Friday, November 27, 2009

Deep fried wheat flour snack, pakodas - Mathri

The nation's capital or at least the newspapers here are full of the state dinner hosted in honor of India's PM by the President. I read the starter for the dinner was a brinjal and potato salad. I am curious as hell what that could be and not creative enough to imagine how they cooked that one. I would have given anything to be a fly on the wall to take a peak at the menu cooked up by the Swiss chef, especially the transformation of potato and brinjal into an elegant salad.

Pictures by DD.

Hope all of you who are residents in the USA had a good Thanksgiving. We are thankful for the life we have amidst all the problems that people in every part of the world are facing.

We had a thanksgiving lunch surrounded by friends and laughter and I am happy to report that there is not too much leftovers.

shaped dough ready for frying

As for the recipe if you have tasted Haldiram's mathri you know exactly what I am talking about. My friend's mom makes these delightful snacks with wheat flour similar in taste but called them pakodas. Unfortunately failed to get the recipe from her and yes that was very unlike me. I wanted to make some crunchies for friends who were visiting us and wanted to give this snack a try recreating the ingredients from the taste memory. The taste of success with murukkus gave courage this experiment. I am sure everyone is pretty aware of these facts,

  • to keep the shapes even in thickness and size to ensure even cooking

  • My helper for the murukkus was busy with her homework and my impatience made for some uneven cooking of the pakodas

  • roll out the dough like you would chapatis as thick or thin as you like it and then cut them for even shape

  • if you would like it crunchier use equal parts wheat flour and rice flour, I did a ratio of 3:1

  • On another note if you are interested in watching a Tamil movie, Unnai pol Oruvan is a good one. Great performances from Kamal Hasan, Mohan Lal and every other member of the cast. This is a remake of the Hindi movie A Wednesday.

    Wheat flour pakodas
    1. 3 Cups Wheat flour (chapati flour)
    2. 1 Cup Rice Flour
    3. 1 tbsp grated ginger
    4. 3 tsp pepper powder
    5. 1 tbsp red chili powder
    6. 2 tsp cumin powder
    7. 4 tsp cumin seeds
    8. salt as required
    9. Finely cut onion
    10. 4 tbsp oil for making dough
    11. Oil for deep frying

    1. Mix ingredients from 1-8.
    2. Add oil to the flour and mix it into the flour. Sprinkle water and make a pliable dough.
    3. Roll out the dough just like you would chapati and cut into desired shapes (I did not do this), instead take out a bit of dough, make desired shapes and drop into the oil
    4. Cook till golden brown and drain on paper towels.

    Wheat Flour on Foodista

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Thanksgiving Celebration my way - Pudhuvayal Kari Kuzhambu (Mutton Curry) and Tomato Kuzhambu as breakfast side

    Thanksgiving holiday is by far our most favorite holiday and no doubt we are eagerly looking forward to this year's. Back home, Pongal or the harvest festival was by far the most anticipated festival. Yes, even when compared to Deepavali. In my mind, Deepavali is more a urban celebration whereas Pongal is a truly rural agrarian festival and Thanksgiving reminds me much of the Pongal celebration of giving thanks. Food wise the celebrations are very different, Pongal spread does not include any meat.

    Over the years we have arrived at our own custom way of celebrating this much loved holiday. Besides celebrating at home, few years we have celebrated thanksgiving at friends' houses both Indian and American. Turkey invariably takes center stage and depending on the nationality of the host there would be several other dishes from their home country as well. We are not particularly fond of the baked whole turkey. Cooking it for 4-5 hours for sake of tradition and not particularly enjoying eating it and having to deal with leftovers for days on end did not seem appealing.

    So here is a menu that I consider would be a good Thanksgiving meal. We would start the day with a good breakfast/brunch. This would be either idli / dosai or paniyaram with a chutney or kuzhambu that the kids enjoy. Coconut chutney being their most favorite. The tomato kuzhambu that I am going to present here coming a close second. The thanksgiving spread, depending on the crowd would have few or more items.

