Monday, June 29, 2009

Egg Curry

I had several malayali neighbours growing up and thanks to them I tasted quite a few kerala dishes and one of my favorites was the delicious egg curry that they often whipped up. I love the results of the recipe below & use it often but I still feel that it doesn't stand up to the ones that Radha aunty and Usha aunty made. I even made them give me the egg masala powder that they use but I guess it needs their magic touch or something :)

What I like about this recipe is that it needs no grinding and I often use coconut milk powder mixed with warm water instead of opening an entire can since this needs just quarter cup of coconut milk. You could add a few chunks of boiled potatoes too if you want to extend this curry and add them right after the masala powders go in so they absorb the flavours.

EGG CURRY

Ingredients:
Eggs - 4, harboiled and peeled
Onion - 1 medium, thinly sliced and cut into half inch pieces
Tomatoes - 1 small, chopped
Coconut Milk - 1/4 cup
Salt - to taste
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Oil - 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp or so chopped, for garnish

Masala powders (to be mixed with water to form a thin paste)
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Egg Masala powder/Kitchen King Masala powder - 1 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp or lesser

Method:
1) To Harboil eggs, place eggs in a bowl and cover with water. Bring this to a boil and after 2-3 minutes, switch off the stove, cover and let this sit for 15 to 20 minutes. The eggs can then be peeled and cut into 2 halves, with a few slits on the whites so the masala can steep in.

2) In a pan, heat oil and season with mustard seeds and add the curry leaves. Then add the sliced onions and fry till they are translucent. Next add the chopped tomatoes and some salt and cook till they are mushy.

3) Now add the masala paste and allow this to cook for about 3-5 minutes more. Add about a cup of water at this stage and let the mixture come to a boil, then reduce the flame and allow to simmer on low heat till it thickens - around 10 to 15 minutes.

4) Add the halved eggs in and let it cook for 5 more minutes before stirring in the coconut milk. Let this heat through (low heat is best so the coconut milk doesn't split). Garnish with coriander leaves, cover and let rest for a few minutes before serving so the flavours mingle.

This is great with rice, rotis, aapams, idiyaapam or parottas.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tamarind-Date Chutney & a tasty snack

We all love chaats and most chaats are spiced up with a delicious array of chutneys of which the most popular ones are the green chutney and this tangy, sweet tamarind chutney which is my absolute favorite. It has a light spicy kick to it and is lip smackingly good and there have been so many occassions when I've just had this plain. After seeing how easy it is to whip this up, i've stopped buying it from the store and use it on so many items like bhel puri, ragda patties, dahi vadas etc.

TAMARIND DATE CHUTNEY


Ingredients:

Tamarind/Puli - 1/4 cup, soaked in warm water for 15-20 mins
Dates - 1/2 cup, seeds removed (I used seedless)
Jaggery (Vellam)/Brown sugar - 3/4 cup, powdered
Ginger - half inch piece, crushed/grated
Chilli powder, Cumin powder - half teaspoon each
Garam masala - a pinch
Salt - to taste

Method:
1) Extract juice from the soaked tamarind and keep aside.

2) In a pan, add the tamarind extract, coarsely chopped dates, jaggery and sufficient water. Allow to boil, then reduce flame and allow to cook for about 15 mins or so till the dates soften.
3) Allow this to cool a bit and blend together till smooth.
4) Return to the pan, add the masala powders and salt to taste and cook till it thickens sufficiently.
5) Cool and serve or store in an airtight bottle in the refrigerator.

Here's a quick snack that I put together with some leftover Punjabi Chole and some Aloo Tikkis... Top the tikkis with channa masala, freshly cut onions, tomatoes, coriander leaves and drizzle green chutney and this tamarind date chutney, topped with sev for a flavor explosion that is sure to tantalize your taste buds:


ALOO TIKKI CHANNA CHAAT

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Luscious Lemon Tart

I don't like lemon tarts, I can tolerate them but it's not something that I enjoy - so why did I bake this? For my husband who is a big fan. A month or so ago we were at a pastry shop which showcased (and sold) some very decadent looking cakes and tarts and we came home with a dark chocolate-raspberry ganache cake and a lemon tart.. tiny 2.5 inch diameter portions for a hefty price of $6 each. While my daughter and I devoured the chocolate cake, we wanted nothing more to do with the lemon tart after a customary taste - but my husband was so in love with it and kept raving about lemon tarts and how much he always loved them and so on. He hasn't really mentioned it before... so i casually looked up what making a lemon tart entails and was surprised to see that it was rather simple.

So, I set about making this over the weekend and I must say that it came together rather easily and I tasted a bit just out of curiosity and though it was lemony, fresh & nice, it really isn't my cup of tea but I loved the crust and so did my daughter. Had I known, how yummy the shortbread crust would've been, i'd have baked some of the dough separately. Anyways, I was happy that my husband loved it and in a way I'm glad that there's this dessert in the fridge but I'm not battling any temptation to eat it all up... :) So, this recipe is for all you lemon tart lovers out there...

