Friday, January 30, 2009

Chow Chow

My husband always tries to prove that I (Konkanis, in general) have some Chinese connection !! Konkani is spoken with a very nasal twang and lots of words sound very Chinese to a lay person.
Out of curiousity, I googled on this word "ChowChow" before I started writing this post. I googled more to find out if this was the way its spelt, because this recipe doesnt feature in any recipe books, not even Rasachandrika (The bible for Saraswat cooking) and guess what the first result was for a breed of dogs found in Mongolia and China !!

chow chow
15/8/12 This pic is an updated one. I seem to have all photos that I uploaded directly into blogger :(

Chow chow is also the name of a vegetable in Kannada - I am not sure of the English equivalent, but its known as Bangalore Kathrikai in Tamil. This recipe has nothing to do with the dogs or this vegetable.

Its a medley of potaoes, beans, carrots and bell peppers in a spicy-tangy dry masala. This is a favourite at Ma's place.

What you need -

3 carrots
2 potatoes
2 green bell peppers
10 french beans (I didnt have these at home, so eliminated it)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp pepper corns
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 heaped teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
juice of 1 lemon

What you do with it -

Cut the vegetables into bite size pieces
Roast the cut bell peppers.
Parboil the potatoes, carrots and beans
Roast the pepper corns, mustard and fenugreek seeds and powder it
In a kadai, heat 2 tsps of oil and add chilli powder, turmeric powder and the dry masala
Add the vegetables and mix well
Add salt and lemon juice

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tomato Omelette

This is an omelette without egg !! I don't why its called an omelette, but that really doesn't matter, because its really simple, fast and tasty.
Its one of those quick-fix dosas. I make a whole lot of these easy, non-fussy dosas where there is no need to soak, grind, ferment...just mix ingredients and you're all set.

This morning, I was bored of the usual oats / cereal drill, and remembered that I hadn't made tomato omelettes in a real long time.
I have always had this at home, but there was this one time that I had it in a 'Kamath' restuarant. For the uninitiated, this is a very popular chain of resturants down south, especially in Karnataka - non-fussy, clean, vegetarian, total value for money resturants. At this Kamath restuarant in Bangalore, they serve tomato omelette with toast and tomato ketchup. That was the first time I had it with ketchup and it was actually a very nice combination.

At home, I usually have it with ketchup, coriander chutney or molaga podi

tomato omelette

Sending this entry to JFI chickpea hosted by ms of Sometime Foodie and to FIC - Yellow hosed by sunshinemom of Tongueticklers

What you need -
(this is for about 8 omelettes)

2 cups besan (chick pea flour)
1/2 cup rava (semolina)
3 tomatoes chopped
1 onion chopped
1/2 cup coriander leaves chopped
2 green chillies chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder

What you do with it -

Mix the besan and rava in enough water to make a thickish batter
Add the other ingredients and mix well
Add a teaspoon (or less) oil on a tava and spread the batter starting from the outside. Swirl the tava around to get the batter to move and fill in the gaps
Cover till it turns brown on one side
Flip over and fry till done
Serve with ketchup / green chutney / raita / garlic chutney or molaga podi

Monday, January 26, 2009

Puli Kulambu

Chettinad cuisine is more famous for their non vegetarian food, but they do have a nice vegetarian spread too, which is rather spicy and tangy.
Tamarind and a whole lot of spices are some of the more important ingredients in this type of cooking.

S's maternal grandfather is from Chettinad. There is this really palatial ancestral house in Karaikudi, (which is considered as the capital of Chettinad) that he (the grandfather) was from, but had to leave because he chose to marry someone from another community.
A few years back, we were down in Karikudi for a wedding and it was a very different experience. All the women from the bride's side of the family were in green coloured heavy silk sarees and the ones from the groom's side were in red. This was the first time i has seen something like this at an Indian wedding, which otherwise has no colour code!