    1. Chicken biryani or Mutton biryani
    2. Chicken Kuzhambu or Mutton Kuzhambu
    3. Rasam
    4. White Rice
    5. Raita
    6. Cranberry Sauce
    7. Pie and ice cream

    What is a Kuzhambu?
    Kuzhambu is the Tamil word for curry(for a lack of a better term). Kuzhambu has a pourable texture and could be thick to watery, usually as a side eaten mixed with rice or a dip for breads.

    My brother was visiting us over the weekend and when we decided to cook some mutton, he showed me this recipe - Puduvayal Kari Kuzhambu. It was tasty no doubt. I usually pressure cook the mutton before making curry or biryani, it speeds up the cooking process while putting to rest my concern about not cooking the meat enough.

    Pudhuvayal Kari Kuzhambu
    1. 2 1/2 lbs Mutton
    2. 2 Medium sized red onions - 1 1/2 cups worth
    3. 6 green chilies
    4. 8-10 garlic cloves chopped
    5. about 2 inch piece of ginger grated
    6. 1 tbsp freshly roasted and powdered coriander seeds + 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
    7. 1/2 - 1 tbsp red chili powder
    8. 4 tsp turmeric powder
    9. 2 tsp cumin powder
    10. seasonings - star anise, fennel seeds, curry leaves, marathi moggu (it is a long stick shaped)
    11. 1 tbsp tomatoes ( i used minced cherry tomatoes)
    12. 2-3 tsp oil
    13. salt to taste

    1. Wash and clean the mutton. In a pressure cooker take the mutton, half the onion, half the garlic cloves roughly chopped, split green chilies, half of the ginger chopped, turmeric powder, pepper powder and 1 1/2 cups of water and cook for 2 whistles. (depending on the quality of the mutton the cooking time may be longer)
    2. In a flat bottomed pan (kadai), heat oil and add the seasonings and when they turn color, add the rest of the onion and saute till they start to brown.
    3. Add the rest of the chopped garlic and grated ginger and saute, don't let them stick to the bottom
    4. Retrieve the mutton pieces but reserve the liquid and add to the pan and saute for a few minutes
    5. Add the turmeric, chili, coriande + fennel and cumin powders and mix it well.
    6. Add the tomatoes and give a good mix.
    7. Add the reserved water, salt and let it cook for 8-10 minutes.
    8. Remove from heat now or reduce a bit more.

    Serve with rice. Absolutely delicious.

    Tomato Kuzhambu is a very popular side dish for breakfast items like idli, dosai or paniyaram in the Kongunaadu area. With more or less the same ingredients each home would have slight variations in the way they make this kuzhambu. This was a regular in my parents house and my IL's house as well. My MIL's version of this kuzhambu is extremely tasty but slightly different than the way my mom or grandma made the kuzhambu. Here is her recipe as I remember it.

    Tomato Kuzhambu
    1. 3-4 ripe juicy tomatoes
    2. 1/2 red onion roughly chopped
    3. 2 garlic cloves (optional)
    4. 1 tbsp channa dal
    5. 2 tsp coriander seeds
    6. 3-4 red chilies (adjust according to heat requirements)
    7. 1 tbsp grated fresh coconut
    8. salt to taste
    9. 2 tsp oil
    10. curry leaves a few
    11. seasonings: mustard seeds, cumin and curry leaves and optional slit green chilies

    1. In a pan heat a tsp of oil, add the chana dal and saute till they turn brown.
    2. Saute the coriander seeds and red chilies and set aside
    3. Add the curry leaves, followed by the onions and saute till they become translucent
    4. Add the tomatoes and let them cook till they get mushy
    5. Add the coconut and give a good mix.
    6. Add the salt.

    Cool and blend. To make it easier blend the dal, coriander seeds and chilies first and then add the tomato, onion mixture.
    7. In the same pan heat a tsp of oil and add the seasonings.
    8. Add the blended mixture and about 1/2 cup of water, check for salt and let it boil for 3-4 minutes.

