Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Egg Plant/Brinjal/Baby Aubergine Curry

This egg plant curry is yet another recipe that I learnt from my roomies during my working days at Chennai. My room mate Maha was an awesome cook and she made delicious non vegetarian and biryani dishes. But we used to make fun of her tea making abilities though she was good at it. I learnt this dish from her and made my own changes. It is a time consuming dish but I bet its worth it. Enjoy!
Egg Plant/Brinjal/Baby Aubergine - 10
Curry leaves - 10
Oil - 2 Tablespoon
Onion (big) - 1 (roughly chopped)
Tomato (big) - 1 (roughly chopped)
Garlic - 5 pods
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Fresh coriander leaves - to garnish
Salt - to taste
For Dry Roast
Cumin seeds - 1/2 Tablespoon
Pepper corns - 5
Coriander seeds - 1/2 Tablespoon
Fennel seeds - 1/4 Tablespoon
Red chilli - 2
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch stick
Curry leaves - 15
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tablespoon
Coriander powder - 1/2 Tablespoon
Sambar powder - 1/4 Tablespoon

1. Dry roast all the items mentioned under the for dry roast header one by one in a medium hot pan and allow the roasted items to cool.
2. Use the same pan and heat a tablespoon of oil and sauté the onion, tomato, garlic and ginger. Once they are half done, turn off the heat and allow them to cool.
3. Now grind the dry roasted items and the sautéed items along with the masalas into a fine paste.
4. Make 2 deep vertical cuts, one at each pole of the egg plants in opposite directions and keep them aside.
5. Heat 1/2 a tablespoon of oil in a pan and sauté the egg plants until the dark purple colour changes to light brown colour.
6. Once the colour of the eggplants change transfer them to a plate.
7. Use the same pan to heat 1/2 a tablespoon of oil and sauté the ground paste with 1/2 a cup of water until the raw smell of the masalas go away.
8. Now add the egg plants and salt to the gravy, reduce the heat to medium, close the pan with a lid and allow it to cook until oil separates from the gravy. This will take 20 to 25 minutes. Do not forget to give a stir in between.
9. Make sure that the egg plants are completely cooked and turn off the heat.
             Serve the curry with garnished coriander leaves. This curry goes well with rice and roti.
* You can also dry roast coconut and grind along with the paste.
* When you select the egg plant in the market make sure you choose the tiny ones for this dish.

Spinach & Dahl (Lentil) Curry

We are aware that spinach is rich in vitamins and minerals. I always cook spinach once or twice a week either with paneer or lentils. Here I have shared the spinach and lentil version.

To Boil
Spinach - 1 cup
Red Lentil - 1/4 cup
Tomato - 1 (chopped)
Garlic - 3 pods
Pepper corns - 5
Cumin seeds - 1/4 Tablespoon
Red chilli - 2
Water - 1/4 cup
For Tempering
Onion - 1 (chopped)
Curry leaves - 5
Oil - 1/2 Tablespoon
Mustard seeds - 1/4 Tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tablespoon
Salt - to taste

1. Wash spinach and red lentil in water and boil all the items mentioned under the to boil header in a pressure cooker (5 whistles) or in a thick bottomed pan (15 mins)
2. Once they are boiled, allow them to cool and mash everything finely.
3. Now heat oil in a pan and allow the mustard seeds to splutter and add the curry leaves and turmeric powder followed by onion and salt.
4. Sauté the onion until it is cooked and add the mashed spinach and lentil mix and stir. 
5. Bring it to boil and turn the heat off.
                       Curry is ready to be served with rice or roti!
* Any lentil can be used, say for example green gram, broken green gram, etc.,
* A scoop of ghee can be used instead of oil for rich flavour.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Mint Chutney

Mint chutney is one of the common chutneys that we prepare for our day to day breakfasts. But the version that I have shared goes very well with rice and has more shelf life if stored properly in a refrigerator. I love this chutney for its tangy and fresh mint flavour.
Mint Leaves - 1 cup
Tomato (medium) - 1 (chopped lengthwise)
Onion (medium) - 1 (chopped lengthwise)
Garlic - 3 pods
Oil - 1/2 Tablespoon
Curry leaves - 20
Coconut - 1/2 cup (grated)
Coriander seeds - 1/2 Tablespoon
Black pepper corns - 7
Cumin seeds- 1/2 Tablespoon
Red chilli - 2
Tamarind pulp - 1/2 Tablespoon
Salt - to taste

1. Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peeper corns, curry leaves and red chilli until they become nice and crisp in a pan (which will take 2 minutes if the pan is hot enough) and allow them to cool.
2. Use the same pan and heat oil in it, when it is hot, add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Now add the garlic and tomato and cook for another 3 minutes.
3. Now add the cleaned and washed mint leaves and tamarind pulp and sauté for another 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool.
4. Now grind the dry roasted items and the sautéed items along with salt and coconut into a fine paste.
       This version of mint chutney tastes awesome with rice than the idli and dosas.

