. You may use fresh coconut milk as well. If you are planning to use fresh coconut milk, you will need milk from one medium sized coconut. You will need 1 cup of dilute milk (‘randam pal’) and ½ cup thick milk (‘onnam pal’)

Salt to taste
Oil – 1-2 tbsp (I prefer coconut oil for this curry as it gives the authentic Kerala flavour)

Preparation

In a small pan heat chilly powder and coriander powder until you get a nice roasted spice smell, stir continuously as you heat the powders so as to avoid burning them. Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat a teaspoon of oil and sauté the sliced onions until translucent. You may avoid this step if you are not using onions.

In the same vessel add chicken, crushed small onions, crushed ginger and garlic; slit green chillies, curry leaves, the heated spices, turmeric powder, half of the measured Garam masala powder and a couple of teaspoons of oil and mix well so that the chicken is well coated with the marinade. Keep this aside for an hour.

You will need coconut milk in two consistencies for further cooking. A dilute one and a thick one. Dilute milk can be made by mixing 2 tsp of coconut milk powder in 1 cup of water. The thick one is made by mixing 2 tbsp of powder in ½ cup water.

Pour the dilute coconut milk into the marinated chicken, close the vessel and cook on low flame until the chicken is well done. Keep stirring every 5 mins so that the gravy doesn’t stick to the bottom. Once the chicken is quite well done, pour the concentrated coconut milk and boil for another couple of mins.
 At this point add the remaining Garam masala (and pepper powder if using) and salt.
 Leave the curry on the flame for a few more seconds and then switch off.

Slice 3-4 small onions and fry it in 2-3 teaspoons of oil until nice and brown and garnish the curry with it.

Well, that’s it; your curry is ready to be served.


PS: An obviously Malayali cuisine and a so a perfect entrant to The Kerala Kitchen. So, off this goes to this months The Kerala Kitchen hostess, Kaveri of Palakkad Chamayal.