Sunday, 1 August 2010

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Varutharaicha murungakai pulikuzhambu / Drumstick in fried coconut based tamarind gravy


Here is one more pulikuzhambu version which I like very much. This is a kerala style theeyal recipe. The smell of drumstick and the smell of golden fried coconut gives a unique taste and aroma to this dish.

The scientific name of drumstick tree is Moringa oleifera. The leaves, flowers and immature pods of drumstick tree are used as food. Leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant. They are  rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium , Pottasium, Iron and protein.  Different parts of drumstick plant is used to cure respiratory disorders, infections, digestive disorders, urinary disorders and sexual disorders ('Mundhanai mudichu' Bhagyaraj seems to be correct ;). 




Ingredients :

Drumstick- 2 nos
Coconut scrappings- 3 tbspns (fresh or dried)
Onion- 1 no
Tomato- 1 no
Curry leaves- a handful
Green chillies- 3 nos
Whole black pepper- 1 tspn
Coriander powder- 1 tbspn
Red chilli powder- 2 tspns
Tamarind- size of a small lemon
Turmeric- a pinch
Asafoetida- a pinch
Fenugreek, Mustard and urid dhal- 1/2 tspn for tempering
Salt to taste
Oil- 3 tbspn

Method :

Wash and cut the drumsticks into 2 inch pieces. Soak the tamarind in luke warm water. Take a pan and fry the coconut scrappings until they become deep brown in colour. Grind the fried coconut and one teaspoon of pepper into a smooth paste. Cut onions and tomatoes into small pieces. Slit the green chillies. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil gets heated add fenugreek seeds and urid dhal. When it browns add mustard seeds. When they splutter add the onions, curry leaves, green chillies, a pinch of asafoetida and a pinch of turmeric. Saute well until the onions become soft. Now add some salt and tomato pieces and saute until the tomato pieces are cooked well. To this mixture add coriander powder, chilli powder and ground coconut and pepper paste. Mix well. Saute for a minute until the raw smell of the masala goes away. Now add the extracted tamarind juice and enough water. Boil the mixture well until the drumstick is cooked. Allow the gravy to thicken. Add salt as per your taste.  A very tasty kuzhambu will be ready to be served with hot rice and papads.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Sourness, spiciness and salt should balance well to get the best pulikuzhambu. Thick gravy is more tastier than the watery ones. Black pepper gives a very nice taste and aroma to this dish. Take care not to burn the coconut scrappings but it should be browned nicely. Add lots of curry leaves. When prepared with gingelly oil it has an unique taste. Happy cooking !!!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Happy weekend !!!

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Monday, 19 July 2010

Oyster mushroom fry / Sippi kaalaan varuval


When rainy season comes and when there are a few days of thunder and lightning, these beautiful delicacies grow on plantain stems. In my village, our neighborhood boys go to the plantain farms early in the morning and collect these mushrooms for us. As I have already said, naturally growing oyster mushrooms (Sippi kaalaan) are several times tastier than the store bought, commercially grown ones. Here in Germany, I get them rarely in supermarkets like Edeka or Tegut. They are a bit costly but I buy them whenever I see them because once you get hooked up in their taste its hard to give up. Select mushrooms with stems intact as the crunchy stem gives this fry a wonderful taste. Aren"t you tempted by the way this fry looks? Just try it you will love it and they are very healthy too. This simple fry I learned from my mom and I am happy to share this recipe with you all.




Ingredients :

Oyster mushrooms (Sippi kaalaan)- 250 gms
Onion- 1 no or 6 shallots (use shallots if possible for a better taste)
Green chillies- 5 nos
Curry leaves- handful
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Chilli powder- 1 tspn or any garam masala
Mustard and urid dhal- 1/2 tspn (for tempering)
Salt to taste
Oil- 3 tbspns

Method :

Wash and tear mushrooms into small pieces using your hand. Do not discard the stem. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot do the tempering using mustard and uri dhal. When the mustard seeds splutter and the urid dhal turns brown add the sliced onions, cut green chillies, curry leaves, a pinch of turmeric and enough salt. Saute well until the onions acquire a golden colour. At this stage add chilli powder  or garam masala and  oyster mushrooms. Saute them well.  Do not add water. Oyster mushrooms have enough water content. Simmer the flame and fry until they become golden and crispy. A very attractive, tasty fry will be ready in minutes. 

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Make it as simple as possible to relish the real mushroom taste. If you have chicken 65 masala you can use it for getting that unique colour, taste and flavour, you can also name it as mushroom 65 :). Happy cooking !!!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Monday, 12 July 2010

Spring onions and egg curry / Ulli aaku, kodi guddu koora


Dear friends, I am back after a long break. Thanks to everyone who remembered me during my absence :).  I learned this egg curry  from my sister-in-law. In my home my mom never used spring onions. At those times we rarely get these leaves in market. But in my in-laws place they get lots of ulli aaku  (spring onions) from their farm. They use spring onions regularly in their cooking and it tastes awesome. Egg and spring onions make a very healthy and tasty combination.