* Half a cup of coriander leaves can also be added along with mint leaves.
* Coconut is optional.
* You can also omit the dry roasted items. But this version will be good only with idli and dosa.
* Store it in an air tight container in the fridge and it will last up to 5 days.

Tomato Korma

Tomato korma is one of my grand mother's recipes and she usually prepares this for our breakfast along with idli and dosa. It tastes very good when we have it with hot piping idlis. Enjoy!
Onion (big) - 1 (chopped lengthwise)
Green chilli - 2 (split lengthwise)
Curry leaves - 10
Oil - 1 Tablespoon
Mustard seeds - 1/4 Tablespoon
Salt - to taste
Water - 2 cups
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tablespoon
Coriander powder - 1Tablespoon
Sambar powder - 1 Tablespoon
To Grind
Ripe Tomato (big) - 2
Garlic - 2 pods
Coconut - 1/2 cup
Roasted gram - 2 Tablespoon (pottu kadalai)
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch stick
Poppy seeds - 1/4 Tablespoon
Fennel seeds - 1/4 Tablespoon

1. Grind the items given in the to grind header into a fine paste with half a cup of water.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and wait for it to splutter and then add the green chillies, curry leaves and onions.
3. Sauté the onions until it is completely cooked and add the masalas to it and cook till the raw smell of the masalas go away.
4. Now add the ground paste to the pan along with 2 cups of water. If it is too thick adjust water accordingly. It should be too thick or too thin.
5. Add salt and close the pan with its lid and allow it to cook in high for 10 minutes.
6. Now you will see the korma has thickened with all the raw smell of the masalas and tomato gone.  If it is too thick you can add water and bring it to a boil.
              Tomato korma is ready. Serve with garnished coriander leaves.

* Coconut is optional.
* Cloves,cinnamon, fennel seeds and poppy seeds can also be omitted but the korma will have a different taste (still good :-) )

Lady's Finger/Okra/Bindi Curry

Myself and my husband have got the taste buds that always long for tangy and spicy food. I cook this tangy okra curry at least once in a week to suffice our palates. It tastes better a day after its preparation, so we always reserve some for the next day. This curry goes very well with rice and carrot stir fry. Enjoy!
Lady's finger/Okra/Bindi - 250 gms (cut into roundels)
Shallots - 1 cup (roughly chopped)
Garlic - 1 cup (roughly chopped)
Curry leaves - 10
Tomato (medium) - 2 (chopped)
Red chilli - 2 (break into 2)
Tamarind pulp - 4 Tablespoon 
Mustard seeds-  1/4 Tablespoon
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 Tablespoon
Cumin seeds - 1/4 Tablespoon
Pepper corns - 5
Oil - 1 Tablespoon
salt - to taste
Water - 2 cups
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tablespoon
Coriander powder - 1Tablespoon
Sambar powder - 1 Tablespoon
Red chilli powder - 1/4 Tablespoon

1. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds followed by fenugreek, cumin and pepper corns. Sauté for 30 seconds.
2. Now add the red chillies, curry leaves, shallots and garlic and sauté till they are completely cooked which will take 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Now add the tomatoes and the masalas along with salt and cook till the tomato is fully cooked.
4. Add the lady's finger/okra/bindi  and sauté for next 5 minutes. Then add the tamarind pulp along with water.
5. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan with a lid and simmer it until the vegetable is completely cooked. Do not forget to give a stir in between. 
6. After 15 to 20 minutes you will see the oil separating at the top of the curry indication of the curry being ready. Turn off the heat and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
              This curry goes only with rice!

