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.
Whole milk paneer with crushed black pepper- White & Black entry for CLICK bicolour.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chembu – 1 cup ( Remove the skin and cut into small pieces)
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.
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.
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)
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.
Last year I tried to make rose petal jam and what I made was not jam, more like rose glass candy. The concotion that I made was poured into a glass jar and hours later, it was solidified into a glass like mass and I needed a pickaxe to break into it : ) And for this year I was all ready with a new recipe.
I have to admit that I was pretty skeptical. I like the fragrance of roses, but to eat something that would smell like roses was not an easy concept to digest. After bottling the petals, I forgot about them for the next 2 days. As soon as I remembered I left them in the sun for a day. After a night out and some time in the rain the next day, they were remembered and brought inside. A week later I took a small bite. And then a bigger bite and then a whole spoonful. The next day half the gulkhand and almost a whole loaf of Italian bread was gone.
As of today almost all the gulkhand is gone and I made small tea sandwiches to present my home made gulkhand to all of you.
This is one of the best things I have tasted and I wish I had made more. Thank you Anita for introducing me to this elegant preperation.
Layering the petals:
Layering with sugar
I didn’t do exact measurements. For 3 roses, I used a tablespoon of sugar.
Layer rose petals and sugar till all the petals are done.
Fish is indispensable in Kerala. The way it is made varies from place to place, but it always make it to the table for lunch or dinner. This is how fish curry is usually made in the households in Kottayam. When my grandfather was alive, we had fish every single day. That’s right. Every single day!!
When I blogged an okra recipe recently, I got a lot of requests for the fish curry that was shown in the post. The truth of the matter is that until recently my fish curries never tasted as they should. We started writing down the recipe every time we made it, and made changes to adjust the taste. We believe this recipe comes closest to the fish curry back home. Thanks to Manisha whose initial request started this whole post.
We make our fish curry in a chatti. The chatti in our home has a story to tell. The story that ends with, ” Wives know better”. When we were in Kerala last vacation, I mentioned that I would like to take a chatti back with me. Satish had a big problem with that, and was making all kinds of excuses. He was confident that the chatti wouldn’t make it home in one piece. Thanks to my persistence, the chatti made it home with us. Guess what he wants to bring back this time!! Ha-ha..
Now to the fish. Fresh fish is hard to come by, unless you have a Chinese store with fresh fish. We usually buy catfish from the local grocery store. Mallu stores have frozen fish from Kerala, but some of them lose their taste when frozen. This time we used salmon fillets. Back home, we have meenkarans ( fish monger) that brings fish right to your doorsteps. When I was a kid, they used to come on a cycle, with a basket of fish tied to the back of the cycle. They would honk their horns as a signal, and I was often made to run out of the house to flag him down. Then my mother would look and choose the fish, and sometimes neighbors all gather to discuss fish. If you had a cat, it would be close by, sniffing and rubbing against your legs, hoping to get some heads and tails.
Fish – 1lb. We used salmon fillets this time. We added some salt to the fillets to make them firmer, so that they don’t break easily. If you do this, be careful when you add salt to the curry.
Oil- 2 tbsp ( I use coconut oil)
Curry leaves- 1sprig + 2 or 3 f0r layering in the chatti
Mustard seeds, Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 tsp each
Shallots- 4 or 5 , sliced fine
Ginger- 2 tbsp , finely minced
Garlic – 15 cloves( if the cloves are small, leave them whole)
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder- 2 tsp
Paprika – 3 tsp
Kudampuli- 2pieces ( clean in running water and soak them in water with some salt added to it)
Water- 1cup or more, as needed
Kudampulisoaking in salt water
Layer a few sprigs of curry leaves at the bottom of the chatti. Layer the raw fish on top of that.
Step2: Making the gravy
Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the fenugreek seeds. When the fenugreek seeds starts to change into a deeper color, add the shallots, ginger, garlic and curry leaves. Cook on medium heat till the shallots turn dark brown. Then add the chili powder and turmeric powder. Stir to combine with the oil.
Lower the heat and add paprika. Stir quicky. Paprika burns fast, so don’t leave on fire too long. Add water and the kudampuli which was soaked in some salt water. I usually add the salt water also. It looks muddy from the puli but I think it adds to the taste. Add enough water to make a watery gravy. Bring to a rolling boil.
Step 3: Bringing everything together
Pour this into the fish that has been arranged in the chatti. Cook covered on low medium heat till the fish is cooked ( 15-20 mins). Every 5-8min grab the chatti with mitts and give a slight swirl. This is the best way to make sure the flavors blend without breaking the fish pieces. Cook till the fish is cooked and the gravy is lightly thick. ( some people prefer a watery gravy)
Taste for salt . Just before serving, add some coconut oil on the top and fresh curry leaves to garnish.
