Category Archives: By Cuisine

Click- Bicolour

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Bi colour is the theme for the click event at Jugalbandi for this month. Thanks Jai and Bee for the oppurtunity to be one of the judges for this month.

Finding a bicolour entry has been a challenge. After a long time, I have started to cook regularly but bicolour foods weren’t easy to come by or didn’t photograph well. I made palappams, a cherry clafouti, paneer curry but nothing photographed well.

I finally settled on this paneer. This is some home made paneer with black pepper added to it.

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Whole milk paneer with crushed black pepper- White & Black entry for CLICK bicolour.

Fluffy Uppumavu (Upma)

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I have always known upma to be a little fluffy. When I started my hostel life, the upma served at the canteen didn’t look anything like the upma I grew up with. It was cooked into one big mass and you could took a scoop of upma rather than a spoonful of upma. I blamed the cook for not knowing how to cook but little did I know this is how upma is supposed to be for many others.

Even after 4 years of eating canteen upma, I couldn’t get used to it. I love my fluffy upma with a sprinkle of sugar and a banana.

How to make fluffy upma?

Oil/ghee- 1 tablespoon

Rava/sooji/semolina- 1 cup

Minced shallots/onions- 2 tablespoon, Ginger minced- 1 tsp, Chilies- 2 chopped, curry leaves- 1/2 sprig.

Water- 1.5 cups (approx)

Salt- to taste

Coconut shredded- a handful, Ghee- 1/4 tsp (optional)

Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the onions/shallots, ginger, chillies and curry leaves. When the onions start to turn brown, add the rava to the pan. Keep stirring till the rava is slightly roasted.

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Then comes the fluffing part. Sprinkle a handful of water into the rava and keep stirring. Break up big lumps. For one cup rava, you might need about 1.5 cups of water. The important tip is to add water in handfuls and to keep stirring. Towards the end, you can just close it with a lid for a few minutes to cook it through. Stir in shredded coconut and ghee. Serve warm.

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This upma goes to RCI-Kerala being hosted by Jyothsna at Currybazaar.

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Chembu (Colocasia, Taro) curry

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Chembu is used widely in Kerala in a wide variety of recipes.This is a starchy vegetable and is quite delicious steamed, fried or smothered with seasonings. This is found growing in most homes in Kerala and thrive without any attention.

This is a simple recipe that goes well with rice.

Recipe:

Chembu – 1 cup ( Remove the skin and cut into small pieces)chembu-diced.jpg

Turmeric powder- 1/3 tsp

Salt- to taste

Coconut grated- 1/2 cup

Green chilies- 4 (Add more if you like it with more heat)

Cumin – 1/3 tsp.

Tamarind- one tablespoon. Mix well with some water to obtain tamarind extract. Discard the seeds.

Method:

Cook the diced chembu with the turmeric powder and salt with about 1 cup water, over medium flame.

While the chembu is cooking, grind the coconut, chilies and cumin to a smooth paste.

Once the chembu is cooked, add the coconut mixture to it and cook on low heat.

When the chembu curry starts to boil, add the tamarind extract and mix well. Turn off and keep covered for a few minutes.

In a seperate small pan, add oil. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds.

As mustard seeds start to pop, add the shallots and curry leaves and fry till they turn brown.

Pour this over the curry. Mix well. Adjust salt.

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Serve warm with rice.

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Note:  Chembu  can get mushy if overcooked.

Foods of Singapore: Otak Otak

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When we decided to make Singapore our destination, food was top on our minds. And it didn’t disappoint. The food draws heavily from the mix of the different cultures that make up the country – Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian. Almost every day was a food adventure.

I was glad that I had family who live there and know the right places to go. I had great meals for less than $10 while my colleague laments about the S$4oo she spent on a two person brunch. Great food doesn’t have to be expensive in Singapore. Hawker centers abound with great food and make you feel part of the culture when you eat at these local places., while going easy on your pocket. See images of hawker centres here.

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Otak-otak is made by mixing fish paste (usually mackerel) with a mixture of spices including chillies, garlic, shallots, turmeric, lemon grass and coconut milk. The mixture is then wrapped in a banana leaf that has been softened by steaming, then grilled or steamed. ( Link)

It is delicious! In my opinion, anything cooked in banana leaves taste divine. While I couldn’t eat more than one at a time, my fellow traveller ate plenty at a time.