* Adjust the spices and masalas according to your palate.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Tomato Pulav in Pressure Cooker

I make tomato pulav when I am bored to cook or in a hurry. It is a one pot recipe and can be prepared in less than 20 minutes. I tastes similar to that of Biryani but with a little less spices. It tastes heavenly with onion raitha and crispy fried potatoes. Enjoy! 
Rice - 2 cups
Ripe Tomato (medium) - 5 (finely chopped)
Onion (big) - 1 (chopped lengthwise)
Green chilli - 2 (split lengthwise)
Fresh Coriander leaves - 1 cup (chopped)
Fresh Mint leaves - 1 cup (chopped)
Garlic - 1 Tablespoon (finely chopped)
Ginger - 1 Tablespoon (finely chopped)
Lime juice - Juice of 1/2 lime
Oil - 1 Tablespoon
Cardamom - 2
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Cloves - 2
Bay Leaf - 2
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tablespoon
Red chilli powder - 1/4 Tablespoon
Coriander powder - 1 Tablespoon
Salt - to taste
Water - 3 cups

1. Wash and soak rice in water for 10 minutes.
2. Heat oil in the pressure cooker pan and fry the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves for 10 seconds and add the green chillies and onion.
3. Sauté the onion for 4 minutes and add the chopped ginger and garlic and cook till the raw smell goes away.
4. Then add the tomato and sauté till it is smashed and add the coriander and mint leaves.
5. Following the fresh leaves add the turmeric, red chilli, coriander powder and salt and cook for another 5 minutes.
6. Add just the rice by draining the water and mix well so that it gets completely mixed with the masala. Stir it for 2 minutes and add the 3 cups of water.
7. Taste for salt and close the lid and put the weight on top. Wait for 2 whistles and turn the heat off.
8. Once the pressure is completely released, open the lid and squeeze the lemon juice on top and mix the contents without breaking the rice.
        Tomato pulav is ready ! Serve it with onion raitha, potato fry or chips.
* Butter or ghee can be used instead of oil.
* Basmati rice can be used, I have used just the long grain rice.
* Fry cashew nuts in ghee and add it to the rice if you have kids at home.
* Ginger garlic paste can be used instead of chopped version of the same. But I prefer chopped ginger because when I bite the cooked ginger bits I feel the taste bursting in my mouth.
* Adjust the chilli heat according to your taste buds.

Cauliflower/Gobi Manchurian

Gobi manchurian reminds me of my college days. I was staying in a hostel and there used to be a roadside cart-wala nearby,  selling hot gobi manchurian. Myself and my friends enjoyed it a lot, almost every day. A plate cost was just Rs.10 and we also had take aways. There was a house construction going on opposite to the shop and we used to sit on the sand used for the construction with our hot plates of manchurian. Those were the unforgettable golden days of my life! Hope they come back :-)
Cauliflower florets (medium) - 1cup
All purpose flour (maida) - 4 Tablespoon
Corn flour/rice flour - 2 Tablespoon
Ginger & garlic  - 1 Tablespoon (finely chopped)
Oil - for deep frying
Onion (big) - 1 (chopped into big chunks)
Green chilli - 2 (chopped)
Spring onions - 2 (chopped)
Tomato sauce - 3 Tablespoon
Red/Green chilli sauce - 1 1/2 Tablespoon
Soya sauce - 2 Tablespoon
Plum Sauce - 1 Tablespoon (optional)
For Marination
Ginger garlic paste - 1 Tablespoon
Red chilli powder - 1/4 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tablespoon
Salt - to taste
Pepper - 1/4 Tablespoon

1. Marinate the cauliflower florets with the ingredients mentioned under the marination header for 30 minutes.
2. Mix all purpose flour and corn flour into a thin paste with water.
3. Heat the oil for deep frying in a thick bottomed pan. When the oil is super hot, dip the florets into the flour paste and drop them immediately into the oil. Fry them for 4-5 mins until they are crispy. You will get a nice golden brown colour. Repeat the process for all the batch of florets and drain the excess oil with kitchen towel.
4. Once all the florets are fried, heat oil in a pan and add the chopped onion and green chilli. Do not overcook  the onion. It should be crunchy and there should be no raw smell of the onion.
5. Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic and ginger and cook until the raw smell goes off.
6. Now add the sauces one by one and turn off the heat.
7. Add the fried florets to the sauce and toss well. Make sure each floret is coated well with the sauce.
           Serve the manchurian with the spring onions garnished on top.