Spring onions or scallions are appreciated for their medicinal properties. They contain a compound called quercitin which is proved to halt the growth of certain tumours. They are also rich in vitamin C. Quercitin and  vitamin C provide spring onions their anti-bacterial activity. It is an excellent food for people suffering with cold and flu. They are also rich in vitamin K, A and folate.



Ingredients :

Spring onions- 1 bunch
Egg- 2 nos
Ginger- 1/2 inch piece
Garlic- 2 pods
Green chilli- 3 nos
Jeera seeds- 1/2 tspn
Red chilli powder- 1/2 tspn
Turmeric- 1/4 tspn
Mustard and jeera seeds- 1/2 tspn for tempering
Oil- 3 tbspns
Salt to taste

Method :

Mince the spring onions. Grind the ginger, garlic into a smooth paste. Coarsely grind together green chilli, jeera and turmeric powder.  Heat oil in a pan. When the oil gets heated add mustard and jeera seeds. When they splutter add the  ground ginger, garlic paste and minced spring onions. Saute them well until the raw smell of ginger, garlic paste dispappears. Now add the coarsely ground green chilli, jeera, turmeric mixture. Saute well for few minutes. At this stage add salt and red chilli powder. Saute for a few seconds. Now break the egg and pour it on top of the spring onion mixture. Simmer flame and cover the pan. After few minutes open the pan and slowly  turn the egg upside down so that the top layer gets cooked. When the egg is done switch off the stove. A very tasty side-dish for chappathi will be ready to be served.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Use fresh spring onions. Ginger, garlic paste adds a lot of flavour to this dish Take care not to burn the ingredients. Happy cooking !!!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Milagu, kozhi vathakkal / Pepper chicken


I  got this recipe from one of my friend. Thank you Raghavan for this simple and tasty recipe. When I heard about this dish, I am sure it is going to taste great. I do make pepper chicken but in a different way with many spices. But this recipe is very simple without any spices other than pepper. I have heard from my dad that his grandma prepares mutton only with salt and green chillies !!! Even NV when prepared in the simplest possible way,  tastes very yummy and satisfying and this dish is one such example. Try it you will defintely love it :).




Ingredients :

Chicken- 1/2 kg
Onions (preferably shallots)- one cup
Green chillies
Black pepper corns - 2 tbspns
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tspn
Salt to taste
Oil- 4 tbspns (preferably gingelly oil or seasame oil)

Method :

Clean the chicken and cut them into small pieces. Peel and slice the onions. Mince the green chillies. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough add the onions, green chillies, salt and turmeric powder. Simmer the flame. Saute the onions until they become soft. Now add the chicken pieces and mix well. Let the chicken cook in a low flame. Mix the onion, chicken mixture frequently. When the chicken is cooked add the coarsely powdered black pepper and mix well. Remove from fire after 2 minutes. A very tasty pepper chicken will be ready. This dish tastes very yummy with hot rice. Try to eat it when you are run dowm with cold or flu, I am sure you will feel better :)

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : If you need more gravy add more onions . Never add even a drop of water. This dish needs more oil the usual. Cook only in a very low flame and use a heavy bottomed vessel. Freshly ground pepper greatly enhances the taste. Use tender chicken. You can also add lots of curryy leaves. Happy cooking !!!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Chinna vengaya sambhar / Shallots sambhar



This is one of my favourite sambhar. I actually forgot about this recipe until I saw Viki's post on this. I just can't wait to prepare it. It is one of the most tastiest and aromatic sambhar. This dish goes well with hot rice, idly or dosa.

The scietific name of shallots is Allium ascalonicum. It is a relative of onion but tastes a bit sweeter than the onions. Shallots are easily digestible and contains 6 times more phenolics than the lowest ranked onions. They also have the most antioxidant activity than any other members of onion family. If you wonder what are these phenolics and anti-oxidants, they are the substances which provide shallots and onions their anti-cancer property. So presence of more of these substances tells us that they are potent anti-carcinogenic agents. Shallots are low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium. They are high in Vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, folate and pottasium. (Source : Wikipedia and natural environment website)



Ingredients :

Small onions or shallots- 20 nos if small and 10 nos if they are big
Toor dhal- 1 cup
Tomato- 1 no
Green chillies- 4 nos
Tamarind- size of a small lemon
Curry leaves- a handful
MTR sambhar powder- 2 tbspns
OR
Coriander powder- 2 tbspns and chilli powder- 1 tspn
Fenugreek seeds- 1/2 tspn
Jeera and mustard seeds- 1/2 tspn each
Coconut scrappings- 1 tbspn
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tspn
Asafoetida- a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil- 3 tbspns

Method :