    Goes well with idli, dosai or paniyaram

    Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday! How are you planning on celebrating?

    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    Green beans, potatoes and parsnips roast - love and hate that followed

    How lucky for us all to be bombarded with Sarah Palin again. I have to be truthful here, I actually quite liked her before my feelings did a total flip but this was before she was unleashed on us as a Vice Presidential candidate. About 3 months before her selection, there was a show on PBS(our local public television) about her role as governor of Alaska and her taking on the oil companies leaving me impressed. Then she became a candidate and the rest is history. You have to grant her this much, just like our President she is one cool customer. Can you like someone and then completely hate that person? you betcha!

    Well my feelings for parsnips went through similar ups and downs. I had been reading parsnips in recipes in a few blogs,the roasted ones looked specially appealing. I decided on Sunita's aloo bean bhaaji to give the parsnips a try, though the recipe does not use any parsnips. I have tried her recipe before with just potatoes and green beans, with sambhar powder added (but of course) and they turned out delightful. The kids especially enjoyed them. A few days ago, I found parsnips in a farmer's market fresh and crisp. I read they are just like potatoes and can be roasted and even mashed. They tasted just fine when eaten raw, like carrots with a hint of peppery taste. I kept tasting them along the way as they were getting cooked, they tasted just fine and the final roasted parsnip was pretty good. But when I sat down to eat it was totally different, my tolerance for the thing took a flip, I could not stand the parsnips at all. Strange I thought but not very surprising considering I am not fond of roasted carrots and these are pretty close to carrots in taste and texture. Carrots are fine raw, in sambhar, in chutneys or in kheers and sweets where they loose their personality but when cooked in a way that retains their carrotty taste that is hard to explain but easy to dislike. But the reaction from the kids and DH was not negative, they liked the parsnips alright. Give parsnips a try, you might like them after all.

    Recipe Source: Aloo bean bhaaji

    Green bean, potatoes and parsnips roast
    1. 1 1/2 cups of greens beans cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
    2. 4 Potatoes scrubbed and cubed
    3. 2 Parsnips peeled and cut into match sticks 1 (optional)
    4. 3 tbsp onions chopped
    5. 1 tbsp sambhar powder
    6. 2 tsp turmeric powder
    7. seasonigs: cumin seeds, mustard seeds, 2 red chilies split in half
    8. salt to taste

    1. Boil the green beans to tender and set them aside
    2. Boil the potatoes and parsnips in salted water till tender
    3. In a pain heat oil add cumin seeds, mustard seeds and red chilies, when they start to pop add the onions and saute till translucent.
    4. Add the green beans and saute for 3-4 minutes, followed by the turmeric and 1/2 of the sambhar powder, salt, then the potatoes and parsnips.
    5. Roast for 4-5 minutes and then another 5-8 minutes or longer for a good roast.

    Serve with rotis or as a side for rice.

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    Flaked salmon stir fry

    When I think of food and want to recreate a long forgotten taste, hostel food rarely comes up. College food was not bad but the same cannot be said of the food at any of boarding schools. I do not drink tea, in fact I hate it, thanks to one of them. The one pleasant memory of the food in the boarding was the vegetable/mutton puff that were served twice or thrice a week, thankfully store bought.

    Similarly minced fish brings a pleasant reminder of my college days and foremost is the taste of the fish poriyal(maybe it was called fish puttu made with sura meen (eel)). It had nothing to do with the hostel food, the delicacy was shared by a roommate during second year of college. Her parents had sent it one weekend which she was generous enough to share. We just could not get enough of it. I remember the curry leaves, onions, green chilies and the soft and buttery fish like it was yesterday. My entire cooking repertoire at this point were potato roast and my own milk chocolate concoction(made with condensed milk, cocoa powder and sugar and heated to solidify) so to have remembered even the ingredients is what perhaps James Beard via Madhur Jaffrey in her memoir 'Climbing Mango Trees' calls taste memory.

