Thursday, October 31, 2013

Carrots N Pomegranate Salad, Tempering Spices

This is a random post about two completely different sections of cooking. First is the Salad, I've heard that a combination of carrots and pomegranates are good for salads, tried it this time and really liked the combo! Just added a squeeze of lemon and freshly ground pepper and its ready to eat. I would recommend adding equal parts of both carrots and pomegranates for the sweet taste and crunchy carrots taste to be perfectly blended

Next is about tempering spices. I save the crushed pepper packets from the Papa Johns and use it in tempering for dishes and pasta, instead of red chillies. Trust me, it adds such a unique flavor. Made celery kootu today and tempered it with crushed peppers and crushed cumin seeds.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spicy Fried Rice - Using Sambal (Chilli Garlic Sauce)

Variety rice is very tricky to me. Lot of times, it ends up being dry. This is yet another attempt and came out nice and spicy! So, wanted to share the recipe with you all :)

Number of servings - 2 -3
Mixed vegetables - 1 cup (I used celery, colored bell peppers, carrots)
Onion - 1 chopped
Pepper - freshly ground
Ginger Garlic - 1 spoon freshly shredded
Sambal or chilli garlic sauce - 1 spoon (I got this from Target, but you can get it in most grocery shops. Can be made at home by soaking red chillies and making a paste along with the soaked water,garlic) - This is the main source of the spiciness (kaaram), so adjust it to your taste.
Tomato Ketchup - 1/2 spoon
Olive oil

Basmati rice - 1 cup
Water - 1 and 1/2 cups

  • Heat oil in a wok, add the onions and ginger garlic shredded and saute well
  • Add the vegetables and saute well and add freshly ground pepper and salt
  • Add the sauce and ketchup and saute well
  • Add the sauteed vegetables to the rice and water and cook it in the rice cooker
Note - I totally forgot to temper any spices!. But, next time sure will :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Plantain Masala - Chettinad Style

In Chettinad, when a marriage is fixed, the whole kitchen area along with groceries, spices, cooking, etc is called "UKKRANAM" and a person is put in charge of the whole area and items. I got this recipe from the "ukkranathu akka" (the person in charge during our marriage) :) I like plantain very much and this is such a yummy, spicy way to cook it.

This was the lunch I made recently for a occasion, I hope you can locate the plantain masala !

Number of Servings - 2
Plantain - 1 (Peeled and cut in to long slices)
Onion - 1 chopped
Tomato - 1 chopped
Red chilli powder

To Paste:
Coconut - 1 spoon
Garlic - 3 -4 pods
Ginger - 1 inch

To Temper:
Fennel seeds

  • Heat water in a pan and when it heats up, add the cut plantain. Add salt and boil it, until half done. The plantain will get over cooked if not drained at the right time and keep aside
  • In a wok heat oil and add fennel seeds. Add chopped onion and saute well.
  • Add chopped tomato and saute well. Add chilli powder and cook.
  • Add the ground paste and cook the base well
  • Add the boiled plantain and mix well 
Note: I added very little oil and coconut. But in the actual cuisine, The oil has to separate from the masala and plantain should be well cooked in the oil and spicy base. I added turmeric powder when boiling the plantain.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tomato (Thakkali) Thokku

Tomato thokku is such a versatile recipe. It's like a one stop , multi purpose dish :) Goes well with everything, today we had it with ragi dosai.

Number of servings - 3-4
Tomato - 5
Red chillies (for the color, I added less spicy chilli) - 3
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder
Garlic - 7 pods
Gingely oil

To Temper:
Mustard seeds

  • Blend Tomato, turmeric powder, chilli powder, chilli to a paste
  • In a wok pour the blended tomato paste and let it cook until the raw smell parts and reduces to about half the amount
  • In a tempering vessel, add gingely oil and add items to temper and crushed garlic pods and add it to the tomato
  • Add and adjust salt and let it cook well until it comes off like a thokku (does not stick to the sides of the vessel)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kasturi Methi Kara Kuzhambu - Recipe Inspired From Madam Revathy Shanmugam

I bought kasturi methi a few days back and din't get a chance to cook it. Came across this recipe from Madam Revathy Shanmugam and instantly liked it. I love kara kuzhambu and to use kastuir methi in it, would be the best way to cook for me :)