* Leave 2 minutes gap between the frying of each batch of cauliflower florets so that the oil is hot enough, else the florets will consume lot of oil.
* You can also add a 1/4 tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to the flour mixture. This will keep the florets soft inside and crispy outside.
* You can also add capsicum along with the onion when you prepare the manchurian.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Spinach Poori

I recently learnt this recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor's cookery show. Just a small twist to our usual pooris. Taste wise it did not make much of a difference but I was happy choosing a healthier option of adding spinach to our deep fried pooris. The colour of the poori was really appealing. Hope you enjoy!
Wheat flour - 1 cup
Spinach - 2 cups
Water - as required
Salt - to taste
Oil - for deep frying

1. Wash and blanch the spinach for 3 minutes in a microwave oven or simply cook it in a pan for 3 minutes and allow it  to cool.
2. Grind the spinach into a fine paste.
3. Add the ground spinach to the flour along with salt and 1/4 tablespoon of oil and knead. Then add required amount of water and knead it into a dough as required for pooris and rotis. Keep it aside for 15 minutes.
4. Meantime heat oil in a pan required for deep frying. The oil should be super duper hot, only then the pooris will puff up.
5. Roll thin pooris and deep fry them. Drain excess oil using kitchen towel and serve.
         Pooris tastes good with potato masal. I tried it with chicken gravy and it was amazing too!

* Do not add too much of water to the dough, else the pooris will consume lot of oil.
* The oil should be super duper hot, only then the pooris will puff up.
* You can also add a tablespoon of rava/semolina/sooji to get crispy pooris.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Egg Curry

Our Indians group here is a mixture of vegetarians and non-vegetarians. It was the beginning of my saga in Spain, when I wanted to arrange for a dinner at my house for the Indian gang. I was thinking to prepare something that can be taken by both vegetarians and non-vegetarians and this egg curry struck my mind. I make this egg curry at least once in a week with an idea to add egg to my diet every week. And here is my recipe to this tasty egg curry.
Boiled Egg- 3
Onion- 1
Tomato- 1
Ginger garlic paste- 1 Tbsp
Green chilly- 1
Coriander powder- 1 Tbsp
Red chilly powder- 1/2 Tbsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Oil- 2 Tbsp
Bay leaves

  1. Boil the eggs with little salt and remove the shells once they are boiled.. Wipe them well with paper towels and make shallow slits along the the surface of the egg, half centimeter apart from each.
  2. In a pan, heat some oil and fry the eggs until they become golden brown. Remove the eggs and keep them aside.
  3. Add the above mentioned items for seasoning to the oil and fry them.
  4. To the seasoning add finely chopped onion and fry them. 
  5. Once the onion turns translucent, add ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw smell goes off. Then add tomatoes and saute well.
  6. To this add the above mentioned masalas namely coriander powder, chilly powder and garam masala and fry until oil separates. Add water to make it in to a thick curry. 
  7. Finally add the boiled and fried eggs to the curry and cook for few more minutes. 
  8. Serve with rice and rotis.

* You can also cut the egg into 2 halves and add to the curry.
* After adding eggs do not mix much with spoon, as the eggs might break, especially if you add cut eggs. 

Chicken Curry in Slow Cooker

Chicken curry is one of my grandmother's specials. She prepares this curry almost every Sunday for lunch along with rice and chicken fry. I would be longing for this curry when I spent my school and college days at hostel. I prefer this curry with a little over cooked rice. The curry has got an incredible taste and smell which would invite your neighbours without saying. My grandmother used to prepare this curry over the wood fire and simmer it for the whole day just with the hot charcoal left underneath. It tastes amazing the next day of its preparation. I tried this curry in the slow cooker the process similar to that of the simmering with charcoal and got excellent results. Enjoy!
Chicken (with bones) - 500 grams
Shallots - 20
Garlic - 10
Ginger - 1 inch
Tomato (medium) - 2
Curry leaves - 2 twigs
Green chilli - 2
Fresh Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds - 1/4 Tablespoon
Water - 3 cups
Oil - 2 Tablespoon
Salt - to taste

For Dry Roast
Coriander seeds - 2 1/2 Tablespoon
Pepper corns - 5
Red chilli - 2
Cumin seeds - 1/2 Tablespoon
Fennel seeds - 1/2 Tablespoon
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon-  1/2 inch syick
Cardamom - 1
Bay Leaf - 1
Coconut (grated) - 1 cup
Curry Leaves - 3 twigs