Peel the onions and cut them into 2 if they are very large (here the shallots are very big, no need to cut the small variety shallots you get in India). Cut the tomatoes. Longitudinally slit the green chillies. Cook toor dhal until soft and mash them using a wooden spatula or masher. Soak the tamarind and extract the juice. Now heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot add the fenugreek seeds. When they brown and emit a nice aroma add mustard and jeera. When they splutter add the onions, green chilli, curry leaves, turmeric and a pinch of asafoetida. Suate for about 1 minute. Now add the tomato pieces and saute for 30 seconds. Add sambhar powder or coriander and chilli powder to the mixture and saute for 30 seconds. At this stage add the tamarind juice and enough water. Allow the mixture to boil. Now add the cooked dhal and allow it to boil once again. Simmer the mixture for another 10 minutes or until the oil seperates out. A very aromatic sambhar will be ready to be served.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Read it here. The onions should not become too soft. It must stay in sambhar firm like a vegetable. So reduce the sauting time. Happy cooking !!!
.
This recipe goes to Priya's Easy N TastyRecipes,  Healing Foods-Onion event. This event was started by Siri of Siri's corner. This is the link for her event announcement page. Great theme Siri and thanks Priya for hosting this event.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Milagu Vendakkai / Black pepper stuffed ladies finger or okra


This easy recipe was given by my dad to me. I think he read it in some magazine. My dad was the first person to encourage my cooking expeditions :). Whatever dish I prepare he just loved it. I am not sure whether he liked the dish or the fact that it was prepared by his daughter. Sometimes when my mom says  to him that I prepared a particular dish (eventhough I haven't ) he appreciated it whole-heartedly and vice versa :). So I am sure that the love for his daughter made him appreciate the dishes prepared by me. But those appreciation s helped me to grow better and better :). I would love to dedicate this blog to my loving and caring dad. Try this recipe. It is very simple, very tasty and very healthy way to enjoy ladies finger.




Ingredients :

Vendakkai / ladies finger / okra- 6 nos  (select fresh, green and tender ones) 
Freshly ground black pepper powder- 1 tspn
Salt- 1/4 tspn
Oil- 3 tspns

Method :

Make a longitudinal slit in vendakkai as shown in picture. Mix black pepper powder and salt. Apply a thin coating of the above said mixture inside the slitted ladies finger. Heat 3 teaspoons of oil in a pan. When the oil gets hot simmer the flame and place the vendakkai on hot oil. Turn ladies finger more often until they get brown tints all over their outer skin. The pepper stuffed vendakkai will be ready to be relished.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe :  Instead of cooking them in a pan you can grill them. Before grilling spray a thin coating of oil. This pepper stuffed vendakkai will be loved by everyone in your grill party. Happy cooking !!!

This entry goes to Tasty apetite's I love my dad event. Thank you Jay for hosting this lovely event.


Monday, 21 June 2010

Thakkali saadham / Tomato rice


I brought some attractive, reddish, juicy and ripe tomatoes. They looked very beautiful, I enjoyed clicking them :). I have two people in my home who love tomatoes crazily- my mom and my hubby. My mom's vegetable shopping is never complete without buying tomatoes and so is Rajender. Both of them love dishes made with tomato too.

The scientific name of tomato is Solanum lycopersicum. It is also called as love apple (!!!). Tomato plant is grown world-wide for its edible fruits.  There are 7500 varieties of tomatoes (surprising isn't it ?). Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which is a powerful anti-oxidant. The lycopene in tomatoes are better absorbed by our body when they are cooked or preserved. Lycopene offers protection against neurodegenerative diseases and some forms of cancer. Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C and vitamin A. 

The tomato rice I prepare will be more like a biriyani. I love the version without much spices too. Actually this recipe is very easy and can be prepared in a few minutes time.  Try this one-pot dish for a healthy, easy and enjoyable meal.

Ingredients :

Tomatoes- 4 nos
Onion-1 no
Basmati rice- 2 cups
Garlic- 4 pods
Ginger- 1/2 inch piece
Green chillies- 4 nos
Cardamom- 2 nos
Cloves- 3 nos
Cinnamon- 1/2 inch piece
Fennel seeds- 1/2 tspn
Red chilli powder- 1 tspn (adjust according to your taste)
Oil- 3 tbspns
Salt to taste

Method :

First grind half of the onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic and fennel seeds into a paste. Heat oil in a pressure cooker ( I prepared it in a pressure cooker, you can use rice cooker too). When the oil is hot add  cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. When they emit a nice aroma add the onions and saute well. Then add the ground paste and chilli powder. Saute until the raw smell disappears. Now add the cut tomatoes and saute till they become soft. To the above mixture add rice and mix well. Then add enough water  and salt to taste (I add 3 cups water for 2 cups of basmati rice). Close the pressure cooker and cook for 3 minutes after the first whistle comes. Remove from fire and open the cooker after 10 minutes or after the pressure is released.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Quality of toamto is very important. Look for ripe but firm, red tomatoes. Do not add too much spices. Very little will give a nice aroma and taste. The dish will be much tastier if the tomatoes are a bit sour. Happy cooking !!!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Friday, 18 June 2010

Era varuval / Prawn fry


This is a very simple prawn fry. We just loved it. Hope you will also like it. Here we get big variety,  frozen prawns but nothing can be compared to the small variety, fresh prawns which I ate when I am young.  Might be the above statement is true or might be its just the age that matters :). My mom used to deep fry the prawns and I still have that taste in my tongue, a bit sweet yet spicy and crispy hmmm...:).



