Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Green chutney - for idlis

The ingredients for the green chutney

Green chutney- all ready to be eaten
There are different kinds of chutneys in Indian cuisine. This is one of my favorite that I like with my idlis/dosas/meduvadas. I think I like it because this chutney is so versatile. It tastes good with anything and everything. I think my sambar and idlis/dosas turn out like my mom's, so whenever I make this chutney, its the missing piece which completes my entire ensemble and reminds me of my mom's cooking.
My mom tempers this chutney bbut many times I dont. So I guess thats the main difference.
1 cup chivada dal
1/4 cup grated coconut
handful chopped and washed cilantro 3-4 green chillies, chopped
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds and little more
salt to taste
1 tsp jaggery or sugar
water for blending
Mix all the ingredients in a blender and blend well adding water little at a time. adjust according to the consistency. The chutney should taste little spicy with hint of sweetness because of jaggery. For additional drama and flavor temper with 2 tsp oil, pinch of asafoetida and 1 tsp mustard seeds.
Enjoy with idlis/dosas/medu vadas. This chutney doesnot keep well in the fridge for more than 2-3 days because of coconut and tastes best when fresh.

Pumpkin Raita

I have no idea how to cook red pumpkin. Except for this Raita and maybe pumpkin bread. I am sure there are other recipes though. My mom used to make this pumpkin raita as an addition to "vaalache birde". Vaal or bitterfield beans as they are know are kind of heavy and gaseous to digest. Pumpkin raita is a perfect complement to those lentils. Infact pumpkin raita is perfect with any main course that is heavy or spicy. This raita is slightly sweet to taste and light to digest. Btw S doesnot like this raita. I have no idea why. I think just because its pumkin thats why. But this dish is very easy to make and highly nutritious.
1 quarter of red pumpkin, but any other seasonal squash will do
1 cup yogurt
salt to taste
sugar to taste
2 green chillies
2 tsp clarified butter
1 tsp cumin
handful cilantro
De-seed and de-skin the pumpkin. chop into bite size pieces and cook them in pressure cooker or a big boiling pot of water till fork tender. If cooking in pressure cooker do not add any water. Remove and set aside at room temperature. Mix the yogurt, salt and sugar to taste. De-seed and mince the green chillies and add to the pumpkin mix. Mash everything coarsely. Tmper the mashed raita mix with hot clarified ghee and cumin seeds. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
Serve either at room temperature or better, cold.
Enjoy with spicy food. The raita should be kind of sweet to taste with little heat from chillies.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kheema Samosas / Minced Meat Samosas

Samosas before frying Samosas after frying ...and after a bite.

Hmm Kheema Samosas. Anything nonveg is welcome at my place. But this was so awesome that S just finished up everything. I had to steal his plate to take a picture. This samosas are really very smalls and can be classified as cocktail samosas. Perfect for a gathering. But it does take a long time to make these. Ofcourse there is appreciation at the end. And the best part is duckie loved them too!!! They were a little spicy for him, but you know how it is with kids and nonveg food. Even if it is spicy he will eat it. But give him spicy veg food- he hates it.:) I read somewhere that you can also freeze these samosas. Just fry them till light brown and when cold, ziplock them and pop it in the freezer. Wouldn't that be great? I have to give it a try sometime. For this I used minced lamb meat marinated few days earlier.
I remember my mom trying to make kheema samosas once...a long time ago..She couldnt get the pastry puff right, but they were awesome just because she made them:) So mamma, this one's for you.:)

1lb minced meat either chicken or goat or even beef will do.
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
salt to taste
1 medium onion.
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
handful chopped cilantro
4 tsp oil for cooking

for the pastry cover:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sooji (wheat creamlets)
salt to taste
1 tsp ajwain
1 tsp hot oil while kneading.

Oil for frying samosas.