    It was this tantalizing taste memory beckoning when I laid eyes on the canned Alaskan Wildeye Salmon at Costco a couple of weeks ago. Amazingly simple dish. I have tried it with canned tuna, steamed fresh tilapia and salmon. If you are using canned fish go easy on the salt. With the soft texture of scrambled eggs, these are a delight. The green chilies should be cooked to crisp and make it unnecessary to be picked aside when eating. The curry leaves are a very important ingredient of the recipe, I did not have any(can you believe that?) so did not add them. Thanks mallugirl for pointing that out.

    1. 2 fillets of canned salmon broken loose into flakes with your fingers(if using fresh fish steam and then break them loose with your fingers)
    2. 1 Onion chopped very fine
    3. 8-10 green chillies chopped fine.
    4. 3 cloves garlic minced
    5. curry leaves 2 sprigs (more the better)
    6. seasonings: mustard seeds, cumin and optional fennel seeds

    1. In a pan heat oil and add the seasonings, followed by the green chilies and onions and saute till they are brown.
    2. If using canned no salt is needed otherwise add salt to the onions and mix
    2. Now add the salmon and mix well with the onions, cook for 6-8 minutes till it is heated through but don't let it get to dry.

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Cowpeas with butternut squash

    I read a review of "BRIGHT-SIDED How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America" by Barbara Ehrenreich, how true I thought to myself. I will read the book and share :)

    Pumpkin has never been one of my favorite vegetables,especially the pumpkins that are available here during Halloween. There are very different in texture from the pumpkins that I was used to in India which were soft when cooked and mildly sweet. When I complained to a friend about the pumpkins here she asked to add a few tsps of sugar. But no amount of sugar was able to fix the stringy texture, until a chance encounter with butternut squash. It was the answer to the pumpkin prayer and has been a regular ever since. Never experimented much with it and have been quite satisfied with stir fry and the occasional sambhar. This was until it was paired with beans, let me tell you they are a perfect match. The nutty beans and the soft squash, you have to experience it. The trick though is not to overcook the beans. But that is never a problem with cow peas.

    Cowpeas with brinjals is an all time favorite. The recipe is here. With rice and a dash of ghee mmmmm. Paired with butternut squash it does not disappoint. This dish can be used as a side for chapatis but I usually do not add tamarind.

    This will be going off to Sra for MLLA-17.

    Cowpeas with butternut squash
    1. 2 cups of diced butternut squash (substitute with any squash/pumpkin)
    2. 1 cup of cowpeas cooked (pressure cook for 3 whistles with twice the amount of water) or any beans
    3. 1/2 medium red onion chopped (2 tbsps)
    4. 2-3 green chilies slit
    5. 3-4 garlic cloves - whole
    6. 2 tomatoes chopped fine
    7. seasonings: mustard seeds, curry leaves
    8. 1 tbsp sambhar powder or the masala paste

    For the masala paste
    1. 1 tbsp onion chopped
    2. 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
    3. 1 tbsp coconut
    4. 3-4 red chilies
    5. a few pepper corns
    6. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

    saute the onions with a bit of oil, add the other ingredients other than coconut and let them saute for a few minutes. Add the coconut and give a good mix.
    Cool and blend to a paste.

    1. In a pan, heat oil and add the seasonings and then saute the onions till soft.
    2. Add the garlic and green chilies and let them saute for a minute
    3. Add the tomatoes and squash saute till tomatoes are soft.
    4. Now add the cowpeas the masala paste or sambhar powder and a cup of water and salt and let simmer till desired consistency is reached, about 8-10 minutes

    Serve with rice or any Indian bread.