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An Otak otak vendor.

To see another vendor, click here.

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The banana leaf packets are cooked atop a grill till the leaves start to char in the middle. Otak hot off the grill is sooooo good!

Grilled Rack of Lamb

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My favorite item on the grill.

Inspired by this.

This recipe is a regular at our place, but this was our first time cooking it on the grill. It looked spectacular and the smokiness from the grill added to the flavor. The lamb chops came from Costco.

Method:

After applying salt and pepper on the lamb, sear it on a hot grill, 2 mins per side.

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Then move it to a less hot part of the grill, and cook for 10 to 20 mins per side, depending on how much you want it cooked.

You can use a meat thermometer . For rare 120 degrees and medium is 150 degrees.

Few minutes before taking the rack off the grill, slather Dijon mustard on both sides and coat with herbs. We held the lamb rack with mitts, and rolled it in the fresh herb mixture ( parsley, rosemary and thyme). Cook for another 5 min.

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Remove from the grill, rest for about 15 mins .

We had it with a salad and linguini with pesto.

Handmade Basil Pesto for GBP Summer 07

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A recipe that mentions its source as grandmother or mother instantly attracts my attention. I have a sort of blind faith in such recipes. When Heidi of 101 cookbooks blogged this pesto recipe from her friend’s mother, it was instantly bookmarked.

Our basil herbs were fresh with new young sprouts after a recent harvest and it would be perfect with the grilled lamb chops that were making for dinner. And better yet, no food processor to clean.

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Original recipe here

Young basil leaves – 1 cup packed.

Garlic- 2 cloves

Pine nuts – 2 tbsp

Parmesan cheese freshly grated- 1/4 cup

Good quality extra virgin olive oil- 2 tbsp

For mincing, you will need a sharp mezzaluna, but I replaced it with a crinkle cutter.

There is only one step. Mince till you get a fine mince of the ingredients. Heidi recommends starting with the garlic and 1/3 rd basil. Keep adding the ingredients in parts till everything is minced. Start with garlic, then basil, followed by pine nuts and cheese.

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Once mincing is done, transfer the pesto into a bowl and add the olive oil.

At this point I kept it in the refrigerator. At dinner time, mixed it with some cold angel hair for a cold pasta side dish. It was delicious. Thanks Heidi for sharing this wonderful recipe. It was really relaxing mincing and mixing with hand and using the crinkle cutter.

As Heidi said, there is no salt and pepper in the pesto. So salt your pasta water generously.

This is my entry for Summer Green Blog Project being hosted by Deepz of Letz Cook.

GBP was originally born in the ever scheming head of dear Inji. Ever since many bloggers have discovered their green thumbs and have grown wonderful things. Join the fun!

Going Lite with Kale Thoran

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RP blogged about kale thoran last year. Ever since, it’s been a regular at our household. Coffee’s MBP ( Monthly Blog Patrol) is the perfect event to give thanks for the recipes from fellow bloggers. The theme this month is Going Lite. This was the perfect oppurtunity to thank RP for this wonderful healthy and lite recipe.

The beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around ( Link)

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Raw chopped kale leaves

While preparing greens, I have seen that urad dal is added along with mustard. But I used raw rice instead, as my mother would.

Kale Thoran ( original recipe here)

Kale – 1 bunch ( sliced fine)

Shallot- 2

Green chilies – 6

Grated coconut- 1/4 cup

Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp

Raw unccoked rice- 1 tsp

Oil – 1 tbsp

Salt to taste.

Add oil to the hot pan. Add mustard seeds and when they start to splutter, add the rice. The rice will start to puff up. Add the kale and give a quick stir.

In a small mortar, mix the shallots, green chilies and coconut. Just a coarse mix is fine. Make a small area in the centre of the pan and add the coconut mixture. Cover it with the kale like this. ( You can add the coconut to the kale and give a mix but my aunt used to make thorans this way. I happened to think of her and followed her method)

Cover and cook for 5 mins on low medium heat. Stir, add salt and cook covered again till the leaves are at your desired texture. Kale leaves take longer than other leafy greens.

kale-thoran-1.jpg Kale Thoran

Serve with rice.

Swap baked kale for potato chips- ??