Chettiars were originally into money-lending, trading and even famous as diamond merchants down south. The diamond merchant bit was quite obvious at this wedding we attended. The women were decked with rows of diamond necklaces !!
The food was simply fantastic. The day after the wedding they have this whole non-vegetarian spread and they dont stop at just mutton, chicken and fish. Their cuisine includes a lot of other meat, the details of which I will skip for the sake of all the vegetarians reading this..

One of the really tangy vegetarian dishes is the Puli Kulambu (tamarind gravy)
This recipe is from Mallika Badrinath's "Classic Lunch Recipes"

Sending this entry to RCI: Chettinadu Vegetarian Cuisine hosted this month by Srimathi of Few Minute Wonders

What you need -

1/2 cup small onions peeled (1 regular onion would also do)
10 cloves of garlic
2-3 tsps of sambar powder
2 tomatoes chopped fine
tamarind the size of a medium lemon (or more if you like it really tangy)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
10-12 onion vadams (i used the readymade vadams for this)
10-12 curry leaves

What you do with it -

Soak tamarind in water for about 1/2 hour and extract juice
Heat oil in a broad frying pan and add fennel and fenugreek, chopped garlic, onions and curry leaves
Fry till onions are translucent and add chopped tomatoes
Stir till the tomatoes get pulpy
Add sambar powder, fry for a minute and then pour tamarind extract with 1 cup water
Add salt and boil till thick. Add more water if needed
Deep fry the vadams in oil till golden brown
Add to gravy and wait for one boil
Serve with hot rice and appalams

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tacos with kidney beans, Salsa and Rice

People in Ahmedabad simply love eating out. I said the same about Bangalore, but here the queues outside every type of restaurant, especially on weekends is simply mind boggling.

Be it a Gurarati thali, Punjabi, Multi Cusine, South Indian, every single restaurant has people pouring in.
This city is largely vegetarian (the first vegetarian Pizza Hut is in Ahmedabad !!) but there are some really nice non vegetarian joints too.

mexican meal
Pic taken much later with slight changes to the recipe and made mango salsa instead of a tomato salsa

Mexican food is one such favorite here and almost every dish has kidney beans (rajma) with a lot of ketchup in it.
I know it doesnt sound exactly tempting, but it actually can taste good, like I discovered.
I must admit I havent had too much of that here, but decided on making my vegetarian Mexican dinner tonight.
Turned out quite delicious and didnt leave you with that stuffed feeling...

Here's my Mexican dinner - Tacos with kidney beans, Salsa and Rice

What you need -
12 Taco shells (got the ones made out of corn here)
2 cups kidney beans (soaked overnight and cooked)
2 large tomatoes pureed
3 cloves garlic
1 onion chopped
oregano, salt and pepper to taste
chilli garlic sauce
1 big cup shredded cabbage, green bell pepper, onion
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 cup grated cheese
What you do with it -
Heat oil in a pan and add garlic, onion and fry for a while
Add the tomato puree, oregano, salt and pepper
Add the kidney beans and mash a bit
Cook till done
On the taco shells, spread a tsp of the tomato ketchup and chilli garlic sauce
Then add a layer of the kidney bean mash
Sprinkle the shredded cabbage, green bell pepper and onion
Top with grated cheese

Salsa Sauce
What you need -
2 large tomatoes chopped fine
1 onion chopped fine
1 cucumber chooped fine
1/2 green bell pepper chopped fine
2 green chillies chopped fine
salt and pepper
juice of 1 lemon
few coriander leaves chopped
1 tbsp tomato ketchp
1 tbsp chilli garlic sauce
What you do with it -
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and keep in the refrigerator

What you need -
1 cup long grained rice
4 cloves garlic
2 onions chopped
2 tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup shelled corn
1 large green bell pepper chopped
3 red chillies cut fine
1 big green chilli
oregano, salt, pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
What you do with it -
In a large deep bottomed, add the olive oil and then the chopped red chillies
Add garlic, onions and rice
Fry till the rice turns golden
Add green bell pepper and fry for 3-4 mins
Add tomatoes, corn, salt, pepper and oregano and the green chilli
Add one cup of vegetable broth (or water, if broth is not available)
Cover and cook till done