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Potatoes & Bell Pepper subzi

    It is so easy to fall of the wagon where exercising is concerned or for that matter anything that is done out of no compulsion I guess. I missed it for a couple of weeks because of the kiddies sickness and I had to battle the 'take it easy' vs 'good for you' forces. I have vaxed eloquent about the benefits of the morning exercise and I know this idling is no good. Daily exercise keeps the spirits high, gives more energy to get through the daily stuff so it is shameful that I have been giving into the take it easy forces. Well now, I think I am back on the track wagon. Doing it rather than thinking about it too much is what worked best. After a couple of days I have started to realize how good it really is and how important.

    So I understand all over again (never forgot in the first place) how difficult it is where food is concerned, where falling off the wagon is so much more easier. I read somewhere that junk foods are as addictive as drugs. So kids who get hooked on to the junky sugary stuff will find it very hard to detox. I should know. Here is my daily indulgence: 3-4 almond roca (have you tasted those? they are so damn addictive!), couple of cookies (shortbread or Oreos or anything else the kiddies have lying around) and a small cup of ice cream or a piece of cake. It is more or less the same for the kiddies as well but they don't get the almond roca, they eat their Halloween loot. Somedays I eat a bit more on somedays a bit less but I don't feel like a loser if I am active. Any activity be it walking or swimming compensates for the sweet stuff lack of which makes it real heavy. I need both to keep my equilibrium.

    What is your indulgence and how do you keep your equilibrium?

    I had a colleague who never mixed potatoes with rice or wheat, according to him that would be overdose of carbs. It is true but I tend to not follow it at all it seems , the side dishes I most love are the ones with potatoes in it. The semi dry kind of dishes that go well with rotis, usually have potatoes in them. This potatoes and bell pepper combination was done as a side for chapatis. The resulting texture is what I thought the name subzi symbolizes. I always thought that subzi meant a semi-dry side dish or does it mean any side dish. Is that true or is it a figment of my imagination? (you will all recognize here that I am Hindi challenged)

    Potatoes and bell pepper subzi
    1. 4-5 Medium sized potatoes (I used red potatoes) boiled till tender
    2. 2 bell pepper diced (strips would work too)
    3. 1/2 tbsp sambhar powder (or red chili powder)
    4. 1 tsp amchur powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder
    5. 1/2 Onion sliced, slightly thick slices
    6. salt to taste
    7. seasonings: mustard and cumin seeds (optional)
    8. 2 tsp oil

    1. Boil the potatoes till tender and cut into cubes or wedges
    2. Heat a wide mouthed pan and heat oil, add the seasonings followed by the onions and saute for a few minutes.
    3. Add the bell pepper and saute till the bell pepper is half cooked
    4. Add the potatoes, the spice powders and salt - turmeric, amchur and sambhar
    5. Give it a good mix, sprinkle about 3 tbsp of water, close the lid and let cook for 5-8 minutes.

    Note: If you want it very dry, do not add water and do not close the lid.

    Serve with rotis or side for any rice dish.

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Butternut Squash Velvet

    Today is the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street the much beloved program I bet, not just in our house but millions more. When I found a good day to start introducing DD to the English alphabets, was very surprised to find out that she already knew and could recognize most of the alphabets and I did not have to work hard at all. Thanks to Sesame Street of course. I know for sure, Sesame Street can teach adults a thing or two as well. What still attracts me most to the show is, the child like wonder that all the characters in the show exhibit. A reminder a great one for adults, to recreate the child like wonder, especially the cynical ones like yours truly.

    Why as adults do we lose this wonder in the world around us and become cynical? The glass is half empty as opposed to half full attitude. I am trying hard to stay on the side of the glass is half full. But the road to that destination is littered with obstacles, like this episode. A few months ago DD took a test, an entrance test if you may for a middle school program , the test while content wise not overly challenging is very time critical. DD is the laid back, calm and not easily excitable test taker fortunately unlike her mom. The fear is she takes things a little too easy. When she came out of the test center all excited that she got to 48/50 questions, the cynical me asked her why she did not finish the 2 remaining ones :( I could see her enthusiasm deflate like a pin in a balloon. The damage was done. I try hard to keep this incident in mind when I start to get excited or anxious about her laid back attitude towards most matters. We all know the detrimental effects of what pressure adds to performance. The anxiety, probably a single most quality that differentiates winners from failures. So the attitude she has is probably a strength rather than a weakness. Thoughts folks?