1. Dry roast all the items given in the dry roast header one by one without oil and keep aside.
2. Heat a pan and add 1 tablespoon oil. When the oil is hot, fry the shallots, garlic, tomato and ginger. Do not over cook. Just fry them for 5 minutes and allow them to cool.
3. Now grind all the fried ingredients in the step 1 and 2 into a fine paste by adding little water.
4. Meanwhile heat the slow cooker along with the cookpot in high mode for 20 minutes as per the cook book instructions.
5. Heat a pan and add 1/4 tablespoon of oil and cook the chicken until it becomes slightly white in colour. This should not take more than 3 minutes.
6. Heat 3 cups of water until it is luke warm and add it to the ground masala.
7. Now assemble the chicken in the cookpoot along with  the stock that you got while frying the chicken and add the masala water to it and give it a stir.
8. Add salt according to taste. Garnish it with coriander leaves and cover it with the lid. Change the slow cooker settings to low and cook for 6 to 8 hours.
9. After 6 or 8 hours, heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds to it and once it splitter, add curry leaves. Add this seasoning to the cooked curry and garnish with fresh coriander.
         Chicken curry goes well with rice, dosa and idli.

* If you want the curry to be thick you can reduce the water amount.
* If you feel the coriander seeds flavour is less you can add coriander powder.
* Instead of slow cooker you can also use a pressure cooker or a thick bottomed vessel. The procedure remains the same. You need not fry the chicken or warm the water for pressure or vessel cooking. Just add the masala water to the chicken and allow 5 whistles. 

Monday, 23 January 2012

Red Pepper Chicken/ Milagai Chicken

Before I moved to Europe, I was a complete non-vegetarian, who hates vegetables to the core. In fact, Charu and Divya have had many hard times with me in making me eat vegetables. Even when I started to learn cooking, I learnt to make chicken in different ways, and hardly gave a thought to vegetarian dishes. One such chicken curry is this Milagai Chicken, which I learnt from one of my uncles. Using very few spices from your kitchen, you can prepare this hot 'n' spicy Milagai chicken.

Chicken - 6-8 small leg pieces
Red pepper/ Dry red chilly- 4
Onion- 1 1/2 
Garlic- 10 cloves
Oil- 2 Tbsp
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Salt- to taste
  1. Cut the onions and make a fine paste out of it.
  2. Heat oil in a fry pan and fry the dry red peppers in oil. 
  3. Before they get burnt, add the onion paste and finely chopped garlic in the pan, and add a pinch of turmeric powder and fry them well until the raw smell goes off and oil separates.
  4. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and fry them well until the flesh becomes white. 
  5. Add salt and cover the pan with a lid and allow it to cook in low flame for 5 mins. Add water to the required gravy consistency, and fry until the chicken gets completely cooked.
  6. Tasty milagai chicken ready. Serve it hot with rice, dosa or roti. 

* Do not let the chilly burn.
* This recipe does not require any other spices. Be careful about the number of red chilly you add. Onion and garlic also give a spicy flavor to the chicken.
* You can grind onion and garlic together instead of adding separately. 

Kesari/ Dessert with Semolina

Kesari is one of the simple and common desserts in Tamil Nadu. I remember my mum and granny making this dish quickly when we had unexpected guests at home. We, as kids would fight for the nuts and raisins in the kesari and would snack on most of them as soon as they were fried in ghee. Thus making my mum to roast them again. Nostalgic right! Lets go to the recipe.
Semolina - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups
Milk - 1 1/2 cups
Ghee - 4 Tablespoons
Sugar - 1 cup
Cardamom powder - a pinch
Food colour - Few drops (yellow or orange)
Mixed nuts & Raisins - 1/2 cup (cashewnut, almonds, pecans)

1. Heat a tablespoon of ghee in a pan and roast the nuts and raisins until they become golden brown and the raisins puff up. Strain them from the ghee and keep aside.
2. Use the same pan with the left over ghee to roast the semolina until become golden yellow in a medium heat. Transfer the roasted semolina to a plate. 
 3. Now heat the water in the pan and once the water boils add the semolina spoon by spoon and keep stirring to avoid the formation of lumps. It will thicken in matter of seconds, so must be very careful while mixing.
4. Add milk and stir the contents. Once it thickens add the sugar, food colour, cardamom powder, ghee and the roasted nuts and mix everything evenly.
       Kesari is ready!