Recipe Source: Madam. Revathy Shanmugam.
Kasturi Methi - 1 handful
Onions - 1 chopped
Tomato - 1 big chopped
Garlic 6 - 7 pods
Red chilli powder - 3 spoons
Coriander powder - 3 spoons
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Tamarind - 1 lemon size

To grind:
Coconut - 1 spoon
Cumin seeds - 1 spoon
Onion - few slices

To splutter:
Mustard seeds
Cumin seeds
Fenugreek seeds

  • Grind the ingredients to grind and keep aside. In a wok heat oil and splutter items to splutter. Add the chopped onions and garlic and saute well until golden brown
  • Add the kasturi methi leaves and saute well. Add tomatoes and saute well. Add salt.
  • Add turmeric powder, coriander powder and saute well to get cooked
  • Then add red chilli powder and saute well
  • Once the base is well cooked, add the tamarind extract and water needed and let it boil
  • To finish up, add the ground paste and let it cook
  • Garnish with cilantro 
Disclaimer: I altered the measurement of ingredients to suit our taste and availability. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Vegetable Dhaniya Masala - Recipe Inspired -Dr. Chef. Damu

Yesterday, I came across this recipe video from Dr.Chef. Damu on a show and instantly liked it so much that I wanted to try it right away (I used the veggies I had at the moment). This is a real fresh flavorful recipe than our usual curries, the lemon squeeze adds a real good flavor to this recipe. We had it with beets rice.

Disclaimer: The recipe is from and inspired by Dr. Chef. Damu. But the one I've written here is my own measurements for the ingredients.

Recipe Source and Inspiration - Video from Chef Damu.
Number of servings - 2 to 3
Mixed Vegetables - 1 cup (I used cauliflower, peas and bell pepper)
Onion - 1 chopped
Ginger Garlic Paste
Red chillipowder - 1/4 spoon
Coriander powder - 1/4 spoon

To Grind:
Dhaniya (Coriander seeds) - 1 handful
Red Chilli - 4
Cilantro - 1/2 bunch

To Temper:

  • Dry Roast the coriander seeds and red chillies and grind it along with cilantro by sprinkling water in the blender and keep aside.
  • In a wok, heat oil and splutter items to temper. Add the onions and ginger garlic paste and saute well
  • Add vegetables and saute. Add the salt, chilli powder and coriander powder( these are barely for the coating, the main masala is from the grond paste)
  • Add the paste and cook well. It becomes like a thokku
  • Squeeze lemon and the yummy dish is ready to eat 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reuse Empty Glass Salsa Jars - Quick Tip

This is a great way to reuse empty glass salsa jars - to store spices and powders. Run the jars in the dishwasher once and you'll not smell even a spot of whatever was previously stored in it. Its squeaky clean and ready for a reuse.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Vegetable Curry and Pumpkin Farm Visit

Its fall season and pumpkins are all over the air! Pumpkin farm is a great place to take the kids and enjoy family time. The main reason are the animals they bring in each year. It's not only farm animals, but a good number of wild ones too. We saw bears, tigers, kangaroos, fox, giraffe etc.

Apart from all of this, I like the pumpkin farm store. Got this veggie knife from the store for $1.50. I got one last year and used it so well for tomatoes. It literally slices tomatoes down to a chip size. We got farm grown tasty apples. Over all it was a lot of fun!

Coming to the recipe of vegetable curry... I din't have a better name to call it otherwise, since I took all leftover vegetables and made a dish out if it.

Number of Servings - 2
Cauliflower - 4 big florets chopped
Bell pepper - 1/2 a bell pepper
Potato - 1
Beetroot - 3/4 of a small beetroot
Onion - 1/2 big
Tomato - 1 large
Ginger garlic paste - 1 spoon
Turmeric powder
Chilli powder 

To temper:
Cumin seeds
Fennel seeds
Pepper corns

  • Heat olive oil in a wok (sometimes I use a cast iron wok, since we like the taste better). Splutter items to to temper
  • Add chopped onions and ginger garlic paste and saute well
  • Add tomatoes and saute well
  • Add tumeric powder, chilli powder, salt and saute well
  • Add all vegetables and cook well in the masala base