Wash the minced meat properly. Dice the onion. Heat oil in kadai. When hot, add onions to it and fry till cooked/golden brown. Then add minced meat and rest of the ingredients and cook till the meat is tender. If any water is there, then cook on low flame till the water evaporates and the meat is dry. Let the mix cool. Garnish with cilantro.
Mix whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and sooji together with ajwain, salt, and oil. Add water as required and knead properly. Cover it and let it rest for 15-20 mins.
Take a small portion of the dough and divide it into 2 balls. Roll out one ball into a small pancake / puri size circle. At the same tme warm up a frying pan. Roast one side of the puri on the frying pan. This is done so that the samosas cook from inside too, because sometimes while frying, they remain raw from inside. But this takes some work, the next time I am going to fry it directly on high heat and lets see how it works out. For now, I will stick to pre-raosting and post-frying.
Divide this into 2 portions (2 semi circles). Take one half of the semi circle. Fold it into a cone, seal the edges of the cone, make sure that the roasted side is inside. Fill up little minced meat inside the cone and seal it completely. Complete all the samosas this way. It takes a little time, but it is definetly worth it.
Heat up wok with oil in it and fry all the samosas on medium heat. The inside has to get cooked too. Serve hot with ketchup or mint chutney.

Potato bhaji for Fasting

Duckie loves this potato bhaji!!!

This is a very easy potato bhaaji to make. Ingredients like peanuts, cumin seeds, cilantro, green chillies, coconut, clarified butter (ghee), apart from the usual potato make this very wholesome ( by this I mean contains carbs, proteins, vitamins) and perfect for fasting. But at my place we eat it with plain chappatis too. This is a perfect blend of spice-sweetness-saltiness and a potato lover's ( S, my husband's) delight.
Thanks to my MIL for this recipe,

2 Large potatoes
1/2 cup roasted coarse peanut powder
4-5 green chillies minced finely-remove the seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
handful cilantro-washed and chopped
3-4 tsp clarified butter
salt to taste
sugar to taste

Pressure cook the potatoes till tender. De-skin them and chop them into medium pieces. Apply salt and sugar per taste to this. Add peanut powder and minced chillies to the potatoes. Heat a large heavy bottom pan and add clarified butter to it. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and when they start sputtering add the entire potato mix to the pot. Mix well. Then add coconut to this and mix well again. Cover and let it cook till it steams. Turn of the gas and garnish with cilantro. Serve hot with chappatis or even as it is. Top with cold yogurt to balance the heat of the chillies.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

The veggies in the skillet

The veggies and white sauce bubbling together merrily

The final product...Awesome Chicken Pot Pie

Apple pie, hot dogs, and then Chicken Pot Pie. Thats the American food that i know of. I had heard so much about chicken pot pie that i wanted to try it out for myself. Instead of getting any packaged stuff or ordering in a restaurant, I just thought it would be much easier if I made it. I had seen a show on foodnetwork which focussed on chicken pot pie. I went to the website, found the original recipe and tweaked it a little to suit my taste. The end result was as good, if not better and the best part - both S and duckie loved it. This dish is very hearty and filling and perfect on a cold winter night. This is a very "American" dish and I absoultely loved it.

I made this dish in a hurry...we were on our way to Michigan. I wasnt even going to make this dish but S saw the google window I had opened and decided to postpone the road trip for few hours just to eat this dish:)

The original recipe is here .


Dipti's Chicken Pot Pie

1 sheet frozen Puff pastry
4 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 roasted chicken ( I used rotisserie chicken from Meijer)
1 small yellow onion thinly sliced
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Salt to taste
1 tsp All purpose mcormick seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup whole milk
1can chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cups peas - blanched
3/4 cups carrots- blnched
3/4 cups celery - blanched
handful pearl onions blanched
8-10 mushrooms.
1 egg well beaten for eagg wash
Thaw the pastry sheet to directions. Preheat the oven to 425F.
Heat up a large skillet and add the olive oil. Add the sliced onion to this and stirfry for few mins. Add the mushrooms and cook till the liquid from mushrooms disappears. Then add all the veggies and stir fry for few mins. Then add the shredded chicken to this. Add salt and pepper.
Take a large pot. add the chicken stock to this, and let it boil. when it reduces a little add the cream and milk. Let it simmer for few mins. Then add the all purpose flour to this and let it become thick and bubbly. Add the all purpose seasoning to this. If you have any fresh herbs then add those instead of the seasoning. Pour this sauce mixture over the chicken-veggies mix and blend well. Let it rest for few mins. Take a baking dish and pur the entire pie filling in this.
Lay the pastry puff sheet on top and close the ends well. brush the egg wash on the top of the sheet and pierce the top with a fork for steam to escape.
Bake in the oven till the pastry sheet is golden - brown. Let the pie cool for 15-20 mins.
Cut into portions and serve "hot"