* Should be very careful while adding semolina to the water because it forms lumps very quickly, so keep stirring non-stop.
* If you feel that the kesari is very thick,  you can add milk.
* Sugar can be adjusted according to your taste. 
* Instead of food colour, saffron boiled in milk can also be used.

Crispy Chicken Wings

Hot chicken wings will be on my top list of order whenever I visit KFC, McDonalds or any other fast food restaurants. I recently had barbecued chicken wings at a nearby supermarket and was wondering how they made it crispier. I tried grilling chicken wings at home, though the taste was good, the wings were soggy rather than crispy. I was searching for the secret ingredient to make it crispy and finally landed on Laura Vitale's buffalo wings recipe on you tube and learnt the secret ingredient. Hope you get it right. Enjoy! 
Chicken wings - 10
Tandoori masala - 1 1/2 Tablespoon
Chilli powder - 1/2 Tablespoon (optional)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tablespoon
Lemon juice - of 1/2 lime
Yoghurt - 2 Tablespoon
Salt - to taste
Dried Herbs - 1/4 Tablespoon ( Parsley, Thyme, Oregano)
All purpose flour - 3 Tablespoon
Baking powder - 1/4 Tablespoon
Oil - 2 Tablespoon

1. Clean and cut the wings and pat them dry using paper towels. Make sure there is no extra moisture.
2. Marinate the chicken with all the above mentioned ingredients except for all purpose flour, baking powder and oil. Allow it to stand for 2 to 4 hours. The longer the better!
3. Preheat the oven to the maximum temperature available in your oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile add the all purpose flour and baking powder to the marinated chicken and make sure each chicken piece is coated well with the flour.
4. Place the wings on the tray and cook for 20 to 25 minutes by drizzling some oil over the wings. Take the tray out turn the chicken to the other side and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes by drizzling some oil on the chicken until its crispy.
5. Transfer the chicken wings to a plate, squeeze lime juice and chaat masala on top and serve with fresh onion and lettuce.

* The flour and the baking powder will help in making the chicken crispy outside, soft and juicy inside.
* Do not cook chicken for a very long time because the flesh will become hard and chewy.
* You can skip any masala that you don t like and can prepare the marinade of your choice.
* The marinade should not be runny it should be thick and the wings should be coated well with the marinade.

Grilled Fish

I was not a big fan of fish and other sea food until I reached UK. We once spent our vacation in Italy, exploring pizzas, pasta and sea food. We had grilled fish with a side salad, since then I started loving fresh grilled fish. Myself and my husband will have them almost every Friday night, watching movies with a dim ambience set at our home. I gave a little desi twist to the one we had in Italy and here it goes....Enjoy!
Whole Fish - 1 ( I used sea bass)
Chilli powder - 1 Tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tablespoon
Pepper- 1/4Tablespoon
Lemon juice - juice of 1/2 lemon
Oil - 2 Tablespoon
Salt - to taste

1. Scale and gut the fish, clean and wash the fish properly. I usually get them completely cleaned from the market. Make 3 to 4 slits on both sides of the fish.
2. Marinate the fish with chilli powder, turmeric powder, pepper, lemon juice and salt for 2 to 4 hours. The longer the better!
3. Preheat the oven to the highest that you have at your home for 10 minutes. Meanwhile line the oven tray with aluminium foil and drizzle some oil over the foil and place the fish on the tray.
4. Place the tray with fish in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes and turn the fish to the other side and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes by drizzling some oil over the fish.
5. You can cook for another 5 minutes if you want the skin to be more crispy.
6. Serve the fish with lemon squeezed on top with fresh onion and lettuce.
* Sea bream, sea bass, rainbow trout or any other fish of your choice can be used.
* The slits that you make should not be too deep because they might break the bones and when cooked the fish will be totally out of shape.
* I prefer to use the whole fish without any of the fins being removed because they become crispy and tastes good when grilled. But make sure you spread some oil on the foil because the fins might stick to the foil over the cooking period.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Apple Pizza