Sending this recipe to Harvest - the festival of Rice hosted by Sudeshna
Serve tacos with rice and salsa

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lauki, chana dal with paanch phoron

Paanch phoron (five spices) is essentially a Bengali blend of 5 whole spices in equal quantities -
Fenugreek (methi), Nigella seed (kalonji), Mustard (rai), Fennel (saunf), Cumin (jeera)

A few years back, my mum was to go to Kolkatta for a wedding and, at that time, I didnt know what this panch phoron was all about, though I had read it in a few recipe books. Though most of the spices are used in my regular cooking, kalonji (nigella seeds) is something I had never used before. I dont think it features anywhere in South Indian cooking.
My mum asked her hosts there where she could buy 'panch phoron' and the lady there promptly gave her a box of this from her kitchen. I then picked up a bottle of mustard oil and started on a lot of Bengali cuisine and loved it.

This time I got a bit experimental and tried it with the usual lauki, chana dal combination.
The spices give a lovely aroma to the dish and this combination really worked for me.

What you need -

1/2 bottle gourd (lauki)
1/2 cup chana dal
1 onion
1 tomato
1 tbsp panch phoron
1 bay leaf
a pinch of turmeric powder
2 green chillies

What you do with it -

Chop onion and green chilli lengthwise. Chop the tomato
Peel bottle gourd and chop into bite size pieces
Soak chana dal in water for about an hour
Heat oil in a pressure pan and add the bay leaf and panch phoron mix
Add onion, green chillies, turmeric powder and fry till onions are translucent
Add chana dal and the bottle gourd pieces
Add tomatoes and salt
Add about 1/2 to 1 cup water and cook in the pressure pan

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ginger Potatoes

Potatoes are simply the easiest to cook with. I am a big fan of this tuber and can have it in any form. This was a staple in my cooking, but have started limiting it in the last couple of years.
Almost every cuisine has something made with potatoes. In Indian cuisine, every region has a different version of cooking with potatoes

My love affair with potatoes took a break when I got married and discovered that TH didn't like potatoes, It was beyond me to figure how a person did not like potatoes!
Thankfully, over the years, I have managed to convert him completely. He now longs for a simple potato sabji with his favourite rasam rice, when he's back from a long travel

This is the latest recipe from my Ma, which is simply superb.
Its got the sharp taste of ginger and the tangy flavour of the chaat masala

ginger potatoes
Aug '12: This is an updated picture, since I lost all my blogger pics

Ginger Potatoes

What you need -

15-20 baby potatoes
large piece of crushed ginger
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chilli powser
1 tsp chaat masala / amchur powder (dried mango powder)
salt to taste

What you do with it -

Boil water with salt in a large vessel
Scrub the potatoes well and poke them with a toothpick
Immerse in the boiling water
Allow it to cook slightly, for about 10 mins or so
In a deep bottomed pan, heat 2 tsps of oil
Add crushed ginger, cumin, cumin powder, chilli powder and salt
Mix well and add potatoes to this
Saute for about 7-8 mins till the potatoes are done
Sprinkle chaat masala and toss
Serve as an appetizer or with rice and dal

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Peppery Egg Curry

It was one of those cold boring evenings and my little son was asleep and TH wasn't back from work. This is always the best time to go blog-hopping. I always used to read up recipe books like a novel when I buy them, but now since I discovered the food blogging world, that is the best thing to do when I am bored and can't decide on what to make for dinner.

I hadn't made anything with eggs in a long time and was drooling over Sig's blog when I saw this pic of the Egg Roast. Her blog is a real visual treat and this I really couldn't give a miss.
I tweaked the recipe a bit, added some coconut milk so that it could go well with rice. It turned out real nice, peppery and spicy and was wiped out clean for dinner.