The curry is good right off the stove, but the flavor intensifies after a day.
The curry can be left out in room temperature, especially in winter. Every night it is slightly warmed over the stove. During winter, our fish curry stays outside for atleast 3 days.
Coriander powder is omitted to increase shelf life.
Adding coconut oil over the fish curry after it is cooked can add a wonderful aroma, and I don’t recommend missing this step.
To serve : My favorite way is to eat this with rice and a thoran.
Also goes well with chappathi, puttu and the perpetual favorite, kappa and meen ( here and here).
Familiarity breeds contempt. We see it all around us. I think that is what is happened to the potato. Take a lot at these sayings and tell me if I am wrong.
A couch potato — someone who is glued to the TV and never exercises
He’s a cold potato. — someone who is not warm-spirited
Small potatoes — not much
Hot potato — a problem nobody wants to deal with ( Link)
Potato has never been a favorite in our home. We usually buy one or two when we need it. Anytime we bought any extras, they are left to sprout or shrivel, as the conditions in the kitchen permit. Inevitably, they end up in the garbage( the extra ones).
When JFI was announced, I bought 4 idaho potatoes. And after a consultation, this dish came alive.
Boil potatoes in salted water till cooked. Slice into quarters.
Spread cumin onto a surface. Take a potato slice and press the slice onto the cumin gently.
The cumin will attach to the potato. Fry this with the cumin side down on medium heat.
Remove from fire using tongs. Sprinkle salt. Serve warm.
I also applied red pepper on some potato slices.
To make things a little more happening, pour the remaining oil with bits of cumin and crushed pepper over the potatoes.
Serve as an appetiser with some chutney or as a side dish.
Head over to to Vaishali’s Happy Burp in Pune to give dear potato some well deserved show of affection!
We recently tried a recipe from this blog and it turned out great. And last week we tried this dish from the same blog. It was spectacular. Thank you Shiny for posting these favorite dishes. Her blog is like a cookbook dream come true for me.
The dish is made of dried shrimp. This is available in Kerala grocery stores in the US. Fish and coconut are integral to Kerala cuisine, and this dish is a happy combo of the two. Dried fish are stinky, but taste great. The prepared dish doesn’t smell of the dried shrimp at all. Dried shrimp is cooked with some water and mango, coconut ground to a silky paste is added to it and finally dressed up with shallots and curry leaves in coconut oil.
Although I didn’t have fresh mango, I substituted amchur powder as the recipe suggested. It worked quite well.
I received my first Andhra cookbook – Cooking with Pedatha yesterday. It has a green hardcover, pictures in every page, simple instructions – what’s not to like.
In the introduction, the author’s write,
Of course, one thing we never questioned her about was how much time any recipe would take. We already knew her answer tot hat- ” As long as it takes for a good dish to be ready”. ” Don’t look at the time, look at the pan”, she once remarked.
I realized how true it was and how much I had forgotten that concept. Once back home, my grand father’s sister was staying with us for a few days. I remember helping out with sauteing some onions, and I was turning the onions left and right. She came over, took the spoon from me and said,” Not like that, be patient “, and she continued to stir the onions so tenderly and delicately on a low flame. The chicken curry for which the onions were intended turned wonderful, better than the usual. I had forgotten to do that slow stirring for sometime now but this cookbook has reminded me to slow down, and enjoy my cooking.
The recipe is for the lady’s finger roast from the book. Thanks to the many Andhra blogs, some of the terms were already familiar, but there is a list of ingredients in the back page which is a big help for me. The book is a delight!
Okra 1 pound – wash, dry with paper towel. I cut them lenthwise into quarters. The small ones were halved.
Red chilli powder- 2 tsp ( the original recipe needs 1 tbsp, but that was too hot for me)
Oil 2 tbsp+1tbsp
Salt to taste
Ingredients for tempering:
Split black gram dal/ urad dal 1 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida powder, Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp each
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Heat a pan, add about 2 tbsp oil. Add the urad dal, and when it turns golden, add the mustard seeds. Lower the heat, and add the asafoetida, turmeric and curry leaves.
Then add the veggies, allow to roast on slow flame. Stir occasionaly.
After 8-10mins, when the okra starts to turn brown at some spots, add the salt and chilli powder. Stir to combine. Go easy when stirring so as to not turn it mushy. Add one tbsp or less oil at this point to mix well with the chilli powder. Adding the oil makes a nice chilli coating on the okra. Serve warm.
This dish is super hot. I didn’t imagine Andhra cuisine to be this hot.
I had this with rotis and some Kottayam fish curry.
Very satisfying meal, but my tongue was on fire. Cooled off with some lassi.
Can’t wait to try more recipes. Thanks Indira for introducing me to this wonderful cookbook.