LEMON TART


Ingredients for Shortbread Crust:
All purpose flour - 1 cup
Confectioners sugar (Powedered) - 1/3 cup
Cold, unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick) cut into abt 10 slices
Salt - 1/8 tsp

Method For Crust:
1) Prepare a 8 or 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom ( I used a pie pan lined with aluminium foil with some over-hang, so I could remove it easily later) by spraying with cooking oil/butter.

2) In a food processor (I used our indian mixie fitted with a medium jar), place flour, sugar and salt and process to combine. Then add the cold butter slices and pulse until the pastry starts to come together and looks clumpy - see picture.


3) Transfer this to the pie pan and evenly press the pastry onto bottom and sides of pan. My sides were thinner than the bottom so that is something you'll want to keep in mind and try to do this more evenly. Pierce the bottom of the crust with a tines of a fork (so it won't puff up while baking).


4) Cover this with cling wrap and freeze for about 15 minutes (which helps prevent the crust from shrinking while it bakes). Meanwhile Pre-heat oven to 425F with rack in center of oven.

5) When pastry is chilled, place tarn pan on a larger baking pan and bake till the crust is golden brown (about 13-15 mins). Remove from oven and allow to cool while preparing the filling. Also, reduce the ove temperature to 350F.

Ingredients for Filling:
Cream cheese (I used lower fat) - 5 oz, softened at room temperature
Sugar - 2/3 cup (1/2 cup was the original recipe but i increased it a bit)
Fresh lemon juice - 1/2 cup (I juiced 4 lemons to get this much, depends on the size)
Eggs - 2, large
Grated lemon zest - 1 tbsp (Zest the lemons before juicing them)

Method:
1) In a food processor (I used the same medium jar of the mixie not wanting more things to clean), put cream cheese and process till smooth. Next add the sugar and process so it is combined.

2) Now add the eggs one by one and process till well combined. Add the lemon juice, zest and process till smooth. Pour this in the tart shell and bake for 25-30 minutes (in the 350F) oven till filling is set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled.



Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or you could pipe the whipped cream over the entire tart.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hara Aloo

This is a curry that I first made almost 9 years ago and is a recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor. I remember my friend & me enjoying it quite a bit but unfortunately I lost the recipe and didn't make it after that. So I was thrilled to see this on Lakshmi's blog and was able to recreate it after all these years and it was really delicious. My family really liked it and I particularly relished this with curd rice - very satisfying. Hara Aloo translates to green potatoes and the coriander leaves lend such a bright, fresh burst of flavour and offers for a great varatiation to our ubiquitous potato fry. In her recipe, she's first baked them in the oven and though that's a fabulous idea, with the hot weather that prevails, I didn't want to switch on the oven, so instead tossed them on a wide pan in 2 batches.

HARA ALOO (Spiced Coriander Potatoes)


Ingredients:

Potatoes - 4 medium, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
Onion - 1/4 of a big red one, sliced thin into 1 inch pcs (optional)
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Water - couple tablespoons

To Grind:
Coriander (Cilantro) leaves & stems - about a cup, washed
Green chillies - 5
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Garlic - 2 small cloves

Method:

1) You could toss the potato slices in some oil (the 2 tbsp) & salt and bake them in an oven until browned or pan fry them in a wide pan as a single layer until lightly browned. Flip over and cook the other side as well. I had to do 2 batches to finish all the potatoes. Remove them and keep aside.

2) Meanwhile grind coriander leaves, green chillies, garlic & ginger to a slightly coarse paste.

3) Heat a tsp of oil in the same pan and add cumin seeds, then add the ground coriander paste and cook this for a few minutes (so the raw smell goes away). Rinse the jar of the mixie with a few tbsp of water and add this to the fried paste and a bit of salt to taste.

4) Toss in the potatoes at this juncture and stir gently (with a spatula) so they are coated with the coriander masala. Keep the flame on a medium high until all the water is absorbed, which only takes a few minutes.

5) After that, reduce the flame to medium and keep tossing the potatoes until browned and dry. Serve with rice and rasam or my favorite combination curd rice and this - bliss.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bread Upma

I tried this bread upma recipe from Menu Today's blog and absolutely loved it and now this has become a standard method of preparation at our place. My MIL makes this differently where she first makes coarse bread crumbs and even adds eggs sometimes - my husband likes that version a lot too. This one just uses chunks of bread and has a slight tang from the yogurt and is quite spicy too. I've made a few variations to include more veggies, depending on what I have on hand but otherwise follow her recipe pretty much.

