Category Archives: Indian Food

JFI Potato- Potato studded with cumin and crushed pepper.

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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.

Recipe :

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.

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Head over to to Vaishali’s Happy Burp in Pune to give dear potato some well deserved show of affection!

Dried shrimp in coconut sauce – Unakka chemmeen curry

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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.

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Dried shrimp

Although I didn’t have fresh mango, I substituted amchur powder as the recipe suggested. It worked quite well.

Recipe: Here

This recipe is a keeper. It is easy to make and tastes great. Thank you Shynee!!

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Rice with chemmeen curry and radish saute.

Okra roast or bendakaya vepudu / Vendakka roast

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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!

Ingredients:

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

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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

Method:

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.

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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.

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Can’t wait to try more recipes. Thanks Indira for introducing me to this wonderful cookbook.

Mango Ginger Smoothie – JFI Ginger

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For the life of me, I coud’t find a dish that screamed ginger. Kerala Fish Curry was in my plans for a while, but then I couldn’t find decent fish. Today I landed on this recipe, and as fate would have it, I am contributing to JFI Ginger. Hurrah!!

Ginger is indispensable in an Indian household. Shown below is a patch of ginger growing at my home in Kerala. Usually there are a few patches of ginger growing close to the house. When you need ginger, take your digging equipment and unearth fresh ginger. The wonderful smell of ginger on your hands is pretty amazing. Of course, as a kid I hated the chore of having to get out and dig the ginger out of the soil. Now, I wish I had some freshly dug ginger.

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Original recipe here

I followed the recipe exactly, except for using greek yogurt and cold milk.

Ingredients

Yogurt – half cup

Chopped ripe mango – a handful ( I used frozen mango)

Sugar or honey – 2 tbsp or adjust to taste

Low fat milk ( cold) – 1/2 cup

Crushed ice- half cup/handful

Fresh ginger- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp based on your taste. I used a thin slice and chopped it into thin strips.

Powdered cardamom – a pinch

Method:

Just mix everything in a blender. If too thick, add more milk or cold water.

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Adding fresh ginger to mango lassi was new for me. I liked it, but I suspect it could take getting used to.

Hugs to Rosie for hosting JFI Ginger amidst her move.

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Phirni- Glad I found you!

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Ashwini did a great job of hosting JFI- coconut. Amond the 70+ dishes my eyes were on this white concotion in a cute cup. It was called Phirni. I had no idea what the heck Phirni was until that moment. I was so into Phirni after reading the post that I was searching for more info on phirni on the net. But Ashwini had it all covered in her post. It is indeed a Mughlai dish. I also see it listed as a Kashmiri dish, a Punjabi dish and is also very popular in Rajasthan. How did I miss this delicacy so long?

The Phirni looked so fresh and so full of clean flavors, I just had to try it. Better late than never.

I used a mix of almonds and pistachios for the dish. For the recipe I consulted both Ashwini’s and Roopa’s recipes!!

I understand this dish is served in small terracotta dishes as is shown here . I think I will try to get some when I visit India next time.

As Ashwini mentioned , it tasted much better the next day! This definitely is a keeper.

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Happy New Year!

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Wishing everyone a happy New Year.

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Celebrating New Year with Ada Pradhaman.

Payasams are the major Kerala dessert. Before the bakeries started with the fancy birthday cakes, this is the dish that made birthdays special. This was the dessert course that followed elaborate sadyas that followed wedding ceremonies.

In the days before the instant ada, ada was made from scratch and this is where a lot of work was involved. Then the ada is cooked, and added to a jaggery- coconut milk mixture. The coconut milk making is also elaborate, but I took the aid of canned coconut milk. Worked just fine!

Final toss in some coconut pieces fried in ghee and cardamom powder. Let it cool before serving.

This dish is such a nostalgic one!

I am not alone in this nostalgia. Other memories about ada pradhaman from fellow Malayalis on the net:

And achamma’s ada pradhaman, rich with pure ghee and whole green cardamom. Oh! That taste. ( Read here)

Payasams, mmmmmm, I love that especially ada pradhaman. ( Here)

Brinjal theeyal

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Theeyal was made at our house only ‘ on demand’. It does take a bit of time and is not suited for those ‘curry in a hurry’ moments. When we think of coconuts and some delicious Kerala dishes to go with it, theeyal definitely is the one for me.

We make this with shallots, bittergourd or brinjal. I am sure there are more variations, but these are all I know. I decided to use whole baby eggplants instead of slicing them, only because I thought the baby eggplants would look very cute dressed up in a dark brown coconut sauce. And it did!!

Recipe source: by Mrs. K.M.Mathew

Method:

Step 1: Making the coconut paste

Coconut – 1 cup

Shallots – 1 small sliced

In a pan, add a bit of oil ( 1 tsp). Add the coconut and shallots and fry till dark brown in color. You might need to stir frequently and keep a close eye on them. Add the browned coconut to the blender.

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Dry coriander seeds – 1/2 tsp

Dry red chilis- 3

Fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds – a small pinch of each

 

In the same pan, dry roast the above ingredients and add them to the blender also. ( You could definitely add these to the coconut as it is turning brown and roast them)

Grind all these to a smooth silky paste. Add water as necessary to help with the grinding.

 

Step 2: Dressing up the brinjals

Brinjals – 9 baby brinjals.( Substitute with 2 larger slender asian eggplants)

Turmeric – a small pinch (optional)

Tomato- 1 plum tomato, sliced.

Green chilies 5 small slit.

Tamarind water – add a small piece to 1/4 cup water, use your hands to extract the tamarind.

Make slits on the brinjal ( make the slits as if you were stuffing the brinjal, but leave the stem intact).

Add a teaspoon of oil to the hot pan, add turmeric (optional), followed by brinjals. Then add green chillies and tomato and saute for a few minutes.

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To this add the ground coconut paste, tamarind water, salt. Add more water if needed to make enough gravy.Cover and cook till the brinjals are cooked.

Final step:

Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp

Curry leaves – one sprig

Fenugreek seeds- a small pinch

Sliced shallot- 1

Dry red chilies – one, cut into small pieces.

Take some oil, add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, shallots, and dry red chilis. Fry till the shallots are dark in color. Add to the brinjals. Stir well and serve.

Another entry for JFI Coconut hosted by Ashwini.

Related recipes:

Annita’s recipe here

Ulli theeyal from Priya here

Inji’s Bittergourd theeyal here.