Being in an European country, one thing you can never avoid is a Pizza. The aroma of melting cheese, especially that of sheep cheese can really induce your appetite wherever you are. In the beginning it was really hard for me to find a pizza of my taste so I couldn't opt for ready-made pizzas on some emergency. Its again my Spanish flatmate who introduced this apple pizza to me. Just give a try to this simple recipe and am sure you will love it. You will understand apple in a different way :)
Pizza Base - 1 roll
Onion- 1
Tomato puree - 2 Tbsp
Cheese (sliced)- 4 slices
Cheese (shredded) - as required
Oil- 1 Tbsp
  1. Cut onion into fine julienne. In a fry pan add little oil say 1/2 Tbsp and fry the onions in very low flame for 15 mins. Onion becomes translucent, soft and slightly sweeter as it is cooked for a long time.
  2. Once onion is ready, roll out the Pizza base on a flat surface with a baking sheet and spread tomato puree evenly on the pizza base.
  3. Cut the cheese slices into small pieces and spread them over the base. 
  4. Now peel off the apple and cut them into small slices and arrange them over the cheese on the pizza.
  5. Layer it up with fried onion, and finally, spread the shredded cheese over the pizza.
  6. Sprinkle little oregano over the cheese to add flavour
  7. Preheat the oven to 210 degrees for 10 mins. Keep this pizza in a baking tray and place it inside the oven.
  8. Bake it for 10 mins or until the cheese melts.
  9. Serve it hot. 
* Do not let onions to burn.
* I have used a thin (ready made) pizza base, as I don't like thick bread. You can also try to prepare pizza base with maida, water, oil and yeast.
* Instead of oregano, you can also use grated lemon peel.  

Friday, 20 January 2012

Capsicum Peas Masala

Capsicum Peas Masala is one of my favorite dishes I opt for rotis. Today I felt so excited and happy and started preparing this for my dinner, and it turned out really well. I should admit that the mental happiness reflects in cooking. :) And here is my favorite recipe.

Green Peas - 1 cup
Capsicum - 1 cup (red, green and yellow capsicum- chopped)
Oil- 2 Tbsp
Onion- 1
Tomato- 1
ginger garlic paste - 1 Tbsp
Green chilly- 2
Coriander powder- 1 Tb sp
Red Chilly powder- 1/2 Tbsp
Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
Fresh cream- 4 Tbsp

For Seasoning:
Cumin seeds
Bay leaf

  1. Boil green peas in a separate sauce pan before starting with the recipe.
  2. In a pan, fry the ingredients mentioned for seasoning and then add finely chopped onions and green chilly.
  3. Once the onions become translucent, add ginger garlic paste and fry well. 
  4. To this add coriander powder, chilly powder and little garam masala and fry well until oil separates. 
  5. Add finely chopped capsicum to this and fry for 3-4 mins.
  6. Once the raw smell of capsicum goes off, add chopped tomatoes and salt and cook well. 
  7. When the curry gets cooked, add boiled peas to the curry, mix well and add one cup of water and allow it to boil for 5 mins. 
  8. Finally add fresh cream to the curry, mix well and cook for 3 more mins and remove from fire.
  9. Capsicum peas masala ready. This goes very well with roti and naan.


* You can add cashew nuts paste instead of fresh cream, to give gravy consistency.
* Do not cook for long time after adding cream. If you add cashew nut paste, add it to the curry before adding peas and fry well.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Spicy Honey Chicken

As I write this recipe, my memories roll back 6 yrs, when none of our final year semester exams ended without this Spicy honey chicken. Thanks to Valar chicken.. we all four (Charu, Charu, Tharu n Divya) are die-hard fans of this yummy yummy curry. I have searched for this recipe for a long time and finally found it somewhere and tried it. As I repeated this recipe, I made few changes according to my taste. Here is the finger-licking chicken recipe.
Chicken(with bones) - 250 gm
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Curry powder/ chicken masala- 2 TbSp
Oil- as required
Ginger garlic paste- 1 TbSp
Green Chilly paste- 1/2 Tbsp
Tomato Ketchup - 4 TbSp
Honey- 2 TbSp
Lemon juice- 1 TbSp
Onion- 1
Salt- to taste

  1. Cut the chicken into small pieces and marinate it with turmeric powder, salt and 1 Tbsp of curry powder and keep it in the fridge for 20-30 mins.
  2. Deep fry the marinated chicken pieces, until they turn golden brown. 
  3. In a fry pan, pour 2 Tbsp of oil (that was used for frying the chicken) and fry ginger garlic paste and chilly paste. Cook in medium flame.
  4. Add the given amount of tomato ketchup and curry powder and mix well for 2 mins. Add salt. 
  5. Add 2 Tbsp of honey and 4 Tbsp of water to the curry and stir well until oil separates.
  6. Add the fried chicken pieces; mix well. 
  7. Add lemon juice and the onion rings and cook until the onion rings become translucent. By this time, the chicken absorbs the essence of the gravy.
  8. Spicy honey chicken is ready. You can have this with rotis, naans, paranthas and fried rice.
  •  Once the chicken pieces are fried, rest of the steps take hardly 12-15 mins.
  •  You can add more water, if you want the gravy to be thin.
  •  Take care that you do not burn the ginger garlic paste while frying.  
  • As you add the tomato ketchup and honey, the curry gives a strong smell. Don't panic, it will be fine :)