Ingredients :

Prawns- 250 gms
Onion- 1 no
Tomato- 1 no
Garlic- 2 pods
Ginger- a 1/2 inch piece
Green chillies- 4 nos
Black pepper corns- 20 nos
Red chilli powder- 2 tspns
Coriander powder- 1 tbspn
Cuury leaves- 20 leaflets
Coconut scrappings- 1 tbspn
Cinnamon- 1 inch pice
Cloves-4 nos
Fennel seeds- 1/2 tspn (optional)
Salt to taste
Oil- 3 tbspns

Method :

Cut onions, ginger, garlic, tomato into pieces. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan. Fry onions, green chillies, ginger and garlic until they become brown. Now add tomatoes and saute well until they turn soft. Add pepper corns and coconut scrappings to the above mixture and saute for 30 seconds. Remove from fire. Allow the mixture to cool and grind them into a paste in food processor. Wash prawns and keep aside. Now heat a pan with 3 tablespoons of oil. When the oil gets heated add cloves and cinnamon. When they emit a nice aroma add the ground paste. Saute well for few second and to this add red chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Add enough salt to this mixture. Fry for a few seconds and then add prawns to it. Add half-a-cup of water and allow the mixture to boil well. Simmer the mixture until all the water content is gone. Remove from fire and garnish with coriander leaves. When serving squeeze lemon juice on the dish.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : The taste is much better if you fry the onions until it turns brown. Do not cook the prawn in high heat for a long time. They become rubbery. You can add fennel seeds when grinding the masala. It enhances the flavour of the dish. Add lots of curry leaves when making any sea food, that makes a lot of difference. Happy cooking !!!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Nataraja Iyer Rasam


This rasam recipe was invented by Nataraja Iyer. Long time ago he wrote a cookery column in a tamil magazine. At that time he gave this recipe to his readers. My mom used to prepare it often. It was a big hit in our household. Everyone liked it. I forgot this recipe for a long time and one fine day I  remembered about this rasam. I asked my mom for the recipe even she could not remember it. So I searched in internet and found a single post about this rasam.

This rasam preparation is very unique. We never boil tamarind juice when making rasam but this recipe calls for boiling the tamarind extract. Nataraja Iyer asked the readers to prepare this rasam in a brass vessel (pithalai sombu) for a better taste. I do not have any brass vessel. So I prepared it in a heavy-bottomed aluminium cooker. This is the most flavourful rasam I ever had. Anybody will get hooked to it,  because of  its nice aroma and excellent taste. Try this, you will love it.



Ingredients :

Cooked and mashed toor dhal- 1 cup
Tamarind- size of a lemon
Dried red chillies- 5 nos
Green chillies- 4 nos
Curry leaves- 20 leaflets
Jeera seeds- 2 tspns
Black whole pepper- 1 tspn
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tspn
Asafoetida powder- 1/4 tspn
Mustard, fenugreek and jeera seeds- 1/2 tspn
Jaggery (vellam)- a small piece
Garlic- 3 pods (crushed)
Salt to taste
Oil or ghee for tempering- 1 tbspn

Method :

Cook and mash toor dhal. Mix 2 cups of water to it and keep aside. Take tamarind and soak it in 3/4 cup of  warm water for 10 minutes. Extract the tamarind juice by squeezing it . Now add 3/4 cup of water again to the extracted tamarind juice. Once again add 3/4 cup of water. Take the tamarind juice in a brass or any heavy-bottomed vessel. To this add broken red chillies, crushed green chillies, curry leaves,  a small jaggery piece, salt, turmeric and asafoetida powder. Boil this mixture well until it becomes half of its original volume. Now add the cooked dhal and coarsely ground jeera and balck pepper seeds to the boiled tamarind mixture. Boil this mixture again until a froathy layer forms on the top. Remove from fire. Take a pan. Heat oil or ghee. When the oil gets heated add mustard, methi seeds (fenugreek) and jeera seeds. When they splutter add curry leaves and crushed garlic. Switch off the stove and transfer the tempered ingredients to the rasam. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. A very aromatic rasam will be ready to be served.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Use brass vessel if possible or any heavy-bottomed vessel. Do not miss any ingredients. Ghee adds a lot of flavour. Use tamarind which is sour enough. Happy cooking !!!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Broccoli-Seasame stir-fry


When I am very young I read about broccoli in English story books.  Most children,  in the books I read,  hate to eat broccoli  and their parents made sure they eat broccoli because it is very good for health. I used to wonder how that vegetable would look !!  I saw broccoli for the first time after I came to Germany. A green coloured cauliflower !!! I tasted it for the first time in mensa (canteen). In canteen they used to serve a cup of boiled broccoli. To tell the truth I hated it on my first encounter itself. Rajender loves this vegetable (thats very strange !!!). He has read that broccoli has many anti-cancer compounds and I am sure that is the reason for his broccoli love :).
 