Here's my version - Peppery Egg Curry

What you need -

4 eggs
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp coriander powder
8-10 pepper corns
2 tsp aniseed
1" cinnamon
3 cloves
2 pods cardamom
4-5 pods garlic
3 medium onions chopped
2 tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
salt to taste

What you do with it -

Hard boil the eggs. Shell and cut in halves.
Grind together the chilli powder, coriander powder, pepper corns, aniseed, cinnamon, cloves, garlic with a little water to make a smooth paste
Heat oil, fry onions till brown
Add the masala paste and fry for 3 mins
Add tomatoes, salt and half a cup of water
Cook till the tomatoes blend well
Add coconut milk, stir well and adjust salt if needed
Add halved eggs.
Garnish with coriander leaves

Friday, January 16, 2009

Khatta Dhokla

Uttarayan (same day as Sankranti / Pongal) is celebrated with flying colourful kites here in Gujarat. Most people in the old city are up on their terraces the entire day flying kites and its like this big war zone, with people trying to cut each others kites and yelling away.
My son seemed to thoroughly enjoy all the noise and tried his hand at flying kites too.

Like any other Indian festival, food is the other big attraction. Undhiyo, jalebi and chikki are the Uttarayan favourites. We were invited for kite flying and lunch (of course) and it was a real treat.

I always liked Gujarati farsaan (snacky stuff, often served as part of a meal) and after coming here its been an overdose of eating all of it. Tried my hand at a few and not all were successes. A friend of mine here offered to teach me how to make 'khatta dhokla'.
There's also the khamman dhokla(which is more spongy and I have yet to learn that one)
This one is khatta dhokla, which is real easy and made from idli / dosa batter which is good for me because this is invariably available at home.
So all the credit goes to my dear friend Rupa who is a fabulous cook and loves to live in her kitchen.

Sending this in as an entry to FIC- Yellow hosted by sunshinemom of Tongueticklers.

What you need -

2 cups of idli / dosa batter (preferably 2-3 days old)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
a pinch of asafoetida
1/2 salt
1/2 tsp baking soda / eno (antacid powder)

For the seasoning -
1 tsp mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves
1 handful chopped coriander leaves

What you do with it -

Stir in the turmeric, chilli powder, salt and asafoetida to the idli / dosa batter
Add in the eno / baking soda and immediately transfer to a shallow dish and place in a steamer
You can sprinkle a little more chilli powder and coriander leaves on the dish
Allow to steam for 10-15 mins
Once its done, keep aside to cool and then cut into bite sized pieces
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, curry leaves and the dhokla pieces
Toss a bit and add coriander leaves
Serve with coriander/mint chutney

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hara chana (green chickpeas) with muthias

We were in Bombay two weeks back for a family get together and a cousin had invited us over for lunch. She had this absolutely wonderful spread laid out - a complete treat for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. And though I simply love fish (she made 3 varieties of that), i still gorged on this absolutely lovely dish of hara chana with muthias.

Muthias are little dumplings of besan / wheat flour with spices and greens or vegetables. These can be had steamed or fried.
Muthias are also an essential part of 'Undhiyo', a winter special dish of Gujarat.

When I got back to Ahmedabad, I found green chanas in abundance here in the markets, so quickly called her up to get the recipe. Its adapted from Tarla Dalal's 'Rotis and Subzis' and really doesnt take too long to make...

Tasty and healthy dish which is delicious with hot phulkas / rotis

Sending this to JFI-Chickpea hosted this month by dear ms of SometimeFoodie.
Read the JFI now and thought this fits in well. Jihva for Ingredients(JFI) is the wonderful creation of Indira of Mahanandi.
Also sending this to My Legume Love Affair - Seventh Helping, the brainchild of Susan, hosted this month by Srivalli.

What you need -

2 cups of fresh green chana (can use the dried ones soaked overnight)
1 onion
1/2 cup coconut milk

for the chutney -
a handful of coriander
4-5 green chillies
1/2 inch piece ginger
5-6 pods of garlic
a handful of chopped spinach leaves
juice of half a lemon

for the muthias -
1 cup methi(fenugreek) leaves chopped
1 cup of wheat flour
a pinch of hing(asafoetida)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp salt

What you do with it -

Boil the chana in hot water or cook in a pressure pan if the chana is not fresh.