Tiny Idlis

I had gone to my friend's place for lunch sometime ago. She had promised to make something special just for me. She made the usual idli sambar and chutney, but with a little surprise. She made small idlis instead of the big ones. My duckie loved them so much. He just gobbled up a few of them as it is.
I immediately asked my in-laws to get the idli stand when visiting us. So now I have a small idli stand and I just love it. The tiny idlis are a sure hit with the kids. The elders love them too because one idli is same as one bite.
1 cup split urad dal
2 cups Idli rava
salt to taste
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds for fermentation

Soak urad dal and idli rava overnight seperatetly. Add the fenugreek seeds to urad dal while soaking. Next day, drain all the water from the urad dal and blend it in a blender to turn it into a batter. The batter should not be too thin. The consistency should be like pancake batter. Make sure that the batter is very fine to touch and dosenot have any remanants of urad dal. Drain the water from idli rava and keep aside. Add the urad dal batter to this and mix well. Add salt to taste. Let this idli batter ferment overnight. The batter usually rises to twice the size when well fermented.
If the weather is cold, turn on the oven to 200F for few mins and then keep the batter in the oven overnight.
When making idlis, make sure that the idli stand is clean. Apply a little oil on the inside of the stand. Pour the batter in this. Heat up a big pot or pressure cooker with little water in it. Put the idli stand in the pot and let the idlis steam. Small idlis take very few mins to cook. Test if the idlis are done with a fork, it should be clean when removed.
Serve the idlis hot with chutney or sambar.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Good Crustacean

I love sea food in general, but back home crustaceans were an important part of my diet. Shrimp, Prawns, Crabs, Clams (though I am not sure if clams are classified as crustaceans, i love them) and Dried shrimp. There is one more variety of shrimp called as "karandi" in marathi. This variety is actually smaller than shrimp can makes tasty curry, fritters and pattice. There is even one more smaller variety of shrimp called as "zavala". This variety is so tiny that there is no way you can remove the shell or anything else. The only option is to eat it whole (eyes and all) But the shell is so soft and the fish so tasty that you wont even feel anything whle biting. There is no aftertaste as such. These make very very tasty curry, fritters and dry gravy kind of entree.
The reason I am inclined to write this blog is, being a sea food lover and being restricted here in the US by the variety of fish (salmon and tilapia are good but the fish from Arabian Sea are more tasty), the minute I find good quality Indian fish I am excited and salivating by the mere thought of curry and fried fish. Today in our local market I found some good quality head-on, tail-on, the whole shell on- tiger prawns. I had seen them before but wasnt sure if they would taste as good as my beloved Indian prawns. But this time, I decided to be a little daring and buy some and make curry.
I got home, put the kid to bed and rolled up my sleeves and got to work. Cleaning, de-veining, washing, marinating, ...I was in crustacean heaven. All the time I was thinking of the possiblities of the prawns. Curry?? Biryani??? Fried Prawns?? Sukka Prawns??? Prawns Koliwada????? mmmmm...But at the back of my mind there is still a teen-weeny doubt about the taste. And mind you I am a very good cook when it comes to fish, but somehow the farm raised prawns here do not make good curry as back home.
So the prawns are marinated and in the freezer rightnow. I have deciede to make curry and some fried prawns. S loves them. I have kept the head on the prawns( removed the eyes and the eeeky parts). This gives a different flavor to the curry. Lets see what happens. Will definitely write about it. I can just smell the curry and hot chappatis and rice right now. Hope it turns out the way my mom makes them
Hope they are The Good Crustacean.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Peanut curry