BREAD UPMA


Ingredients:

Bread slices - 12 to 15
Yogurt/Curd (thick) - 2 tbsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp, or to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala / Curry Masala powder - 1/4 tsp
Onions - 1 large, sliced thinly and then into 1 inch pieces
Tomato - 1 small to medium, chopped
Green chillies - 4 to 5, slit in two
Ginger - half inch piece, chopped finely/grated
Carrot - 1 or 2, grated
Green bell peppers/Capsicum - 1 small, cut into 1 inch pieces
Salt - to taste
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Sombu (Fennel seeds) - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - a twig
Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp, chopped
Oil - 2 to 3 tbsp

Method:
1) Cut each slice of bread into about 16 cubes (depends on the size of the bread slices and how big you want the chunks to be).

2) In a large bowl, combine the yogurt with the chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and some salt... add the bread cubes to this, mix gently until the mixture coats the bread pieces and allow to marinate for about 15 to 20 mins.

3) In a big, wide pan, heat oil and season with mustard seeds and sombu. Next add the green chillies, onion, ginger and fry till they wilt. Then add the capsicum pieces & grated carrot and cook till they soften.

4) Now the tomatoes go in with a bit of salt so it helps them turn mushy . Now add the marinated bread pieces and stir gently so it's evenly coated. Cook this on a medium flame, tossing every once in a while until the bread pieces get roasted.

5) Finally switch off the stove and toss in the coriander leaves. Yummy bread upma is ready to serve as is or with some ketchup.


This makes for a delicious breakfast and I would like to send this to Divya's Show me your breakfast event.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Falafel

Falafels are yummy, fried chickpea patties and when stuffed in a pita bread with some cucumber, tomato, onions and lettuce - it makes for a delightful & tasty sandwich. I had quite a few extra and though they are delicious all by themselves as a snack, I froze the leftovers and heated them up and used them like burger patties - worked great. Though this is a middle-eastern snack it has a lot of the indian spices going in and so really appeals to our palate.

UPDATE: 7/Aug/2012 - Instead of deep frying the patties,  bake at 375F for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping over once in between and then shallow fry with a few tsp of oil on a tawa or shallow pan.

FALAFELS (Chickpea/Channa Patties) - makes 20 1.5 to 2 inch patties


Ingredients:White Channa / Chickpeas (dry) - 1 cup, soaked overnight in plenty of water
Onion - 1 medium
Garlic cloves - 2 to 3
Chilli powder - about a tsp (or to taste)
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Cumin powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup, chopped
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Salt & Black Pepper - to taste
Sesame seeds - 1 to 2 tbsp (optional)
Oil - sufficient to fry the patties

Method:1) Rinse the well-soaked chickpeas. Puree the onion and garlic in a blender and add the soaked chickpeas (in batches, depending on your blender) & puree it all together. It will be a little grainy & pasty (not chunky) for most part. Preferably no water should be added but if you absolutely must, add the bare minimum.

2) Add the masala powders, sesame seeds, coriander leaves , baking powder & salt & pepper to taste to the chickpea paste. Mix well and refrigerate for a while ( a couple of hours if you can).

3) Heat the oil for deep frying and make patties of this mixture and drop in hot oil & fry till golden. Ensure that the flame isn't too high because they will brown without cooking well on the inside. Drain on paper towels and eat by themselves or as a sandwich/burger.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Coconut Pineapple Cake

This is a simple, easy to make cake which is so summery, moist and light and has tropical flavours like pineapple & coconut. I've made this several times and it's great to take on picnics as well... it's one that we enjoy at home and I had fun making this with my daughter too. It starts off with a boxed cake mix but the additions to the cake take this to another level.

COCONUT PINEAPPLE CAKE


Ingredients:
Yellow cake mix - 1 box (18.25 oz)
Evaporated Milk - 1 can (12 oz) - I used low fat
Eggs - 2 large
Crushed Pineapple in Juice - 1 can (20 oz), drained & juice reserved
Almonds/Walnuts - half cup, chopped
Powdered Sugar - 3/4 cup
Flaked Sweetened Coconut - 1 cup, lightly toasted

Method:
1) Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 13x9 inch pan (or two 9 inch round pans)

2) In a big bowl, combine cake mix, evaporated milk, eggs and beat on low speed for 2 mins. It will become thick and creamy. Stir in 1 cup of the drained crushed pineapple.

3) Pour the above batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with nuts on the top.

4) Bake this for 30 to 35 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for about 15 mins or so.

5) In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar with 2 tbsp of the pineapple juice (that was drained from the can). Stir until smooth.

6) Poke a few holes (about 2 inches apart) with a toothpick and spread the sugar+juice mixture on the top of the baked warm cake.



7) Sprinkle with coconut and remaining drained pineapple. Slice and serve as-is or with whipped cream for a delicious treat.