    The more I pay attention the more I learn that kids can teach a few gems about living life to adults. Rather than adults teaching kids about life the reverse holds more value. The eternal optimism, the anything is possible attitude, I can DO it confidence, seeing the positive side in any situation are all qualities that kids have in large quantities and from whom we can sure learn. The fairness in a situation, empathy - qualities that are very simple as children take on a more nuanced meaning when we get older. The world might be a better place if we kept things simpler perhaps.

    So my motto for life is live life like a kid and sleep like a baby :) If you are curious, DD did make it into the program.

    Now to the recipe,
    Butternut squash is a favorite one in our house but other than the stir fry not many recipes that I regularly cook which use it as a main ingredient. I saw butternut Squash velvet recipe on Jacques Pepin show. I have never used leeks in my cooking either. The recipe was very easy and seemed a perfect one for a chilly evening. The soup I made for thick but make it as thick or thin as would like.

    Note: Cleaning the leeks
    Leeks are dirty and needs to washed thoroughly for getting out the dirt. If you watch the video notice the tips that Pepin gives for washing the leeks, slice the leeks lengthwise on the four sides, fan it out and wash under running water.

    Recipe Source:
    Jacques Pepin - TV Show

    Butternut squash velvet
    1. 4 cups of chopped butternut squash
    2. 4 leeks cleaned and chopped (remove only the tough green part, both white and green parts can be used)
    3. 1/4 onion sliced
    4. 3 tsp of butter or olive oil
    5. 2 tsp of black pepper (adjust to taste)
    6. 1 tsp of red chili powder (optional)
    7. salt to taste
    8. 3 cups of low sodium chicken stock (substitute with water for a vegetarian version)
    9. sour cream for garnish
    10. almonds or pistachios for garnish

    1. In a thick bottom pan, heat the butter, add the onions and leeks and let them saute for a few minutes.
    2. Add the squash, 1 tsp of pepper and saute for a minute more.
    3. Now add the chicken stock, close the lid and cook for 10-15 minutes till the squash is soft.
    4. add salt, the chili powder and remaining pepper powder, taste and let boil for a minute more.
    5. Let cool and blend in a blender or using a hand held blender

    6. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and crushed nuts on top.

    The sweetness from the squash and the slightly pungent taste from the leeks along with the creamy sour cream made for a delicious soup.

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Baby Potatoes in a tomato sauce

    Whatever my parents did or did not do, they did do one thing definitely right. Never was I made to feel in words or action that there was something I could not do because I was female. DH of course has his opinions on many other things they did wrong but we won't go there now. They pretty much let me do most reasonable things I wanted to. I know for sure not everyone was that lucky. A few incidents now and then will pique my interest in the subject and make me think of my upbringing.

    When Larry Summers made the infamous speech about the inability of women to excel in science and math, naturally I was turned off but started to wonder if there was any truth to it. If indeed this was probably true, a smart thing for me would be not to drive DDs to excel in math or science. Why fight something that was never intended to be. Often repeated statements like "she reads and writes so well, but of course she is a girl, they are very good at that" and "he is so quick in math and can fix anything, see he is a boy" while stereotypical have programmed parents to parent a girl and boy in certain ways, though I would suspect mostly unconsciously. I have no way of testing for myself I only have 2 of the same kind but those who have a boy and girl may be you can do a test on yourself to find out.

    When I came across a review for the book Pink Brain Blue Brain by Lise Eliot in Newsweek I was intrigued enough to buy it. It is not a fun book to read but was well worth the time spent. It offers enough scientific basis to dispel myths about the innate differences between boys and girls. Nurture more than nature plays a very important role in determining outcomes. The male and female brain do not come programmed with any predetermined behaviors. Most of it learned. We all know that culture, family circumstances, expectations all play a role in determining what becomes of those pink and blue babies. Also it is easy to forget the difficulties that parents whose babies do not fall into these neat stereotypes face everyday.