The scientific name of broccoli is Brassica aleracea. It is rich in cancer fighting phytochemicals and anti-oxidants. Broccoli is high in Vitamin C, K and A. It is also a rich source of dietary fiber. It is also shown to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

I hated broccoli until I found this recipe. Whenever I came across broccoli in grocery shop I felt a sense of guilt running deep inside me.  The first reason for this is,  Rajender loves it and I am not ready to cook it for him and the second reason is,  I am avoiding such a nutritious veggie.  I was sure that Indian way of cooking cannot make this veggie any better. More and more you cook this veggie,  worser it becomes. So I tried to find a non-Indian recipe version for this vegetable (in internet, sorry I do not remember the source) and  here it is for you :



Ingredients :

Broccoli- 1 no
Lime- 1 no
Seasame- 2 tbspns
Red chilli flakes- 1 tspns
Jeera seeds- 1 tspn
Garlic- 2 cloves
Olive oil- 2 tbspns

Method :

Cut broccoli into bite sized pieces as shown in picture. Make thin slices of garlic. Squeeze out the juice from half lime piece. First, steam the broccoli until it is cooked but it should retain its firm texture. The steaming process takes approximately 5-8 minutes. Now heat a pan. Add olive oil. When the oil gets heated add seasame, jeera and sliced garlic. Fry for a few seconds until the seeds splutter and the garlic browns. Add steamed broccoli to this mixture. Simmer the flame and mix everything well. Remove from fire after 3 minutes. Sprinkle lime juice and chilli flakes on it.  Add salt to taste. Broccoli stir-fry will be ready to be served.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Make sure you do not over-cook this vegetable. It must be cooked but should retain its firmness. Steaming is the best option because boiling in water leads to the loss of cancer- protective phytochemicals. Try to retain its bright green colour. If you cook it too much it becomes light green in colour and doesn't look or taste appetizing. Follow the exact recipe. This veggie never mingles well with our Indian spices (my personal opinion), so avoid them. Never discard broccoli stem,  thats the tastiest part.  Happy cooking !!!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Rava dosai


A very simple dosa preparation. No need for soaking, grinding, mixing, fermenting etc. This is a slight variation of the usual rava dosai preparation. I have used eggs instead of maida. I learned this from one of my friend. They taste much better than the maida version. A healthy version too because we are substituting a simple carb with good quality protein. Try it for a wholesome breakfast.

Ingredients :

Rava- 1 cup
Rice flour- 1/2 cup
Egg- 1 no
Cashew kernels- 8 nos (broken into small pieces)
Ginger- a small piece (minced finely)
Curry leaves- 10 leaflets (minced finely)
Green chillies- 4 nos (minced finely)
Jeera seeds- 1/2 tspn
Salt to taste
Oil for frying (you can use ghee if you wish)

Method :

Mix all the items mentioned above except oil. Make a batter by diluting the mixture with water. The batter should be very thin. It must be several times thinner than dosa batter and if you take the batter in a laddle and pour it, it must fall freely like thick buttermilk. After preparing the batter wait for half-an-hour. Now heat a pan. When the pan is hot enough pour a laddle of batter. You normally get a net-like dosa as shown in picture. No need to spread it. Dribble oil  and fry both sides until it turns crispy and golden brown. Serve with coconut chutney.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : The most important thing is you need to have a good pan. Use a thick bottomed pan in which the heat spreads evenly and at the same time slowly. Simmer the flame. Do not keep on high flame. The above mentioned points will help in cooking the rava dosa evenly. They also remain intact and crispy. I have only a hot plate.  The pan I use becomes hot quickly and that too only in the center. I had hard time getting a properly shaped dosa. I think electric pan can do wonders, when preparing rava dosa.  Cashews and ginger impart a very nice taste to the dosa. Happy cooking !!!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Friday, 11 June 2010

Meen kuzhambu / Fish pulusu / Fish in tamarind gravy

 

Meen kuzhambu needs no introduction. Most NV eating people simply love it. I remember Sivaji's Mudhal mariyathai movie whenever I make this tasty dish. He acted so nicely, even people who doesn't like meen kuzhambu will be tempted to try it.  Such a great actor !!! If you get a good variety fish then meen kuzhambu has no equals. In villages, people make this dish in an earthenware. Fish cooked in an eathenware has a rich native taste. Meen kuzhambu when consumed on the next day of preparation is the tastiest.