This recipe was lying around in my drafts folder for a long time. Along with many other recipes, of course. Then I came across the JFI - Peanuts at Cook's Hideout. This is the first time I am submitting my recipe. JFI is started by Indira of http://www.themahanandi.org/
This type of peanut curry is prepared mainly during fasting. I consider fasting as a feast because though you abstain from regular food, there are certain kinds of food which you can make and enjoy. Peanut and buttermilk are the base for this curry with tempering of clarified butter( you can use oil but tastes better with ghee) and cumin.


1 cup roasted peanuts, skin removed, coarsely ground
1 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp red chilli powder- more if you dare
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
1 cup water
salt to taste
sugar to taste
cilantro for garnishing
3 tsp clarified butter (ghee)
1 tsp cumin seeds
Blend all the ingredients from roasted peanuts to sugar in a blender and blend well.
The consistency of curry shouldnt be too thick but kind of like rasam. Add more water if needed.
Heat a pot and add the peanut curry base to it. Heat separately another pot for tempering. Add clarified butter to it and when hot enough add the cumin seeds. When the seeds start sputtering, add the tempered butter to the peanut curry base. Mix well. Let it simmer a little and then turn off the gas. Do not let it boil too much because this causes the yogurt to separate out. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with Upaas potato bhaaji or "vari cha rice ".
This curry is rich in proteins and calcium. The final taste should be a yougurty-spicy curry with hint of salt and aftertaste of sugar.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Harayali Chicken Tikka

This is not a great picture. I was in a hurry to grill this skewer:)
But the chicken tasted great:) This is an easy recipe. I had this kababs first at a place in Pune. A puree of spinach, mint and cilantro with few green chillies for heat gives it an excellent taste. There are no complex masalas used so you can be sure of the taste each time you make it.
1 lb boneless breast chicken
few sprigs mint
some cilantro
bunch of spinach
3-4 green chillies
salt to taste
ginger-garlic paste
2 tsp yogurt
2 tsp oil for marinating
Wash, clean and cut the chicken into small pieces. Blend mint, cilantro, spinach, green chillies, ginger-garlic paste and yogurt together to get a smoot marinade. MIx this with the chicken. Add salt and oil to this chicken. Refrigerate for atleast 1 hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 350f. You can skewer this chicken and grill them in the oven or just bake them on a steel plate( the one you have at home works) Cook the chicken for 20-25 mins till the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink inside. Broil it for 5-7 mins for the charcoal flavor. Keep a close eye on it.
Serve this warm with mint chutney garnished with onions.

Lamb liver cooked to perfection:)

I know...When people think of liver EWWWWW is what comes to mind. But not in our household. Liver is a rich source of iron and most of the people in my household love this simple dish. Mind you I said "most".
This dish is a "dry" appetizer, but my son loves to eat it with chappati. S loves to eat it as it is. At my mom's place a delicious curry is made instead of the appetizer.
This recipe is very simple to make once you get over the queasiness of it.
1 lb lamb liver or goat will do. Salt to taste.
Black pepper to taste
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
clarified butter for frying/cooking

Wash, clean and cut the liver into small bite size pieces. marinate with salt and pepper and ginger-garlic paste. Heat a kadai on medium flame. Once hot, add ghee to it. Then add the liver pieces to it and stir it well. Keep on stirring till the ghee separates from it and the juices run clear. The meat is well cooked when it is no longer pink inside. Fry for few more mimnute if you want the meat to be extra well done.
Serve hot immediately. This can be eaten as it is or served dry with chappati.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

been a long time

I know its been a long time since I posted any recipes. But I hope to post few right away (by that i mean in upcoming days). Look forward to my new kababs, Samosas. I have new pasta recipes that i want to post. I have tried out few desser recipes that i will post soon.