Grind the ingredients mentioned for the chutney. Spinach leaves need not be blanched for this, just chop and blend with all the other ingredients.

Mix together all the ingredients mentioned for muthias. Add very little water so that the dough doesnt get too sticky.
Make small balls of this and deep fry in oil.

Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan. Add chopped onions and fry till they turn brown.
Add the chutney and then the chana.
Adjust salt. Cook for 4-5 mins.
Add coconut milk just before you take it off the stove.

Add the fried muthias 5 minutes before serving. That way it remins crisp and still gets the flavour of the curry. Keep it longer if you like it soft.

Serve hot with rotis / phulkas

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Potato Rosti & yellow bell peppers

Its getting pretty cold in ahmedabad these days and gets dark fairly early in the evenings. Was not in a mood to go out to buy vegetables and the only ones I had at home were yellow bell peppers, celery, tomatoes and of course the inevitable potatoes and onions.
Wanted to make something hot and nice but had to make do with what I had at home.
Looked thru my books and found this one by Tarla Dalal called 'TV meals' which listed easy to make quick meals.
It had one on 'Rosti with thai inspired vegetables' - I adapted that to make a rosti with fridge inspired vegetables...

Also made a soup with it and it turned out to be a nice hot comforting meal.

What you need -

For the Rosti
3-4 medium sized potatoes
2 tsps butter

For the topping
(you can use any combi of vegetables here, just listing what i used)
2 bell peppers
2 tomatoes
1 meduim sized onion chopped
red chilli flakes, tabasco sauce, olive oil

What you do with it -

In a pan, saute the onions in olive oil till they turn a little brown.
Add chopped peppers and tomatoes.
Sprinkle red chilli flakes and add a dash of tabasco sauce.
Garnish with chopped celery.

Parboil the potatoes with the skin on.
Peel and grate.
Mix lightly with a little salt (Dont mash it up)

In a flat pan, spread a little butter on the pan.
Take a big handful of the grated potato and make a pancake and place in the pan.
Roast on both sides with a little butter till it turns slightly brown.

Add the topping on this and serve hot.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year, new beginning...

Happy New Year people...

One of my resolutions for this year was to start on a food blog...I have been completely fascinated by this whole community of food blogging and thanks to Miri, a dear friend, who was my peephole into this community, I have finally managed to start on one.

We've moved from Bangalore to Ahmedabad about 6 months back...Was holed up in a company guest house where the cook wouldn't let me step into the kichen (there couldn't be a bigger punishment than that) make things worse, he had this 'one-size-fits-all' kind of masala which was stashed in the freezer and this would be used for every vegetable (deep fried beyond recognition) from a simple tendli to paneer...

On our lucky days, we would get egg burjee and veg biryani...the food was tasty but two days of the same stuff made me sick in the stomach...and we stayed there for 5 months, so you get the picture, right...I craved to cook and now finally,we've moved out to our apt and i have my kitchen to myself...yipeee...

Beans Popti

I guess this is called Popti because its so GREEN in colour. (Popat means parrot in Konkani / Marathi)
Five months of almost no coconut intake and a Mangalorean like me was suffering from withdrawal symptoms, so my first post had to be something that had coconut in it !

What you need -

1/2 kg french beans (tender ones are perfect)
2 onions chopped lengthwise
1/2 coconut dessicated
6-8 garlic pods
1/2" piece ginger
2 green chillies
1 cup coriander leaves chopped

What you do with it -

String the beans and chop into inch sized pieces.
In a kadai, heat a tsp of oil and add the chopped onions
Fry till translucent
Add beans, salt, 1/2 cup water and cover the kadai till the beans are cooked well.
Blend together the coconut, coriander, green chillies, ginger and garlic till its smooth.
Add this to the beans and cook for a bit. Add more salt if required.


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