Fish is a good source of protein. Fishes are also rich in omega-3, a healthy fatty acid. Omega-3 fattyacids are heart healthy. Research has proved that they reduce triglycerides and lower blood pressure. They are also shown to reduce the risk of arrhythmias which can cause sudden death and moreover if you enjoy this super tasty gravy you will feel happy :)

Many different fishes are used in cooking. Here in Germany, we get only a few varieties. I have used salmon fish and as you can see in picture they remove the skin and bones completely for such large fishes. Indian variety fishes are the tastiest and fishes taste better with their skin and bones intact :)



Ingredients :

Fish (any fish you like and you are comfortable with )- 250 gms
Tamarind- one lime- sized ball
Onion (shallots are the best)- 1 no or 15 shallots
Tomato- 1 no
Curry leaves- lots :) some 40 leaflets or so
Garlic- 6 pods
Green-chillies- 4 nos
Coriander powder- 2 tbspns
Chilli powder- 3 tspns
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Mustard and jeera seeds- 1 tspn
Fenugreek seeds (methi)- 1/2 tspn
Oil- 4 tbspns (seasame oil is the best)
Salt to taste

Method :

Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract the juice. Cut onions and tomatoes. Slit the green chillies. Clean the fish and make pieces out of it. If you buy a fish with skin intact it is essential to remove the scales with a knife. Heat oil in a pan. When it gets heated add fenugreek,  mustard and jeera seeds and allow them to splutter. Now add the onions, green chillies, curry leaves, garlic pods and a pinch of turmeric powder. Saute well until the onions turn translucent. To this mixture add enough salt and cut tomato pieces. Saute well until the tomato pieces turn soft. Add coriander powder and chilli powder at this stage and mix well. Suate for a few seconds until the raw smell of coriander powder disappears. Now add tamarind juice and enough water to dilute the mixture and allow it to boil. Then simmer the mixture for sometime until the consistency of the gravy is good enough (not too thin, not too thick). Now at this stage add the fish pieces and simmer for another 5 minutes ar until oil seperates out. A very yummy fish pulusu will be ready. Serve with hot rice.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : A good variety fish is very important. If you press the fish with your hand the flesh should be very firm and the gill region should be nice pink in colour. If the fish doesn't meet the above criteria it will break into small pieces when you drop them in gravy. Adjust the chilli and salt level according to the sourness of the tamarind. Use shallots and seasame oil if possible. Be lenient when you use oil. Try making it in an earthenware. Use lots of curry leaves. Wait for a day before using the fish kuzhambu, it really makes a lot of difference. Happy cooking !!!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Kovakkai oorugai / Dondakaya pachadi / Tindora or Indian ivy-gourd pickle


One more invention in my culinary journey :). It all started just yesterday.  I was looking in the fridge and found few kovakkai. They were very less for making a dish. I donno what to do with them. Then I thought of pickling them. I am seeing many of my blogger friends preparing nice pickles and I wanted to make one too. Kovakkai is very crispy, delicious to eat even when it is raw and it doesn't have any strong smell or taste. The only thing it lacks for making a delicious pickle is the sour taste. But it doesn't matter because lemon juice could do the magic. Thus started the idea of pickling kovakkai and you won't beleive, it turned out to be a very yummy and crispy pickle.  I have finished half of the pickle just by eating them like a salad. 

The crispiness of kovakkai is the highlight of this pickle. Even raw mango looses its crispiness when pickled but kovakkai remained very crispy and fresh in the lemon juice, mustard-fenugreek powder gravy. Friends, do try it. You will definitely love it. The preparation is also very, very easy. The below picture is taken immediately after making the pickle and the second picture is taken today morning. You can see that the kovakkai have shrunken in size and totally immersed in the gravy.



Ingredients :

Kovakkai / Tindora- 12 nos
Mustard- 1 tspn
Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 tspn
Lemon- 2 nos (medium sized)
Garlic- 5 pods (thinly sliced)
Green chillies- 4 nos (slit longitudinally)
Chilli powder- 1 tbspn ( or as per your taste)
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Asafoetida powder- few pinches
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tspn
Curry leaves- 10 leaflets
Oil- 4 tbsons
Salt to taste




Method :

Cut kovakkai as shown in picture. Slice the garlic pods. Squeeze the lemons and take out the juice. Fry mustard and fenugreek seeds in a pan until the fenugreek turns brown in colour. Now dry grind the fried mustard and fenugreek into a coarse powder. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil gets heated add mustard seeds. When they splutter add the curry leaves and garlic pieces. Saute well until the garlic browns. Now switch off the stove and to the hot oil add chilli powder, mustard-fenugreek powder, turmeric and asafoetida powder. Saute for a few seconds. Take care not to burn them. In the mean time add the squeezed lemon juice and enough salt to the kovakkai and slit green chilli pieces. Now transfer the entire hot temepered mixture to the bowl containing kovakkai. A very tasty pickle which goes very well with curd rice will be ready.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Select only the kovakkai which are very firm and crispy. When tempering take care not to burn any ingredient. Wait for a day (if you can) before using the pickle. I have used only 12 kovakkai. If you use more adjust the ingredients according to your requirement.  Use green chillies along with kovakkai for that nice, green chilli smell. Green chilli adds a lot of flavour. Salt, oil and chilli powder should be used leniently to keep them preserved. I think they will stay  for a few weeks if you keep them refrigerated. Happy cooking !!!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Vendakkai, verkadalai varuval / Bendakaya, palli vepudu / Okra or ladies finger stir fry with groundnut kernels


