Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back to Basics : Cumin-Coconut Powder

Pin It Now! One thing that sits on my shelf almost always is the cumin-coconut powder - jeera khobra powder. I never knew about this magical ingredient until I moved to this land and craved some authentic maharashtrian food. This is the  ingredient that gives a homey flavour to curries and the khichdis. When my mom added it to khichdi its aroma spread throughout the house and we knew what we were having for dinner that night.

 She made this jeera khobra powder fresh in her beloved mortar-pestle each time she required it. The crushing of seeds by this method released their fragrant oils. I do not own a mortar-pestle though,so I make it in my indian mixie. To save time I make about a cup of it every time and store it in the rack. A tsp of the blend is just enough for most recipes.

What you need is :
1C dry shredded coconut
2tbsp cumin

 How to :-
 Grind both into a fine powder and use as required.Optionally you can lightly roast them and then grind. That would increase shelf-life even further.

Goes to Back to Basics event hosted this month at Served with Love. Visit the round-ups for useful tips and how-tos to make your life in kitchen easier and faster.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Versatile Grilled Sandwich

Pin It Now! Last week has been crazy. I was busy on the work and family front. I planned to post a recipe but did not quite get to it. Today's recipe is an all time favorite of ours. While we do like typical Indian meals on weeknights, I also try to break the monotony by making grilled sandwiches once a week.
A good sandwich starts with a GOOD BREAD. I repeat Good. Bread. Not grocery store bread. They become soggy and do not stand up to our chutneys. We love the breads at this and this bakery. These breads are both healthy and have a great taste. I particularly love the Tomato-Basil loaf.

There are several options for the sauce or chutney. I have used - Sun-dried tomato hummus, Basil pesto, Mango chutney,mint-cilantro chutney. All are equally delicious and healthy too.
We have also experimented with several toppings like - sun-dried tomato, slices of boiled egg, red-yellow-orange bell peppers.
The recipe I present today is a general method. Feel free to mix and match. You never know what you might like.

Recipe :-
 2 or more slices of bread
 Fillings- cucumber,spinach,red bell pepper
 Cheese - mozarella cut into strips or use cheese slices in deli section
 Chutney or Spread - sun-dried tomato hummus
  • Spread the chutney on the 2 slices. 
  • Place the spinach,cucumber and cheese on one of the slice. Top with the other.
  • Toast on both sides inntil the top is crispy using a non-stick griddle. . You can spray some oil or butter.

Great to pack into lunch-boxes.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cabbage with Peas

Pin It Now! Cabbage - I do not know many who like this vegetable. I too disliked it until I saw this recipe. Yesterday I  made a shortcut version of this recipe and its changed my opinion about cabbage for ever.

 Before I rave further, here's the recipe : -

Cabbage with Peas ( Inspired from this recipe at eCurry )

For tempering :-
4 cardamom pods (opened to expose the seeds)
1 bay leaf
2 cloves
1/2 C chopped tomatoes
1 tsp grated ginger or ginger paste
2 dry red chillies broken in big pieces
2 green chillies  broken in large pieces
1 tsp turmeric powder

2C finely shredded cabbage
1/4 C peas (frozen or fresh)
 salt to taste
 oil as required
 1 tbsp garam masala
 1 tbsp ghee

  • On medium heat saute the cardamom,cloves,bay leaf until the oil is fragrant. Add the turmeric,dry red ,green chillies and ginger paste fry till slightly brown. 
  •  Then add the tomatoes and saute till oil separates and mixture is lumpy.
  •  Then add the shredded cabbage. Mix well. Simmer,cover and cook till the cabbage is soft but slightly crunchy.
  •  Can take around 10 min.The cabbage will reduce in quantity.
  •  Then add salt and mix well.Add the peas and mix again.
  • Cook uncovered for another 3-4min till the water evaporates and the mixture is dry.
  • Finally add the garam masala and the ghee. Taste and add more salt if required.
  • Serve with some roti for a healthy meal.

The aroma of the whole and ground spices take it to a whole new level.We have loved this new twist to this neglected veggie. It has finally found its place on our meal menu.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

'Korma' Sutra

Pin It Now! Any korma dish always reminds me of this restaurant named 'KormaSutra' in Kansas where i spend some time before moving to Houston. The place was always crowded. The food was average so am sure it must be the name that attracted many hungry souls.

On another note this weekend I made some Minty Peas and Pineapple Korma for a homely lunch. The recipe is from the sarcastic, humorous and delicious blog -  Jugalbandi. The recipes from this blog have not let me down as yet and this one is no exception.

I made some modifications to the recipe to suit our tastes. I omitted the tamarind extract and the roasted red peppers since i had none at hand.

Here is my version of the recipe :

Minty Peas and Pineapple Korma
( Inpired by this recipe on Jugalbandi )

What's needed :-
1/2 C dessicated coconut reconstituted in 1/4C hot water
3/4 can of pineapple ( U can use a whole can)
1/2 C peas 
1/4 cup cashews
1/3 tsp paprika

1 tsp chilli powder
a tiny bit each of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves(3Cs +N)
2 green chillies
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp coconut milk 

1/2 onion thinly sliced onions
2 tsp ginger
1 tomato chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

1. Blend together - coconut,paprika,cashews,3Cs+N,green chillies,tumeric and paprika. Dry grind and then add coconut milk just enought to make a smooth paste. The paste smells heavenly.
2. In a pan fry the onion and ginger in the oil. Add some salt so that onion browns up.Then add the tomato and the mint.
3. When the mixture is pulpy add the coconut paste.Add salt and some water to get desired consistency.

4. Once the mixture has come to a boil add the pineapple,peas. Mix well. Check seasoning and add more salt if required. Garnish with more mint and serve with fresh rotis or rice.

Goes to Nupur's Blog-Bites - Potluck edition hosted at One Hot Stove.

And by the way I read the review of Raavan on this blog. And then I happen to see it last weekend. And then I read the review again. Turns out that though this review had me ROFL its still very much the truth. So if you are looking for a good laugh you know where to go !

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tomatillo Chutney

Pin It Now!
Glossy green tomatillos are making quite an appearence in the market these days. I have been picking up some every week. 

With these week's batch I made this fresh-tangy tomatillo chutney.  This is a nice creamy,tangy, spicy spread that goes well with any dal or subzi. The quantities in the recipe are approximate and can be adjusted to suit one's palette.

And now on to the recipe :-

5-6 tomatillos chopped into chunks
2-3 tbsp roasted unsalted peanuts ( I used some from the roasted unsalted peanut jar sold in the nuts section)
2 green chillies diced
1/2inch piece of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
handful of chopped cilantro

For tempering :-
 2 tbsp oil
 2 tsp mustard seeds
 2 dry red chillies broken into pieces

  • Dry grind the peanuts into a fine powder. Keep aside.
  • In a skillet heat some oil. Add the ginger,garlic,green chillies and fry for 1-2 min till fragrant. Take care not to burn.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and saute till tomatoes are soft and cooked. Cool completely.
  • In a blender add the peanut powder,tomato mixture, salt ,sugar,cilantro and blend to a smooth paste. Taste and adjust seasoning.Transfer to a serving bowl.
  • Temper the oil with the mustard seeds and broken chillies and add it to the blended paste.

There you have it satisfaction in a bowl. We had the chutney with a rice and dal meal. I generally make a batch over the weekend and have it earlier in the week. 
The peanuts lend a creamy texture pair well with the tangy tomatoes. If you feel the tomatillos are tart increase the quantity of sugar.