Bitter Gourd Curry

Most  people do not like bitter gourd because of its bittery taste. But it is one of my favourite veggies. Be it curry, chips or fry anything made out of bitter gourd, you name it, I love it. Bitter gourd is also good for the diabetics. Here I have shared a tangy,sweet and bittery curry which I learnt from my mum-in-law. It tastes much better a day after its preparation. 
Bitter gourd - 2 (cut into roundels)
Shallots - 10
Garlic - 10
Tomato - 2 medium (chopped)
Curry leaves - 10
Tamarind juice - 5 Tablespoons (thick)
Mustard seeds - 1/4 Tablespoon
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 Tablespoon
Cumin seeds - 1/4 Tablespoon
Pepper corns - 5
Asafoetida - a inch
Red chilli - 2
Red chili powder - 1/4 Tablespoon
Coriander powder - 1 Tablespoon
Sambar powder - 1 1/2 Tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tablespoon
Oil - 2 Tablespoons
Salt - to taste
Jaggery - 1 1/2 tablespoon (grated)
Fresh coriander leaves - to garnish
Water - 1 cup

1. Heat 1/2 a tablespoon of oil in a pan and fry the bitter gourd for 7 minutes, so that the bitterness of the gourd is reduced to a certain extent. 
2. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard, cumin, fenugreek, pepper corns, red chillies and curry leaves.Fry them for a minute.
3. Now add the shallots and sauté for 3 minutes and add the garlic. Cook until the shallots become translucent and the raw smell of the garlic go away. 
4. Now add the tomatoes,salt,chilli powder,coriander powder,turmeric powder and sambar powder with a splash of water and cook for 3 minutes until the raw smell of the masalas go away.
5. Add the bitter gourd along with water and tamarind juice and cover the pan with a lid. Lower the heat to medium and cook for the next 10-15 minutes.
6. Add the jaggery, give a quick stir and turn off the heat.Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
          Tangy bitter gourd  curry is ready ! Serve it with rice and papad.
* If you feel that the masalas are too much for your  palate, you can reduce them.
* Serving it after 1 or 2 hours of preparation will have better taste.
* Ordinary white sugar can also be added if jaggery is unavailable.

Methi/Fenugreek Leaves Rice

We usually have farmer's  market in the town centre on thursdays and saturdays where we get fresh produce at a cheaper rate. Once I saw fresh fenugreek leaves and got two bunches of them, knowing not, what to prepare. I browsed through some cookery sites and blogs and finally landed on Solai's kitchen. The recipe for the rice was very simple, neat and well explained. I prepared this dish and it was a super hit. Thanks to Solai aachi!
Cooked rice - 2 cups
Fresh methi/fenugreek leaves - 2 cups (chopped finely)
Oil - 1 Tablespoon
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tablespoon
Urud dal - 1/2 Tablespoon
Channa dal - 1 Tablespoon
Coriander seeds - 1 Tablespoon
Red chilli - 4
Onion - 1 medium (chopped)
Tamarind Juice - 2 Tablespoon
Salt - to taste
Ghee - 1 Tablespoon
1. Dry roast the coriander seeds,channa dal and red chillies and grind them into a fine powder.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds followed by the urud dal.
3. Once the urud dal becomes golden yellow add the onions and cook them completely.
4. Now add the methi leaves and cook until the water is completely dried.
5. Add the ground powder and the tamarind juice along with salt.
6. Once the leaves are completely cooked turn off the heat which would take less than 10 minutes on medium heat.
7. Mix the cooked leaves to the rice with the ghee.
      Methi rice is ready! Serve it along with an omelette or crisps.
* The rice should not be sticky. Add a quarter cup less water for the rice than the usual and it should not be hot while mixing with the leaves mix.
* The leaves will be a little chewy than compared to the usual spinach but I bet it has an excellent taste and high nutritious value.