My husband's favourite vegetable. Groundnut is also his favourite. If I serve them together he just loves it. This dish is inspired by a ladies finger and groundnut deep fry recipe which my in-laws prepare often. (I will share that recipe later). That dish tastes awesome and is served in wedding  parties or other grand functions. I like  that dish but I feel guilty to deep fry this green, beautiful veggie. I love the rich green colour of vendakkai. When I got these fresh looking ladies finger I asked Rajender what to do with it. He asked for that deep fried dish but I wanted to try this healthy version. This turned out to be very good. If you love ladies finger and groundnut you will definitely enjoy this dish.


Ingredients :

Ladies finger- 1/2 kg
Groundnut- a handful or as much as you wish
Onion- 1 no
Green chillies- 5 nos
Curry leaves- handfull
Mustard and jeera seeds- 1 tspn
Jeera powder- 1 tspn
Oil- 3 tbspns
Salt to taste

Method :

Wash and wipe the ladies finger well. Now cut them into small pieces as shown in picture. Cut onions and green chillies into small pieces. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil gets heated add mustard and jeera seeds. When they splutter add the onion pieces, green chillies, curry leaves, enough salt and groundnut kernels. Saute well until the onions turn translucent. Now add the okra pieces and saute on low flame. Before removing from fire add jeera powder and mix well. Remove from fire when the okra is cooked. This tasty, healthy stir-fry is a great accompaniment for rice and chappathi.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : The main thing is to retain the real taste of okra. Do not overfry them. Let them retain their original colour and flavour. Use small groundnut kernels for better taste. Here I don't get them. If you like you can add chilli powder too instead of green chillies. If you like the groundnut to be crispy deep fry them in oil and add to the ladies finger at the end of preparation. Happy cooking !!!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Dondakaya vepudu / kovakkai varuval / Tindora or Indian Ivy-gourd stir-fry

 
Rajender prepares this dish wonderfully. Only after marriage I got to taste kovakkai (raw tindora). When I am young I used to eat kovapazham (ripe tindora) which grew near our home. The colour of the fruit is so attractive children will immediately love them. The tindora fruit is also a favourite of parakeets. In tamil literature, tindora fruit colour is compared to the lip colour of women :D.

A dish with raw kovakkai is very new to me and I loved watching Rajender prepare it. He made it so well this veggie immediately became my favourite. When my mom and her sister came here, Rajender prepared this for them too. My amma and periyamma were all in praise for this dish.

The scientific name for Indian ivy gourd is  Coccinia grandis. Young leaves, long slender stem tops,  raw and ripe fruits of this plant are consumed in many parts of  Asia. The root and leaf extract of this plant are used in the treatment of diabetes due to their hypoglycemic properties When I write this I remember what Rajender tells me when I eat the raw ivy gourd '' do not eat it you will get 'mathi marapu' ''. 'Mathi marapu' means disturbances in your memory. Now  I understand the reason behind it. If you become hypoglycemic naturally your memory power goes off  :). The fruit is a very rich source of many micronutrients including vitamin A and C.  Like any other vegetable this tindora is also rich in fiber.


Ingredients :

Kovakkai / Timdora / Ivy gourd- 1/4 kg
Onion- 1 no
Green chillies- 4 nos
Curry leaves- handful
Channa dhal and urid dhal- 1/2 tspn
Mustard, jeera seeds- 1/2 tspn
Chilli powder- 1/2 tspn 
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Oil- 2tbspns
Salt to taste

Method :

Wash and make thin slices of kovakkai as shown in picture. Cut onions and green chillies into small pieces. Take oil in a pan. When the oil gets heated add channa dhal and urid dhal. When they become brown and emit a nice aroma add mustrd and jeera seeds. After they splutter add onions, green chillies, curry leaves, a pinch of turmeric and salt to taste. Saute well until the onions turn translucent. Now add the thinly sliced kovakkai pieces. Simmer the flame and saute the entire mixture on a low flame. Constantly stir the mixture.  Add the red chilli powder prior to removing them from fire. Remove from fire when kovakkai browns a bit and turns crispy. A very delicious stir-fry will be ready to be savoured. This dish makes an excellent companion for chappathis or for hot rice.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : If you need a crispy fry make thin slices. Use only the raw ivy gourds. Discard them if they have a reddish tinge inside. When you slice them they must have a firm texture. Curry leaves add lots of flavour to this dish. If you like you can also add thinly sliced garlic when sauting onions. Happy cooking !!!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Godhumai, kezhvaragu dosai / Whole wheat and ragi dosa



This is an easy to make dosai and tastes very yummy with coconut chutney. I make it with whole wheat flour and ragi. Whole wheat flour is very rich in protein and fiber. It is also a rich source of calcium, iron and selenium. Ragi or finger millet is also rich in fiber and an excellent source of amino acid methionine. It is also high in Iron and calcium. Both ragi and wheat are very good for young children and for everyone else too. Here comes the recipe for this very tasty and healthy dosa :