    Parents would do better by encouraging pink babies to excel in math and science, be active and do intricate fixing with their hands. They sure can do it. As for the blue babies reading and talking to them as much as possible while encouraging them to read, write and draw will do a world of good. These sure are skills that they can learn and excel just like their pink counterparts have learned to do skillfully.

    Moving on to the recipe,

    If I come across a recipe with potatoes I never bookmark them, I try them out almost immediately and that is what I did when I saw this recipe. Looked fantastic and as for the recipe nothing can be simpler than that.

    Did you know that star anise is the main ingredient in tamiflu? My mother gave me a recipe and mentioned the fact. The last few days the fever has been doing the rounds in our house. So the addition of star anise in this recipe is because of that but it did give a very pleasant aroma and added to the taste.

    Baby Potatoes in tomato sauce
    1. 15 baby potatoes scrubbed cleaned, boiled, peeled, pricked with a fork and set aside
    2. 3 roma tomatoes chopped roughly - 1 1/2 cups worth
    3. 2 tbsp red onion chopped fine
    4. 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
    5. seasonings : cumin seeds, curry leaves
    6. 1/2 tamarind pulp from a small lime sized tamarind
    7. 4 garlic cloves toasted slightly in oil
    8. salt to taste
    9. 2 tsp oil

    To blend
    1. 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
    2. 2 tsp cumin seeds
    3. 1 star anise

    Powder the above first and then add the toasted garlic cloves and chopped tomatoes and make a smooth paste.

    1. In a wide mouthed pan heat oil and add the cumin seeds and curry leaves
    2. Add the onion and saute till they are brown.
    3. Add the tomato mixture, tamarind pulp and let it cook for 10-15 minutes till the raw smell from the tomatoes is completely gone.
    4. Now add the potatoes, salt and coriander leaves and mix so they are well coated and let cook for 5-8 minutes.

    Serve with chapatis or rice.

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    Dry chicken fry with bell pepper and rotisserie chicken

    It was one of those days, the pending grocery shopping had to be completed. A new Costco(a warehouse membership store) member (or for that matter an old one as well) can understand our need to visit the place at least once a week. I walk down the aisles taking in the new products, more than buying but that doesn't matter. The huge packets are way more than we can finish even in a year or even couple of years. The Dijon mustard in the fridge reminds me of the fact everyday with another one sitting in the pantry unopened. The rotisserie chicken though is a different matter, just the right size for a family of four if you decide to eat just chicken.

    After the juicy fatty portions were consumed the breast got left behind. Not to worry, 2 recipes Sailu's Capsicum Chicken and Soma's Mushroom Pepper Fry have been tempting me and also gave ideas for using the bell pepper ready for picking in the garden.

    Since the chicken was already cooked putting this dish together was a breeze. If you are using raw chicken, cut the chicken to cubes and marinate them in a bit of corn starch, chili powder and salt. Heat a wok with oil and cook the chicken first and set it aside before proceeding with the recipe.

    Chicken fry with bell pepper
    1. 1 1/2 cups worth of cooked chicken cut in cubes
    2. 2 cups bell pepper diced
    3. 1/2 cup onion cut lengthwise
    4. 1 tbsp tomato, chili garlic sauce (Maggi brand)
    5. 1 tbsp chili sauce
    6. 2 tsp oil
    7. 4 garlic cloves sliced
    8. 2 tsp grated ginger

    1. In a wok heat the oil and saute the onions till translucent, add the bell peppers and let them cook till soft.
    2. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for a minute or two
    3. Add the chicken cubes and let them saute for 2-3 minutes
    4. Add the sauces and mix well. Saute till the sauces coat the chicken pieces well.

    Serve with rice or even chapatis.