Ingredients :

Wheat flour- 1 cup
Ragi flour- 1 cup
Onion- 1 no (medium sized)
Green chillies- 4 nos
Cumin seeds- 1 tspn
Asafoetida- few pinches
Curry leaves- 10 leaflets (minced finely)
Oil for frying
Salt to taste

Method :

Cut onions and green chillies into small pieces. Mix wheat and ragi flour in a bowl. Add  onions, green chillies, minced curry leaves, cumin seeds, asafoetida powder and salt to the flour mixture. Now mix everything well with your hand and add enogh water to get a dosa batter consistency. You can immediately make dosa with this batter. Take a laddle full of batter and spread it well on a heated pan. Apply  a teaspoonfull of oil along the sides of the dosa. When one side of the dosa is cooked turn to the other side and cook until done. Serve with coconut chutney.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Use only whole wheat flour. That makes all the difference. I get a good whole wheat flour here in Germany. Even our Indian brand atta (Pillsbury) is not good. I feel they are more like maida and you need a real whole wheat flour for getting that rich taste and wholesome feeling. Do not try to make the dosa too thin. Make it a bit thick. Thats how I make and I love that soft texture  of this dosa.  Happy cooking !!!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Friday, 4 June 2010

Kodi pulusu / Chicken gravy

 

The first time I tasted this chicken dish made by my mom-in-law, I immediately fell in love with it. Have you ever prepared chicken without onions?. In this preparation there is no onion, no tomato and no masala items like cloves, cinnamon or cardamom. A very simple way of preparing and it is very, very tasty too.  Give it a try, perhaphs you might also like it.


Ingredients :

Chicken- 1/2 kg
Ginger- 1 inch piece
Garlic- 10 pods
Coriander powder- 2 tbspns
Red chilli powder- 3 tspns (adjust according to your taste)
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Jeera seeds- 1 tspn
Coconut scrappings- 2 tbspns
Oil- 4 tbspns
Salt to taste

Method :

Clean and cut chicken into small pieces. Make a paste of ginger and garlic. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil becomes hot add jeera seeds. When they splutter add half of the ground ginger, garlic paste,  turmeric powder, chicken pieces and enough salt. Saute the mixture well until the flesh of chicken pieces turn white in colour. Now add the remaining ginger, garlic paste, coriander powder and chilli powder. Add half-a-cup of water. Now bring the mixture to boil and simmer it for another 10 minutes or until the chicken is done and the raw smell of the masala disappears. Before removing from fire garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with hot rice, lemon wedges and few raw onion slices.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : This recipe needs more oil than usual. If you cannot make dishes with more oil then it is better not to prepare this dish. Make it spicier. You cannot expect much gravy from this preparation. If you need more gravy then you have to add onions and tomato  but it definitely compromises the taste. You can add a teaspoon of garam masala (your choice) at the end of preparation. Happy cooking !!!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Pachai karamani poriyal / Achinga payaru thoran / Yard long beans stir fry

   

Another beans recipe!! I am fond of this long, green veggie too. This is called as achinga payaru in malayalam and in tamil they call it as karamani. I have never seen this in Madurai. But after coming to Germany I saw them in a grocery shop and explained its physical characteristics to my mom. She only told me that this is achinga payaru and gave me a recipe to prepare it. They taste very yummy and full of nutrients too. Try it you will love it.

It is called as yard long bean, asparagus bean, snake bean or chinese long bean in English. Its scientific name is Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis. As all beans they are rich in fiber. They are also a good source of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, Iron, riboflavin, phosphorous, vitamin c, calcium and pottasium.





Ingredients :

Yard long beans- 1/2 kg
Onion - 1no or 10 shallots
Green chillies- 3 nos
Curry leaves- 10 leaflets
Coconut scrappings- 2 tbspns
Jeera powder- 1 tspn
Red chilli powder- 1 tspn
White seasame seeds- 2 tspns
Mustard, jeera and channa dhal- 1 tspn (for tempering)
Oil- 2 tbspns
Salt to taste

Method :

Cut beans into pieces as shown in picture. Cut onions and green chillies into small pieces. Heat oil in a pan. Add channa dhal, when it browns add seasame, mustard and jeera seeds. When they splutter add onions, green chillies, curry leaves and turmeric powder. Fry until the onions turn translucent. Now add the cut beans pieces and a handful of water. Fry well on low flame until the beans are cooked. Now add the coconut scrappings, jeera, redchilli powder and salt to taste. Mix everything well. Saute for another 3 minutes on a low flame and remove from fire. Tasty beans fry is ready which goes very well with chappathi and with hot rice.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Make sure you do not overcook them. The beans should retain their colour and their crunchiness. Adding white seasame seeds imparts a very unique taste to this dish. Coconut scrappins give that extra aroma and rcih taste. Happy cooking !!!